What is MSU Extension 4H Youth Development?

MSU Extension has a statewide network that serves all 83 Michigan counties.  Extension is charged with understanding the issues, challenges and opportunities of each county and its unique communities.  We work in partnership with other local organizations and agencies to plan and implement research-based educational programming that addresses the issues and challenges and takes advantage of the opportunities.

Nearly 30 academic departments and eight Michigan State University colleges work directly with Extension to provide our staff with the information they need to help people improve their lives, homes, businesses, families and communities.  Our staff translates university research into educational programs that help families, individuals, entrepreneurs and community leaders apply that knowledge to a variety of life issues.

4-H is the Youth Development Program of MSU Extension. 4-H is the largest youth development organization in Michigan, with more than 200,000 youth between the ages of 5 and 19 participating. Because 4-H is part of Michigan State University Extension, the activities youth participate in are all backed by and based on child development research. We use experiential (i.e. hands-on) learning and time spent intentionally thinking about what’s been learned to make it a meaningful experience, with skills and ideas learned that last a lifetime.

It’s a fact: kids who participate in 4-H get better grades, are more likely to go to college, are less likely to use drugs, cigarettes or alcohol, and are more likely to give back to their communities.

They may be learning to be a photographer, building their own robot, growing a garden, writing and performing a song, or raising an animal, but what they are really doing is learning to be a leader, building their self-confidence, growing their awareness of good citizenship, writing their own future and raising their expectations—of themselves.