July 22, 2010

Hungry to help

4-H'ers take action to stop
the hidden health problem of hunger

350 4-H'ers at Dorton Arena
350 4-H'ers gathered at Dorton Arena for a Hands to Service project repackaging food for hunger relief agencies. (Marc Hall photo)

4-H'ers attending State 4-H Congress this week in Raleigh committed to an ambitious goal of collecting 1 million pounds of food for North Carolina’s food banks as part of a campaign called Hungry to Help.

Conducted in partnership with the Food Banks of North Carolina, the campaign is designed to promote awareness of hunger in North Carolina and to help stop it. To get started, 350 4-H'ers gathered at Dorton Arena at the State Fairgrounds Wednesday to repackage 37,900 pounds of pasta from massive containers into smaller, family-sized portions.

Later in the day, sitting down to a traditional Congress luncheon, they didn't get the usual boxed lunch or chicken-and-two-vegetables plate. Instead, to drive home their commitment to relieving hunger, they got a bowl of rice and water.

After they'd had a chance to partake, 4-H'er Ann Margaret Dietrich of Wake County asked them, "How many of you are still hungry?" When hands went up, she told them not to worry.

"We have more food for you," she said, "but we wanted you to think about what most of us take for granted daily -– food and clean water."

Speaking at a banquet the previous night, Clyde Fitzgerald of the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Carolina, told the 4-H'ers that people who think hunger isn't a problem in this state are mistaken. According to an analysis by Feeding America, a hunger relief organization with which the food banks are affiliated, North Carolina ranks as the second-worst state in the nation when it comes to children under 5 lacking regular access to nutritious food and as 10th-worst for children of all ages.

"Hunger is a very serious, urgent and unfortunately rapidly growing problem" in North Carolina and the rest of the nation, Fitzgerald said. "There's nothing more basic than the need for food. ... A child that is not well-fed cannot be as healthy as other children."

Nor, he added, can hungry children reach their full potential.

"You can make a difference," Fitzgerald concluded. "We need more people to part of the solution."

Participants packaged a total of 37,900 pounds of food.
Participants worked quickly to repackage 37,900 pounds of food in a single morning. (Marc Hall photo)

State 4-H Leader Dr. Marshall Stewart challenged 4-H'ers to bring Fitzgerald's message back home to their communities, to raise local awareness and to become citizen leaders for hunger relief. One of the campaign's short-term goals is for 4-H'ers in all 100 North Carolina counties to conduct canned food drives during national 4-H week, the first week in October.

Many of the 4-H members, including 13-year-old Will Farlessyost of Madison County, already are active volunteers for community food pantries and food banks. His club, Roots and Shoots, frequently raises money and collects and repackages food for a food bank.

"We do it because we want to make sure everyone has enough to eat. It makes me feel good helping people out," he said. "And it can be fun."

Sixteen-year-old Meagan Briley of Pitt County agreed.

"4-H'ers come from all kinds of backgrounds, and hunger is something that affects people of diverse backgrounds. So this campaign can unite us," she said. "Also, 4-H encourages us to care about our communities and the quality of life around people around you, and Hungry to Help gives us something that can bring us together and that can allow us to make a real difference."

For more information about Hungry to Help, visit 4-H's website at http://www.nc4hstories.org/page/hungry-to-help.

-D. Shore

Posted by deeshore at 09:33 AM

July 21, 2010

4-H's therapeutic horse riding program measured in smiles

POWELLS POINT — The first time Savannah Lowery sat atop a horse, her mom noticed the change immediately.

Savannah’s agitation, a symptom of Asperger’s syndrome, melted away, and the youngster was calm. The change was so dramatic that Eileen Lowery of Kill Devil Hills knew her daughter needed another chance to ride.

Last week, 6-year-old Savannah got that opportunity at the 4-H Rural Center’s therapeutic riding program. With pink cowgirl boots and riding cap, Savannah took no time to adjust. Before the end of her first half-hour session, she was urging the horse Minnie Pearl to trot faster, much to the pleasure of mom and instructor Sam Iulo of Jarvisburg.

Read more from The Daily Advance

Posted by Natalie at 10:05 AM

July 19, 2010

Interior design and hunger prevention projects highlight State 4-H Congress

State 4-H Congress, held this week at North Carolina State University and around Raleigh, will include a youth version of “Trading Spaces,” where teams create a room design, and the kickoff of 4-H’s Hungry to Help project.

Congress will be held July 19-22 at North Carolina State University and other Raleigh locations. The annual event will attract more than 500 4-H club members, adult volunteers and 4-H agents with North
Carolina Cooperative Extension.

During the four-day event, delegates also will participate in competition, workshops, assemblies, recreation, fellowship and service to the community.

On Monday and Tuesday, three teams of youth will participate in the Eco Works Challenge, an opportunity to work with designer Edward Walker of television’s “Trading Spaces.” Walker, who grew up in North Carolina, has returned to the state and wanted the opportunity to share the field of design with youth. The teams will design and create a room in the Exposition Center, N.C. State Fairgrounds, from 1-6 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. At 5 p.m. Tuesday, the completed rooms will be showcased.

At a Tuesday night dinner, 4-H will kick off “Hungry to Help,” a major public service project in an ongoing partnership with the Food Banks of North Carolina. The hope is that 4-H will collect 1 million pounds of food for the food banks.

Every day, hunger disrupts the lives of one in five North Carolina children, and 4-H is dedicated to making a difference. The project’s goals are to increase awareness of hunger in North Carolina, to address the issue in local communities across the state and to prepare 4-H’ers to be citizen leaders for hunger relief. The dinner starts at 6 p.m., with the kickoff beginning at 7 p.m. at the Exposition Center at the State Fairgrounds.

On Wednesday, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., more than 350 4-H’ers and adults will work together at Dorton Arena to process some type of food for the Food Bank. The event is part of 4-H’s annual Hands to Service activities.

Other events of 4-H Congress are outlined below.
Monday, 7:30-10 p.m., Opening Assembly, Exposition Center, State Fairgrounds
The annual 4-H Honor Club tapping ceremony takes place during the opening assembly. The top half of 1 percent of the state’s 4-H’ers are admitted to the Honor Club each year. 4-H’ers will also demonstrate their skill at sewing and modeling clothing during Fashion Revue, part of the opening assembly.

Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Presentation competitions, Athens Drive High School, 1420 Athens Drive, Raleigh
Delegates will participate in competitions designed to demonstrate their knowledge of subjects ranging from landscaping to sewing to wildlife. State winners, many of whom go on to compete in regional or national contests, will be named in more than 30 subject matter categories. Delegates not involved in competition will attend workshops on a variety of topics.

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m, Hands to Service
4-H’ers will participate in Hands to Service projects, spending the morning hours working with local non-profits and human service agencies. Most 4-H’ers will be at Dorton Arena, where they will pack or process a food product as part of 4-H’s Hungry to Help initiative. For more information, visit the 4-H host and hostess table in McKimmon Center or call Harriet Edwards, 919.515.9548.
7-9 p.m., Farewell banquet at the Expo Center, State Fairgrounds
State officers will be elected late in the afternoon. The evening also will include a 9:30 p.m. Candle lighting ceremony at Dorton Arena and a farewell dance at the Expo Center.

Thursday, 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., McKimmon Center, Career Fair
Delegates will leave campus Thursday afternoon.

The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. More than 240,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 21,000 adult and youth volunteers.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 11:03 AM

July 16, 2010

A berry good experience

Moore County 4-H’ers earn money, gain work skills and learn
about science in one-of-a-kind farm business project

Bryan Blake
4-H Bryan Blake harvests blueberries as part of a Moore County extension project. (Marc Hall photo)

Eight teens and tweens wandered beneath and between the branches of blueberry bushes under a sweltering July sun in Moore County's Cameron community. Some mentioned the careers they'd like to pursue when they grow up: One said a hockey player. Another, an auto mechanic. And yet another, a veterinarian.

Whatever careers they ultimately choose, all of the 4-H'ers were gaining skills that will help prepare them. They were learning what it means to work hard, develop a business plan, put it into action and move on to new strategies when things don't work out as planned.

Since March, with the help of the county's entire North Carolina Cooperative Extension staff and grant funding from N.C. State University's Office of Extension, Engagement and Economic Development, the students have been running a blueberry business.

Landowner Mary McCulloch loaned a quarter-acre patch to the 4-H'ers for three years in return for a fraction of the profits.

County 4-H Agent Linda Gore said that McCulloch's children had previously taken care of the blueberry patch, using the money they earned to pay for college. But with those children grown, the patch became overgrown with kudzu and needed considerable renovation.

McColluch thought 4-H'ers might be interested in taking over, and -- to Gore's surprise -- she was right: Twenty youngsters signed up for the project.

To start getting the patch back into shape, agriculture agent Taylor Williams conducted a March pruning workshop during which some 90 participants learned by doing. Since then, the kids have taken over the operation with the help of Extension Master Gardener Bruce Fensley.

The 4-H'ers learned that when the blueberries are ripe, tickling the berries would make them fall off their stems and into their hands. (Marc Hall photo)

The 4-H'ers care for the bushes, harvest the berries, package them and find ways to sell them. Along the way, they have been getting good exercise, learning some of the science and technology behind organic farming and gaining an understanding of food-safety standards and marketing principles.

But it's at the end of the season when they will reap perhaps the biggest reward: That's when they'll get paid. How much will depend on how much they sell minus the costs they incur.

Williams expects they'll gross $6,000 to $7,000 from the sale of about 2,000 pints of the sustainably produced berries that they harvest through August.

After paying back the costs they've spent on things like packing materials and irrigation, the 4-H'ers will split the profits based on the number of hours each has put in and the pints of berries he or she has picked.

The budding entrepreneurs sell most of the berries they harvest to a cooperative, taking the remainder to two local farmers' markets and also selling them to county employees.

None of the 4-H'ers come from farms, so they've learned a lot, Fensley said. Perhaps the hardest lessons relate to some of the harshest realities that farmers face: the vagaries of weather and of supply and demand.

"One of the times we went to the farmers' market, and it was 101 and we were out in the sun," he said. "It was brutal, so there weren't many people at the farmers' market. They didn't come out. I said, 'This is a good lesson to you, because you see all the other farmers here. They've been growing all season, too, and there's no one here. They are going to have to take their stuff back home.' It was a good lesson that things don't always go your way."

Packaged blueberries
The 4-H'ers designed their own labels and sold their berries to a local cooperative, to farmers' markets and to county employees. (Marc Hall photo)

Already, some of the kids are putting the lessons Extension is teaching them into practice. For example, 13-year-old Eden Holt of Robbins is taking what she's learned about business planning and using it to launch her own company, an egg production business she plans to call Eden's Coup.

Eden and the other participants, Williams said, could one day be at the "vanguard of the local food movement."

"If they want to go into this business, they will know how to do it," he said. "They will know the business aspects, the horticultural aspects, the marketing. They are seeing it all."

Posted by deeshore at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2010

New pool and bath house dedicated at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center

Campers at the Besty-Jeff Penn 4-H Education Center this summer will enjoy a new swimming pool, complete with a bathhouse they've not had before. The new pool, which replaces an old pool built when the camp opened in 1964, was dedicated at the camp on May 20.

The pool's construction was funded through special state legislative appropriations in 2007 and 2008 to upgrade the state's 4-H centers and camps. Most of the camp renovation projects are complete or nearing completion this summer.

"The new pool is a 'zero-entry pool,' meaning that you can walk or roll into it on the shallow end. This makes it completely accessible to those with disabilities and meets all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)," said Larry Hancock, N.C. Cooperative Extension 4-H specialist for camps and centers.

The new pool and bathhouse are on a hill overlooking the camp's Lake Hazel. There is a connecting walkway, which is also ADA compliant, from the main camp area to the pool. The project provides campers with showers and bathrooms on site, Hancock said.

The facility dedication was sponsored by the Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center Advisory Council and three area chambers of commerce: Reidsville Chamber of Commerce, Eden Chamber of Commerce and Western Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.

4-H is N.C. Cooperative Extension's youth development program, serving more than 240,000 youth across the state with the help of 21,000 4-H volunteer leaders. The 4-H program oversees five camping centers across the state.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 11:51 AM

May 25, 2010

'Scientists in the Classroom' bring learning to elementary school

Amie Newsome
Amie Newsome, center, in full bee costume, teaches third graders at West Smithfield Elementary School about insects as part of a school science activity. (Photo by Marc Hall, N.C. State University Communication Services)

Third graders at West Smithfield Elementary School were all abuzz recently over the opportunity to take their classroom outdoors to study plants, insects and soils. And N.C. Cooperative Extension agent Amie Newsome dressed in a bee costume was the center of attention, as she shared information about insects with the eager students.

