LAKE COUNTY — The end of the year always marks a threshold and invites a pause for reflection.

It’s a time to look back and plan ahead with new goals, new opportunities, and new inspirations.

2020 has been a year of change and perseverance, but despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lake County 4-H program came together to support one another and other 4-H families.

Preparing youth with the knowledge, tools, and skills to lead a healthy and productive life has always been the goal of the 4-H program.

This was achieved in 2020 when the Lake County 4-H program enrollment reached 104 youths, ages 5 – 19, becoming the largest youth-based organization in Lake County. The number of 4-H clubs in the county also increased from five to eight clubs, each providing opportunities for youth through community clubs, in-school clubs, after school clubs, and later as COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, take-home 4-H Learning Kits.

To effectively support local 4-H programs, Lake County 4-H program was the recipient of both the 2020 4-H Legacy Grant for a 4-H Babysitting Club and 2020 On-Target Grant, part of the Thomas H. Cobb 4-H Shooting Sports Endowment Fund, for the Lake County 4-H Archery Club.

Both grants are sponsored by the Michigan 4-H Foundation of Michigan State University Extension. In addition, the Lake County 4-H was awarded two grants from the Gerber Foundation in 2020 for 4-H Learning Kits and archery equipment.

These grants will provide 4-H programs, opportunities, and guidance to all 4-H youth through hands-on activities, starting in their own communities, and reaching far beyond while empowering them to develop and strengthen valuable life skills.

The Lake County 4-H Youth Program offers many different project areas and learning experiences that actively engage youth while having fun. From food sciences to robotics, to fashion design to photography, 4-H offers youth, ages 5 – 19, a wide range of choices and opportunities to learn and grow through community clubs, in-school clubs, after-school clubs, and through 4-H camps.

Through hands-on learning and positive youth-adult partnerships, 4-H youth acquire knowledge and develop life skills that enable them to find and focus their energy into their passions while also giving back to the community.

For more information about the Lake County 4-H program or how to become a member of a 4-H club, contact Laurie Platte Breza, 4-H program coordinator, at platteb1@msu.edu.

4-H applications are available in the drop box outside of MSU Extension office, located in the Baldwin Business Center at 830 Michigan Avenue, Suite 601, or by visiting https://v2.4honline.com.