Frequently Asked Questions (& Answers!)

Your county 4-H staff is available to answer any questions you may have but you may also find the answers to your questions here. You may wish to check back occasionally since we’ll add to this section as new questions are raised.

Bicycle Use

Q: Are we allowed to bring bikes to campus for 4-H Exploration Days?
A: Yes! Bikes are welcome on campus. They must be parked and locked at a bicycle rack and in operable condition; otherwise, they may be impounded. (During 4-H Exploration Days, the requirement of them being registered and displaying a valid bicycle permit, based on MSU ordinance, is being waived.)

Q: Where do I store my bike when I’m not using it?
A: Lock your bike to a campus bike rack whenever it’s not in use. Bike racks are outside the residence halls and all other campus buildings. You must bring your own lock – and be sure to use it to prevent your bike from being stolen. You may also store your bike in your room (as long as it’s okay with your roommate).

Cancellation Policy

Q: What if I need to cancel because of illness or a family emergency?
A: If you need to cancel for any reason, notify your county MSU Extension 4‑H staff as soon as possible. Be sure to provide the full name of the person cancelling and the date of cancellation. Early arrival fees, session fees and scholarship credits do not apply to cancellations and no-show fees. The refund policy is listed in the registration book.


Q: What are the requirements to be a chaperone? Do chaperones need to be age 21 or older?
A: All adults housed with county delegations at 4-H Exploration Days must have gone through the background checks required by the MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process. Chaperones for any Michigan 4-H overnight program must be age 21 or older, this includes county conference assistants (CCAs) who serve as the “head chaperone” for their county. The job descriptions for all adult roles at 4-H Exploration Days can be found at http://4h.msue.msu.edu/events/4-h_exploration_days/responsibilities.

Q: Can an adult serve as a chaperone to youth from a different county?
A: Possibly – if the 4-H program coordinators of the counties involved have arranged for “multi-county housing.” All counties are expected to provide one chaperone for every 10 youth of the same gender. Sometimes 4-H staff with small delegations work out sharing arrangements of their adults in order to provide adequate chaperone coverage. Arrangements for “multi-county housing” must be made before counties are assigned space within a residence hall to ensure that the affected county delegations are housed next to each other. Once housing assignments are made, it’s too late to arrange this unless the affected counties already happen to be housed next to each (i.e., same dorm, same floor).

Q: What if a county has youth participants enrolled, but no chaperones?
A:  If county 4-H staff are unable to identify their needed number of chaperones from within their own county near the end of registration, they should seek another county to provide chaperone coverage by consolidating together as a “multi-county housing group.” Collectively these counties must still meet the 1:10 adult/youth ratio. All multi-county housing groups must be determined by the time counties send in their completed “Housing Count Forms” to the State 4-H office which are due soon after registration ends.

Q: Can an adult leave the conference for one evening for a prior commitment?
A: This is discouraged but may be possible depending on a number of factors. The county staff, county conference assistant and other county chaperones must agree that they have adequate coverage during that chaperone’s absence. Another adult must be designated as the temporary substitute. The youth that are assigned to that chaperone must be informed of the temporary change in their chaperone assignment. The absence and substitute information needs to be noted on the absent chaperone’s Whereabouts Sheet posted on their housing room door.

Q: I have to take time off work to chaperone for Exploration Days. Will there be Wi-Fi at the residence halls so I can keep up with my responsibilities back at the office?
A: Yes, there will be wireless-internet in the main lobby of each residence hall, but only 20% of the individual dorm rooms have coverage. Please reference the wireless map that shows the availability of Wi-Fi in the MSU buildings.

Q: If I need to send a fax back home during the event, where can I do this?
A: There is not a fax machine available for use in the residence halls. However, the State Children & Youth Institute/4-H office located across campus in the Morrill Hall of Agriculture has a fax machine you can use – but you have to get there between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. A scanner is also available at the State 4-H office if needed.

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Q: Is there a dress code for the participants while on campus?
A: Yes. It states, “Participants should dress casually, but neatly and respectably. Unacceptable attire includes clothing that exposes undergarments or excessively exposes the body (such as cropped, low-cut or extremely tight shirts, tube tops, short shorts, excessively baggy or extreme low-rise pants).” You can find the entire dress code in the back of the registration book under the 4-H Exploration Days Code of Conduct.

