March 19-22, 2017

4-H Capitol Experience is an annual four-day conference that helps prepare youth for active citizenship by focusing on civic engagement and public policy. Up to 130 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 2016 Impact Summary.

Registration Link

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

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Find 4-H Capitol Experience on Facebook!

Up to 12 statewide scholarships covering up to the cost of half of the full program fee ($175) will be awarded to youth participants. Please fill out the scholarship application on the Capitol Experience Registration link To complete your application for a scholarship, you’ll also have to provide the link above to a reference and ask them to complete the reference process. Both of these steps must be completed by January 15, 2017.

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 opportunities in your county.

About the 2017 Conference

When and where: 3 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017 to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at the Okemos Conference Center. 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: $350 4-H and Michigan Farm Bureau members, $360 non 4-H members. Includes all meals, lodging and material fees. All registrations must be paid in full by Feb. 20, 2017. Any registration no paid in full by this time will be canceled and the space will be offered to registrants on the wait-list.

Registration deadlines: Registration is collected online via a secure web-based platform. Interested participants must register by Feb. 20, 2017. We ask that this registration is completed with both the participant and a parent/guardian present, as digital permissions and agreements will be requested during the registration process. The youth registration process can be previewed here

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. 3, 2017 and Feb. 24, 2017 will incur a $30 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after Feb. 24, 2017 are non-refundable.

Registration process: Participation is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited to 150 total participants (which includes MSU Extension event staff and youth steering committee members). Each participant will need to register online. Note that communications for this event are made via e-mail, so please provide and email during registration that is checked on a regular basis. All registration payments must be made in full by Feb. 20, 2017. If full payment is not received by this time, your registration will be cancelled and your spot offered to a registrant on the wait-list.

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.

There will also be a pre-conference meeting held virtually within two weeks of the conference start date. After registration has closed and your payment has been made in full, you’ll receive a packet of information which will include connection details for the meeting.

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 (MFB). 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 2017 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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