Cass County 4-H club featured in MSU Museum exhibit

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Capital News Service
EAST LANSING — The Calvin 4-H club, based in Cass County, is featured in a new exhibit at the Michigan State University Museum.
The exhibit, highlighting a picture of the club taken in 1982 at the Cass County Fair parade in downtown Cassopolis, is part of the museum’s Michigan 4-H centennial project.
According to Neil Kentner, the Extension 4-H youth agent for Cass County, the Calvin 4-H Club has the distinction of being the first rural 4-H club for African-American children in Cass County.
Calvin 4-H Key Leader Sharon Tubbs, who oversees the club, has not seen the exhibit, but plans on doing so soon. The club today is smaller than it was in the 1980s, numbering about 20 children ages 5 to 16. “We’re a really young club,” Tubbs said.
4-H — which stands for Head, Heart, Hands and Health — was founded on the philosophy of “learning by doing” to teach young children how to better serve their communities.
In the beginning, 4-H taught children such then-essential skills as growing corn, canning foods and raising livestock. Today, many 4-H clubs still teach agricultural skills, but they also focus on projects such as community outreach for the needy.
Michigan 4-H officially began in 1908 with boys’ corn clubs in Muskegon and Mason counties. Michigan 4-H decided to celebrate its centennial with the National 4-H, which celebrates its centennial this year, according to LuAnne Kozma, the 4-H Specialist at the MSU Museum.
The exhibit, “The Michigan 4-H History Project: Celebrating 100 Years of 4-H,” was created with the idea of celebrating the centennial of Michigan 4-H by displaying the development of the program from its roots to where 4-H is heading in the 21st century.
The Michigan 4-H History Project is an on going endeavor that is still incomplete in the eyes of its creators, according to Kozma. “This exhibit is really just the beginning. We’re always looking for more donations from former 4-H members,” she said.
Kozma said she plans to make a permanent collection of 4-H artifacts in the museum for future research and possible future re-exhibition.
Former 4-H members are encouraged to donate anything they can, including: photographs, old projects, club memorabilia, publications and financial donations as well.
The exhibit runs through Feb. 2, 2003. It is located in the second floor West Gallery at the MSU Museum.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism

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