4-H Renewable Energy Camp: Growing true leaders passionate about STEM
Annually, Michigan 4-H youth gather at Michigan State University during summer months to participate in the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp. The five-day precollege program, taught by industry experts, introduces youth to ideas, research and opportunities in the renewable energy field.
“Our world is changing, and renewable energy is an important part of that change,” said Tracy D’Augustino, Michigan State University Extension science and youth development educator. “4-H Renewable Energy Camp is giving today’s youth an opportunity to engage with and explore renewable energy to help solve the growing need for renewable energy knowledge throughout Michigan and across the world.”
4-H participants choose either a solar/wind energy track or a biofuel track. To expand their knowledge about their chosen topic, youth visit on- and off-campus locations and laboratories that give them a look at cutting-edge technology and the chance to engage in hands-on learning opportunities.
“My favorite part about the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp is the chance I have to learn about new technologies in the field and to help teach the next generation about scientists and engineers,” said Jonah Wojnar, Eaton County 4-H’er and 4-H Renewable Energy Camp teen facilitator. “I knew I was going to be an electrical engineer in my future, but this camp
solidified what I was going to study in that field, and I am proud to help other people make that decision as well, especially during the current climate crisis.”
The 4-H Renewable Energy Camp has a long history of encouraging career exploration and college enrollment in its participants. Of the youth who participated in the camp between 2015 and 2017, 80 percent enrolled in college within six months following high school. That number is 24 percent higher than the Michigan average.
“The 4-H Renewable Energy Camp offers numerous fun, interesting and unique activities and opportunities related to career exploration of this field,” said Safia Aladlouni, Oakland County 4-H’er and 4-H Renewable Energy Camp teen facilitator. “It offers participants the chance to live on MSU’s campus, experience college life, and familiarize themselves with topics they may not have had a lot of exposure to in school.”
Providing experiences to youth such as Jonah and Safia would not be possible without the support of generous individuals and organizations. The 4-H Renewable Energy Camp is sponsored in part by HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative and the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan. Camp sponsors value empowering youth to create solutions for the energy issues the world is facing today.