Building capacity for 4-H volunteer development
Michigan 4-H volunteers will be recognized, trained and supported for their work with youth.
Campaign Priority: 4-H Volunteer Development
Campaign Goal: $1 million
A signature MSU Extension program, Michigan 4-H Youth Development provides more than 200,000 young people with fun and exciting learning opportunities each year. These experiences help Michigan’s youth to develop critical life skills needed for success, both as children and as adults. With limited staff time and resources, the 4-H program would not be possible without the support of caring adult volunteers who give their time and talents to grow 4-H youth.
Volunteers are the foundation of Michigan’s 4-H program, with thousands of individuals providing hands-on guidance and real-world experience to 4-H youth across the state each year.
These volunteers give their time in a variety of ways as they help 4-H’ers to learn valuable life skills and explore their interests and aspirations, and they serve as healthy adult role models. Trained and supported by MSU Extension staff members, these volunteers have access to a variety of MSU Extension resources.
In the 2015-2016 program year, Michigan 4-H:
- Was supported by nearly 16,000 Michigan residents who volunteered with 4-H.
- Trained more than 1,100 volunteers.
Tom and Talon’s Story
To help young people find a caring adult in their life, Michigan State University Extension offers formal youth mentoring, and in the spring of 2015, Bay County 4-H Tech Wizards matched fourth grader Talon with his mentor, Tom. An avid animal lover who enjoys fishing, hiking, running and robotics, Tom was a perfect match for Talon, who enjoys the same hobbies.
“Wherever Talon goes, I will be there to support him,” said Tom. “I love to see the cause and effect, and sometimes it takes time to realize the effect. Talon, my young friend, when I was first coming, he was so full of energy and very hard to calm down. He was just this scrunched-up like coiled spring ready to pounce, and now two years later to see how he’s grown and matured – it’s just a joy to see and to experience, and it takes a little bit of time for you to see that difference that you make and the fact that they’re growing up and aging and transitioning in life.”