By Nikki Blankenship
Scioto County Candor
Michael (Mikey) Henry, 17, of Minford, and the son of Michael and Michelle Henry, also of Minford, already knew quite a bit about the advantages of 4-H. However, it was not until working on a 4-H appreciation project that Mikey found out that 4-H could make all of his dreams come true.
Mikey, who also run track and cross-country at Minford, started 4-H as just a young Cloverbud. As a member of the Krazy K9’Z 4-H Club, Mikey has learned to train and show his two border collies — Tucker and Allie.
“Border collies are very intelligent,” Mikey commented. “So, you have to work with them, or they will become destructive.”
Mikey works with his dogs at least an hour a day. Tucker mostly does basic tricks, such as sitting and staying. However, Tucker also takes part in a sport called barn hunt, in which rats are hid in tubes. Tucker and Mikey are members of the Scioto Valley Barn Hunt Club. The dogs must then hunt down the tube containing the rat and signal at the correct tube. Allie is used more for shows. She can perform a variety of tricks including basic obedience and off leash obedience.
In addition to learning how to train his dogs through 4-H, Mikey says he has also studies with books and videos.
Mikey has also always had another fascination, besides his dogs. He has always had an interest in Japan. Mikey explained that he has some friends that helped to inspire that interest, but it also stems from his grandfather. Mikey’s grandfather was in the Navy and would tell his grandson old Navy stories about Japan.
While looking at all of the programs offered by 4-H for his 4-H Appreciation Day project, Mikey came across the 4-H International Exchange Program. The program offers students a chance to visit Japan, Costa Rica or the Netherlands as exchange students in a cultural immersion program.
Mikey’s mom explained that the goals of the program are to build global neighbors and global understanding.
“It’s always been there. We just never knew it,” she added about the program.
Mikey applied for the program and was recently notified that he will be leaving for Japan on July 11. This teenager will be staying with a host family that may or may not speak English for one month during the summer. At this point, he does not even know who his host family will be or in which city he will be staying. Mikey says he is currently studying Mandarin as his foreign language, so that he can communicate at least at a basic level of understanding.
“That’s where the cultural immersion part comes in,” Michelle stated.
Mikey will also be restricted from calling home, except during an emergency. Even then, he will have to contact a chaperone or the U.S. embassy to call home for him.
Michelle says she is very nervous about her son leaving but is also excited that he has the opportunity to follow his dreams.
Only seven youths from across Ohio will be participating in the 4-H exchange program this year. Mikey is the first from Scioto County in 10 years. He is excited to have a chance to do something so enriching during his final year as a 4-Her. He is even considering hosting a student in the program next year.
Mikey is currently fundraising to help meet the necessary fees for participation in the program. Total, Mikey’s family will have to pay $5,100. He is putting cans out across the county, where people can donate their change. He is also asking for business sponsors and other donations. Those who would like to donate to the program as a whole will have their donation split among all participants. To donate to the program, can call 614-247-8162. Those who would like to donate specifically to Mikey’s trip can reach out to Jo Williams at 740-354-7879.