4-H creates new club in Harrisville

HARRISVILLE – A new 4-H club, called Student Stewards, is being formed in Harrisville and has received a $7,500 grant from the Straits Hub of the Michigan Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Partnership, an official said Thursday.

The grant will fund club projects, including water quality studies, a two-day camp and an ROV activity, said Les Thomas, 4-H program coordinator for Michigan State University Extension.

Formation of the new group brings the total number of clubs to 20, which approximately125 county teens participate in.

“It’s project diversity,” Thomas said. “It’s the idea that a child could come into the program with a lot of interests and we could meet those interests. We have clubs focused on athletics and physical fitness. We have clubs focused on science, agriculture, livestock, horses, a fishing club, shooting sports.”

Thomas said club leader Tracy D’Augustino applied for the grant, which was received this spring.

A portion of the money will go toward a two-day, overnight STEM camp June 24-26 at the Ocqueoc Outdoor Center. Organizers are expecting 60 students from Alcona, Alpena, Presque Isle, Montmorency and Otsego counties, and 15 to 20 openings remain, he said.

The cost is $75 for members and $85 for non-members, with some scholarships available through county Michigan State University Extension offices.

“Any time we can get kids to think about science as a career, that’s a win for us,” Thomas said.

The grant also will help pay for an ROV build Aug. 13-15 in Harrisville.

“Our hope is kids will walk away with a little better understanding of ROV technology and applications in the real world, including careers,” he said.

Another 32 teens will attend Exploration Day at the MSU campus later this summer, where they will experience what it is like to go to college, he said.

Meanwhile, the 4-H Council is putting together an expo 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 26 at the fairgrounds, similar to the Spring/Summer Expo the county organized there April 26, Thomas said.

In addition to activities, club members are coming up with a variety of ways to raise money for their clubs.

“They will collect donations so I have to kiss a pig,” said Thomas, who recently won the Michigan Distinguished Service award given by the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at blehndorff@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.