04-06-2017 Michigan youth can explore the possibilities for their future at 4-H Exploration Days; He

Michigan youth can explore the possibilities for their future at 4-H Exploration Days

 4-H Exploration Days is Michigan State University’s (MSU) largest pre-college program, annually attended by 2,500 youth and adult chaperones from across Michigan. The 47th annual 4-H Exploration Days conference will be held June 21-23, 2017, on the MSU campus. The theme is Journey to Success.

4-H Exploration Days gives youth ages 11 to 19 an authentic collegiate experience as they stay in MSU residence halls and explore interest areas and career options, increase their awareness and readiness for college, and develop decision-making, independence and teamwork skills. Participants live like college students and attend sessions that range from veterinary medicine to Web design, performing arts to environmental education and many more. In total, more than 200 hands-on classroom and field trip sessions are offered.  They also have fun and make friends with people from different backgrounds and areas. 4-H volunteers and staff are on hand to provide oversight and guidance.

When not in action-packed learning sessions, students will have a plethora of recreation and MSU facility tour choices such as the MSU Breslin Center, Demmer Center, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, and 4-H Children’s Garden. There will be exciting opening night entertainment at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts featuring a high-energy show.

The fee to attend is $165; youth not enrolled in 4-H pay an additional $10 4-H participation fee. Registration books will be available from county MSU Extension offices and online at the 4-H Exploration Days web site in early March. Registration opened on March 14. Sessions are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis so early registration is encouraged. The registration deadline is determined by your county office, but generally the end of April.

Following their involvement, participants are eligible for nomination to apply for a $2,000 MSU Pre-College Scholarship based on criteria such as attitude, behavior and active participation. The scholarship is applied toward each recipient’s first-year at MSU as a degree-seeking student.

For more information about 4-H Exploration Days, visit msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/4_h_exploration_days or contact your county MSU Extension office at 1-888-MSUE-4MI; in Van Buren County MSU Extension at 269-657-8213.

Health department promotes Alcohol Awareness Month to prevent underage drinking

 The Berrien County Health Department is promoting Alcohol Awareness Month this April in partnership with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), who has sponsored the awareness efforts since 1987. No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems a serious public health problem in the United States.

This year’s theme for Alcohol Awareness Month, “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery”, provides a focused opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatments and recovery, especially among youth. Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction. Adolescence is a time of heightened risk-taking and as alcohol and drugs enter the picture, parents are faced with a unique set of challenges.

“Alcohol use is a very risky business for young people,” says Lisa Peeples-Hurst, Berrien County Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist at the Berrien County Health Department, “and parents can make a difference. The longer adolescents delay drinking, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child connect the dots and make smart decisions about avoiding alcohol.”

The Berrien County Health Department promoted Alcohol Awareness Month with recognition of the “Alcohol Free Weekend”, observed March 31-April 2, 2017, which asked parents and other adults to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages for a 72-hour period to demonstrate that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a good time. The Berrien County Health Department distributed “Parents Who Host Lose the Most” yard signs to community members and working with alcohol retailers to display the message near their alcohol inventory to discourage parents and adults from purchasing alcohol for adolescents.

The Berrien County Health Department continues its efforts to eliminate underage drinking by working with students, parents, and alcohol vendors/retailers to educate about the dangers of underage drinking, highlight local resources that provide treatment and recovery options, and give tips for parents to engage in the important conversations with their kids about alcohol use.

American Red Cross: Give blood and help save lives this spring

 Eligible blood donors of all blood types are encouraged to give blood through the American Red Cross this spring to help ensure a sufficient supply for hospital patients.

Donated blood is perishable and must constantly be replenished to keep up with hospital patient need. Red blood cells are the blood component most frequently transfused by hospitals and must be used within 42 days of donation.

Eligible donors can give red blood cells through either a regular whole blood donation or a Power Red donation, where available. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact. During this type of donation, red blood cells are separated from other blood components, and the plasma and platelets are safely and comfortably returned to the donor.

While donors of all blood types are encouraged to give blood, type O, A negative and B negative donors are urged to give Power Reds if they meet the additional eligibility criteria. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients of any blood type in an emergency. Similarly, type O positive can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh-positive or negative patients. Power Red donations help ensure a stable supply of these critical blood types.

Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, up to six times a year, and Power Red donations may be made every 112 days, up to three times per year.

Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Berrien County are on Tuesday, April 18 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. at Lake Michigan Catholic High School, 915 Pleasant and on Wednesday, April 19 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. at American Red Cross, 3838 Niles Road in St Joseph.

Berrien County Youth Fair changes judging schedule in Livestock Show Arena

 Berrien County Youth Fair is taking a proactive approach to managing the Show Arena Schedule in the event that limitations/restrictions are suggested or mandated by outside officials related to a species amount of time/exposure on the fairgrounds during fair week. Historically, the limitations have been related to health and wellness concerns for humans and/or animals. Specifically, BCYF has had two instances in recent years where a species time on the grounds and/or exposure to the public has been in question or modified.

The Board of Directors of the Berrien County Youth Fair voted to change the judging schedule in the Livestock Show Arena for the 2017 BCYF. The schedule will be as follows:

Monday: Goat Judging (8:30 a.m. start) – Showmanship, Special Needs, Boer Goats, Market Goats, Pygmy Goats; Llama Judging (4:00 p.m. start) – Showmanship, Leaping, Limbo, Costume

Tuesday: Beef Judging (8:30 a.m. start); Goat Judging (4:00 p.m. start) – Pack & Cart, Dairy and other breeds Goats, Costume; Sheep Judging (7:00 p.m. start) – Costume

Wednesday: Dairy Judging (8:30 a.m. start); Sheep Judging (2:00 p.m. start); Swine Showmanship Judging (6:30 p.m. start)

Thursday: Swine Judging (8:30 a.m. start); Llama Judging (4:00 p.m. start) – Performance, Jack Pot, Special Needs

Friday: Large Animal Auction (9:00 a.m. start)

Saturday: Tractor Operator’s Contest (9:00 a.m. start); Large Animal Sweepstakes (noon start); Ag-Olympics (2:00 p.m. start)

Please share this updated schedule with friends and family who plan to attend the judging of specific species. Any questions, please call the fair office at 269-473-4251 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

2017 BCYF dates are August 14 – 19. This year’s theme is “Fairadise.” More information about the fair can be found on their website, www.bcyf.us.

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