Newsome and four other local extension and conservation professionals were on hand for some serious science lessons, all conducted outdoors, using hands-on learning activities. The Scientists in the Classroom program is like an on-campus field trip to help students learn, according to school parent and program coordinator Paula Woodall.

Read more from CALS News

Posted by Natalie at 11:47 AM

April 13, 2010

NC A&T University is lead university on 4-H science experiment

N.C. A&T State University has been selected as the leading university for this year's 4-H National Science Experiment, which focuses on water quality and climate change.

Using a three-tiered experiment model, the experiment engages youth of all ages to learn at the simplest level how carbon dioxide can affect aquatic animals, plants and other living organisms in lakes, streams, rivers and oceans. These activities help facilitators lead discussions to help youth better understand climate change.

The experiment is designed to help youth take the activities and connect back to their lives by measuring their own carbon footprint, their family's footprint, and estimate energy savings by looking at gas and electric bills.

To read more, visit 4hlists.org/t/3927328/1166472/772/0/ 4-H.org to find the full news release about this year's experiment. The final experiment materials will be available to the 4-H community in late May.

Posted by Natalie at 08:12 AM

March 30, 2010

N.C. 4-H honors Sen. Dan Blue and Larry Stogner

The North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration will be held Tuesday, April 6, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham, N.C. The annual fundraising event will honor the lifetime achievements of former 4-H members, families and supporters. Media are invited.

North Carolina Sen. Dan Blue and ABC-11 senior anchor Larry Stogner will receive 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dr. Chester Black, former state 4-H program leader, will be honored for his recent induction into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.

“We are thrilled to honor Senator Blue, Larry Stogner and Chester Black at the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards event,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, state 4-H program leader. “These gentlemen epitomize the very best of North Carolina 4-H and set a tremendous example for our young people to follow.”

The event also will include a “Showcase of Excellence,” with 4-H’ers from across the state demonstrating 4-H science and technology, community service and leadership projects. Their interactive exhibits will feature topics such as technology, the environment, entrepreneurship and volunteerism.

“We’re very proud of our young people,” Stewart said. “This event highlights the wonderful work they’re doing in their communities and demonstrates the power of 4-H in their lives.”

The cost of the event is $100 per person, while corporate sponsorships are available for $500 to $25,000. Event support helps provide a strong foundation for 4-H, a program that helps young people become future community and business leaders. Ticket or sponsorship information is available from Dr. Michael Martin, executive director, N.C. 4-H Development Fund, at 919.513.8254 or mjmartin@ncsu.edu. In 2009, the Lifetime Achievement Awards event raised $182,815 to support the program.

The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. It took root as corn and tomato clubs in Ahoskie, N.C., in 1909, and soon evolved from a rural youth program into a statewide organization with more than 241,000 active members and 21,000 volunteers and youth development professionals.

For more information about or to register for the North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration, please visit: www.nc4h.org/donors/nc4h-lifetime-achievement.html.

-S. Stanard

Posted by Natalie at 10:46 AM

December 18, 2009

Former NC 4-H'er reinacts historic ribbon cutting from 1959

Larry Dilda 2009
Larry Dilda of Pitt County, left, participates in a 50th anniversary re-enactment of the dedication of the National 4-H Conference Center. With him are Anita Hollmer Hodson, right, and Don Floyd, president and CEO, National 4-H Council.

Fifty years ago, North Carolina 4-H’er Larry Dilda of Pitt County stood with President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the steps of the National 4-H Conference Center in Washington, D.C. for the ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the dedication of the center. Dilda was a 4-H Conference delegate that year, and president of the N.C. State College Collegiate 4-H Club, 1959-60. Dilda stood with Anita Hollmer Hodson, a New York 4-H’er, who was also on hand at the historic event, marking the opening of the center and the first-ever National 4-H Conference.

Dilda was on hand again to celebrate the conference center’s 50th birthday. On October 9, the National 4-H Heritage Club charter members gathered on the steps of JC Penney Hall (called Smith Hall in 1959) to witness the reenactment of the 1959 ribbon cutting. Hodson and Dilda were present to resume their historic roles. Don Floyd, National 4-H Council President and CEO played the role of President Eisenhower and cut the ribbon that marked the beginning of National 4-H Youth Conference Center’s next 50 years.

Delegates to the 1959 conference were the first to stay at center and eat meals in the cafeteria, which was completed during the first day of the conference. The center’s beds were delivered the day before Conference and the volunteers working late into the night to prepare the beds for the first visitors. Delegates rode buses with police escorts to conference programs and evening dinners held at USDA or at a downtown hotel. They also visited their U.S. senators and representatives on Capitol Hill.

Dilda 1959
This is the original photo taken at the 1959 dedication of the National 4-H Center. Dilda and Hodson appear with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Today, the National 4-H Conference Center continues to serve 4-H’ers from around the country who are visiting the nation’s capital. Also, 4-H’ers earn the right attend the annual National 4-H Conference by competing in their state’s Application, Resume and Interview program. After a career in the U.S. Air Force, Dilda has returned to his hometown of Fountain in Pitt County, where he continues to advocate for 4-H.

Posted by Natalie at 02:58 PM

November 24, 2009

4-H Centennial Cookbook now available to order

The North Carolina 4-H Centennial Cookbook will be coming off the press in January. The cookbook includes more than 400 Blue Ribbon Recipes collected from every 4-H decade. It also features photos depicting 4-H foods and nutrition projects throughout the decades.

By ordering before Dec. 31, you may purchase the cookbook at the pre-press price of $14.95 plus shipping and handling. After Jan. 2, 2010, the price will be $18.95 plus shipping and handling.

This is a great fund-raising idea. Order a supply at the pre-press cost and sell them for a profit. An order form is available online at www.nc4hfund.org. To save the cost of shipping and handling, you may pick up your pre-paid orders at 512 Brickhaven, Raleigh, NC 27695.

For more information, please contact us at sharon_rowland@ncsu.edu or 919.515.9267 or devona_beard@ncsu.edu or 919.515.1680.

Posted by Natalie at 11:00 AM

November 11, 2009

NC youth, retired specialist capture awards at NJHA Conference

North Carolina youth enjoy a visit to Hershey Park as part of the recent NJHA conference. (Photos courtesy of Liz Driscoll)

Braving blustery, chilly weather, 30 delegates traveled to Hershey, Pa. to represent North Carolina at the 75th annual National Junior Horticultural Association annual convention. 4-H youth and adult leaders participated in a weekend of contests, field trips and workshops to share their interest in plants, meet new friends from across the country and learn about Mid-Atlantic horticulture.

As part of a 75th anniversary celebration, NJHA invited past alumni to return, and one of North Carolina’s Extension legends was honored. Larry Bass, retired 4-H horticulture specialist, attended and received an induction into the NJHA Hall of Fame. NJHA was founded in 1934 by Grant Snyder, and since that time, it has had annual conventions to educate youth about horticulture, careers, leadership and education. The 2010 convention will be held in Cleveland, Ohio.

Youth that attend the convention have earned the opportunity to participate through state-level competitions like the 4-H Horticulture Contest and the state presentations contest. From demonstrating why rain gardens are important to articulating the marketing efforts needed to sell vegetables produced from a sustainable farm, our North Carolina 4-H youth proudly showcased their plant knowledge and skills in demonstrations, speeches and talks. Other youth displayed their ability to identify spinach seeds, banana flowers and birch branches through the Horticulture Contest.

Larry Bass, center back row, retired horticultural specialist from N.C. State University, is among those inducted into the NJHA Hall of Fame during the 75th anniversary conference.

Visiting Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens as part of the conference , youth were able to witness the possibilities of horticulture. Behind-the-scenes tours showed the promise of green efforts by the garden to compost all plant material, as well as food and paper waste from the restaurants and to turn it back into a soil amendment to grow new plants. Sculpted topiaries, elegantly trained mums, gigantic carved pumpkins and splendid bursts of colorful plants prompted Luke Hill, Bladen County 4-H’er, to contemplate a horticultural career, saying, “I think I would like to do this.” Other conference tours included visits to the Milton Hershey School and Hershey Gardens.

Our North Carolina youth excelled in their contests and brought home an overwhelming number of honors. The winners, their awards and categories are:

Luke Hill, Grand National Award, Landscaping

Allen Monk, National Award, Production

Tyler Lannon and Michael Costa, National Awards, Team Horticultural Use Demonstration

Brittany Levine, National Award, Horticultural Use

Maegan Rizer, National Award, 4-H Demonstration

Tim Sherwood, National Award, Special 19-22 Use,
National Award, Extemporaneous Speech

Michael Costa, Grand National Award, Extemporaneous Speech

Lark Williams, National Award, Illustrated Talk

Bryan Simmons, National Award, Prepared Speech

Michael Costa, Tyler Lannon, Adam Lannon, Logan Bland, Grand National Award, Performing Arts

Adam Lannon, 8th place, Horticulture Contest, 4-H Division

Justin Simmons, First Place, Open Individual, Horticulture Contest (19-22 age)

Emily Mercer, Justin Simmons, Bryan Evans, Victoria Harman, First Place, Horticulture Contest, Open Division (19-22 age)

Kait Neeland, National Award, Photography, Slightly Edited Division

Adam Lannon, Tyler Lannon, Michael Costa, Allen Monk, First Place, Horticulture Connections

David Barkley, Alumni Horticulture Contest (75th Anniversary) 2nd Place

Larry Bass, NJHA Hall of Fame Inductee

Young America Contest (youth 14 and under):

Michael Hoxie, Grand National Award, Environmental Awareness (Ages 12-14)

Toby M. Frost, National Award, Gardening, (Ages 9 – 11)

Nazeeha Aman, Grand National Award, Gardening; National Award, Plant Propagation (Ages 9 – 14)

Rebecca Dietrich, Grand National Award, Gardening (12-14)

Nayeem Hossain, National Award, Gardening (Ages 12 – 14)

Kourtney Roberts, National Award, Gardening; National Award, Plant Propagation (Ages 12 – 14)

Posted by Natalie at 08:48 AM

October 08, 2009

4-H celebrates 100th birthday at the Dixie Classic Fair

When people hear that Jessica Goodard belongs to a 4-H club, they often say something along the lines of "Isn't that like planting stuff?"

"No," she tells them, "it's community service."

For Jessica, a home-schooled high-school senior from Germanton who belongs to the Trailblazer Teens 4-H Club, 4-H is about such projects as playing music at nursing homes and helping to get shoeboxes filled with goodies for children in other countries at Christmas.

"I've always had a passion for community service," she said.

Yesterday, it was about playing guitar at the Dixie Classic Fair in the Forsyth County 4-H Acoustic Band to celebrate 100 years of 4-H clubs in North Carolina. The 4-H Birthday Bash was held at the Clock Tower Stage at the fair.

Read more from the Winston-Salem Journal.

Posted by Suzanne at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2009

4-H logo featured on Jeff Gordon's NASCAR Chevy

Gordon's 4-H car
Photo courtesy of 4-H

We encourage you to tune in to your ABC television network affiliate starting at 1:00 pm, Sunday, Oct. 4, to watch as 4-H takes to the high banks of Kansas Speedway with Jeff Gordon. The placement of the 4-H clover on the No. 24 Chevrolet was made possible through a generous donation by DuPont, sponsor of both the No. 24 team and of 4-H.

NASCAR is working with the producers of ABC to have a live interview, during the pre-race show at 1:00 pm, with North Carolina 4-H Alum and NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominee Ned Jarrett along side our own Dr. Marshall Stewart, NC 4-H State Leader. The race is scheduled for a 2:00 pm start time.

If you are in your car, tune in to the Motor Racing Network (MRN) starting at 1:15 pm. Visit www.motorracingnetwork.com/stations.cfm/cat/Affiliate_Stations## to find an affiliate station in your area.

Our interview team plans to get our message out through them as well. In addition to kicking off National 4-H Week at Kansas Speedway, NASCAR wants to highlight 4-H National Youth Science Day and the National Science Experiment, "Biofuel Blast" scheduled to begin on Oct. 7.

North Carolina 4-H has worked with National 4-H Council to bring this opportunity to fruition. Now sit back, buckle up, and enjoy watching Jeff Gordon take 4-H to victory lane on Sunday. Of course no matter what happens in the race, 4-H is already a winner with the publicity that will be generated on race day. We hope that many NASCAR fans will visit the national 4-H Web site and want to volunteer and get youth involved. For more information and to download a picture of the car, visit www.4-H.org.

For more information on this endeavor and North Carolina 4-H's involvement, contact Jackie Helton. Jackie's leadership has been critical at the state and national level in making this event happen for National 4-H.

