History

Michigan 4-H Foundation
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Formation of the Michigan 4-H Foundation was completed in late April of 1952. George Haggarty, Detroit attorney and president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation, is signing the scroll as other incorporators look on. They are, left to right: J.C. Cahill, Detroit, Detroit Edison Company; Milon Grinnell, East Lansing, editor of Michigan Farmer and vice president of the foundation; H.J. Gallagher, Jackson, Consumers Power Company; and A.G. Kettunen, East Lansing, state 4-H club leader and secretary of the foundation. J.H. Alexanian, Lansing, was the sixth incorporator (not pictured).

Formation of the Michigan 4-H Foundation was completed in late April of 1952. George Haggarty, Detroit attorney and president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation, is signing the scroll as other incorporators look on. They are, left to right: J.C. Cahill, Detroit, Detroit Edison Company; Milon Grinnell, East Lansing, editor of Michigan Farmer and vice president of the foundation; H.J. Gallagher, Jackson, Consumers Power Company; and A.G. Kettunen, East Lansing, state 4-H club leader and secretary of the foundation. J.H. Alexanian, Lansing, was the sixth incorporator (not pictured).

In 1952, when America celebrated the 50th anniversary of 4-H, Michigan responded by establishing the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

Arne G. Kettunen, state 4-H leader from 1925 to 1956, organized to incorporate this new organization to encourage private financial support that would supplement the public support provided by the cooperative partnership of county, state and federal government through the Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Kettunen Center


In 1956, four years after the Michigan 4-H Foundation was established, it acquired 140 acres of property in rural Osceola County. Later that year, the foundation launched its first major fundraising campaign for the construction of Camp Kett (renamed to Kettunen Center in 1972).

A.G. Kettunen envisioned a place where 4-H could grow through training of its volunteers and members. Although he didn’t live to see his dream made real, Kettunen Center opened in 1961 as the first 4-H volunteer and youth training center in the nation.

The center has been through two major renovations. The Kettunen Center Improvement Project concluded in 1980 with the Kettunen Center director’s residence, an earth-sheltered house built into a hillside, allowing for natural heating and cooling, protection from the elements and energy savings. In 1997, Vision 2021: The Campaign for Kettunen Center concluded. It raised $4.3 million for the addition of the Mawby Learning Center, Red Oak Hall and new dining and administration facilities.

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Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens


The outdoor Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden opened in 1993 as the first garden on a university campus in the United States developed specifically for the education of children. The garden, designed by MSU Parks and Planning designers Jeff Kacos and Deb Kinney and the garden’s inaugural curator Jane Taylor, features 66 themed areas created in consultation with 3- to 6-year-olds from the MSU Child Development Laboratories.

In 2003, the Indoor Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden, located in the greenhouses of the MSU Plant and Soil Sciences Building, opened. It provides children year-round educational access to science-based learning and exploration of plants.

To mark the gardens’ 15th birthday, a renewal campaign was launched this year to help repair and update the outdoor garden. In addition, the 2,500-square-foot Pete and Sally Smith Schoolyard Demonstration Garden opened this year as a companion outdoor children’s garden. It is dedicated to providing ideas and learning concepts to assist educators in developing outdoor gardens in schoolyards, community gardens or other small spaces. It also serves as a demonstration space for environmentally friendly landscape materials.

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