Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Family Festivities in November

Join us for the Fall Family Fest Nov. 12, 2011 from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Kettunen Center. Highlights of the day include a Live Birds of Prey presentation by Joe Rogers of Wildlife Recovery Association, apple tasting and cider making, interpretive fall hikes, canoeing and kayaking on Center Lake, disc golf in the forest, and discovering and tasting wild edibles. Cost per person is $7/person (includes lunch).

2011 4-H National Youth Science Day Celebrated

Forty-five 4th graders from Mesick Elementary School celebrated 4-H National Youth Science Day by participating in the Wired for Wind Experiment during a three-day camp program at Kettunen Center, Oct. 26-28, 2011. In the experiment, students designed and tested their own renewable energy wind turbines and determined the best location for a wind farm in their local community.

The students started the experiment by talking about electricity and all the energy sources used to generate electricity. Teams of two students built and tested a wind turbine design using poster board, plastic cups, blade protractor, dowels, hot glue, scissors, pencil, a hub, PVC tee and handle, a small generator and a multi-meter. The students learned that the amount of power their turbine would produce was based on how well they designed their blades. After testing their prototype and measuring the voltage, the students were able to experiment by changing the pitch of the blades and compare results.

The students complete the Wired for Wind Experiment in school by determining a good location in their local community for a wind farm by using a Michigan wind map, transmission map, information about endangered plant and animal species and a human population density map.

Kettunen Center received a 4-H National Youth Science Day Grant from Michigan 4-H Youth Development to offer the Wired for Wind Experiment to Mesick Elementary and to continue to offer the project to other local schools, summer camp and family fun day youth groups. The grant funding provide a program discount to Mesick Elementary and purchase supplies to continue to provide the Wired for Wind Experiment for other youth groups.

Volunteering in the Firewise Garden

Fourteen students from the MSU Horticulture Club donated their time Oct. 1 to maintain the garden areas at Kettunen Center. The Saturday clean-up project included weeding, raking, pruning and transplanting to improve the gardens at Kettunen Center. Elaine Bush, Firewise Project Director for Greening Michigan Institute, Manistee County MSU Extension, worked right along with the students that day and will continue to manage the Firewise Garden, an educational garden demonstrating fire-resistant gardening and structure materials at Kettunen Center. Kettunen Center really appreciates the work done by the students and their future plans to help next spring.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kettunen Center's 50th Anniversary Celebration

Come one, come all to Kett's 50th Celebration on August 13, 2011 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. I hope you can make it. We are merging our popular Family Fun day with the anniversary celebration to create a super family event that you will not want to miss. We have lots of fun activities planned:

8:30 a.m.: Pre-celebration event: 5K Fun Run Race.
10 a.m.: The 50th celebration begins.
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Picnic Lunch: corn on the cob, salads, burgers, hotdogs, and 4-H Forever ice cream.
2 p.m.: 50th Celebration Program including the original 1961 time capsule and the burial of the 2011 time capsule.
4 p.m.: 50th Celebration comes to an end! Happy 50th to Kettunen Center!

Activities from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. will include:

  • Waterfront activities: pontoon, kayaks, canoes, fishing clinic CenterLakeand contests, swimming, and water games.
  • Disc golf (new 9 hole course)
  • Kettunen Center GPS Treasure Hunt
  • KC tour and nature hikes
  • Petting zoo
  • 4-H Project demonstrations and exhibits
The cost is $7/adult, $5/youth (5 years - 17 years), children 4 years & under are free, and a maximum of $25/immediate family rate.

This is definitely an event that you do not want to miss! Make sure you mark your calendars for August 13, 2011 and bring the whole family for a day of fun!

Kettunen Center's Road Scholar - Stalking the Elusive Morel

Kettumushroom 2nen Center’s Road Scholar program, Stalking the Elusive Morel and Other Natural Encounters, was held last week (May 1-4, 2011) with twenty-two participants from the Midwest states. The most successful morel mushroom foragers of the group were both from Michigan, Christal L. and Jim Marcoux took the prize! It was a great time for all to learn from experts and to get outside to enjoy spring wildflowers, nesting and migrating birds and finding the elusive morel. For information about Road couple with mushrooms 2Scholar visit

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Family Fun Day

4h pictures 023On Saturday, April 9, 2011, Kettunen Center will host the annual Spring Family Fun Day. This year’s event will include sessions on geocaching and how to use a handheld GPS unit, how to use a compass, ski walking (Nordic Walking), spring discovery hike, spring craft, turkey ecology from a local expert, and maple syrup making.