Posted by Natalie at 10:33 AM

August 07, 2009

The hunt is on; 4-H'ers 'treasure' learning experience

PINNACLE — More than a dozen children went on a treasure hunt along the Yadkin River Isle at Pilot Mountain State Park armed with only a 25-foot rope, a compass and a set of rather simple instructions.

Read more in The Mount Airy News

Posted by Dave at 08:43 AM

August 06, 2009

Storyfest celebrates 4-H centennial in Henderson County

A winged storyteller entertains during Henderson County's Do-Tell Storyfest in July. (Photo by Tracie Wallace)

The deep booming voice that led the crowd singing “Happy Birthday” to 4-H at the Do-Tell Storyfest on July 11 belonged to former Extension 4-H Agent Earl Smith. Many 4-H alumni came to the celebration of 100 years of 4-H in North Carolina with one goal in mind: To see Earl Smith, Henderson County 4-H agent from 1957 through 1977, who continued to work as the ornamentals, small fruits, turf and forestry agent until 1985.

The Do-Tell Storyfest, which attracted 500 people, celebrated 4-H’s centennial in 2009. The event attracted professional storytellers, authors, musicians, poets and performers enchanted audiences to downtown shops and the historic county courthouse.

4-H’ers also demonstrated poultry judging, weaving and showed baby chicks. 4-H clubs provided cupcakes and punch for the birthday celebration. Dickens the Clown entertained the crowd with a juggling performance. Visitors to Mountain Lore Bookstore enjoyed reading to dogs provided by 4-H members.

Highlights of the 4-H displays inside the historic courthouse included photos of the first 4-H camps at the Biltmore Estate in 1919, a calf show in downtown Hendersonville in the 1930s, Fashion Revue winners in the 1940s, and Jim Barnette giving Earl Smith a “chain pig” for 4-H’ers in the 1960s. 4-H members also demonstrated their public speaking skills by giving presentations: planned speeches with props and posters.

4-H alumnus Jim Clark of N.C. State University taught a workshop on “Collecting Personal Stories.” The Do-Tell Storyfest was directed by 4-H alumna Karen-Eve Bayne. Mark your calendars now for the Do-Tell Storyfest on July 10, 2010.

-D. Sherrill

Posted by Natalie at 11:01 AM

August 04, 2009

Program targets minority male high school students

A new program designed to provide minority male high school students with hands-on science research experiences began in July at North Carolina State University.

The program is a partnership of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham. Called Creating Awareness of Agriculture and Life Science Disciplines, Discoveries and Degrees (CAALS3D), it is designed to introduce minority male high school students to innovative, high-tech research in the food, agricultural, environmental and life sciences.

Twenty-four School of Science and Math students spent a week in July (July 20-23) in N.C. State laboratories working under the guidance of N.C. State professors and graduate students. The high school students experienced research in a variety of disciplines, including forensic science, biochemistry, microbiology, biotechnology, organic agriculture, plant biology, food science, soil science and natural resources.

The School of Science and Math was the nation’s first public high school to offer a specialized curriculum in science and math for high school juniors and seniors, says Dr. Lisa Guion, associate professor of agricultural and extension education at N.C. State. Guion adds that American colleges and universities have found it difficult to recruit and retain minorities, particularly minority males, to study science, technology, engineering and math.

The CAALS3D program is designed to show students that an education in these fields can lead to a bright future, says Guion. The program targets male African-American, Latino and native American students who will be juniors this fall. It is to continue for two years, providing additional opportunities during the school year and summer for this group of students.

-D. Caldwell

Posted by Natalie at 10:30 AM

June 26, 2009

4-H Centennial Homecoming registration extended to July 1

100 Years! Wow. What an achievement. And, what a birthday!

Few organizations or companies ever reach their centennial year. But, as you know, in 2009 the North Carolina 4-H Program will celebrate 100 years. From humble beginnings in northeastern North Carolina as corn and tomato clubs, North Carolina 4-H has grown into the largest youth development program in the state. Today's 4-H is a mirror image demographically of the youth living in North Carolina between the ages of 5 and 19. Today, 4-H serves more than 204,000 young people across the state.

To celebrate this momentous milestone in our history, an exciting event has been planned. Please reserve the evening of Tuesday, July 21, 2009 for the NC 4-H Centennial Homecoming. Please register today using the on-line registration site www.nc4H.org

Special Note: Agents and 4-H Congress delegates do not need to register for this event - they will automatically be registered to attend through the 4-H Congress Registration process.

This event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and celebrate our past as we position 4-H for the future.

Centennial Events (all held at the N.C. State Fairgrounds)

4 - 5:45 pm, Centennial Reunion / Exhibit Hall Opens, Kerr Scott Building

6 - 9 pm, Centennial Celebration Dinner, Exposition Center

9:30 - 11:30 pm, Rockin’ Clover Bash, Kerr Scott Building

Posted by Natalie at 08:37 AM

June 10, 2009

4-H Citizenship North Carolina Focus attracts 150 youth to Raleigh

150 youth and adults from across the state will be in Raleigh June 15-17 for 4-H Citizenship North Carolina Focus at the Sheraton Raleigh Downtown. Delegates learn about citizenship, the legislative process and community engagement.

During the conference, the delegates will have the opportunity to hear from a number of key state leaders and experience workshops on a variety of topics from “Whatz Up On Capitol Hill?” to “Nuts and Bolts of the North Carolina General Assembly.” On Wednesday morning, delegates will visit their legislative representatives in their offices, following a legislative breakfast.

"Citizenship has been at the core of the 4-H mission throughout its history. The importance of 4-H youth engagement in community and state issues is critical for the development of future leaders for our society,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, associate director, department head and state program leader for the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences.

“This conference provides 4-H youth leaders with skills that will enable them to make a positive difference in clubs, community, country and world."
News media are invited to cover these events at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel in downtown Raleigh.

Some highlights of the conference are:

Monday, June 15
Luncheon, 12:00 - 1:45 p.m., with U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge

Tuesday, June 16
Luncheon, 12:45 - 1:45 p.m., with state Sen. David Rouzer
NC SPIN, 2 p.m., session on youth issues

Wednesday, June 17
Breakfast , 7:30-8:15 a.m., with state Sen. Tony Rand
Lunch, Noon - 1:00 p.m., Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton

Posted by Natalie at 02:25 PM

May 15, 2009

Burleson honored by 4-H for Lifetime Achievement

Tommy Burleson
N.C. State basketball legend David Thompson, left, was on hand as his friend and teammate Tommy Burleson received the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr. Marshall Stewart, state 4-H leader, and Caleb Black, right, state 4-H president.

The North Carolina Centennial 4-H Lifetime Achievement Awards Celebration took place April 23 in Concord, where the annual fundraising event honored the lifetime achievements of former 4-H members, families and supporters. N. C. State University basketball legend Tommy Burleson received the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award, and Family Legacy Awards were presented to the Teeter and Vanderbilt/Cecil families for their support of North Carolina 4-H.

“This event provides an outstanding venue to highlight today’s 4-H youth development program and the excellent job it does helping young people become competent, caring and contributing members of society,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, state 4-H program leader. “We’re especially glad to honor Tommy Burleson, the Teeter family and the Vanderbilt/Cecil family. Their generosity and dedication have helped propel 4-H through its first 100 years and, without a doubt, will continue to strengthen our organization in the next century.”

Read more from Perspectives Latest News

Posted by Natalie at 03:54 PM

April 29, 2009

Onslow museum hosts 4-H Centennial exhibit

Onslow 4-H exhibit
Onslow 4-H agent Greg Clemmons, right, talks with Lisa Whittman-Grice, Onslow County Museum Director, at the new 4-H Centennial exhibit.

Lisa Whittman-Grice, Onslow County Museum Director, and Greg Clemmons, 4-H agent, look over the 4-H Centennial exhibit at the Onslow County Museum. This exhibit was the project of Whittman-Grice, who participated in Onslow 4-H during the late 1970s and early 80s. The exhibit already has been viewed by several hundred people, and it will remain in place for several months. "We are very happy to be able to market the past and present of 4-H here in Onslow County for all to see," Clemmons said.

Extension Online News encourages counties to send photos and information about their 4-H Centennial celebrations to natalie_hampton@ncsu.edu.

Posted by Natalie at 01:31 PM

March 23, 2009

UNC-TV to show third 4-H feature tonight

UNC-TV will show the third 4-H feature on the North Carolina NOW program tonight. The spotlight feature will take place during the prime time NC NOW program. This feature spotlights NC 4-H Dropout Prevention Programs.

The North Carolina NOW program airs during prime time, 7:30 p.m. on UNC-TV stations. In addition to its prime time slot, NC Now airs several times throughout the evening on UNC-TV's digital channels. Please check local listings for additional air times.

For more information, visit UNC-TV's Web site.

Posted by Natalie at 10:10 AM

March 04, 2009

Campfire Delight is 4-H's centennial ice cream

Tyrrell County representatives receive prize
Tyrrell County 4-H Agent Bridget Spruill, left, and 4-H'er Katie Woolard, center, receive their prize basket for submitting the winning 4-H ice cream flavor (Marc Hall photos)

The “cone-test” field was narrowed to three ice cream flavors, as a panel of esteemed judges armed with bowls and spoons, came together to choose the flavor that would mark the centennial celebration of North Carolina 4-H.

And the winner is… Campfire Delight!

4-H is celebrating 100 years in North Carolina this year, and the organization decided to create a centennial ice cream flavor to in honor of the event. In conjunction with N.C. State University’s Creamery, which produces the already famed ice cream sold in Talley Student Center and at the N.C. State Fair, 4-H asked youth and leaders across the state to come up with winning flavors.

“Cone-test” rules required that the flavor selections be worthy of manufacturing, said Gary Cartwright, N.C. State Pilot Plant coordinator. From the 62 flavors submitted by counties last fall, the field was narrowed to 10. 4-H’ers and supporters across the state voted for the top three choices from the field.

The top flavors were Campfire Delight, submitted by Tyrrell County; 100 S’More Years submitted by Johnston County; and Clover Crunch, submitted by Gates County. Cartwright said that each flavor presented its own challenges, and creamery staff had to explore different ingredient options and how they would work. For instance, caramel pieces for Clover Crunch had to remain soft even in frozen ice cream.

By description, Campfire Delight and 100 S’More Years sounded like they would be variations on S’Mores, the campfire treat made with graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows. But Campfire Delight was made from graham cracker-flavored ice cream, with chocolate pieces and marshmallow swirl, while 100 S’More Years was created from a chocolate ice cream base, with pieces of graham cracker and the marshmallow swirl. Clover Crunch was a different type of flavor, with a chocolate ice cream, caramel swirl and toffee pieces.

The panel of 19 judges included Andrea Weigel, food editor of The News & Observer; Larry Stogner, news anchor of WTVD; CALS Dean Johnny Wynne; and three Wake County 4-H’ers, along with an assortment of other 4-H supporters and leaders.

The bowls came out, numbered to ensure a blind competition, and judges carefully tasted each sample, judging texture, flavor and appearance of each ice cream, then ranking the flavors in order of preference.

All agreed that there was not a bad flavor in the bunch, and Cartwright said that the creamery reserves the right to occasionally produce all three flavors. The winning flavor will be available for sale to the public.

Bowl of Campfire Delight
Campfire Delight

Andrea Weigl said this was her first opportunity to judge ice cream flavors, although she is no stranger to other types of food competitions. “The graham cracker ice cream was not something I’ve run into before. I’m not surprised it won,” she said.

“It was hard to pick a winner, but the one I picked was the winner,” Larry Stogner said. “They were all good.”

4-H’er judges Clay Adams, 6; Anna Walser, 6; and Morgan Halvorson, 8, all of Wake County, smiled broadly and pronounced all flavors, “really, really good.” “I just thought it was pretty good tasting,” Clay said.

Tyrrell County 4-H Extension Agent Bridget Spruill came to watch the cone-test judging, with 4-H’er Katie Woolard, 12. After Campfire Delight was announced the winner, Katie called her mom, and Spruill called her county Extension director with the news. The two returned to the county with some ice cream samples to share, along with a basket of ice cream party supplies.

“The flavor was as good as I thought it would be,” Katie said.

The winning ice cream flavor will be made available to the public through the N.C. State Creamery. It also will be offered at all 4-H events throughout the year, as well as at the N.C. State Fair. To order the ice cream, available in pints and 3-gallon tubs, contact Sarah Ray at 919.515.9263 or sarah_ray@ncsu.edu. To learn more about the 4-H Centennial, "We are 4-H," visit www.nc4h100.org.
-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 02:21 PM

February 19, 2009

2009 marks 100 years of 4-H

Human 4-H clover
4-H'ers at State Congress marked the Centennial creating a human clover at Carter-Finley Stadium. (Mark Dearmon photo)

It all began in 1909 in Hertford County with the first official “corn club.” That’s the year North Carolina A&M College (now N.C. State University) became the first land-grant college in the nation to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct farm demonstrations — presentations of new agricultural techniques and ideas. The agreement specified that demonstrations were also to be presented to “organized clubs of farmers’ boys,” according to Memories of 4-H by L.R. Harrill.

