The club program allows youth to gain “adult” skills while connecting with others.
The 4-H year 2021-2022 brought a new opportunity for the youth to participate in a 4-H club founded entirely on youth voice. The Generator Z grant, sponsored by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, took teenage stories about what they wanted in after-school programming and made it a reality. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4-H Youth Development harnessed the youth’s extracurricular ideas and developed a program focused on learning important skills for the future. Relationship and connection building were also key components demanded of the youth.
As part of the 4-H Future Squad Club:
- 22 youth signed up as new 4-H members and participated in the program for the first time
- 36 virtual meetings were held covering topics such as budgeting, sewing, resumes, time management, stress management, nutrition, ethics, science, travel, debt, goal setting, networking, public speaking and sustainable living
- 52 youth attended at least one 4-H Future Squad meeting, 24 youth attended 6 or more meetings
- 5 youth participated in MSU Extension’s pre-college program, 4-H Exploration Days, with grants from the Generator Z Scholarship
- A youth planning committee helped guide the topics of the meeting and provided helpful feedback on the club’s progress
And the 4-H Future Squad made a difference for the young people involved. Feedback from young people such as:
- I am very glad that I joined the 4-H Future Squad. I really feel like it has helped me better prepare for my future and learn new skills. I loved my teachers 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 participate again when it does. Thank you for a wonderful year!
- [My biggest takeaway from this program was] Know how to survive the future.
- [My biggest takeaway from this program was] that now I can do things that are important, I don’t have to be an adult.
- [My most enjoyable or favorite part of this club was] Exchange with other young people from other areas.
- I liked meeting new people and having opportunities that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t there.
- [My favorite things about being involved in 4-H Future Squad was] how we communicated with each other and learned a lot together.
Meeting young people’s needs for connection and life skills for their future yields successful outcomes. Most importantly, asking young people what they want and need for their own future makes for an even better program.
The 4-H Future Squad Club is open to new members ages 12-19 for the 4-H Year 2022-2023. Potential members are interested in actively participating in a virtual club that improves their skills for the future. Young people can fill out an interest form on the website for registration details.
Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help prepare young people for a successful future. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their future careers, ready to contribute to the workforce, and able to take tax responsibility in their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or entrepreneurship, contact [email protected]