In communities throughout Michigan, more than 230,000 young people are showing up for their 4-H club and group meetings pledging to use their head, heart, hands and health to make their communities, our country and our world better places in which to live.
Since 1908, Michigan 4-H has been engaging youth in community-based, learning activities designed to make them smarter, keep them safer and make them ready for the opportunities and challenges of adulthood.
The importance of this work to youth has inspired the Gerstacker Foundation to make investments totaling $539,000 to Michigan 4-H Youth Development through the Michigan 4-H Foundation. These grants have supported 4-H educational programs and the training offered to the more than 32,000 older youth and adult volunteers who lead community-based 4-H learning opportunities for youth. These investments have also included land and property improvements at the state’s 4-H volunteer and youth development training facility, Kettunen Center, located in Tustin, Mich.
Kettunen Center is located on 160 acres bordering Center Lake and offers 4-H conference facilities, outdoor educational programs, camps and retreats for youth and adults. It is also home to the Alan and Jean Ott White Pine Lodge, that was built and renovated with Gerstacker Foundation support to honor these noted community leaders from Midland.
“The real difference of partnerships such as the one 4-H shares with the Gerstacker Foundation is in the difference this work makes for Michigan’s young people,” said Cheryl Howell, executive director of the Michigan 4-H Foundation. “This difference is seen in the 52.7% of 4-H seniors who attend college in comparison to the 36.7% of all Michigan seniors ; in the fact that 4-H youth are four times less likely to be engaged in risk behavior than other youth and in the many 4-H’ers who honored the pledge and have gone on as adults to make a positive difference for Michigan, for our country and for our world. “