From these beginnings, Harrill says “the 4-H movement” grew out of the corn clubs for boys and canning clubs for girls. But within a few years, the girls joined the boys in the corn and pig clubs and in 4-H events, showing off their best produce and animals.

Read more from Perspectives magazine

Posted by Natalie at 08:45 AM

February 05, 2009

Workshop will address youth safety on farms

farm safety image

At the Farm Safety 4 Just Kids Workshop March 12, Extension agents and others can learn how to make training programs come alive on farm safety and health programs for children, youth and families. Hear and share success stories. Discover resources. Learn the latest on ATV, pesticide and farm machinery safety.

The workshop will be held at the Johnston County Cooperative Extension Center in Smithfield, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is free, and lunch will be provided.

For more information and to register, visit the Web site:

Registration deadline is Feb. 27. The workshop is sponsored by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, N.C. Agromedicine Institute, USDA Risk Management Agency, N.C. Farm Bureau, N.C. Cooperative Extension and AgriSafe-North Carolina.

Posted by Natalie at 08:44 AM

January 30, 2009

UNC-TV to feature two stories on 4-H's centennial

4h centennial logo

The Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences is excited to announce the airing of two NC 4-H Youth Development features on UNC-TV.

To celebrate NC 4-H’s 100th anniversary, UNC-TV has agreed to feature the NC 4-H Youth Development Program in a series of North Carolina NOW (NC NOW) programs. The first series of two NC NOW programs will air on Monday, Feb. 2 and Tuesday, Feb. 3. The two features will spotlight the history and evolution of the NC 4-H Youth Development Program.

We encourage the entire University System to watch these features and visit the North Carolina NOW Web site. To access your local airing times for these features and to learn more about UNC-TV and the North Carolina NOW show visit www.unctv.org/ncnow/ncnow_specials.

In 2009, North Carolina 4-H will celebrate 100 years of providing the youth of our state the life skills they need to reach their pull potential by working and learning in partnership with caring volunteers and youth development professionals. It is through those relationships that young people become confident, mature adults ready for success in today’s challenging world.

The year-long celebration, themed “We Are 4-H!” will give North Carolina 4-H the opportunity to remember its past and break through to the second century of innovative 4-H programming as it shifts to meet the changing interests of today’s generation and the needs of our state.

North Carolina 4-H took root as corn and tomato clubs in Ahoskie in 1909, and soon evolved into the statewide 4-H program we know today. With over 239,000 youth actively involved last year, North Carolina 4-H is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

From rocketry to workforce development and nutrition programs to a week-long camping experience at one of five residential facilities, North Carolina 4-H is a community of young people who are learning leadership, citizenship and 21st century life skills that will enhance their lives and prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Wherever youth are today, 4-H is there.

Posted by Natalie at 10:18 AM

January 26, 2009

4-H Performing Arts Troupe to return this year

4-H Troupe (Mark Dearmon photo)

In recognition of the North Carolina 4-H Centennial, 2009 4-H’ers and leaders from across the state will have the opportunity to be involved in a new version of the 4-H Performing Arts Troupe. Some of you may remember the Troupe from the 80’s, and the vision for 2009 is very similar.

Unlike most 4-H performing groups around the country, our Troupe will not be a variation on a show choir. Instead, we will rehearse and stage an original musical theatre production written to celebrate the 100 year history of 4-H in North Carolina as part of the Centennial Celebration at 4-H Congress. The Troupe Web site with applications is: www.cals.ncsu.edu/agcomm/4HTroupe/

Current 4-H members ages 12-18 will have the opportunity to audition for the 30-40 performing roles in the Troupe. 4-H’ers who are more interested in the technical components of the show can apply to work with our technical staff in the areas of costumes, props, set, lighting and sound. Applications for performing and technical students will be available beginning in January with three regional auditions being planned for March.

The Troupe is also seeking 10-12 adult volunteer leaders to help bring this dream to fruition. The adult volunteers will work with our directors and technical staff to support and provide leadership for our teens. The application form for volunteer leaders for the Troupe is attached to this email. Adults who are interested in music, dance, costumes, props and the technical aspects of theatre are encouraged to apply.

Important dates:
Jan. 30: Applications due for adult volunteer leaders. Adults will be selected by mid-February.

Feb. 23: Applications due from 4-H’ers (ages 12-18) interested in performing or technical roles with the Troupe.

March: Three regional auditions will be held in the east, west and central areas of the state. Performing students may audition at any of the three sites.

* Western auditions -- Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m., Buncombe County Extension Office
* Eastern auditions -- Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m., Edgecombe County Extension Office
* Piedmont auditions -- Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m., Randolph County Extension office

Posted by Natalie at 02:36 PM

November 24, 2008

NC youth win big at NJHA

youth at NGHA
North Carolina youth show their spirit for winning the State Spirit Award at NJHA for the second year in a row. (Photo courtesy of Liz Driscoll)

“A long, long time ago, all we knew was an avocado,
but we got better and now we know broccoli from tomato.”

This was the rap that erupted from the creative North Carolina youth delegates, remarking on their plant identification experiences in the Performing Arts category of the 74th National Junior Horticulture Association’s annual convention. Traveling down to Spartanburg, S.C. , 14 youth and five adult leaders from across the state spent five days discovering Southern horticulture and sharing their horticultural knowledge through speeches, presentations, demonstrations, essays, experiments and the Horticulture Judging Contest.

From Ikebana flower arrangements to strawberry- and honey-glazed fruit kebabs, the North Carolina youth articulately showed their skills. Our delegation was a merry bunch of youth, who enjoyed supporting each other with cheers, shouts, the wave and chants, earning them the Most Spirited State Award for the second year in a row. “Our North Carolina delegation is a dynasty!” remarked Michael Costa, a returning delegate, and enthusiastic and witty teen from Camden County.

“Our 4-H teens are inspirational in their genuine interest, dedication and excitement about plants and their desire to share the stories with others." said Liz Driscoll, 4-H youth horticulture Extension specialist.

"They took advantage of every opportunity the convention offered, from meeting new friends from other states, reconnecting with folks from previous years, participating in workshops and immersing themselves in local field trips to Hatcher Gardens, Wofford College campus arboretum, Milliken Arboretum and Clemson University.
Our youth drew high honors in many events and most youth participated in multiple events.

Thanks to hard work and dedication, the North Carolina youth brought home the following awards:
Horticulture Contest, Open Individual Honors
Grand National Champion (1st), Caitlin Davis, Stokes County
2nd Place: Dakota Starr, Wake County

Horticulture Contest, 4-H Team
5th place, Emily Mercer, Justin Simmons, Bryan Evans, Victoria Harman, all of Brunswick County

Horticulture Contest, 4-H Individual Awards
5th Overall: Emily Mercer, Brunswick County

Horticulture Contest, Open Team
Grand National Champions (1st Place), Logan Bland, Michael Costa, Tyler Lannon and Oliver Manzer, Pasquotank County (also the highest scoring team out of any category)

Demonstration, Artistic Arrangement Grand National Winner
Caitlin Davis, Stokes County

Demonstration, Horticultural Use
Grand National Winner, Charity Haskins, Hoke County

Illustrated Talk
Grand National Winner, Timothy Sherwood, Camden County

Demonstration, Production
Grand National Winner, Timothy Sherwood, Camden County

Prepared Speech
National Winner, Tyler Lannon, Camden County

Extemporaneous Speech
National Winner, Michael Costa, Camden County
National Winner, Timothy Sherwood, Camden County

Horticulture Essay Contest
National Winner, Dakota Starr, Wake County

Performing Arts
National Winner, Pasquotank/Camden County team -- Oliver Manzer, Timothy Sherwood, Tyler Lannon, Michael Costa, Logan Bland

State Spirit Award
North Carolina (second year in a row)

Horticulture Connections
1st place North Carolina Team -- Caitlin Davis, Stokes County; Dakota Starr, Wake County, Kait Neeland, Currituck County; and Justin Simmons, Brunswick County

NJHA Young America Project Winners
The NJHA Young America Program is designed to stimulate an interest in horticulture with youth ages 5-14 through the completion of gardening projects. We had a number of youth in North Carolina that were awarded for their achievements.
Gardening (5-8 years), Grand National Winner: Carter Mills, Wake County; National Winner; Nazeeha Aman, Wake County

Gardening (9 – 11 years), National Winners, Ishaq Ibrahim, Winston Beck, Charley Maynard, all of Wake County

Gardening (12-14 years), Grand National Winner: Michael Hoxie, Wake County; National Winners: Hunter Starr and Lillian Beck, both of Wake County

Plant Propagation (5-8 years), National Winner, Nazeeha Aman, Wake County

Plant Propagation (12-14 years), National Winner, Ismail Ibrahim, Wake County

Experimental Horticulture (5-8 years), National Winner, Idris Ibrahim, Wake County

Experimental Horticulture (12-14 years), Grand National Champion, Gabriel Hoxie, Wake County

Environmental Awareness (5-8 years), National Winner, Asiyah Ibrahim, Wake County

Environmental Awareness (12-14 years), Grand National Champion, Mary Silliman Ibrahim, Wake County; National Winners, Adrian Rodriquez and Nayeem Hossain, both of Wake County

NJHA Garden Poster Contest
(5-7 years), 1st place, Zachary Peterson, Sampson County; 2nd place, Vernae Boyd, Sampson County; 3rd place, Nazeeha Aman, Wake County

(8-10 years), 2nd place, Alexis Kirby, Sampson County; 3rd place, Angel Coleman, Sampson County

(11-14 years) 2nd place, Joseph Johnson, Sampson County

Posted by Natalie at 10:16 AM

October 10, 2008

Swannanoa installs solar panels to heat water

solar panels at camp
Solar panels will heat water for the new staff house at Swannanoa 4-H Camp. (Photo courtesy of Maggie Hedge)

Staff members working at Swannanoa 4-H Camp next summer will get their hot water without the help of electricity or natural gas. In September, solar panels for heating water were installed on the new staff house at the camp, located near Asheville.

The idea of solar water heating came from a committee of Extension agents and program assistants who were asked to develop a plan for Swannanoa.

After meeting for several months the group came up with four primary objectives for Swannanoa, one of which was "to promote new and emerging technologies." When the plans for the new staff house were being proposed, the group suggested incorporating some new technologies, and the solar hot water system was one technology that fit.

Committee members included: Ken Kindley, retired 4-H agent; Larry Hancock, 4-H camping specialist, Linda Semon, 4-H program assistant; Wallace Simmons, Heather Gordon and Eve Kindley, 4-H agents; and John Vining, Polk County Extension director.

"The overall goal is to have an opportunity to teach our 4-H summer campers about renewable energy," Vining said. "While we will continue to use fossil fuels, alternative energy sources such as solar will help us conserve our limited oil supplies in a clean and less costly manner."

Incidently, Swannanoa is encouraging campus departments to try out the new solar hot water by renting the staff house for in-service trainings or a departmental retreat. To learn more, contact Maggie Hedge, 828.686.3196, for details.

Posted by Natalie at 03:36 PM

September 26, 2008

Help choose ice cream flavor for 4-H Centennial

It's official -- the Top 10 flavors in our North Carolina 4-H Centennial Ice Cream Cone Test have been selected! In partnership with the NC State Creamery, North Carolina 4-H wants your help in selecting the flavor that will be featured as 4-H celebrates its centennial in 2009.

The top three flavors will be made in small batches at the creamery for a final taste test, and the Grand Champion will be announced this spring, just in time for a North Carolina heat wave and all the 4-H Centennial birthday parties across the state.

To help us choose, please follow the link to the survey below and select the flavor that sounds like winner to you. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=2J7JtyKpmtaKAIuPULwqXg_3d_3d

The survey will be open until Oct. 31, so pass this link along to your faculty, staff, youth, volunteer leaders, friends and family. The more votes we have, the closer we will be to finding a flavor everyone is sure to enjoy.

With more than 60 entries, this was a tough job for the selection committee. Sarah Kotzian and Sarah Ray would like to thank Gary Cartwright, Carl Hollifield and Randy Kotzian for all their hard work!

Congratulations to the counties who are in the Top 10. Though the ice cream flavors are not listed by county name, the Top 10 flavors suggestions were submitted by the following counties, in alphabetical order: Buncombe, Chowan, Gates, Henderson, Johnston, Lenoir, Madison, Orange, Tyrrell and Union. At the end of the voting, we'll reveal what counties submitted the winning flavors.

