4-H spurs love of learning and future in academia

After graduating from Central Michigan University in spring 2021, Mecosta County 4-H alum Kiara Cushway sent a follow-up letter thanking Mecosta County 4-H once again for her 4-H scholarship, citing 4-H for helping in her educational and career choices.


By Abbey Miller

Mecosta County 4-H alumna Kiara Cushway was involved in Michigan 4-H, Michigan State University Extension’s youth development program, for 14 years. She started out as a member of Big Rapids Community Club and spent most of her 4-H career as a member of Grant Center Pioneers 4-H Club.

“4-H was one of the most memorable experiences I had growing up and played a large role in shaping me to become who I am today,” Cushway said. “The life lessons I learned and the skills and friendships I gained during 4-H, as well as the connections I forged with my animals, have meant a lot to me and have helped foster my passion and love for animals and nature.”

Cushway participated in a variety of 4-H project areas, including turkeys, pigs, ducks, arts and crafts, flower arranging and basketry, among other things. She attended the Mecosta County 4-H Camp as a child, and was a 4-H camp counselor.

“4-H helped foster my love for learning and taught me many valuable skills that helped me succeed in school and as a developing member of my community,” she said. “4-H also provided me with mentors who were invested in my success and who believed in my abilities and were willing to help me grow and learn. As a young person, these relationships and opportunities meant the world to me and helped me grow into the person I am today.”

She continued, “When I was young, pledging my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living may have just been words that were spoken at meetings or before shows. But as I have grown and developed, they have become a mantra that I strive to live by. The meaning behind these words and the actions required by them encourage me to use the lessons I have learned in 4-H to work towards making the world a better place in whatever ways I can.”

After graduating from Big Rapids High School, Cushway received the 2017 Mecosta County 4-H Scholarship from the Mecosta County Fair Board that she applied towards her post-secondary education at Central Michigan University (CMU). During her undergraduate years, she had the opportunity to study abroad and complete a variety of research projects. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in spring 2021.

Ever grateful for the foundation the 4-H program provided her and for the financial support of the scholarship, Cushway sent a follow-up letter thanking the Mecosta County 4-H community after her graduation.

“I am very thankful for the support of Mecosta County 4-H and its investment in my future,” wrote Cushway. “I would not have had the flexibility and opportunity I did without the support I had from groups like yours. I am also very thankful for the experiences, lessons learned, friends made and skills that I acquired during my 4-H years participating in the Mecosta County 4-H program. The memories I have from 4-H are some of the best I have, and 4-H was an integral part of the foundation of my educational and life success!”

Cushway also shared some of the highlights of her college experience at CMU. This included a faculty-led study abroad in New Zealand and a semester abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands where she studied tropical ecology in the rainforests of the Amazon, island biogeography in the famed Galapagos Archipelago and marine ecology in the Pacific Ocean. Cushway was also engaged in a CMU research lab that was focused on native freshwater mussels. Through the lab, Cushway conducted her own research in Michigan rivers, presented at local, state and national and international conferences, and submitted her work for publication. Cushway’s prestigious efforts at CMU were honored with the 2021 CMU Provost’s Award, a group of awards given to only 10 outstanding undergraduate students.

With her undergraduate work complete, Cushway plans to continue her education at Texas State University where she has obtained a fully funded graduate assistantship and she will pursue a master’s degree in aquatic resources. Cushway credits 4-H for helping to shape both her educational and career choices.

“When I graduated high school, I was unsure about what I might want to pursue, but because of 4-H, I knew that I loved working with nature and animals. When I found the biology program and the scientific research that I eventually became involved in, it felt natural to fall into a path that involved animals and conservation. My experiences with 4-H left me very well prepared for both working with and caring for animals in a research setting and designing and conducting scientific research. The love that I have for animals and science that 4-H fostered within me became one of the driving forces behind my post-secondary education, and the feeling of being a part of something bigger and better than yourself that came with being a part of 4-H is something I strive for as a student and a future career professional.”

Beyond helping set her down her current path in life, Cushway also thanks 4-H for helping to develop life skills that benefit her personally and professionally.

