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.

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