The Top 10 flavors are:
* Centennial Pie A la Mode (Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream with Graham Cracker Bits and a Caramel Swirl)
* 100 S'more Years (Chocolate Ice Cream with Graham Cracker Pieces and Marshmallow Cream Swirl)
* Centenimint (Vanilla Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Pieces and Mint Swirl)
* Clover Crunch (Chocolate Ice Cream with Caramel Crunch Pieces and a Butterscotch Swirl)
* Centennial Clover de Mint (Vanilla Ice Cream with Oreo Cookie Crumbles and a Cream de Mint Swirl)
* 4-H Cinnamontennial (Vanilla Ice Cream with Apples and a Cinnamon Swirl)
* Centennial 4-H Mint Blast (Mint Chocolate Ice Cream with Oreo Chunks and Marshmallow Cream Swirl)
* NC 4-H Centennial Sweet Tea (Tea Flavored Ice Cream with Mint Tea Cookies and Lemon Swirl)
* 4-H Campfire Delight (Graham Cracker Flavored Ice Cream with Hershey Bar Chunks and Marshmallow Cream Swirl)
* Mint 2 Be Green (Mint Ice Cream with Brownie Chunks and Fudge Swirl)

If you have any questions, please contact either Sarah Ray (sarah_ray@ncsu.edu) or Sarah Kotzian (sarah_kotzian@ncsu.edu).

Posted by Natalie at 09:56 AM

September 24, 2008

Franklin County third graders learn about agriculture

Field day participant

Agriculture Field Day at Riverbend Park in Louisburg, held in September, was sponsored by the Cooperative Extension center in Franklin County. The event gives third-graders in the county an opportunity to learn about rural life, farming and agriculture. Field day organizers also teach students that food comes from the farm, and then to grocery stores and restaurants. Here, youth listen to a presentation.
(Photo by Carey Johnson, The Franklin Times)

Read more from The Franklin Times

Posted by Natalie at 11:52 AM

September 12, 2008

Song celebrates NC 4-H centennial

Note: To read the complete song lyrics, click on "Continue reading..."

“We are 4-H, a whole new generation
We are 4-H, we lift our standards high,
Pledging our heads,
Pledging our hearts,
Pledging our hands, united and strong
We are 4-H, come hear tomorrow’s song.”

As North Carolina 4-H prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2009, youth and adults alike will tap their toes and hum the snappy tune to a song written especially for the occasion by John Hood, Mecklenburg County 4-H alumnus and winner of the 2008 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award.

The song, unveiled in April at the 4-H Gala, was the brainchild of Hood and Mark Dearmon of N.C. State’s Communication Services, who have worked together in performing arts for many years. Dearmon was asked to develop “a big number” for the 4-H Gala. With expressive arts as the theme for this year’s gala, Dearmon felt that a song celebrating the centennial of North Carolina 4-H would be the perfect solution.

Hood wrote the anthem, “We are 4-H (Tomorrow’s Song),” which was scored by his younger brother Robert Hood. With the help of 4-H professionals across the state, Dearmon organized the 31 singers who came to Raleigh in April to rehearse and choose soloists. After several hours of rehearsal, the singers recorded the anthem. Gala guests received DVD recordings of the song.

The singers learned stage blocking for “We are 4-H” on the day they performed it at the gala. The song debuted as the gala’s closing number, with both youth and adult singers from more than 20 counties. The number was a big hit, and will certainly be rolled out again in the coming years.

Writing the centennial song for North Carolina 4-H was an interesting challenge, says Hood, adding, “How do you write an anthem about 4-H – there’s so much to say?”

The symbols, pledges and learn-by-doing philosophy of 4-H don’t really lend themselves well to lyrics, he said. So Hood focused on concepts that evoke images: thought, study and knowledge for the “head,” one of the four “Hs,” and loyalty and emotions for the “heart.”

Dearmon, who has worked in Communication Services since 1976, first met John Hood and his twin brother, David, in 1980 when he saw them perform a tap dance number as youth in a 4-H district talent show. Their mother, June Hood, was a 4-H agent in Caldwell County, so of course the brothers spent much of their youth in 4-H activities.

John and David Hood participated as youth in the 4-H Performing Arts Troupe, a program that Dearmon conducted. At the gala in April, the two brothers took a step back in time, performing a tap dance number they had performed together as 4-H’ers.

John Hood later became music director for 4-H Performing Arts Troupe while he was a college student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Seventeen years ago, he joined Dearmon to develop the Teen Arts Program, a Raleigh-area summer musical theater program where teens perform an original musical after two and a half weeks of intensive rehearsals. Hood has written more than 100 songs for the TAP musicals.

Some members of the choral group that performed at the gala will have the opportunity to perform the song again as the finale of the talent show for the National Association of Cooperative Extension Agricultural Agents to be held in Greensboro this summer and as part of the State 4-H Congress Talent Show. -N. Hampton

Song Lyrics: We Are 4-H (Tomorrow’s Song)
by John Hood

It starts with a thought,
A dream of what you can do,
Breaking through all doubt and fear
A clearer path to view.

Then deep down inside,
You feel a passion to grow,
And you know the place to start,
A heart to set aglow.

To be loyal and true, to do what’s right
When the easy way is wrong,
And the world says “go along.”

And in service to lead, in deed and word,
In a cause that others shelf,
When it’s larger than yourself.

We are 4-H
A whole new generation
We are 4-H
We lift our standards high,
Pledging our heads,
Pledging our hearts,
Pledging our hands, united and strong
We are 4-H, come hear tomorrow’s song.

From fields, lush and green,
To campus, city and stage,
Every age and culture reach,
To teach and to engage.

With knowledge and skill,
With confidence and with pride
Such a wide horizon scan,
And span each deep divide.

Healthy body and mind, combined in one,
Firm foundation to achieve,
In our future to believe.

Better living for all, a call to sound,
Build communities to share,
And in freedom, just to dare.

We are 4-H
A whole new generation
We are 4-H
We lift our standards high,
Pledging our heads,
Pledging our hearts,
Pledging our hands, united and strong
We are 4-H, come hear tomorrow’s song.

We are 4-H
A whole new generation
We are 4-H
We lift our standards high,
Pledging our heads,
Pledging our hearts,
Pledging our hands, united and strong
We are 4-H, come hear tomorrow’s song.

We are 4-H, come hear and sing along,
We are 4-H, we are tomorrow’s song.

Posted by Natalie at 08:56 AM

August 01, 2008

For Randolph youth, sci fi means 'Science of Fibers'

Volunteer weave with youth
Volunteer Louella Caison, right, helps a camper with his loom during Randolph's "Sci Fi Camp." (Photo courtesy of Barb Dunn Swanson)

Just when you think you have heard it all, then along comes 4-H Sci-Fi Camp! For everyone thinking "science fiction," think again. This camp is really about the "science of fibers," and 4-H members learned all about it during the week-long camp sponsored by North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Randolph County and taught by Susan Garkalns, family and consumer sciences agent, and Barb Dunn Swanson, 4-H agent.

Randolph County has a long, rich history of textiles, and many families in the area have been employed by the textile mill industry. Youth enrolled in this camp have the opportunity to learn new skills including weaving, knitting and basic information about fibers.

Volunteer leaders Louella Caison, Rebecca Craven, Phyllis Holland, Ruth Powell and Jean Vollrath each assisted with the camp. Caison loaned each participant an Inkle loom that each child learned to warp, or to prepare the loom to be woven. Each member learned that patience was one of the biggest requirements needed in weaving. Caison was an expert teacher, and each participant produced a lovely weaving project upon completion.

Jean Vollrath provided a tour of Hickory Mountain Weavery just east of Ramseur on the Chatham County line. She is an award-winning fiber artist and weaver who has made a name for herself in the industry. Vollrath showed the youth several different looms and the different ways they are operated, including a state of the art computerized loom.

Both Holland and Powell, retired schoolteachers, assisted the youth with the weaving, science experiments and demonstrations. Craven also assisted with the activities each day.

To get the camp started, youth were introduced to both natural and man-made fibers. Swatches of fabric including linen, nylon, cotton, polyester, wool and rayon were on exhibit and were also used in various experiments to learn about the fiber content of each.

Youth were even able to extract a fiber from a pineapple leaf. This was a difficult task that required softening the leaf in water, and applying pressure extract the fiber.

The Asheboro Police Department loaned a protective vest for youth to see the different fabrics used to construct this heavy-duty vest. In addition, a scuba suit was borrowed from J. Cooper’s Scuba Center in Asheboro to demonstrate how the neoprene fibers are perfect for scuba diving.

The clothing we choose and the fabrics that comprise our outfits help to keep us cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Breaking down the scientific processes helped each participant learn some new knowledge that will benefit them for a lifetime.

This camp also allowed each participant to think about career paths. Many different career choices were discussed, including artist, designer, weaver, sewer, mechanic, engineer and so much more. 4-H is all about making the best better, and during Sci-Fi Camp, they did just that!

Posted by Natalie at 04:15 PM

July 11, 2008

Dock of the Bay event celebrates fifth successful year

4-H'ers at Dock event
4-H'ers proudly perform opening ceremonies at the Fifth Annual 'On the Dock of the Bay.'

North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s annual 4-H “On the Dock of the Bay” waterside soiree at the Eastern 4-H Environmental Education Conference Center turned five years old this spring.

On May 3, celebrating with a tropical theme and “Carolina beach music” by the high-energy Craig Woolard Band, dance fans filled the center’s boardwalk on the shore of Bulls Bay. Woolard sang lead with the Embers for 27 years.

Earlier in the day 4-H’ers and others also celebrated the opening of three cabins – the BB&T One and Two and the Walter Davis – as well as the County of Dare Dockside Dining Room and the Embarq and East Carolina Bank Executive Dining Room.

East Carolina Bank, Embarq and the North Carolina Farm Bureau were among the event’s first signature ($5,000) sponsors, said Sara Lilley Phelps, the center’s marketing director.

Guests also previewed newly decorated rooms in the executive lodge, including the Iberia Roach Tunnel, Colonial Edenton, Chowan County and Pasquotank County rooms.

The 300 or more beach music enthusiasts helped 4-H net more than $50,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, a silent auction, a John Deere lawnmower raffle and a sunset “dockside diamond champagne toast,” with a champagne diamond donated by Tim Crank, owner of Natural Creations of Kitty Hawk,

The event’s signature dessert, a “s’mores” chocolate fountain, was also sponsored by East Carolina Bank.

Dock of the Bay supports camping scholarships for 4-H youth from Cooperative Extension’s Northeastern region, as well as the center’s building fund, Phelps said.

A few sponsors included:
Gold ($2,500): Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Cahoon, N .C. Farm Bureau and the N.C. 4-H Development Fund.

Silver ($1,000): Chowan Hospital and the Tyrrell County Farm Bureau.

Bronze ($500): Seventeen sponsors, for $8,500.

Green ($250): Twenty-eight sponsors, for more than $7,000.

Also, numerous businesses and individuals donated as in-kind sponsors or silent auction donors, Phelps said.

Dock of the Bay was also supported regionally by Cooperative Extension colleagues and 4-H programs through publicity, event donations and ticket sales.

The Eastern 4-H Environmental Education Conference Center is operated through the N.C. 4-H Youth Development & Family and Consumer Sciences Department, Cooperative Extension and North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Posted by Art at 03:13 PM

June 30, 2008

'Cecil and Leonard' CD will benefit 4-H

WRAL-TV in Raleigh recently issued a compilation CD, "Best of Cecil and Leonard," by Ray Wilkinson, beloved former WRAL farm reporter and master storyteller. All proceeds from the audio CD will benefit the North Carolina 4-H Youth Development Program. Wilkinson's "hayseed duo of

Cecil and Leonard became almost as famous as the farm reporter himself, according to a story on www.wral.com. Wilkinson's homespun stories were just one element of an accomplished broadcast career that included induction into the North Carolina Broadcaster's Hall of Fame.

"We're so grateful to Capitol Broadcasting Company and WRAL-TV for creating a fund-raising opportunity that will support 4-H youth across North Carolina," said Dr. Marshall Stewart, state program leader and head of the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences at North Carolina State University.

To order a copy of the CD ($9.99 plus shipping), visit www.cafepress.com/wral.267242610.

The 4-H program is conducted by North Carolina Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. More than 208,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 21,000 adult and youth volunteers. To learn more, visit www.nc4h.org.

Posted by Natalie at 03:23 PM

May 16, 2008

Wilson County secures Hunt endowment

Hunt endowment signing
Pictured at the March endowment signing are: Front, from left,Michael Martin, Carolyn Hunt, Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., and Tanya Heath; back row, from left, Sharon Rowland, Dennis Vick, Pender Sharp, Marshall Stewart and Walter Earle. (Photo courtesy of Cooperative Extension in Wilson County)

Walter Earle, Wilson County Extension director, coordinated a fundraiser to endow the Governor James B. and Carolyn Hunt 4-H Scholarship Fund. A benefit concert was held in January at the Cultural Center in Wilson. The endowment will fund college scholarships.

