Kettunen Center History
Kettunen Center, owned and operated by the Michigan 4-H Foundation, opened in 1961 as the first 4-H volunteer and youth training center in the nation.
Arne G. Kettunen, state 4-H leader from 1925 to 1956 and incorporator of the Michigan 4-H Foundation, envisioned a site where 4-H could grow through the training of its volunteers and members. In 1956, only four years after the Michigan 4-H Foundation was incorporated, it acquired 140 acres of property in rural Osceola County in Tustin, Mich. That same year, the foundation launched its first major fundraising campaign for the construction of “Camp Kett,” which was renamed Kettunen Center in 1972. Although A.G. Kettunen didn’t live to see his dream made real, the center continues to bear his name.
The conference center has been through two major renovations, the Kettunen Improvement Project which resulted in the construction of an earth-sheltered house for the Kettunen Center director in 1980, and Vision 2021: The Campaign for Kettunen Center which concluded in 1997 and raised $4.3 million for the addition of the Mawby Learning Center, Red Oak Hall and new dining and administration facilities.
In 1988 Kettunen Center began to offer educational programs in addition to conference accommodations. The 4-H TRACKERS, Elderhostel and TREE (Team Recreational Environmental Experience) are among the programs offered.
Today, Kettunen Center is a complete conference and retreat facility on 160 acres of forest and wetlands and has emerged as a premier facility for youth, volunteer and professional development. 4-H and other youth-serving organizations, state agencies, church groups and other organizations have also found Kettunen Center’s naturally secluded and environmentally-rich grounds great for workshops, summer camps and group retreats.
Each year Kettunen Center hosts about 250 conferences that attract more
than 11,000 visitors. Revenue generated from these conferences help support
the mission and vision of Michigan
4-H Youth Development.