Volunteer training is critical in assuring that an organization’s volunteer staff effectively delivers its mission and services. The Ionia County 4-H Advisory Council strongly believes that training is the process of preparing volunteers to perform work for the organization and should be at the forefront of the council’s goals.
Judy Huynh of Portland has found Kettunen Center workshops to be one of the greatest places to go to learn new skills as a 4-H leader. The United Way grant has made Kettunen Center workshops, as well as other workshops, available to leaders. Huynh has had the opportunity to attend numerous workshops at Kettunen Center foods nutrition, goats, global and cultural education, citizenship, leadership and service – and after each workshop, she says she feels rejuvenated and excited to try something new in her 4-H club. In addition to the skills learned and the resources received in the session, the workshop offer the opportunity to interact and share with other 4-H leaders, youth, and staff from all over Michigan and learn from them. It also provides leaders the opportunity to reflect on their roles as a 4-H leader and how they can best work with the 4-H members to accomplish their goals.
Huynh said, “One of the most memorable trainings that I attended at Kettunen Center was a Global and Cultural Education workshop. Several members of my 4-H club and I attended a session about Nyaka School, a school for AIDS orphans in Uganda. The presenter shares photos and stories of how the school was making a difference in the lives of AIDS orphans there. (Nyaka School was built by Jackson Kaguri, a Ugandan native presently living in Michigan, to honor his older brother who died from AIDS.). It was a fascinating presentation, and it led to my 4-H club being dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the students at Nyaka School.
After the workshop, Huynh’s club continued to make plans. On December 6th, Jackson Kaguri came to Ionia to speak to the 4-H club about what was happening in Nyaka School and to share about the new book he had written called The Price of Stones, which is the story of Nyaka School. Community members were invited to come to the meeting, and over 50 people attended! None of this would have been possible if Huynh had not been able to attend the Kettunen Center workshop on this topic.
Ionia County 4-H offers a variety of programs for youth aged 5-19 to participate in. The most visible place where 4-H’ers can be seen is at the Ionia Free Fair exhibit work that they have completed over the past year. You will find exhibits from 4-H’ers that include rabbits, sewing, crafts, baking, engineering, horses, pigs, science, global education, technology, and many more. Michigan State University Extension, 4-H Youth Development has many program and opportunities for youth to take advantage of.