Betty McCain was mistress of ceremonies for the concert, which featured the Wells Family Band and local 4-H talent. Governor Hunt attended the event and was honored. The past recipients of the scholarship were also present and received recognition. There were two signature sponsors, Time Warner Cable and Bridgestone Firestone, along with other sponsorship levels supported by local businesses and individuals.

As a result of the efforts by the Wilson County Extension staff, a $34,000 4-H Scholarship Endowment for the Governor James B. and Carolyn Hunt 4-H Scholarship Fund was signed at the Wilson County 4-H Livestock Show and Sale on March 27. Participating in the endowment signing were Gov. and Mrs. Hunt, Walter Earle, Tanya Heath, 4-H agent; Michael Martin, executive director of the N.C. 4-H Development Fund; Sharon Rowland, executive director of development for the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service; Marshall Stewart, N.C. 4-H program leader; Pender Sharp, chairman of the Gov. Hunt Scholarship fund-raising committee; and Dennis Vick, president of the Wilson County Livestock Association.

Posted by Natalie at 08:44 AM

May 08, 2008

N.C. youth participate in state WHEP competition

In April, 60 4-Hers converged at Carolina Beach State Park in New
Hanover County for the 2008 State Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program Contest. Eight counties put forth five Senior Division teams and 11 Junior Division teams. In addition, four individuals and one Cloverbud participated in the contest. The contest consisted of wildlife identification, wildlife foods, aerial photo interpretation and on-site habitat recommendations.

The top scoring Senior Division team from Henderson County will have the opportunity to represent North Carolina at the National 4-H WHEP Invitational this July in Stillwater, Okla. Members of the Henderson County team are Patrick McCraw, Caleb Worrell, Bethany Hyde and Kayla Jones. Ranae Worrell, Deanna McCraw, Marie Stinnett and Cindy Hyde coach the Henderson County teams.

The top three senior individual scores also came from the Henderson County team. Alleghany County was the first place Junior Division team. Gretchen Huysman, from the Alleghany County Junior Division team, received the state contest highest score and a perfect score in the wildlife foods portion of the contest. Teams traveled from across the state to participate in the state contest at Carolina Beach
State Park. The counties represented included Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Brunswick, Guilford, Henderson, Union and Wayne.

More event results are listed below. WHEP is a 4-H program teaching youth about wildlife and the management of their habitats. WHEP is sponsored nationally by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and International Paper. In North Carolina, N.C. State University's Extension Forestry program, the North Carolina State Council of Quail Unlimited and many Quail Unlimited chapters sponsor the WHEP

Posted by Natalie at 03:10 PM

May 07, 2008

All-new Spanish-language DVD

A Spanish-language DVD containing six short video presentations (seven-to-10 minutes each) that offer important information and resources to guide families on how to live safely and securely in the United States is now available from North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

"Living in the United States: A guide to educational, health, residence and law enforcement systems in the U.S.” (Viviendo en los Estados Unidos: Una guía a los sistemas de educación, salud, vivienda y seguridad publica)

Translations are by Andrew Behnke, Ph.D. and Sofia Baucom. Behnke is an assistant professor and human development specialist, 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences Department, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University. Baucom is family services manager for the East Coast Migrant Head Start Program.

DVDs are currently available upon request for $2.50 each, or special deals can be negotiated. E-mail laverta_flewellen@ncsu.edu to request copies.

Posted by Art at 12:48 PM

April 11, 2008

Gaston County 4-H club strives to help others

Gaston County 4-H club

One of the favorite projects of the Gaston County 4-H Explorers Kids Care Club has been helping people with Special Needs through the Special Olympics Spring Games, through the Special Olympics basketball team and Camp Seratoma, a five-week camp for teens and adults. The club loves to work with the special needs population. They have learned that people with special needs may be different in some ways, but they are also like them in many ways. One can see the big impact it has had on one member in the above quote. The impact the club has made on the community can be clearly seen in all of their projects.

Janet Haynes, facilitator, started the club because she wanted to work with youth and help them see that they can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. The 20 youth members, ages 5 to 18 years, have been very busy making a difference and developing relationships with people in need for the past four years.

Read more

Posted by Natalie at 02:19 PM

March 31, 2008

Youth win wool contest

Maria Mallner and Marisa Linton represented North Carolina 4-H well as specialty award winners in the 60th annual national Make It With Wool (MIWW) competition.

Mallner, a senior in nuclear engineering at N.C. State University, is a former 4-H'er from Wilmington who serves as a volunteer 4-H sewing teacher. She presented a 100 percent black wool knit formal gown embellished with embroidery and Swarovski crystals. She received the Embroidery Award of $500 from Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine and received Honorable Mention recognition.

Linton, a 4-H’er from Mt. Olive, is a high school sophomore. She competed in a 100 percent wool rust and black boucle fitted jacket and rust wool flannel slacks. She received a $250 award for Exemplary Construction by Claire Shaeffer for use of a Claire Shaeffer Pattern. She also received Honorable Mention recognition.

Mallner and Linton were winners in the senior and junior divisions respectively of the North Carolina MIWW competition held in September in Concord. This competition was sponsored by the North Carolina Sheep Producers Association Inc. and supported by the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. The purpose of the competition is to promote the use of wool fabric and yarns and encourage personal creativity in sewing, knitting, crocheting and spinning.

The national MIWW program, directed by the American Sheep Industry Women, provides scholarships, sewing equipment and a variety of specialty awards to participants. National awards were announced in January during the American Sheep Industry Convention in Las Vegas.

Posted by Natalie at 09:54 AM

February 26, 2008

4-H camp gets makeover on Camp Challenge workday

4-H camp workday
Participants in the Camp Challenge work day line up for a cookout following hours of hard work completing many projects. (Photo courtesy of N.C. Bankers Association)

From the trimming of trees to the staining of structures to the building of bridges -- from demolition of the old to installation of the new -- the Sertoma 4-H Educational Center got an extreme makeover in late October. That’s when members, affiliates, and friends of the North Carolina Bankers Association gathered at the camp for the eighth annual Camp Challenge workday. More than 200 participants from across the state – along with two volunteers who traveled from Kentucky and one from California -- donated their time and skills to help make many improvements to the camp.

Among the projects completed were:
Cabin staining
Painting of Cheshire Hall bedrooms and inside the cafeteria
Demolition of sheds behind hotel and horse barn
Burial of computer wire from hotel to chapel, then dirt replacement and reseeding
Preliminary floor removal for eventual replacement in some cabins
Installation of new screen doors and replacement screens on youth cabins
Staining and cleaning of spring house and old fire circle
Trimming of trees around cabins, along roads and on trails
Landscaping of hotel, gym, chapel, front signs - trimming and mulch
Re-establishment of lower fire circle and new benches
Restoration of trail to springhouse/lower fire circle
Building of new bridge near the Spring House
Installation of car barrier between cabin circles
Stump removal
Tearing down of outhouses by high ropes
New guttering off rec hall
Connecting of computers in computer lab
Installation of fence toward new classroom
Replacement of side doors in rec hall
Installation of new basketball goals in the gym
Addition of mulch to control hill erosion

This workday took place after two days of solid rain. When the sun came out, Sertomans Ray Clarke, John Kelly and Janis Henderson-Hunsucker, along with Paul Stock and Shellie Lempert of the N.C. Bankers Association, dug up mud, made a trench and created a retaining wall out of landscape timbers in front of the Burlington cabin.

Participants had been assigned to teams prior to their arrival at the workday, when they gathered in front of Sertoma’s Cheshire Hall with their team leaders. They then worked diligently for several hours to complete the many improvements that will benefit campers this coming summer.

Posted by Natalie at 11:16 AM

December 07, 2007

Long-time Henderson 4-H agents honored

The Henderson County 4-H Advisory Committee is honoring Joyce Armstrong and Earl Smith, former 4-H agents who worked with youth throughout the county during their careers. Smith began his career as a 4-H agent in the late 1950s and is remembered for his passion for 4-H camp and for leadership and citizenship development. He retired in the late 1980s with more than 30 years of service. Armstrong began her career as a 4-H agent in 1966 and later became a home economics agent. She is remembered for her belief in the 4-H demonstration and presentation program and project records. She helped many young people achieve state and national recognition. Both Armstrong and Smith have been strong 4-H supporters and were instrumental in creating the first community clubs in the 1960s when 4-H moved from the schools to a community-based program.

Read more in BlueRidgeNow.com

Posted by Dave at 09:16 AM

November 20, 2007

4-H continues to influence futures

4-H'er Tom Devine feeds goats
4H participant Tom Devine feeds goats at his family's farm in Newton on Sunday. Devine shows livestock competitively and will enter Catawba Valley Community College in the spring to study science. (Photo by Alan Rogers, Hickory Daily Record)

One student has always known he would have a future with horses. The other started in 4-H at an early age and has developed an interest in poultry science. But both have benefited from their participation in the 4-H Club.

"I've always been interested in animals and wanted to become a vet. Four-H provides opportunities ... that I wouldn't get otherwise," said Ethan Hefner, 16, of Newton.

Lisa Baxter, 17, of Sherills Ford, started out young, participating in a small club and working with sheep. A teen retreat to N.C. State University through 4-H grabbed her interest.

"We did a lot of stuff in a lab," Baxter said, quickly listing activities including dissecting chickens to learn about their reproductive and digestive systems. "We would break eggs at different stages of development. And I went to a hatchery to see how commercial products start."

Read more from the Hickory Daily Record.

Posted by Suzanne at 09:28 AM

November 19, 2007

Priester Conference issues call for presentations

A “call for presentations” has been issued for the 2008 Priester National Extension Health Conference to be held April 8-10 in Raleigh/Durham. The deadline for presentations submission is November 30. The presentations instructions and forms are attached are available at http://continuingeducation.ncsu.edu/PNEHC/presentations.html

The 2008 Priester National Extension Health Conference theme, “Building Healthy Communities, One Person at a Time,” celebrates Cooperative Extension's long history of promoting health and preventing disease for individuals of every age and background, in families of all types, living in rural, suburban, and urban communities. The conference showcases the successful programs of Extension professionals, their community and organizational partners and their students.

This year's conference tracks are:
* Successful Aging
* Global Health
* Growing Up Healthy IRL (in real life)

The conference focuses on programs that address today's challenges. Our communities, families and youth are facing challenges such as baby boomer retirement, caregiving for aging parents and other sandwich generation issues, new immigrant health, global consumer product safety, green living and growing up healthy in a world of unprecedented affluence and communication technology, yet growing disparities among rich and poor.

Please respond to the call for presentations for the opportunity to share your health-related educational programs and resources, applied research, collaborative strategies and integrated programming ideas with your colleagues. Named in honor of retired CSREES National Program Leader Jeanne Priester, the conference has drawn participants from the Cooperative Extension System state and county offices, CSREES/USDA, Departments of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Housing and Urban Development's Healthy Homes Program, Office of Rural Health, Bureau of Primary Health Care, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. EPA, National Cancer Institute, National 4-H Council, National Rural Health Association, public school systems, local governments, private non-profits, faith-based organizations and university departments of health-related disciplines.

Thank you! We look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Sandy Wiggins
Dr. Robert Williamson
Julia Storm
North Carolina Cooperative Extension, N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University

Posted by Natalie at 10:45 AM

October 16, 2007

Wake County says: If you build it, they will come

Keisha Cousar, right, Wake County 4-H development educator, leads a session at Knightdale High School. With her are freshmen students Joanne Leary, left, and Shamara Stanton. (Photo courtesy of Keisha Cousar)

If you meet them where they are, they will appreciate it, and if you ask them what they like, they will tell you. Those phrases helped build the foundation of a highly active 4-H club at Knightdale High School.

Four students had a vision for females at Knightdale to have a club where they could discuss issues that concern them and gain life skills as it related to self-esteem, self-awareness and self-empowerment. The vision of those four has turned into a mission for at least 65 female students who showed interest in joining Every Sister Help a Sister a 4-H club where they "empower the growth of diverse sisterhood."

The club started in February 2007 with four female students who had a vision after completing a Teen Discovery group. One of the goals of teen discovery is for young people to identify a topic or focus area in which they would like to continue working and then form a 4-H club. So the ladies started brainstorming and knew they wanted to create a club that could empower and involve more female students in having the opportunity as they had in teen discovery to learn more about themselves and each other.

When asked why she would want to join, senior Ashley Stevens said, "I wanted to join an organization where I could be expressive and be myself around other young ladies who show respect towards themselves and others. Every young lady should be a part of this club to make a difference in the world of sisterhood."