Early Arrivals

Q: Is it possible to arrive the night before?
A: Early arrival arrangements can be made for long distance delegations (primarily U.P. counties) and counties who have participants bicycling to the event as an organized county 4-H activity. These groups come early as part of an organized and supervised county group. The early arrival option is not listed on the paper registration form; these counties pre-determine their arrival plans and check the early arrival box on the electronic registration form submitted by county 4-H staff. The county must provide same sex chaperone supervision for Tuesday arrivals the same as they do for the rest of the conference. There are no 4-H Exploration Days activities offered for early arrivals. Early arrival check-in is 4-5 p.m. for county delegations biking in; 5-9 p.m. for everyone else. There is an added cost to cover lodging on Tuesday and breakfast on Wednesday.

Q: If we said we are coming in on Wednesday morning, can we still come in Tuesday if we change our mind?
A: Yes, if you change your registration ahead of time and live a long distance from MSU and have Tuesday evening same gender chaperone arrangements made for all early arriving youth. Please let your county know and have them email the change to the event registration secretary. Remember, there is no Tuesday food service at the dorms, no planned activities, and an added fee for Tuesday lodging and Wednesday breakfast.

Q: Our delegation is traveling from the Upper Peninsula and needs to arrive on Tuesday night because of the long distance. How late can we get there for check in on Tuesday?
A: All early arrivals must arrive by 9 p.m.  At 9 p.m. early arrival check-in will close so the event headquarters staff can update the database and prepare for Wednesday arrivals.

Health Care

Q: Will the participants have access to a nurse or health care more than just first-aid while they are at 4-H Exploration Days?
A: Yes, a Nurse’s Station is located in an apartment in one of the residence halls. The exact location will be listed in the event Activity Guide. The Nurse’s Station is staffed at all times from 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday until 1:30 p.m. on Friday. If a participant becomes ill or injured, they can notify their CCA and county staff, then report to the nurse. If medical care is needed beyond what the event nurse can provide, the patient will be taken to a medical facility. The cost will be billed to the family or their insurance. Some counties purchase special insurance for their county delegation to defray medical costs. Check with your county 4-H program coordinator to see if this is done in your county.

Q: My child has severe allergies and carries an epi-pen. Is that a problem at 4-H Exploration Days?
A: Anyone who needs an epi-pen must provide their own and administer it themselves. That said, the participant is urged to say to the adults they’re with something like “If I have an allergy attack I’ll need my epi-pen injection immediately. Here’s where I’ll be keeping it. I’d appreciate your assistance with making sure I get it out quickly and assist me in keeping my hand steady during the injection if needed. It can go through my clothes and the needle needs to be fully injected so I get the entire dosage. 911 will also need to be called ASAP.”


Q: Can a youth register as part of one county delegation but be housed with another county?
A: No. Youth and chaperones must be housed with the county delegation that submitted their registration and payment.  

Q: Can I request a roommate for Exploration Days? What if they are from a different county?
A: Roommate assignments are made at the county level in early June, usually at the pre-event county orientation meeting. Let your county staff know you have someone you’d like to room with. Unfortunately, you cannot request to room with someone from another county. Everyone must be housed with the county delegation that submitted their registration and payment.  

Q: Can my child room with an adult chaperone?
A: An adult chaperone may share a room with unrelated youth if there is at least one other child assigned to the room as well. No child that is unrelated to an adult chaperone will share a room alone with an adult. Parents should have reviewed and signed the “Overnight Housing Permission Form” included in the registration book. If the form is not signed, the child will be put in a room only with other youth under age 18. Each chaperone has been through the MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process and has completed a background check.

Q: My child has the opportunity to stay with a family member off-campus during Exploration Days. Is it possible to commute?
A: No, there is not a commuter option available for Exploration Days.

Q: Our entire family is attending. Can we arrange to be housed together?
A: Family members can be housed together only if they are the same gender. Males and females are housed on separate floors and usually on different sides or wings of the residence hall.

Q: How strict are the rules about keeping boys off the girl’s floor and girls off the boy’s floor? Are exceptions ever made?
A: Males and females should not be on each other’s housing floors with only one possible exception with close supervision. Some counties may need to hold the county meeting they have shortly after Wednesday check-in in a study lounge on a housing floor due to meeting space shortages in the dorm’s common areas. Counties that are assigned meeting room space on a housing floor should have a chaperone gather their participants of the opposite gender in the lobby and escort them to and from the housing floor study lounge where the entire county delegation will meet.

