The club’s program allows young people to learn “adult” skills while connecting with others.
The 2021-2022 4-H year has provided a new opportunity for youth to be part of a 4-H club that is built entirely on the voice of youth. Sponsored by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Generator Z grant took teenage stories of what they wanted in afterschool programming and made it a reality. The 4-H Youth Development extension at Michigan State University (MSU) used the extracurricular ideas shared by young people and developed a program focused on learning important skills for the future. Relationship building and connection were also key elements requested by young people.
As part of the 4-H Future Squad club:
- 22 youth signed up as new 4-H members, logging into the program for the first time
- 36 virtual meetings were held on topics including budgeting, sewing, resumes, time management, stress management, nutrition, ethics, scholarships, travel, debt, goal setting, networking, public speaking and sustainable living
- 52 youth attended at least one Future Squad 4-H meeting and 24 youth attended 6 or more meetings
- 5 youth participated in MSU Extension’s pre-college program, 4-H Exploration Days, with scholarships from the Generator Z grant
- A youth planning committee helped guide meeting topics and provided helpful feedback on club progress
And Future Squad 4-H made a difference for the young people involved. Young people shared comments such as:
- I am very happy to have joined the 4-H Future Squad. I really feel that it helped me better prepare for my future and learn new skills. I loved my instructors and the care and time they put into making everyone feel welcome and safe. I hope this program will continue in the future and I will join it if so. Thank you so much for a wonderful year!
- [My biggest takeaway from this program was] know how to survive in the future.
- [My biggest takeaway from this program was] that I can do things that matter now, I don’t have to be an adult.
- [My most enjoyable or favorite part of this club was] interact with other young people from other regions.
- I enjoyed meeting new people and having opportunities that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t involved.
- [My favorite things about being involved in 4-H Future Squad was] the way we communicated with each other and learned a lot together.
Meeting young people’s needs for connection and life skills for their future leads to positive results. More importantly, asking young people what they want and need for their own future makes the program even better.
The 4-H Future Squad club is open to new members, ages 12-19, for the 2022-2023 4-H year. Potential members are interested in actively participating in a virtual club that will improve their skills for the future. Young people can fill out an interest form on the website to receive details on how to register.
Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help prepare young people for a prosperous future. Through career exploration and workforce readiness activities, thousands of young people in Michigan are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce, and able to take financial responsibility for their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce readiness, financial education, or entrepreneurship, contact 4-HCareerPrep@msu.edu.