March 19-22, 2017

4-H Capitol Experience is an annual 4-day conference that helps prepare youth for active citizenship by focusing on civic engagement and public policy. Up to 100 teens from around the state converge on Lansing, Michigan to experience state government in action and learn how they can influence policy issues. Participants interact with legislators, state agency staff, lobbyists and other resource people to learn how policy is made. Attendees will:

  • Understand the responsibilities of a citizen
  • Explore different aspects of a policy issue that may affect individuals and communities
  • Explore various careers in public policy
  • Attend bill writing session
  • Have an in-depth meeting with someone in (or involved with) state government

If you want to see more, you can check out this video

Simulations and activities are incorporated to reinforce and apply what is learned about government. Teens leave the conference with the charge to share what they have learned and get involved with other leadership and civic engagement activities in their communities!

Learn more by reviewing the one-page 2015 Impact Summary.

Registration Link

A letter for your school is available for the days at the event.

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Up to 12 statewide scholarships covering the cost of half of the full program fee ($160) will be awarded to youth participants. Please fill out the scholarship application and return to the address listed on the reference page by January 8, 2016. 

Additional scholarships may be awarded at the county and local level. Contact your local Michigan Farm Bureau office, as well as your 4-H Program Coordinator to see if there are additional funding opportunites in your county.

About the 2016 Conference

When and where: 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20, 2016 to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Tours and agency visits will take place at the State Capitol and surrounding area.

Who should attend: High school students at least 14 years old and adult participant-chaperones. All participants must have pictured identification.

Cost: $315 4-H and Michigan Farm Bureau members, $325 non 4-H members. Includes all meals, lodging and material fees. All registrations must be paid in full by Feb. 12, 2016.

Registration deadlines: Registration is collected online via a secure web-based platform. Interested participants must register by Feb. 5, 2016. All registrations must be paid in full by Feb. 12, 2016 or risk being cancelled to make space for the youth on the waitlist.

If you have any questions on the registration process, contact your county 4-H program coordinator.

Registration Link:

Registration Forms:

Cancellation policy: Voluntary cancellations received between Feb. 5, 2016 and Feb. 26, 2016 will incur a $30 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after Feb. 26 are non-refundable.

Registration process: Participation is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited to 120 total participants (which includes MSU Extension event staff and youth steering committee members). Each participant will need to register online. All registration payments must be made in full by Feb. 12, 2016. If full payment is not received by this time, your registration will be cancelled and your spot offered to a registrant on the waitlist. Contact your county MSU Extension office for more details.

Pre-conference activities: Participants complete a pre-conference activity to learn about citizenship at the local level. Examples include attending a local government meeting, interviewing the director or staff member of a non-profit organization or researching a local issue. All selected participants should write a letter to their representative and senator indicating their interest in meeting them at the conference. Visit Pre-conference activities for more activity ideas.

Post-conference activities, news releases & photographs: Participants should return to their county 4-H program and get involved with local public policy issues. Examples include giving an educational presentation on the conference to 4-H clubs, researching a local issue and presenting it to the county commissioners, city councils or township boards or participating in a service project. Participants should work with their county delegation to carry out a local project. Visit Post-conference activities to find activities and resources to help clubs and groups learn more about the political process.

A Web link to a post-event news release and county delegation photograph of participants and their legislator(s) will be e-mailed to counties for distribution to local media following the event.

Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) Partnership

This year 4-H Capitol Experience will be presented in part by Michigan Farm Bureau (MIFB). Instead of hosting the MFB Young People’s Citizenship Seminar (YPCS) program, Michigan Farm Bureau has decided to support 4-H Capitol Experience as the 2016 leadership development and civic engagement program for statewide youth. This sponsorship supports the 4-H Capitol Experience team in developing a strong unique youth development program with an underlying focus on team building, group decision making and community leadership. As always, 4-H Capitol Experience is not affiliated with any political organizations, but encourages youth to consider all current state issues and examine potential solutions from every perspective.

MSU Extension 4-H Capitol Experience Program Handbook

The 4-H Capitol Experience handbook includes the Michigan 4-H Youth Code of Conduct and 4-H Capitol Experience Rules. All participants, volunteers and staff members are expected to abide by the code of conduct, the event rules and all other MSU regulations in order to attend this program. Everyone involved in this program must sign an agreement stating they’ve read, understand and agree to the Michigan 4-H Code of Conduct and program rules in order to be allowed to participate in the program.

To Find Out More About Michigan’s Capitol

You can visit a variety of Michigan government and institutional sites to learn more about Michigan, the state’s history and society:


For more information on how to get involved as a youth or volunteer, contact your county MSU Extension office or:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 4-H Educator
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 517-432-7603

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