Youth program showcases efforts of 4-H'ers

Julia Baratta, Freelance Writer
Nate explains the process he goes through to create his lures with upcycled materials. He applies his knowledge of fishing when he makes his products for his business in the 4-H Youth Entrepreneurship Program.

COLDWATER, MI -- Northwoods Coffee Company in Coldwater, MI hosted a meet and greet of some very industrious and creative 4-H members who are participating in the Youth Entrepreneurship Program. Ten young people shared and sold their handmade products during the event.

Each of the participants were required to attend four educational sessions which covered choosing a product, developing a business plan, creating sales presentations, and designing ads. 

The morning experience at Northwoods presented the members with the additional skill of interacting with the public and verbally marketing their items.

Makenzie makes gourmet popcorn in three flavors: Just Caramel, Purplicious (grape), and Chi-Town, a Chicago-style caramel and cheddar popcorn. Her product line is called ‘She Pops’. Cassie puts together cookie and biscuit mixes and markets them under ‘Cassie’s Creations’.

‘Carrie’s Lip Balm’ was made with all natural ingredients such as coconut oil, beeswax, and essential oils. Carrie offered original, lavender and peppermint flavors. Mary made her ‘Just Beachy Jewelry’ with recycled shells and beads, creating necklaces and earrings.

‘Kutesie Keychains’ by Kezia were a myriad of designs where she used beads and offered kid-friendly keychains. 

Lauren made ‘Super Slimes’ with glue, shaving cream, cornstarch, borax and food coloring. Samantha purchased high quality balloons and filled them with either flour or rice. She sells them as ‘Rainbow Stress Relief’, best known as stress balls.

One of the ‘business’ owners offered samples to shoppers during the ‘Meet and Greet’ event held in cooperation with the 4-H project.

Nate presented his homemade baits and shared how he makes the lures out of upcycled materials. ‘Nate’s Baits’ grew out of knowing a lot about fishing and applying that knowledge to his business.

The participants were responsible to prepare an inventory of products, price their items, organize a display including props, print out a bio about themselves and their business, and be present at the meet and greet. The purpose of the project is to “help youth combine business ideas and creativity to develop their small businesses.”

The young people planned to set up at the local farmer’s market with the intention of broadening their experiences. During the Branch County Fair in August, the members will complete their projects with an exhibit that will be displayed throughout the week.