Since their inception several years ago, Family F
arts camp 2009 057 3un Days have gained in popularity, and now are offered four times a year – two in the winter, one in early spring and one in fall. The objective of these programs is to take families outside and experience the seasons. Past fall programs have offered kayaking, canoeing, interpretative hikes and Monarch Butterfly migration. Winter programs largely center on winter recreational activities including ice fishing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and winter survival. One returning participant wrote that after attending a winter session in which she and family cross country skied, she bought skis for her daughter on the way home and they have been skiing together regularly since.
march and april 2007 210 3
These programs are made possible through the generous support of donors, the Michigan 4-H Foundation, General Mills/Yoplait Company of Reed City, Pine River Audubon Chapter, the Pere Marquette Chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, and a National Parks and Recreation Take Me Fishing Grant. Please join us for the Spring Family Day, Sat., April 9! For registration information visit the Kettunen Center website events calendar.

Prime Rib Now Featured at Kettunen Center

3352259018_1b6fb74898_oThe kitchen staff at Kettunen Center are excited to offer a new menu item to all adult groups that stay at Kettunen Center for two or more nights. Prime rib will now be part of the routine dinner menu. Our culinary experts will be carving the meat on the food line for you to enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kettunen Center: 50 years of training 4-H volunteers

This year, 2011, marks the 50th anniversary of Kettunen Center.

Kettunen Center opened in May 1961 as the first 4-H volunteer training center in the nation. The center was a dream of A.G. Kettunen, Michigan's state 4-H leader from 1925 to 1956. He envisioned a site where 4-H could grow through the training of its volunteers and members.

In 1956, four years after the Michigan 4-H Foundation was incorporated, the foundation purchased property in rural Osceola County. Later that year, the foundation launched its first major fundraising campaign to construct “Camp Kett,” renamed “Kettunen Center” in 1972. Although A.G. Kettunen died in 1959 and did not see his dream made real, the center continues to bear his name.

The center has been through two major renovations. The first, Kettunen Center Improvement Project, resulted in the construction of an earth-sheltered house for the Kettunen Center director in 1980. Vision 2021 resulted in the addition of the Mawby Learning Center and Red Oak Hall, renovations to Aspen and Birch lodges, and new dining and administration facilities.

4-H volunteers have been attending 4-H workshops at Kettunen Center for half a century.

Each year a variety of 4-H workshops serve approximately 1,800 4-H teen and adult volunteers. Donors to the Michigan 4-H Foundation make it possible to cover 60 percent of the cost for 4-H volunteers to attend 4-H workshops.

LinkEach of this year’s 4-H workshops has an entrepreneurship focus provided by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Several new 4-H workshops were launched this year including the 4-H Science Workshop, 4-H Entrepreneurship Workshop and the 4-H Recreation Leadership and Camp Counselor Workshop.

The high level of excellence that A.G. Kettunen established for Michigan 4-H continues today through the 4-H volunteer training that takes place at Kettunen Center.

A special thanks to the 2010-11 4-H workshop sponsors:
Originally published in the Winter 2011 issue of Vantage.

Monday, February 28, 2011

New in 2011: Feed the Need Project

Kettunen Center is teaming up with Cadillac Area OASIS/Family Resource Center in 2011 to help feed the need.

OASIS/Family Resource Center is a private, non-profit community-based agency serving Wexford and Missaukee counties that exists to strengthen and safeguard the families of our area.

Founded in 1984, OASIS is a comprehensive domestic violence services program providing residential shelter and advocacy as well as non-residential counseling, advocacy and support services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness.

We are asking all Kettunen Center guests to donate one non-perishable food item or paper product. All items may be dropped off at the main entrance in the totes provided. Kettunen Center staff will deliver all donated items to the Cadillac Area OASIS/Family Resource Center.