“The life lessons that I gained through 4-H have been both multitudinous and indispensable. Caring for my animal projects taught me responsibility and dependability and helped me develop a strong work ethic. Completing record books for my market animals taught me how to conduct basic research and balance and calculate budgets. Working with other 4-H members and clubs taught me collaboration and how to be an effective member of a team. Working with animals also taught me that practice, patience and preparedness can take you far in life, but that it is also important to be willing to be flexible and adapt to situations when things don’t go as planned.”

When asked one of her most memorable 4-H experiences, Cushway recalled one of her first times showing chickens, at 5 or 6 years old as a Cloverbud, a 4-H program for 5- to 7-year-olds. She was very shy and terrified to participate in showmanship. Her parents and sisters had practiced with her to prepare, and she knew exactly what to do, but froze in front of the judge.

“I probably would have quit then and there,” she said. “But, an older girl came up and helped me walk through the showmanship. Her encouragement gave me the confidence to finish the show, and her willingness to help a little kid she didn’t even know has stuck with me, and I think this really embodies what it means to be a 4-H’er.”

Cushway highly recommends 4-H to everyone, she says. “The life lessons I learned and the friendships and skills I developed during my years in 4-H are invaluable to me and have helped me in almost every aspect of my life. The memories I have of 4-H will always be dear to me, and the experiences, connections and opportunities that I had are something that I hope all children could have access to during their formative years and as they are growing to become a part of our local and global communities.”

To learn more about becoming involved with Michigan 4-H as a youth member or adult volunteer, visit the Michigan 4-H website.

Abbey Miller, Director of the Michigan 4-H Foundation

Abbey Miller, Director, Michigan 4-H Foundation

Abbey Miller, Director, Michigan 4-H Foundation

Miller is charged with overseeing the organization’s operations and facilitating its strategic development under the direction and guidance of the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees and in collaboration with MSU Extension and University Advancement.

Abbey Miller has been named director of the Michigan 4-H Foundation. She is charged with overseeing the organization’s operations and facilitating its strategic development under the direction and guidance of the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees and in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and University Advancement. She begins this new role on June 19.

“The board is excited to re-establish this important role within the Michigan 4-H Foundation,” said Tom Bosserd, president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. “This position provides critical leadership for the foundation’s strategic plan and supporting donor relations. We look forward to working with Abbey in this role.”

The Michigan 4-H Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that supports the mission and vision of MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development statewide. The foundation receives donations from individuals and organizations to support 4-H youth development learning, training and activities.

Miller has a long history with the foundation, beginning in 2001 when she was hired as a graphic designer. Later, she became the organization’s communications manager and soon after added annual giving to her responsibilities.

“4-H has always been an important part of my life,” Miller explained. “From my early days as a member myself to watching my kids thrive in 4-H now. It has been intertwined in my personal life and my career. I am excited to take on these new responsibilities and work with a board of trustees who continue to focus on youth development and life skills.”

In 2017, Miller’s role expanded to include donor communications for MSU Extension and in 2019, she added donor and alumni communications for the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR). Miller worked closely with CANR Advancement and University Advancement staff, supporting major gift storytelling and donor and alumni event communications.

Julie Chapin, director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs, state 4-H leader and Michigan 4-H Foundation secretary, said Miller’s knowledge of the foundation and commitment to youth development make her a perfect fit for the position.

“We are thrilled to have Abbey taking the helm as the next director of the Michigan 4-H Foundation,” Chapin said. “Her 20 years of experience with the foundation and deep knowledge of 4-H philanthropy have equipped her for success as the Michigan 4-H Foundation director.”

Miller has bachelors’ degrees in animal science and in agriculture and natural resources communications from MSU and a certificate in developing annual sustainability from The Fundraising School at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Miller lives with her husband and two children in rural Ionia County where they are active in 4-H. In 2013 Ionia County 4-H named her Volunteer of the Year.

To learn more about the Michigan 4-H Foundation, visit http://www.mi4hfdtn.org/ .

Change Makers from Alpena

In northeastern Michigan, the fight against microplastics in the Great Lakes is being championed by the Alpena 4-H Tech Changemakers.

