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MSUE Tollgate 4-H Summer Teen Leadership Program

Oakland County, MI
Program Year: 2017

Oakland County 4-H offered the new service, MSUE Tollgate 4-H Summer Teen Leadership Program, and enhanced citizen participation and understanding of available youth programs for families in Oakland County. Michigan State University’s Tollgate Farm & Education Center began hosting an eight week summer farm camp at the 160 acre facility for urban youth ages six through eleven in 2011. Through the camp experience, youth gained the opportunity to experience farm animals, gardening, and healthy living activities. The camp was successful and operating at capacity. Oakland County 4-H staff desired to expand the program to make it available to more children, but experienced budget and manpower constraints. In 2015, Oakland County 4-H responded to program constraints by developing the MSUE Tollgate 4-H Summer Teen Leadership Program referred to as the Stewards and Stewards-In-Training (SIT) mentor program to expand programming to teens and engage them in mentoring to an increased amount of youth camp participants. In its second year, the MSUE Tollgate Summer Teen Leadership Program was developed and implemented in order to expand the capacity of the program to more youth ages six through eleven, while offering programming and leadership education to youth ages twelve through nineteen. This program developed teen participants to serve as mentors for younger campers while building their own career portfolios and practicing leadership skills. The teens were provided the title Stewards in Training (SITs) and divided into two age groups with specific levels of responsibilities. Ages twelve through fourteen spent their days as part camper, part apprentice to the staff, helping to lead games and activities, allowing them to still engage in the camping experience and play, and also recognizing their increasing roles in responsibility. The older teens, ages fifteen through nineteen honed their leadership skills and served as role models for campers and SITs.

Ms. Jaime Fenner
Executive Secretary