In partnership with the Udall Foundation, University Outreach introduced 20 youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Flint to area parks through digital photography as part of the 2012 Parks in Focus program. During a series of day trips and overnight outings, participants explored a number of area sites including: Ligon Outdoor Center, For-Mar Nature Preserve, Bluebell Beach and Stepping Stone Falls, Seven Lakes State Park, Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Bay City State Recreation Area, University of Michigan-Flint, and Holly State Recreation Area. The program was full of firsts for the participants: hiking, camping in tents, fishing, catching frogs and roasting marshmallows over a campfire. Combined, the participants took more than 2500 photos of the adventures they had and the people, places, plants and animals they met along the way.

austin-turtleFor its second year, University Outreach provided support to the program by working with community partners to build a series of positive experiences for Club members ages 11-14. New this year, participants from both the Haskell Unit and Averill Unit of the Club were able to participate. University Outreach also facilitated a visit for all the youth to the campus of the University of Michigan-Flint to explore career paths, learn of college culture and admissions requirements, and explore the campus amenities including the digital photography lab where youth created portfolios from their own photographs.

About The Parks in Focus Program

The Stewart L. Udall Parks in Focus program connects underserved middle-school youth to nature through digital photography by organizing outings to local natural areas and week-long immersion trips to national parks. Their goals are to: 1) provide outdoor educational experiences; 2) foster appreciation for the natural environment and public lands; and 3) build self-confidence through personal expression. Digital cameras and the art of photography are used as tools to both help establish the connection between youth and nature, and provide a medium of self-expression by which each youth’s connection can live on beyond a single activity, outing, or trip. To date, more than 600 youth in Arizona, California, Michigan and Montana have connected with the natural world through Parks in Focus.

For more information about Parks in Focus visit their website at or their blog at

Participant Photo Highlights

Taken by Deandre, age 14Taken by An'Teya, age 13Taken by An'Teya, age 13Taken by Austin, age 11Taken by Austin, age 11Taken by Austin, age 11
Taken by Austin, age 11Taken by Betty, age 13Taken by Betty, age 13Taken by Betty, age 13Taken by Betty, age 13Taken by Caryle, age 11
Taken by Caryle, age 11Taken by Caryle, age 11Taken by Darius, age 11Taken by Darius, age 11Taken by Darius, age 11Taken by Dayvion, age 10
Taken by Dayvion, age 10Taken by Dayvion, age 10Taken by Deandre, age 14Taken by Deandre, age 14Taken by Deandre, age 14Taken by Destiny, age 11

Best of Flint ’12, a set by Parks in Focus on Flickr.

value-added-2012In September, twenty-seven of the University of Michigan-Flint’s brightest and most dynamic students gathered at the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio in Midland, Michigan to explore and develop techniques for collaboration, critical thinking, and conflict management.  University of Michigan-Flint faculty, University Outreach staff, and past camp participants served as facilitators and mentors for the group, inspiring participants to take the next steps in their personal and professional lives.

The Value Added Leadership Development Camp was developed by University Outreach, in partnership with the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, to provide students with an opportunity to develop and hone their leadership and collaboration skills to prepare them to become effective leaders in their communities and throughout their professional careers.

What the students are saying about the experience:

“The Value Added Leadership Camp was fun, exciting, and very beneficial. One will never be bored and needs to come with an open mind. I thought the camp was very motivational and friendships were formed.”

“Amazing opportunity to gain knowledge that will open your eyes to issues of life, not just as a student but also as a member of your community. I believe that this camp will encourage some who’ve never taken a leadership role in their communities, to gain the courage to do so.”

“Like the best movie that you have ever seen! If I tell you a whole lot about it, it might ruin it for you, just know that when you go with an open mind, you will enjoy it like an all-inclusive day at the spa for your mind! It touches parts of your mind that you didn’t even know you had.”

Save the Date:

2013 Value Added Leadership Development Camp
September 26-28, 2013