Change Makers from Alpena

In northeast Michigan, the fight against microplastics in the Great
Lakes is being championed by the Alpena 4-H Tech Changemakers
thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and National 4-H Council.

In this era of beach clean-ups, plastic bag bans and plastic eating bacteria, it seems like everyone is trying to answer the question: How do we “turn off the tap” on plastic pollution in our bodies of water? We’ve heard from legislators, scientists, environmentalists and surfers, but perhaps the greatest voice in the fight against single-use plastics, also called microplastics, is that of our youth.

In northeastern Michigan, the fight against microplastics in the Great Lakes is being championed by the Alpena 4-H Tech Changemakers. The 4-H Tech Changemakers, a Michigan 4-H program of MSU Extension, is turning the tide on single-use plastics in Michigan through conversation and education.

The 4-H Tech Changemakers project is made possible by a partnership between Microsoft and National 4-H Council through the Michigan 4-H Foundation. This partnership provided grants for local 4-H programs to empower youth to address community issues through technology. As a result, youth develop valuable leadership skills, make strong community connections and prepare themselves for a lifetime of making positive change.

Alpena is just one of the 91 communities across 15 states with 4-H Tech Changemakers teams, all of whom are finding technological solutions to local challenges. In Alpena, youth decided to address a community issue that was very close to home: the protection of the Great Lakes.

Since their home is nestled on the shores of beautiful Lake Huron, the residents of Alpena have a special and direct connection with the Great Lakes. However, it turns out that not everyone is aware of the negative effect that their connections may have on the lakes themselves.

Through a series of educational presentations to community groups like the Alpena Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club and the Alpena Community College Association of Lifelong Learners, 4-H youth have started some important conversations. In the presentations, youth educate community members about the sources of microplastics, the harm they present to wildlife and human health, and solutions to the problem on individual, community and national levels.

The youth also engage in community service through cleaning up beaches and volunteering at community events to promote waste-reducing practices. In addition, the youth used their tech literacy to design a website dedicated to marine debris education, with resources specific to the Great Lakes region.

As a result of their hard work, there have been great changes in the approaches of the Alpena community. Businesses and organizations contact the 4-H Tech Changemakers, seeking their wisdom and guidance in reducing their organizational waste. Currently, the youth are partnering with a local theater to implement new recycling and compost bins, bulk candy counters, and a “bring your own container program” for popcorn and soda. The Friends of the Alpena Farmers Market have also been inspired by the youth to write a grant for reusable bags. Throughout the city, the 4-H Tech Changemakers are helping Alpena residents chart the course for a healthier Great Lakes region.

Lewis Bordeaux, 4-H alum

Lewis Bordeaux, 4-H alum

An estate gift from Gogebic County 4-H alum Lewis Bordeaux will help sustain the work of the Michigan 4-H Foundation and its support for Michigan 4-H Youth Development.

In appreciation for the solid foundation 4-H provided to his life, Bordeaux made a planned gift to 4-H in the area of greatest need by naming the Michigan 4-H Foundation as a beneficiary of his estate. He passed away on July 23, 2022.

Bordeaux was a University of Michigan graduate who began his career abroad in 1970 as an international affairs and training specialist. He was located in the Middle East with the Raytheon Corporation and Avco Overseas Corporation, serving as an English language instructor and interpreter for the Royal Saudi Air Defense Corps and the Royal Saudi Coast Guard. Bordeaux then worked for 20 years as a flight services and safety instructor and director for English language and computer training for the Saudi Arabian Airlines. He retired in 2007 after serving 10 years with the Booz Allen Hamilton Company as a senior training specialist with the Royal Saudi Navy, though he continued to serve as a special training consultant for the Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Bordeaux, who was inducted into the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society in 2010, shared that his experience as a Gogebic County 4-H member prepared him for his career and life abroad. He served as a member of county, Upper Peninsula and state 4-H service clubs; a National 4-H Conference delegate in 1962 and a Michigan IFYE delegate to Japan in 1966. He was also a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer to India in 1968 and was a life member of the IFYE Association of the USA, attending 30 European IFYE conferences, three U.S. National IFYE Conferences and three World IFYE Conferences. As an IFYE USA Association member, Bordeaux contributed to the ongoing involvement of 4-H youth members in intercultural learning activities at local, county, state, regional, national and international levels. He served on the National IFYE Association board from 1998 to 2001.