Q: Do the dorms have air conditioning?
A: No they do not. You may want to bring a fan to help out with the heat if the weather is warm and encourage others to do the same.

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Late Arrivals

Q: What happens if someone arrives late?
A: Late arrivals begin check-in at their hall’s 4-H Information Center then proceed to the hall reception desk on the side of the hall to which they are assigned. The location of each residence hall’s 4-H Information Center is listed in the 4-H Exploration Days Activity Guide. The activity guide will be posted on the Exploration Days web site in late May.

Media Release Form

Q: I’m uncomfortable with my child being photographed. Do I have to sign the media release form?
A: We urge you to reconsider since the photos/video shot at the conference will only be used for promotional purposes and participants are not identified by name. If you still don’t want to sign the form, please make sure to indicate that you have read it and you are choosing not to sign it so staff will know that you didn’t miss it accidentally. Please note that it will be up to your child to avoid being in camera shots.

Medication Use and How to Administer

Q: What if a participant needs to take medication during the event? How are medications are administered and by whom?
A: For all MSUE programs that are not state licensed camps, program participants are expected to discretely store and administer their own medications privately. If a medicine requires refrigeration, this need should be brought to the attention of the program coordinator with sufficient lead time to investigate the possibility of accommodating the need for refrigeration.  (For programs that include overnight housing in MSU residence halls, single serving over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Tylenol, Pepto-Bismol are available for sale in the residence hall snack shop.)


Q: My son/daughter missed the county pre-event orientation meeting for Exploration Days. What should we do?
A: Check with your county office. Sometimes larger counties will offer more than one orientation. If not, you’ll need to discuss and agree on other make up arrangements. It is very important that each participant go through a county-based orientation before 4-H Exploration Days.


Q: Where do people park their cars at Exploration Days? Is parking different for instructors and chaperones?
A: Lot 91, south of Hubbard Hall past the railroad tracks, is available at no cost to everyone involved in 4-H Exploration Days. (It will be shown on the Activity Guide map available in late May.) You can unload your luggage at the dorm where you’ll be housed and then move your car to the free lot. Unless you’re an instructor who is hauling supplies to and from your session classroom, you should not need your car during the event.

Instructors who need to transport supplies and have sessions located outside of the residence halls will be provided with complimentary parking permits for a small number of designated parking lots nearer their classroom than Lot 91.

Q: Does a vehicle with a disabled placard or plate still need an MSU parking permit to park on campus?
A: As long as the disabled placard (or plate) is current and valid, the vehicle may park in any handicap space on campus without a conference permit.  If the vehicle is parked in a designated disabled metered space then the meter must be fed and a current and valid disabled placard or plate must be displayed.


Q: How do I know if the sessions my child wants to sign up for will be age appropriate?
A: While most of the sessions at 4-H Exploration Days are geared towards the 11-19 age group, some are more suitable for a narrower age range. Age appropriateness is listed at the end of each session description in the registration book. Look there for any age restrictions and make sure that all session choices written on the registration form are open to youth that are your child’s age.

Q: How do participants find out their session assignments?
A: The county 4-H staff are notified of each session assignment the day after the registration is submitted. When and how each county 4-H staff notifies their participants varies from county to county. This information will be provided at the county’s pre-event orientation meeting if not before then. At the pre-event orientation meeting, participants will complete a Personal Data Sheet that lists their session assignments. If there have been any changes to a session assignment since the initial registration, the new session information should be provided and listed on the sheet.

Q: If a session is cancelled, how are reassignments made? And how are participants notified?
A: At the end of registration, the 4-H Explorations Days staff may cancel sessions with low enrollment. Anyone displaced from a cancelled session will be reassigned to one of their other session choices when possible. (If new session choices must be made, your county 4-H staff will be asked to obtain more choices from the participant and relay the new choices back to the event registration secretary.) Once a session reassignment is made, the county office will receive an email informing them of the change. The county 4-H staff then need to pass on the cancellation and reassignment information to the participant.