The girls wanted to establish a school-based club that bridges the gap between female-to-female relationships by promoting educational excellence, empowerment, mentorship, and accountability and community service by providing an open and inclusive environment for diverse females to express themselves to each other, give back to their community and build a rapport with positive adults which will lead to a positive self identity, self motivation and social educational awareness.

Youth Development Educator from Wake County 4-H Youth Development, Kiesha Cousar, affirms that, "for these ladies to consistently convene together confirms a great need for each adolescent female to have quality experiences that will allow them to embrace and enhance their positive potential."

This year the club plans to accomplish their goals and objectives by providing prevention education topics such as financial literacy and violence prevention, empower hour topics which will focus on healthy relationships and embracing diversity in sisterhood, mentor match opportunities to allow club members to reach back and teach their peers, and an accountability sister system that will encourage members to check on each others total well being. The group also will be participating in community service projects that will exercise their civic education learning towards making a difference within their school, neighborhood, and community.

Posted by Natalie at 02:35 PM

October 15, 2007

Onslow Extension employee receives honor

Carmen Blakewood, a Jacksonville resident born in Puerto Rico, said Hispanics are definitely a presence in Onslow County.

"There's a lot of Hispanics from everywhere here," she said, mentioning there are immigrants from places like Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico.

That presence was evident at the Infant of Prague Church's Parrish Hall on Sunday, where the Onslow Hispanic Latino Association hosted its fourth annual Dia de la Raza, or Day of the Race, a celebration of local Hispanic culture.

(Note: Ana Rosa Reyes, who provides administrative support for Cooperative Extension in Onslow County, was one of two recipients of the Amigo Award presented at this event.)

Read more from jdnews.com

Posted by Natalie at 08:41 AM

October 12, 2007

A lifetime of 4-H work is rewarded

Betsy Vatavuk
Betsy Vatavuk (News & Observer photo by Harry Lynch)

The walnut chest with brass handles holds the papers, photographs and cards that mark the milestones.

It sits against the wall in Betsy Vatavuk's bedroom. The drawers hold her 4-H memories. She has been a member since she was 7 years old, following her parents, who were lifelong members.

Like the porcelain dolls, embroidered pillows and Persian rugs she has kept throughout her 62 years, she has kept the chest, a time capsule of her life.

This weekend, she is in Washington, D.C., where she is being honored at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center. Vatavuk has received the 2007 National 4-H Salute to Excellence Award for being an Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer.

Read more from The News & Observer.

Posted by Suzanne at 10:35 AM

October 05, 2007

4-H camping program receives award

Sertoma 4-H camp
A camper enjoys horseback riding at North Carolina's Sertoma 4-H Educational Center in Westfield.

North Carolina 4-H Camps and Conference Centers have been awarded the Edie Klein Award for Program Excellence. The award was presented by Tony Oyenarte, president-elect of the Southeastern Section of the American Camp Association. The presentation was made during the Section’s Fall Conference in Jacksonville, Fla. The American Camp Association has 263 accredited camps in the Southeast.

The Edie Klein Award for Program Excellence is given in recognition of existing programs of exceptional nature occurring at a camp or retreat center in the Southeast. Nominations are judged on uniqueness, creativity and imaginative programming; relevance to the needs of participants; involvement of target participants in planning or implementation; adaptability and potential for program replication; cooperative efforts with other organizations, agencies, or camps, and the ability of the program to meet its stated objectives.

Larry Hancock, Extension specialist for the North Carolina 4-H Camps & Conference Centers, said that the award was a pleasant surprise reflective of the efforts of many. He noted the partnerships that the 4-H camps have with N.C. State University campus departments, civic clubs, state associations and the military that provide unique programming for the state’s youth.

The American Camp Association noted that the North Carolina 4-H Camps and Centers have a rich tradition that dates back to 1927. The Association pointed out the relevance of current programming as evidenced by the NC Legislature providing $7.5 million in funding for improvements of the NC 4-H Camps.

Posted by Natalie at 08:50 AM

September 25, 2007

Lifetime 4-H'er dubbed 'Fair Queen'

Carolyn Ivey
Carolyn Ivey (Credit: Joseph Rodrigue/News & Record)

GREENSBORO — Pass the blinking lights and the horror-film screams from a ride called the Fire Ball, and you'll find her in the Pavilion at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

She's the grandmother with the kind face. She'll be wearing glasses, with a silver-plated four-leaf clover hanging from her neck that's as big as a half dollar.

That's Carolyn Ivey. She's the Fair Queen. And she's been there for more than a half century.

Read more from the Greensboro News & Record.

Posted by Suzanne at 09:28 AM

September 23, 2007

Bugfest draws crowds in Raleigh

Children at Bugfest
(Photo by Becky Kirkland)

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was well represented at Bugfest, an educational events sponsored by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. A number of college-connected faculty, staff and students presented exhibits in the "beneficial bugs" area of the event, held Sept. 15. In this photo, children enjoy examining a live specimen. Bugfest participants from the college included: Chrystal Bartlett, Cooperative Extension marketing director; David Orr, Mike Linker, Fred Hain and Jennifer Keller, Entomology; David Penrose, Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Posted by Natalie at 08:04 AM

September 10, 2007

N.C., Michigan 4-H’ers learn about plants, culture in Puerto Rico

4-H'er in Puerto Rico
Chelsea Evans, a 4-H'er from Stokes County, practices journaling amidst exotic plant life during a trip to Puerto Rico. (Photos courtesy of Liz Driscoll)

Leaves large enough for umbrellas, roots dripping down from trees and tickling your hair, frogs living inside plants—these were among just a few wonders that eight North Carolina 4-H’ers discovered while traipsing around the island of Puerto Rico. Designed as an environmental service learning trip, 4-H teens from Graham, Randolph, Stokes and Wake counties traveled with Liz Driscoll, 4-H specialist in crops, horticulture and soil science, and Fran Senters, the 4-H program assistant from Lincoln County, along with 4-H’ers from Michigan, to learn about different ecosystems through hands-on service.

The first place the group visited was an organization called Casa Pueblo, nestled in the mountains near Adjuntas. Initially, Casa Pueblo led a grass-roots struggle against international strip mining ventures that would have caused devastating environmental damage in the forested areas surrounding their town and throughout the island. They have since become a multifaceted movement that strives to preserve land for people and wildlife and teach about the importance of the natural world.

Puerto Rican youth have been actively involved in Casa Pueblo’s projects, demonstrating that a community that comes together can have tremendous impacts. One of Casa Pueblo’s main sources for fiduciary support comes from growing and selling sustainably produced coffee. The youth on this trip gave their time and efforts in labeling their coffee jars, assisting in the continued success of Casa Pueblo’s Projects.

Much of the visit to Puerto Rico involved exploring the different environments throughout the island and documenting observations of the soils, plants and animals. The group visited an arid forest, mangrove swamps, moderate rainforests, coastal and estuarine environments and wet rainforests. They compared and contrasted the diversity of plant life and examined the plant morphology. For example, the group found plants growing in the Bosque Estatal de Guánica receive limited moisture due to a rain shadow from the neighboring mountains.

“Youth found many of the plants have leathery leaves, were hairy and thorny, and thick and fleshy,” Driscoll said. “Swimming and kayaking around the mangroves, we saw they have amazing root systems, which have adapted to saline and anoxic conditions and host creatures like snails, barnacles and sponges.”

The most diverse environment the group trekked through was the Caribbean National Forest of El Yunque. In this rainforest, they found huge vines of pothos trailing down from treetops, ferns as tall as a basketball hoop and trumpet wood trees used to make musical instruments. Many of the 4-H’ers attending, also participate in the state horticulture judging contest and could identify the flora in the wild that they study as houseplants or ornamentals.

Much of El Yunque was once farmed for sugarcane, cotton, corn, tobacco and cattle. Today, native plantings continue to restore the diversity of plant and animal life. A group of Puerto Rican 4-H’ers continuing in this spirit has started a tree-planting program on the island. They learn how to grow, transplant and care for native trees that can be planted in environments that might have been hurt by hurricane damage. The North Carolina and Michigan 4-H’ers helped with this process, and some youth have ideas to start similar projects back in their own communities.

4-H'ers in a tree
Youth on the 4-H trip pose in a large ficus tree.

Mofongo. Empanadillas. Reggaeton. From ordering food to learning how to properly dance, the group encountered the vibrant Puerto Rican culture in many fascinating ways. Invited by the 4-H’ers in Fajardo, they enjoyed an evening exchange of food, music and much laughter in trying to communicate. Patiently, their hosts showed the U.S. guests salsa steps and gamely sashayed with line dancing.

“We had small cultural debates by region with the Michigan and North Carolina youth debating the virtues of ‘pop’ vs. ‘soda,’ and we were a little distraught to discover there are no Chick-fil-A’s in the Midwest,” Driscoll said.

The adventure to Puerto Rico gave this group of youth the opportunity to learn about how individuals working together can make a difference. They witnessed how they might make changes in their own neighborhoods and towns and have a deeper understanding and appreciation of how the natural environment provides the resources we need to live.

“The 4-H youth that participated in the program to Puerto Rico displayed the best of our organization,” Driscoll said. “They are all creative, inquisitive, altruistic, polite and had a genuine and honest interest in finding out about each other and the opportunities that Puerto Rico had to offer.”

Posted by Natalie at 11:23 AM

August 30, 2007

Down at the chicken wash

photo of chicken being washed
Wayne Justice, Western North Carolina Poultry Club president, helps 4-H’ers Hannah Worrell, left, and Gideon Worrell bathe a Dominque hen. 4-H’ers gathered Aug. 21 at North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Henderson County Center to bathe and otherwise prepare chickens they plan to show at the Mountain State Fair, Sept. 7-16. (Photo by Art Latham)

Even in killer humidity, a group of 4-H club youngsters sit raptly in the mountain summer dusk, hanging on the words of soft-spoken Wayne Justice as he dips a couple of handfuls of fluff known as a "silky" - a bantam chicken - into a plastic tub of water.

Though you might expect this scene in the picnic shelter Aug. 21 next to North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Henderson County Center to devolve rapidly into a flurry of wing-flapping fury and surprised squawking, the bird submits contentedly to the bath.

But this is not a random bird cleansing. This is business. The kids are learning the basics of chicken care so they can enter their fowl in the upcoming Mountain State Fair, which this year runs Sept. 7-16.

"The whole point of showing chickens is to get the best breed possible," says Justice, Western North Carolina Poultry Club president. "And we want to increase participation in the poultry show at the Mountain Fair."

After degreasing the silky's hairlike feathers with a mild detergent, Justice, who hails from Sandy Mush community northwest of Asheville, uses a cotton swab to clean the areas between the bird's claws and head.

"What's that called?" a kid wonders, as Justice moves the swab to an area under the bird's beak.

"Wattles," Justice answers patiently, continuing the grooming, while helpers ready electric hair dryers to fluff up the bird's feather. Once again, contrary to expectations, the bird seems to enjoy the warm air from the dryer, closing its eyes, seemingly hypnotized.

The birds - the silky, a Dominique, a Cornish and others - belong to the kids, who are members of several area 4-H clubs. Gideon Worrell, a Young Naturalists 4-H Club member and Justice's daughter Hannah of Sandy Mush 4-H Club, will show chickens at the fair, and others in the class are preparing their fair booths. The Justice family, which owns many chickens, travels daily during the fair to care for all the show poultry.

Two years ago, the WNC Poultry Club gave baby chicks to many Western North Carolina children, says Denise Sherrill, Cooperative Extension’s 4-H agent for Henderson County.

"When they talked about giving out chicks, I asked them to teach classes also," she says.

Club members obliged, especially Justice, who is teaching classes for the third time this year. Previous classes included "Getting Started Raising Chickens" and "Care of Chickens."

"We do this to give kids a chance to experience a pet animal," Justice says. "We all know family farms are dwindling away and some of them live in apartments or in places where they can't have large pets in town, but you can have a chicken on a small lot; they don't take up much space.

"Also," he says, "to take care of them teaches a whole lot of responsibility.

"But most important, he adds, "showing animals in the fair is all about learning to be a good sport."

In other words, says Sherrill, in any contest, there are winners and losers, so learning to be a good sport is taught in all 4-H competitions.

Somebody must have even told that to the chickens.

In addition to their young owners, who may garner medals at the fair, the overall winners seemed to be the hens. After the washing event, they sit around clucking contentedly, perhaps anticipating their next appointment at 4-H’s chicken beauty parlor.

Written by:
Art Latham, 919.515.3117 or art_latham@ncsu.edu

Posted by Dave at 11:14 AM

June 15, 2007

Marshall Stewart to be interviewed on NCNN

Join Marshall Stewart and North Carolina News Network's Bruce Ferrell as they discuss 4-H clubs, camps and after school program Sunday, June 17, on NCNN’s North Carolina Report. The interview will be broadcast statewide on these affiliates and the show will also be streamed for one week on the same Web page.