Bordeaux’s estate gift qualified him for membership in the Cornerstone Society. Donors who document a planned gift are recognized as A.G. Kettunen Society members. Established in 2007, this society provides lifetime recognition to donors who have made documented future gifts to 4-H. It allows donors to share their wishes and the impact they would like to see their gifts make to benefit Michigan’s youth. A.G. Kettunen Society members receive a recognition certificate, permanent acknowledgement as legacy donors in the annual report, and, for gifts that exceed $25,000 at maturity, recognition as Cornerstone Society members.

The Michigan 4-H Foundation invites any donor considering a planned gift to contact the foundation at 517-353-6692 to verify that the intent of the gift can be met.

In 2022, the Michigan 4-H Foundation received a generous in-kind donation of China porcelain art from Wu-Hiung and Jusina Tseng of Cary, North Carolina. The couple previously resided in Michigan and were in the process of relocating out of state. Instead of moving the art with them, the Tsengs decided to donate the pieces to support youth China art programming and education. After a search online, the couple found Michigan 4-H, thanks to the 4-H China Art Exchange program, and reached out to see if their gift could help to support similar youth programming.

The Michigan 4-H Foundation is working with fine art auction company DuMouchelles to offer these items for sale, with the proceeds supporting Michigan 4-H global and cultural programming. The art collection has been separated into three tiers of items to be offered at three different times. The first sale took place in April and the second in May. Items in the third tier will be available for preview June 24–28 at www.dumoart.com/ to be sold at June 29–30.
The auctions will contain items from multiple entities. To receive a list of the lot numbers from the Michigan 4-H Foundation, please contact Julie Arter at jarter@msu.edu or 517-353-4437.

Volunteers at a past 4-H Creative Arts Celebration.

The Michigan 4-H Creative Arts Celebration has seen many changes over the years, and Sanilac County 4-H volunteer Terry Bell has been there to see many of them. A longtime participant, Bell has been attending the celebration for more than 20 years and six years ago, joined the planning committee as a way to get involved with 4-H outside of her county.

“I thought it sounded fun,” said Bell. “This has been a workshop that has been a favorite of mine over the years.”

The Michigan 4-H Creative Arts Celebration, formerly known as the 4-H Visual and Performing Arts Workshop, is an annual event held by Michigan 4-H, the youth development program of Michigan State University Extension. By attending, 4-H adult and youth teen leaders learn new ideas for working with youth in crafts, sewing, clothing and textile, creative writing, cooking, and visual and performing arts projects. The goal is that participants will take the knowledge and skills they gain back and teach youth in their communities.

Volunteers crafting at a past Michigan 4-H Creative Arts Celebration

Volunteers crafting at a past Michigan 4-H Creative Arts Celebration.

“It is really great to watch the youth usually start out really shy at the beginning of the weekend and by the end of the weekend, they are out of their shell,” said Bell. “It is also great to watch them light up when they are able to master a new skill and be excited about it. You can be pretty sure that they are going to take it home and show it to at least one person outside of their family and probably teach it to someone else.”

For Bell, the value was not just in learning new crafts and new ways to teach old crafts, but also in sharing ideas on how to handle different situations when teaching. As the only volunteer on the all-staff planning committee, Bell hopes volunteers will continue to benefit from the workshop as she has always done.

“Relax, try new things, retry some that you have not done in a while,” Bell said. “Let someone else do the cooking and cleaning up. Give another try to something that you have not been able to do. Learn ideas and things to take home with you to teach to your 4-H’ers. Listen to 4-H’ers ideas on how they might like to do something.”

Bell volunteering.

Bell volunteering.

Bell spends a great deal if time listening to 4-H ideas in her community, where she has been a 4-H leader for 35 years. As the administrative leader of the Sanilac County Teen Club, Bell supports youth in community service projects as well as runs a food booth at the Sanilac County Fair. Funds raised at the food booth support other community service activities, as well as scholarships for active members to attend 4-H meetings and trainings. Bell also helps other counties, judging at their fairs and teaching craft workshops.

