Learning outside the box – 4-H – Careers and entrepreneurship


Integrate workforce development into a fitness movement experience.

As part of Michigan State University’s (MSU) extension, 4-H provides learning opportunities and resources that help children lead healthy lives. Our pre-college event, 4-H Exploration Days, recently included a new session called Fitness Movement. It has proven to be a successful example of merging health and wellness with workforce development content.

“Fitness movement: lift, lunge, jump!” focused on the three ‘L’s of movement: lifting, lunging and jumping – but with a twist. This session was aimed at beginners aged 12 and over, with no physical experience required. While exploring various types of exercises designed to strengthen and stretch the body, we’ve also stretched the mind. Attendees represented a variety of communities across Michigan, so we started with introductions and an icebreaker. The three-hour session then included:

  • Definition and review of the terms lift, lunge and jump with the names of the major muscle groups.
  • Stretching exercises to warm up.
  • Juggling scarves.
  • Movement activity focused on bumper car movements.
  • Create your own beach ball exercise ball.
  • Make your own healthy snack break with trail mix.
  • “Meet someone new” movement activity.
  • Fitness jobs and careers guessing game.
  • Personal fitness and wellness survey.
  • Speed ​​up cup stacking and challenge.
  • SMART goals related to health and well-being.
  • Boxer movement activity.
  • Cooling and reflection.

Fitness jobs and careers, along with SMART goals, were incorporated into the physical activity session to encourage career exploration and goal setting as a life skill. Young people have discovered careers such as physical education teacher, personal trainer, sports medicine doctor, health and wellness coach, fitness instructor and more. The smile on the faces of the participants (above) showed the joy of learning that we all experienced. Based on a post-program evaluation of participants, their comments included:

What have you learned?

  • The difference between jumping and leaping.
  • I discovered new jobs and how to stack cups quickly.
  • I discovered the fitness professions/different careers.

So what? Why was this content important?

  • I know the difference now and I could help out at the gym.
  • It gives me more options for future careers.
  • I’m going to do more cup stacking!
  • Helps us to become fitter.

Now what? How will you use what you have learned?

  • I will take my fitness more seriously.
  • I will walk more and stay in shape.
  • I will be a boxer.
  • Now I will accomplish a new goal.
  • I will remember how to juggle, and it was fun.

Career exploration and employability skills can be integrated into any subject; we just have to think outside the box! MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help prepare young people for a prosperous future. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce readiness, financial literacy, or youth entrepreneurship, email us at [email protected]

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