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


Communication Department Chair Heather Seipke (right) stands with Professor Tony McGill as he accepts the award.

Congratulations to Professor Tony McGill, Lecturer IV in the Communication and Visual Arts Department, for being the recipient of the 2012 Community Leadership Award presented by Richfield Public School Academy (RPSA) & the City of Flint as a result of his service-learning classes!

For many years, Tony has challenged his senior-level communications students to apply what they have learned in their Professional Communication concentration to real-world service-learning projects with 3-4 community partners each semester. In each of the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 semesters, a team of students in his capstone Senior Seminar in Professional Communications (COM 426) class mentored 7th and 8th graders in the RPSA Girls and Guys Leadership Club, building their skills and confidence.

Kathryn Hoover, the RPSA School Counselor, developed the nationally recognized mentoring program which involves peer mentoring, after-school youth clubs, and positive reward structures. In 2011, she asked University Outreach about the possibility of working with UM-Flint students in order to help her students see college as a possibility for their futures. Tony’s class was the perfect fit! Kathryn has been an energetic community partner and provided guidance to Tony’s students throughout the COM 426 service-learning project.

According to Kathryn, “Dr. McGill’s students represented the University of Michigan-Flint with the utmost of professionalism and integrity. They taught the material by also sharing personal experiences about themselves to help inspire our students. One of our students in the program has struggled greatly in the past and has even felt like life is not worth living. This student grew by leaps and bounds and said that their outlook on life completely changed and now looks forward to what the future holds. This is some powerful stuff! This program also enhanced the leadership ability of the college students.”

Upon receiving the 2012 Community Leadership Award, Tony shared this reflection: “It always surprises me when a student or alumnus tells me that the greatest learning experience they had in their undergraduate or graduate program was when I required them to do a service learning project. It does not surprise me that they found the experience so rewarding, what surprises me is the frequency with which I hear this. After well over 20 years of doing these projects I have come to believe that service learning projects are an integral part of higher education and an important responsibility of  each University of Michigan-Flint student, faculty, and staff employee.”

University Outreach thanks Kathryn Hoover and Mayor Dayne Walling for bestowing this award on Professor McGill, and appreciates the students who made such a difference at RPSA (Kevin Galloway, Ryan Garland, Dan Lynch, James Murphy, Randy Owens, and Julius Taylor).

Congratulations to Professors Janet Haley (Theatre), Yu “Sunny” Kang (Public Health & Health Sciences) and Quamrul Mazumder (Computer Science, Engineering & Physics) – the 2012 Boyer Faculty Scholars in this inaugural year of the Boyer Faculty Scholars Program! The goal of this program is to deepen UM-Flint’s campus-wide conversations, practice and recognition of the scholarship of engagement. Scholarship of engagement is academically recognized research and creative projects that meaningfully address issues in the community and add to the body of knowledge.

By joining the program, these three faculty members have committed to each develop and implement exemplary community-engaged course or research project based on best practices, and share their insights from what they have learned in the program with the campus and community during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Janet’s project, called NOURISH, is an original place-based theatre production about the Flint Farmers’ Market and its role in the community.

Sunny is reworking her Long-term Care Administration (AGE 378) course to include class visits to a local long-term adult care provider to gain further knowledge and appreciation of health administration for older populations and to act as a consultant for the long-term care provider.

Quamrul’s project involves raising awareness and developing initiatives for renewable energy in partnership with his Special Topics in Engineering: Renewable Energy course, assessing the impact of community engagement on student learning and academic performance, and developing a local chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Exciting projects!

In addition to the faculty projects, one component of the program is the Boyer Scholars Speaker Series. The final workshop in this series, on the topic “Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): Rationale, Principles, and How to Use a CBPR Approach” will take place on Friday, June 15th. For more information on the speaker series, please visit University Outreach’s Boyer Events

For more information

Boyer Faculty Scholars Program

Nic Custer reads poetry written by F.H.Rankin. Rankin plot, Glenwood Cemetery

Notes from Janet Haley, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Project Director of the Glen-Wood: Restoration of Spirit Project:

Restoration of Spirit seeks to increase community spirit and pride by way of engaging local audiences with a nearly-forgotten historical place, Glenwood Cemetery.  In 1857 it was established as a Rural Cemetery, a public, park-like place for all residents to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.  It was created as a place to stroll, to picnic, to breathe clean air.  It was a place to gather with family and friends in gentle recreation.  It was a place to lay ancestors to rest…as well as daily troubles.

We believe these 19th century intentions for public use can be activated within our 21st century community…and we hope to raise awareness for this treasure of local history and outdoor beauty with community-based, community-created performance.

An original theatre production entitled Glen-Wood: Restoration of Spirit will be created from interviews and scholarly/historical research.  The creative team is comprised of UM-Flint faculty, students and community partners such as Glenwood Cemetery and Genesee County Historical Society.  Academic articles will be published about the making of this project, and archival documentation of the process will be featured in writings for publication.  The performance will tour the grounds of Glenwood Sept 23-Oct 3, 2010.
Restoration of Spirit is the recipient of a 2010 Arts of Citizen fellowship with UM-Ann Arbor’s Ginsberg Center.


Community Conversation and Project Open House
Saturday, August 7, 2010 (2-5 pm) on the grounds of Glen-Wood Cemetery, 2500 E. Court Street, Flint, MI
An opportunity for the creative team & cast to engage with the public about the project, gather stories and experiences from community for the script, and promote the production. Do you have a story to share of Glenwood Cemetery? Do you have questions or thoughts to share? We’d love to hear!

Performance Dates
September 23 through October 3, 2010
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – Twilight Performances
Each twilight performance will be followed by refreshments and conversation.
Performances take place on the grounds of Glen-Wood Cemetery, 2500 E. Court Street, Flint, MI
Information on performance times, ticket prices, how to reserve tickets, etc. coming soon.

For more information, email us at [email protected]

See photos, post stories, ask questions on the Facebook page: