TRAVERSE CITY — The 4-H program in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties will offer a new opportunity that takes kids off the farm and into city hall.
Students will have the chance to participate in the first local 4-H program aimed at connecting adolescents to their local government.
From February through April the group will meet with county and tribal leaders to learn about how governmental entities interact and operate.
“I’m hoping they’ll understand how government works and tribal government and the Grand Traverse Band, and about their culture and their history, and just an appreciation for leadership and government and civic engagement,” said Karin Stevens, the 4-H program coordinator for Leelanau County.
The eight-week United Youth Leadership 4-H program will finish with a trip to Lansing, where participants will meet with their state representatives and other state figures.
“The kids take an issue that’s important to them and talk about their issue and try to pass a bill having to do with their issue,” Stevens said. “They see how government works and how sometimes things don’t pass the way you think they’re going to.”
The program is open to 25 students between 14 and 19 years old in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties. Participants will pay a $35 fee, and the rest is paid through a grant awarded from Michigan State University Extension.