As a 13 year old Detroiter, I was as urban as a girl can get. 4-H had chickens, cows, and horses but for me it it was the stays at Michigan State University (MSU)with the candle-making and fund public speaking classes that defined my 4-H experience.
The MSU 4-H Exploration Days was also an opportunity for Black Detroit kids to meet White kids from rural areas.
If I had kept a diary, I’ve would had recorded those impressions to reflect upon and share today.
MSU 4-H Exploration Days
Day 1: I unload the yellow school bus and take in the vastness of the MSU campus. I also see that most kids unloading from other buses look like 4-H’ers: White and they probably know all about livestock and farming. (SMH.)
In my class, I am grouped with white kids. In this awkward, strange, unfamiliar environment, I mumble the 4-H Pledge we have been instructed to recite. Our group is working well. I go from frozen to polite.
Lunch time is the best. Is this what college is like? Eat all the ice cream I can…
Day 2: More classes. More White kids. I’m warming up and they are too. We are talking about things that interest us and we laugh.
Wow!!! ☺️Michigan State is great. Dorm life is fun. Hate the communal showers. I even check out the livestock expo.
Day 3: Packing up to leave.
Last day of the classes. I’m looking forward the classes and working in my groups. I still mumble the Pledge. After all, I’m only 13 and this certainly doesn’t sound cool.
Lunch: Eat more ice cream. Eat more ice cream. 🍦🍦🍦
Loading the bus: Met some cool kids from all over Michigan. Kids are just kids. I like working with kids who have an interest in public speaking. They may not be Black, they may not live in Detroit, and they may raise chickens.
If there was Facebook or Instagram, I could stay in touch forever with the cool kids I met. But those aren’t invented yet and I didn’t make a penpal level connection. Oh well, I’ll be back next year. I love Michigan State. I love 4-H.
Research shows that when members of different social groups interact with each other, prejudice and discrimination reduce.
This week let’s mix it up, engage and interact with different social groups. Kids have opportunities to do so too and adults can volunteer to help with those kids activities to get inclusion in as a part of their regular routines. Stay safe and Include.
Recommended Resource: 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. https://foodsolutionsne.org/21-day-racial-equity-habit-building-challenge