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Session Field Trips

Q: My session goes on a field trip. Where do I meet the bus?
A: If your session is going on a field trip, look for the field trip bus loading site on your Activity Guide map designated by an “F.” All field trips will leave from this location at the scheduled session starting time unless a different departure time or location is listed in the Activity Guide. Arrive at the field trip bus loading area 15 to 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time of your session. Once your bus leaves, there is no other way for you to get to your session.

Shuttle Buses

Q: Will there be shuttle buses available during 4-H Exploration Days? Can all participants use the system?
A: Only three 4-H Exploration Days shuttle buses are available to help get participants to the other side of campus. These buses, identified by green “4-H” signs, can only transport a small percentage of everyone at the conference so please walk as much possible! While it may seem convenient to hop on a bus to get to class, remember it will be very crowded and the wait for a bus may be longer than the amount of time it’d take you to walk!

The shuttle route is shown on the campus map in the center of the Activity Guide. Shuttle buses will stop at each place designated on the map by a circled number. These are the only locations where you will be able to get on and off shuttle buses.

During swimming times, one or two of the regular shuttle buses will switch to drive the Swim Bus Shuttle loop to take participants directly to and from the pool.

Special Needs

Q: How are accommodations handled for a special needs participant?
A: A buddy system is used for disabled or other special needs participants who need extra support or assistance to have a positive learning experience at 4-H Exploration Days. A special needs participant must be accompanied by a same-sex adult or older teen “buddy” who is able to address those special needs. The buddy must accompany the special needs participant to the event, attend the same session and serve as his or her roommate. They will stay together during the entire conference (meals, sessions, free time activities, etc.).

Q: I have a specific diet restriction. Where can I request special dietary needs?
A: At the time you submit your registration, please be sure to describe your dietary needs in the space provided on the registration form. The information you submit will be provided to the culinary staff after county residence hall assignments are made. Because there are a wide variety entrees and side dish choices to choose from at each meal, most people with special dietary needs can make selections that fit their needs without making any special arrangements. See “sample” menu here. Those who have dietary needs that require special arrangements will be put in touch with the MSU chef assigned oversight for Exploration Days to ensure that their needs are accommodated.

Q: How is lunch accommodated for someone with a dietary restriction who is assigned to a session with an all-day field trip that gets box lunches? 
A: We review the class lists of sessions getting box lunches to see if anyone who noted a special dietary need on their registration form is assigned to any of those sessions. If so, we give this information to the food service staff that makes the box lunches. They will make a different lunch for that participant and label it with his/her name on it. This is only food provided as part of the session. In the off chance someone else brings their own snack and offers to share, the participant with the dietary restriction should decline.

Q: What services are available to those with mobility limitations?
A: The MSU buses used for the campus shuttle and county, school and commercial buses used for session field trips are not wheelchair accessible.

CATA (the local bus service) offers a service called “Spec-Tran” for a fee. They operate from 5:45 a.m. to10:30 p.m. during the week. You can call the RCPD Office (Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities) to set up a ride. Their office number is 517-353-9642. CATA and the RCPD office will work with the child to set her up with a “temporary pass” to be able to access the services. Once she has her temporary pass, she will be able to work with the RCPD office to set up a schedule of when she needs rides. All rides must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance, two weeks prior being the earliest available to set up a schedule.

For more information on this service and for pricing, visit their website at: http://www.cata.org/CATAServices/SpecTranService/tabid/130/Default.aspx

Q: My child is on a special medication that requires refrigeration. How can this be accommodated?
A:  Under the unique circumstance that a participant needs to bring a medication that requires refrigeration, arrangements can be made to place a dorm-sized refrigerator in the room. After county housing assignments are made, the county 4-H staff should contact the Exploration Days coordinator to provide the room number and name of the participant with the refrigerated medication need.

Q: My child has medication to take during 4-H Exploration Days, who’ll make sure she takes it?
A: It is the responsibility of your child to make sure they take the medication at the appropriate time in the correct dosage. You can alert their chaperone and ask that they remind her, but ultimately the child needs to manage this on her own.

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Q: Tours of some campus facilities are available during recreation time. How do I get to one of those?
A: Follow the directions in the Activity Guide. If it’s far enough away to need bus transportation, meet the tour bus at the Tour Bus Loading Site shown in your Activity Guide. Note: this will be a different spot than the Field Trip Loading Site.