“It’s just a fun thing,” Bell said of volunteering for Michigan 4-H. “I always say that parents who don’t get involved in what their children are doing at school and whatever they are involved with are missing out on so much. I have enjoyed watching my kids grow because of the things that they learned and experienced in 4-H. They are still using these things in their jobs and other parts of their lives now.”

Bell encourages all adults to get involved with the 4-H community and give their time to local youth.

Volunteers at a past 4-H Creative Arts Celebration.

Volunteers at a past 4-H Creative Arts Celebration.

“It is never too late to become involved in 4-H. You can be 19 or 90, you always have something to give and learn. 4-H is not just for the kids. As an adult you always keep learning, and it helps us get out of our comfort zone too. 4-H is a lifelong adventure. If you don’t have kids at home, don’t let that stop you. You have experience and skills that someone needs, so come on out and see what you can share and what you can learn.”

To learn more about volunteering with Michigan 4-H, visit the Become a 4-H Volunteer website. To learn more about enrolling in 4-H, visit the Michigan 4-H website.

Kids from Schoolcraft County with their targets

The Hal and Jean Glassen Foundation made a $100,000 gift to establish a new 4-H endowed fund with the Michigan 4-H Foundation to support the
Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports Program.

Kids from Schoolcraft County with their targets

The Hal and Jean Glassen Foundation Endowment will support the
statewide Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program. Above are 4-H
shooting sports participants from Schoolcraft County.

The Hal and Jean Glassen 4-H Shooting Sports Endowment Fund will provide funds for training and equipping 4-H shooting sports volunteer instructors and youth statewide. An endowment is a fund that is held permanently. The corpus of the fund is invested and held intact, and the earnings from the fund are used to support 4-H programs.

“Endowments are the gifts that keep on giving,” said Tom Huggler, president of the Glassen Foundation. “We have been supporting the 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Training Workshop annually for about 20 years. We established the endowment so it can be funded in perpetuity.”

The Glassen Foundation’s focus is on environmental and outdoor education, shooting sports programs and enhancing wildlife, and animal welfare research.

“The foundation formed when Hal and Jean died in the 1990s,” Huggler said. “They had no children, but wanted to do good work.”

Hal and Jean Glassen were avid hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists. The Glassen Foundation was formed to continue their lifelong ambitions and goals. Hal, a University of Wisconsin graduate, was a partner in the Lansing law firm of Glassen, Rhead, McLean, Campbell and Schumacher and practiced law for 62 years prior to his death in 1992. Jean was the first woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin. With a degree in bacteriology, she pursued a career as a biologist with the Michigan Department of Public Health.

“The Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program is going to be a key component and contributor to the growth of shooting sports, but also to the reach for excellence in the competitive aspects of shooting,” he said.

The Glassen Foundation has been a Michigan 4-H donor and partner for the past 20 years. They have annually supported the 4-H Shooting Sports Volunteer and Instructor Training Workshop at Kettunen Center. In 2017, they provided a gift to expand resources for the shooting sports program with the purchase of a trailer to store and transport training equipment. They have also given to Project KATCH and Kettunen Center’s outdoor education program previously.

“The new endowed fund will provide continuous support of our shooting sports volunteer training workshops, ensuring this project’s
growth and sustainability for years to come,” said Laura Quist, MSU Extension program coordinator for 4-H Shooting Sports.

Quist explained that hunting and shooting is a popular family activity throughout Michigan. Like any content area, the project is the “hook” that can attract a new audience to the 4-H program. While engaged in hands-on learning experiences, youth practice safe handling of equipment, gain natural resourcesrelated knowledge and skills, and engage in ethical behavior, sportsmanship and stewardship activities. In the process, they learn critical life skills, such as leadership, self-esteem, self-discipline, goal setting, communication and record-keeping.

“We apply the same learn-by-doing approach to shooting sports that you’ll see in any other project area,” Quist said. “Shooting sports volunteers are a highly trained, dedicated group of individuals, who receive more hours of coaching than any other volunteer group across our organization.”

