MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – As of now, the Michigan State University Extension says that the Marquette County Board has decided to cut their funding in half for this upcoming year, impacting the Marquette County 4-H program.
“The county funds a specific amount for the 4-H position as well as a base assessment amount which is based on census information and the population of the county,” said Liana Pepin, 4-H Youth Development at MSU Extension. “That provides not just 4-H services but it also provides all kinds of MSU Extension services for the county and that’s based off an Memorandum of Agreement.”
Pepin says this is $11,100 less than what they received this year.
“We have these agreements with every single county and we’ve have had some sort of agreement with them for over 100-plus years,” said Erin Carter, MSU Extension District Director. “The MOA is somewhat new for the 4-H position so basically what they do is cover that 4-H position but we also have other staff there’s other, three other institutes and so there is multiple people especially in Marquette that we fund, the extension funds but we just have an agreement for the 4-H position so that the county covers the youth in that county and then we cover all of the education that goes for adults cause really extension works with people zero, all the way up.”
Pepin says the future of the 4-H program is what is basically on the table.
“What I do is I partner with all different programs that are youth serving organizations,” said Pepin. “I try to fill gaps that other programs aren’t able to fill. I try to support teachers in school with school enrichment programs. I provide support for 4-H volunteers who got lots of clubs that happen year round. I train them, I screen them.”
A study from Tuft’s University shows that people in 4-H are four times more to make contributions to their communities. They are about two times more likely to be civically active. Nearly two times more likely to participate in science programs during out-of-school time and nearly two times more likely to make healthier choices.
“We’re working to try to grow the leaders of tomorrow,” said Pepin.
Pepin says that even though we are in pandemic, 4-H is still around. There are virtual options and kits that families can receive to do activities.
These cuts are approved by the board, but they can still be amended.
“And that’s what we’re hoping for is that we can amend at the very least to base but we’re hoping that we maybe can get back to full funding we also want to make sure that the county understands that their partnership is important to us,” said Carter.
Pepin and Carter say if people want to voice their opinion they can virtually attend the upcoming board meetings on December 1st and 15th. Below is the information on how to connect to the December 1st meeting through Zoom:
If people would like to contact their county commissioners, click here for their contact information. Local 3 News reached out to Marquette County Board Chair, Gerry Corkin and is waiting for a response.
Marquette County 4-H is also raising funds online. Click here to visit that page.