EAST LANSING, MI
In June, Michigan State University became a hands-on learning environment for youth and teens attending three Michigan 4-H precollege programs.
Kicking off an exciting two weeks was 4-H Exploration Days, which welcomed 2,500 youth and chaperones June 18-20. For three days, participants lived like MSU students and attended educational sessions dedicated to this year's theme, "Unleash your inner scientist."
"4-H Exploration Days is a perfect example of staff members, 4-H volunteers, MSU departments and many others working together to develop critical life skills and create a college-going culture among Michigan youth," said Judy Ratkos, MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development senior program leader and coordinator of the camp. "While at 4-H Exploration Days, participants learned new ideas and skills; made new friends; explored potential career paths; and experienced the wealth of resources and activities that MSU has to offer."
The following week, even more youth joined the campus community during 4-H Renewable Energy Camp and Animal and Veterinary Science Camp. These camps explored Michigan's natural resources and animal science topics June 23-27.
Renewable Energy Camp gave 42 participants the chance to research the field of energy by participating in hands-on sessions specific to solar energy, wind energy and biofuels.
"What is unique about this youth program is that campers have the opportunity to learn from researchers and MSU faculty members in the facilities where discoveries are made each day," said MSU Extension program leader Jacob DeDecker.
In its inaugural year, 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp gave 30 campers an inside look at various animal science-related careers and a small taste of college life. Using on-campus and off-campus facilities, this camp offered numerous hands-on activities, animal-handling experiences and real-life scenarios.
"I am really happy with the outcome of our first camp," said MSU Extension program leader Julie Thelen. "Not only did youth learn about real-life situations they may encounter, but they also had the chance to learn from MSU students studying animal science and veterinary medicine. It would be a huge success to see these campers as Spartans in the future."
Each camp is designed to give youth an opportunity to experience life as a college student to prepare them for higher education options. For more information on all Michigan 4-H programs, visit 4h.msue.msu.edu.