Michigan 4-H Foundation

4-H’ers learn winter life skills at Kettunen Center

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Since 1956, the Kettunen Center has served Michigan 4-H teens and adults as a location for educational workshops. Through this time, it is has become cherished by those who attend because of its impressive outdoor features, its beautiful facilities and its welcoming staff. Although the Kettunen Center is commonly used to host teen and adult leader workshops and conferences, more workshops are being organized that engage a younger crowd. The Michigan 4-H Winterfest event is one of the most influential of this type.

4-H Winterfest is one of Michigan 4-H’s most popular workshops with attendance of over 150 4-H youth between the ages of 9 and 12. The overnight event takes place during early February and allows youth to learn about exciting project areas, have fun doing wintertime activities and meet youth from across the state.

“Winterfest is a great learning experience and encourages youth to be independent while meeting others from all over the state,” said Beverly Przystas, MSU Extension 4-H educator and 4-H Winterfest planning committee member. “Offering youth an overnight experience in a dorm setting with their friends allows them to try something new and take it back to their individual counties.”

Participants have the opportunity to engage in hands-on sessions with topics including animal science, cooking, arts and crafts, food science, money management, healthy living and basic science. With an array of possible activities, young 4-H members explore everything the Kettunen Center has to offer from learning to cook in the kitchen to snowshoeing on the trails.
“4-H Winterfest is a great opportunity to come and explore the Kettunen Center and do things that normally you’re not taught about or you don’t have the chance to do,” said Veronica Lofquist, Osceola County 4-H member. “Winterfest is just a great way to get to know people.”

Initially designed as an East Central Region event, Winterfest quickly gained interest with a lengthy waiting list of youth who wanted to attend, but couldn’t due to the limited space and volunteer capacity. Since its move to the Kettunen Center, the workshop has grown to one of the largest statewide 4-H workshops, filling the center to its capacity, still with a waitlist of youth wishing to attend.

Winterfest builds an early love of the Kettunen Center that will persist through adulthood and encourage lifelong learning as Winterfest attendees continue to return to the center for teen and volunteer workshops in the future. The Kettunen Center holds a special place in many people’s hearts. Adults must pass this adoration on to their children at an early age for them to understand the power the Kettunen Center and 4-H has.

4-H workshops, including Winterfest, are partially funded through gifts and grants to the Michigan 4-H Foundation, significantly reducing the cost for 4-H participants to attend these educational opportunities at Kettunen Center.

To learn more, view the 4-H Winterfest video at: https://youtu.be/5nzz89nRSmw.