4-H shooting sports volunteers participate in a 15-hour workshop to become certified instructors to offer live-fire activities with 4-H members. Instruction covers skill content, safety, risk management and youth development topics. These workshops are in turn provided by a subset of these volunteers, who are experienced content experts, certified to co-lead these workshops by National 4-H Shooting Sports.

“This gift will allow Michigan 4-H to annually send new trainers to these National 4-H trainer events, to help ensure our program, workshops and curriculum are consistent with standards set for 4-H programs nationwide,” Quist said.

“Already in 2020, Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports has hosted four regional training workshops, offering instruction in archery, shotgun and hunting and wildlife disciplines. Partially funded by the Glassen Foundation’s past gifts, these workshops are bringing new volunteers and members into our fold,” she added.

Kalkaska County 4-H was able to use these workshops to attract new volunteers and families. After certifying two new archery instructors
in January, their inspired volunteers turned around and recruited an additional two more volunteers. Together, this team offered a new
archery program that recruited 32 youth into a new archery club. Of those youth, 75% of participants are brand new families to 4-H. Due
to their large response, they have incorporated science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities into their club meetings, so
youth participate in hands-on science activities while they await their turn with the bows. Other counties have similar stories to share.

Thanks to the Glassen Endowment, Michigan 4-H plans to send a volunteer team to the National 4-H Shooting Sports Trainer workshop
in Virginia, scheduled for October 2020.

JoAnn and 4-H partnership

JoAnn and 4-H partnership
For the past six years, JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores have partnered with National 4-H Council to empower the next generation of makers to lead lives with their hearts, hands and minds. The partnership includes both in-store donations, custom 4-H products and digital experiences that strive to ensure every kid has an equal opportunity to succeed.

In late winter 2022, JOANN stores nationwide hosted a point-of-sale fundraiser with the proceeds benefiting 4-H. Customers could donate either $1 or $4 to 4-H when checking out online or in-stores. During the fundraiser, which ran Feb. 1 to April 30, Michigan ranked first in the nation, raising $80,825 through 41 Michigan stores. Collectively, over $909,000 was raised at the 834 JOANN stores nationwide.

“We are so grateful for the partnership with JOANN and for all those who donated during checkout. These types of fundraisers are a great example of how every dollar makes a difference and collectively we can come together for a big impact,” said Julie Chapin, Michigan 4-H Foundation Resource Development Committee chair, director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs and state 4-H leader.

Fifty percent of the funds raised supported Michigan’s county 4-H programs; 10 percent supported statewide 4-H learning experiences; 5 percent each for state 4-H programs and the Michigan 4-H Foundation; and 30 percent to National 4-H Council.

Campaign highlights:
• The top Michigan JOANN stores were Ypsilanti, Canton, Auburn HIlls, Brighton and Livonia.
• The top counties that raised the most donations were Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Macomb and Livingston.
• Nearly half or 21 of the Michigan stores are located in southeast Michigan, which is the metro-Detroit area.

The JOANN partnership with 4-H also offers a rewards card for current and lifetime 4-H members, parents, volunteers and 4-H professionals to receive 15 percent off total purchases every day. In return, JOANN donates a minimum of 2.5 percent back to National 4-H Council. In addition, JOANN and Shop4-H.org created a line of 4-H fabric, with a portion of sales benefiting 4-H.

The 2023 JOANN campaign was held Jan. 31–May 1. Results were pending as of this publication date.

Over 100 participants at Kettunen Center
Over 100 participants at Kettunen Center

Over 100 participants attended the 29th annual 4-H Creative Arts Celebration at Kettunen Center from Oct. 19-20, 2019.

For nearly 60 years, Michigan 4-H’ers and volunteers have explored their inner creativity and learned new talents at 4-H’s skill-building workshops at Kettunen Center.

The Michigan 4-H Creative Arts Celebration Workshop (which is a combination of the former 4-H Visual Arts and Crafts Workshop and the 4-H Clothing and Textiles Workshop), took place at Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan, Oct. 19-20, 2019 for its 29th year.

Even though the name is creative arts, 4-H Youth Development educator Janis Brinn says “This workshop is so much more than doing arts and crafts; it is gaining life skills.”