Items could include, but are not limited to:
• Canned fruit or canned vegetables
• Canned Meats (tuna, chicken, salmon)
• Canned & Boxed Meals (soup, chili, stew, macaroni & cheese)
• Cereal (low sugar, high fiber)
• Peanut Butter
• Pasta & Rice
• Paper products (Kleenex, toilet paper, paper towels)

If you will be making a donation by check, please make checks payable to Cadillac Area OASIS/Family Resource Center.

We would like to have 1,500 items donated in 2011, please help us reach that goal!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Connecting Preschool and Head Start Children to the Outdoors

Kettunen Center received a Great Parents Great Start grant in 2009 and again in 2010 that launched a series of innovative and exciting workshops, programs and partnerships for getting local kids ages 3-5 and their parents outdoors learning about nature. Project WILD’s Growing Up WILD and Project Learning Tree’s Early Learner educator workshops were held this fall and winter. Kettunen Center staff along with local preschool and Head Start teachers from Tustin, Leroy, Luther, Marion and Mesick attended the workshops and received two activity guides filled with age-appropriate, researched based lessons for use in the classroom and Kettunen Center outdoor programs.

In December, the Kettunen Center staff visited all the schools to set up bird feeding stations and involve the children in hands-on activities such as Habitat Hunt and Who Am I? This year, multiple one-day field trips are scheduled at Kettunen Center for the children to experience the outdoors all four seasons.

The workshops and field trips were funded by the Early Read First Program of Wexford Missaukee Intermediate School District and the Osceola County Community Foundation. The Pine River Chapter of Audubon also had an interest in early learners, and donated the book, Wild About Michigan Birds by Adele Porter, for each classroom and Wild Birds Unlimited of Traverse City provided discounts for bird feeders & seed. Andrea Grix, Kettunen Center Education Program Coordinator, is hopeful the success of these programs will lead to additional grants to expand the program.

Kettunen Center appreciates all the funding and donations in support of 171 local preschool children and their parents for the purpose of learning and connecting with the outdoors!

December is a Time to Give

This past year, Kettunen Center has been fortunate to have Bob Patterson, from Patterson's Flowers volunteer as a decorations consultant. Bob has worked with the 4-H Foundation and Kettunen Center staff to plan and refine our seasonal decorations with a theme of "natural yet elegant". He has volunteered at Breakfast with Santa since it began 29 years ago. Bob has served as a Michigan 4-H Foundation trustee and as a 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp co-director.

Bob's parents started Patterson's Flowers in 1952 and he has been working full time at the shops since 1979. They have stores in Reed City, Big Rapids and Cadillac. These photos show some of the arrangements Bob has donated to Kettunen Center.

Bob was born and raised in Reed City and has lived in the Osceola/Mecosta county area his entire life. The flower business has many "peaks and valleys" – the holiday seasons are very busy. The months of February, April, May and December are peak months in the floral industry.

Bob's favorite decorating tip? "Don't under estimate the amount of lights it takes to decorate your Christmas tree. Plan on at least 100 lights per foot of your tree height," he says.
Thank you Bob for all your dedication and support of Kettunen Center.

If you are interested in volunteering your talents at Kettunen Center, please contact Andrea Grix. For information about donating to Kettunen Center, visit

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Kettunen Center had its 29th annual Breakfast with Santa Sat., Dec. 11, 2010. It is a one of a kind community-oriented event. We had over 750 people in just a little over 3 hours; 393 of them being children ranging from newborn to 14 years. The children were able eat breakfast, listen to storytelling, make a postcard stamp, do a craft, get their face painted, and most importantly talk with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Children also learned – thanks to Ms. Claus – Santa’s favorite cookie. Each child received a gift bag with age-appropriate books and toys.

Breakfast with Santa is not just about the toy, it is about memories. Some families have been coming since the beginning, and some bring new additions – infants only a week or a couple months old – to share in the memories and traditions they create at Kettunen Center. It is a day filled with fun, excitement, joy, and sometimes even a little shyness.

Kettunen Center’s Breakfast with Santa could not be possible if it wasn’t for our many generous donors from local businesses and all of our adult and teen volunteers. Another successful “BWS” in the books! Kettunen Center’s 30th annual Breakfast with Santa is scheduled for Saturday, December 10, 2011. See you then!