Many sessions were offered at the workshop including 4-H performing arts, 4-H visual arts, and sewing and textiles. Participants learned new things, made new friends and put all their creativity to work and had a fabulous time. The workshop goal was for all the participants to gain valuable resources and skills and share them with their home counties.

Over 100 participants attended the workshop, including youth ages 12 to 19, volunteers and a guest 4-H staff member from Taiwan.

The collected evaluations showed that the workshop was a success. A few positive comments included:
“I look forward to this every year. I gain so much knowledge and new craft ideas to take to my club.”
“I loved all my sessions, instructors were amazing, and I learned so much. I can’t wait to share with my county.”
“Learned a variety of crafts that can be taught to different age groups.”

Each year a silent auction and fabric sale is held at the workshop to raise funds for following year’s workshop and the 4-H State Awards.

The 4-H China Art artwork, featured in the MSU Extension article, “Michigan 4-H receives special gift of artwork from China,” that was proudly displayed at the 2017 workshop was brought back for all to see.

The Michigan 4-H Creative Arts Celebration Workshop was successful in growing creativity, life skills, friendships, fun and more.

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas.

Daniel Lumm at a 4-H fair with his great niece.

Lumm at fairWith a deep fondness for the 4-H program in his community, Daniel Lumm, of Waterford, made a special gift to support Oakland County 4-H in 2022.

“We are truly appreciative of this extremely generous gift to Oakland County 4-H,” said Debra Morgan, Oakland County Michigan State University Extension 4-H program coordinator. “It was so kind of Mr. Lumm to give back to 4-H. This gift will help so many Oakland County 4-H youth experience, learn and achieve their goals through 4-H.”

So far, the gift has funded a poultry brooder for chicks and game birds at the MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center in Novi. Youth participating in entrepreneurship projects sell the eggs at local market stands. Future plans for the funds include additional projects, which will enhance Tollgate Farm facilities and offer learning experiences for local youth.

“Unrestricted gifts support future and emerging needs of 4-H youth development. Funds may support everything from special 4-H projects, to sponsorships for 4-H learning experiences, trips and events,” said Julie Chapin, Michigan 4-H Foundation Resource Development Committee chair, director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs and state 4-H leader. “We’re so grateful to donors such as Mr. Lumm who give in a way that allows flexibility for staff to use the gift for the area of greatest need.”

Lumm grew up in Waterford and is a current Oakland County resident. He recalls his first job working for Earl and Marilyn Floyd at the Oakland County Fair and horse shows in the 1970s.

“Nature and conservation are very important to me,” said Lumm. “What I saw while working at 4-H fairs made a lasting impact on me. Youth raising and showing animals demonstrates their responsibility and hands-on learning, which can in turn help them succeed in life.”

“I’m now of retirement age and I wanted to make a contribution to a charitable organization that matters to me. Thinking about my experiences and what made a positive impression on me, 4-H is what I decided to make that contribution to. I have an appreciation for the work the Michigan 4-H Foundation does.”

“With this contribution, I’d like for 4-H to be able to continue the great work it’s doing,” Lumm said. “I want 4-H to continue to grow, to continue impacting the lives of youth.”

Over the years, Lumm has continued to visit the Oakland County Fair and other fairs.

“For many years, I’ve enjoyed going to livestock auctions. The reality is that these youth are providing food for people,” Lumm said. “I really enjoy seeing how much it means to the 4-H’ers showing the animals they took the responsibility to raise and can see the pride in the kids.”

“I have enjoyed seeing youth show their animals and agricultural exhibits. It had a lasting impact on me, even going back to years of attending the Michigan State Fair,” he added.

Lumm’s brother, Jerry, and sister-in-law Jeanne are active in Oakland County 4-H and his nieces have entered 4-H projects at the fair. His niece, Jessie, received the Maurine Scramlin Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Lumm is also connected to the work of Michigan 4-H through his sister, Paula, who was an MSU Extension employee and worked within the health and nutrition program area for 16 years.

Although Lumm was not a 4-H member in his youth, he vividly recalls visiting his uncles and aunts who lived on farms and learning the important role the agriculture industry has in providing food for the world.

“Growing up, I would visit relatives on their farms. I had an appreciation for their healthy lifestyle and hard work it took to produce the milk and grains they grew.”