Be sure to tell friends to tune in as well!

Posted by Natalie at 10:19 AM

June 11, 2007

Guilford County 4-H'ers expand horizons in PetPALS

4-H'er Logan Brown
Guilford County 4-H'er Logan Brown shows Thumper to a Bell House resident.

On a warm early spring afternoon, a group of Guilford County 4-H'ers, parents and Cooperative Extension staff paid a special visit to Bell House, an assisted living community in Greensboro for people who have cerebral palsy. Also along for the gathering was Thumper, a one-year-old caramel colored rabbit.

He was the life of the party, nestled in a cardboard box and soaking up attention from Bell House residents.

The visit was one of many that the 4-H'ers will make to Bell House this year as part of 4-H PetPALS, an intergenerational program that links young people and their pets with residents of healthcare and assisted living facilities.

Logan Brown, 16, enjoys being part of the PetPALS program. "It’s cool to meet different people and make new friends," she said. She's grown up with animals in her life, from chickens to dogs, and she's eager to share that experience with other people.

Along with Logan, Nichole Batchelor, 21, and Andre Harris, 13, round out the membership of the 4-H PetPALS TRY ("Teens Reaching Youth") team in Guilford County.

"I wanted a new leadership opportunity and to learn new things," Nichole said. She's also an animal lover, with chickens, cats, rabbits and a dog at home.

The program in Guilford County started in late 2005, when Extension 4-H agent Peggie Lewis received a grant from the College's Animal Science Department. The funding enabled the Guilford County 4-H TRY team to conduct a series of workshops throughout the next year called "Walk a Mile in My Shoes."

Designed to train youth and adults in the different aspects of the PetPALS curriculum, the workshops focused on the physical and medical conditions of people as they age.

For instance, a simulation with yellow cellophane revealed what it might be like to have cataracts. Participants also stuffed cotton in their ears to imagine the experience of a person who is hard of hearing.

"Our 4-H TRY team had a great experience teaching these workshops because the participants really enjoyed the exercises and learned a lot," Lewis said. "After a year of teaching, our team was ready to go into assisted living facilities to implement the second phase of the curriculum."

In January, the 4-H'ers – and Thumper – made their first visit to Bell House and interacted with residents of all ages. They'll continue these visits throughout the year.

"We're always trying to find different things for our 4-H'ers to do," Lewis said. "PetPALS is a great opportunity for them to gain confidence and interact with new people."


Posted by Suzanne at 04:42 PM

March 30, 2007

Wayne County employee inspires others

Jonathan Greeson
PowerHockey player Jonathan Greeson works for Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.

Jonathan Greeson of Pikeville in Wayne County dreamed of playing hockey from the time he was 12 years old. But life in a wheelchair limited his ability to play sports.

Greeson, 25, has struggled with spinal muscular atrophy all his life. A 2004 graduate of N.C. State University’s business management program, Greeson works for Wayne County’s office of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, where he serves as a budget assistant for the 4-H Afterschool Program. Last year, he was recognized by the Goldsboro Mayor’s Committee for Disabilities as Disabled Employee of the Year.

As he approached many challenges in his life, Greeson decided not to let his disability prevent him from pursuing his goal of playing hockey. In 2002, he founded the Carolina Fury, North Carolina’s only wheelchair hockey team, under the umbrella of N.C. Electric Hockey Wheelchair Association.

At the time, three players from Jacksonville, Burlington and Raleigh – where Greeson lived as a student – practiced in Cary. Today, the Carolina Fury has eight regular players from across the state. The sport is competitive, Greeson says, with rules that are similar to regulation hockey.

The team does not play on ice. Their home court is the gymnasium of Charles B. Aycock High School in Pikeville, Greeson’s high school alma mater, and their main opponents are able-bodied players who take on the Fury from wheelchairs. Though the opposing teams always put up a fight, it is usually the Fury that comes out on top.

The Fury has set a goal of competing in the PowerHockey World Championships every two years. In 2004, the team competed in Minneapolis, and in 2006, they competed in the PowerHockey Cup in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Greeson said the team drove to the competition – about five days on the road.

Greeson acknowledges that participating in PowerHockey requires support. “You have to have a really good family,” he said.

Throughout his life, Greeson’s family has been supportive of letting him do what he wants to do. His father Vance Greeson is one of the Carolina Fury’s coaches, and his mother Connie Greeson is director of Wayne County’s 4-H Afterschool Program.

“Vance and Connie have given him opportunities,” said Howard Scott, director of Wayne County’s Cooperative Extension center. Scott has known Greeson since he was a Wayne County 4-H’er, and he is not surprised by anything Greeson has achieved.

“Jonathan is incredible, genuine and driven in a positive way,” Scott said. “He is making a difference in people’s lives.”

As a 4-H’er, Greeson attended retreats and participated in presentation contests. He also remembers showing lambs and participating in livestock shows and sales. He says Scott “is like a second father to me.”

Scott recalls Greeson’s high school graduation, when the entire senior class applauded for him. “Jonathan was friends with everyone,” Scott said. “He could cross the socio-economic divide.”

After graduation, Greeson became a business major at N.C. State. Though the state’s largest university posed challenges to someone with limited mobility, Greeson said, “it’s N.C. State, or nothing.”

Greeson faced challenges of getting around campus. He had to carefully plan his day and arrange for help getting to class. Family members lived with him at times to help him get around. Yet he still graduated in four years.

Greeson’s student experience included an internship with the Carolina Hurricanes, a relationship that continues today. The Hurricanes have provided some support for the Fury, and the Fury held a Hurricanes appreciation event at one of their games this year.

Greeson now oversees nearly $1 million in grants for the Wayne County 4-H program, which serves about 6,000 youth. “We got so big we had to have some help,” Scott said.

“Everybody on staff cares about him,” Scott added. “At staff meetings, when he speaks people listen because he had put some thought into what he says. He can point out things without offending people.”

Christine Smith, Wayne County family and consumer sciences agent, described Greeson as a hero in her column for the local newspaper. “It’s funny how you will find heroes in the unlikeliest of places,” Smith wrote. “I work with a man who’s only in his mid-20s, and he is one of the most heroic men I’ve ever met.”

Greeson is not sure about the hero label, but in spite of the challenges that his disability have brought him, he believes that it has made him who he is today. “If I wasn’t in a wheelchair, I might not have been as involved in sports as I have,” he said. “It has taken me more to the level where I wanted to be.”
-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 03:22 PM

January 02, 2007

Making Magic Motorsports Expo is Jan. 6

The 2007 Making Magic Motorsports Expo will be held Jan. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Dorton Arena on the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. This one-day fundraising event will bring together the world of NASCAR and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) through a variety of activities.

The Making Magic Alliance is a community partnership of local volunteers, business donors, Wake County Human Services and the N.C. 4-H Development Fund. For more information about the expo, go to http://makingmagicalliance.org.

Proceeds from the 2007 Making Magic Motorsports Expo will help sustain Making Magic, a program that promotes the health, economic and educational success of vulnerable children and families in Wake County.

"The expo provides the whole family an opportunity to have fun while supporting the youth of Wake County," said Luna Toler, of Wake County Human Services and Event Logistics Committee Chair of the Motorsports Expo. "There will be something for everyone at this unique fundraiser."

Tickets are available in Raleigh at Ray Price Harley-Davidson/Buell, Inc. on South Saunders Street and at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Wake County Center office, located in the Wake County Office Park off Poole Road.

Additional pre-sale ticket locations and dates begin Jan. 2-5 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 6 p.m.–8 p.m., at Triangle Town Center and Cary Towne Center malls, and on Jan. 5, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. Prices are $10 for ages 11-adult, $6 for ages 6-10, and children under age 6 are free. Group discount rate of 15 percent is available for purchases of 10 or more tickets.

Ray Price Harley-Davidson/Buell, Inc., the expo’s signature sponsor, will showcase the Samson/Ray Price Nitro Harley and a variety of motorcycles. Patrons also can view top race cars and motorcycles, view and bid on specialty items provided by racing teams and community members at the silent auction and challenge their need for speed in virtual racecar simulators.

In addition, the Magic Children’s Corner, presented by GlaxoSmithKline, will feature several interactive activities, including live performances, inflatables, video games, remote-controlled racing and more.

Making Magic works collaboratively with summer camp providers to incorporate academic support, physical fitness, life-skills development and family-involvement programming, which have proven to be valuable assets for vulnerable children and families. There are 19 program sites throughout Wake County, and more than 1,500 at-risk children have benefited from Magic Camp experiences since 2002.

Posted by Natalie at 08:44 AM

December 13, 2006

N.C. 4-H poultry team places 9th in nation

The Henderson County 4-H Poultry Judging Team represented North Carolina on Nov. 16 at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference in Louisville, Ky.

This team placed ninth in the national contest. In individual scoring, Katie McCraw placed 10th overall in judging market eggs.

Read more from the Hendersonville Times-News

Posted by Suzanne at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2006

Horse Progam Leader Conference is Jan. 27-28 in Greensboro

People interested in working with young people and horses may be interested in the Carolina/Virginia Horse Volunteer Leader Training Conference Jan. 27-28 in Greensboro.
Read more

Posted by Dave at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2006

Youth show off insect collections

Bob Blinn judges collections
Bob Blinn of N.C. State judges youth insect collections at the State Fair. (Photos by Daniel Kim)

While many youth enter their large, four-legged animals in State Fair competitions, another group is more focused on small creatures with six legs. The youth insect collection competition gives youth an opportunity to see how their collections stack up against their peers’.

Bob Blinn, entomology collection manager in N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been judging the collections for a number of years. The youth collections are judged the day before the fair starts and remain on display through the run of the fair in the 4-H education building.

Youth compete in two insect collection categories: special and general. The general collection is judged on how complete the collection is: Are insects mounted correctly? Are they identified correctly by order and family? Are the specimens preserved and labeled properly?

Insect Collections

Butterflies and moths, for instance, should be mounted with their wings spread. Other insects should be mounted with legs down and dorsal sides facing up. Collections are displayed in specially built wood and glass cases.

Extension entomologist Steve Bambara from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences works with the 4-H youth entomology program and gives advice to youth throughout the year.

“The value is in doing a collection more than the competition, putting the collection together in a scientific, accurate way, learning to curate animals properly” Bambara said.

Though entries in the competition have dropped in recent years, the collections on display in the education building still remain popular with State Fair goers, Bambara said.

The insects found in the youth collections are not unusual, Blinn says. They collect the kinds of insects you would find in backyard or circling the porch light at night.
Blinn would like to see more entries in the youth insect collections.

“This competition helps to fosters kids’ interest in the natural sciences,” he says. “At least they’re getting outside, learning about nature.”

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 07:54 AM

Ashe 4-H program receives Afterschool Grant

The Ashe County 4-H School Age Care Program has received a national JC Penney Afterschool Fund Grant for the 4-H Westwood Afterschool Program that will serve 25 families who now receive full scholarships for the program. Read more from The Mountain Times

Posted by Dave at 07:48 AM

November 13, 2006

Blalock inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame

Blalock award presentation
Dr. Carlton Blalock holds the plaque, announcing his induction into the 4-H Hall of Fame. With him are, from left, Donald T. Floyd Jr., National 4-H Council; Dr. Cathann Kress, National Director of 4-H Youth Development; and Clyde Jackson, National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA).

More luster was added to Dr. T. Carlton Blalock’s illustrious career of agricultural leadership recently, when he was inducted as a 2006 National 4-H Hall of Fame laureate. Blalock was honored Oct. 6 – coincidentally, his 82nd birthday -- in ceremonies at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md., during National 4-H Week. He was nominated by the 4-H program in North Carolina.

Blalock, who retired as director of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Cooperative Extension Service after serving from 1978 to 1981, was North Carolina’s State 4-H Leader from 1964 to 1970. He has also served as president of the 4-H Development Fund and the Cooperative Extension Service Fund, and as executive vice president of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina.

A Wilson County native, Blalock grew up in a Master Farm Family in Lucama. There he participated in 4-H as a youth, serving as president on the local and county levels. A World War II veteran, he holds N.C. State University bachelor’s (1948) and master’s (1952) degrees in animal husbandry, as well as a doctorate (1963) in extension administration from the University of Wisconsin. He began working as an Extension dairy specialist in 1951.

His many career honors and accolades include 1990 Man of the Year in Service to North Carolina and Virginia Agriculture, the 1981 Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award and the 1979 USDA Superior Service Award. The latter award recognized his early-1970s pioneering activities in North Carolina’s insect pest management education programs.

“This year’s National 4-H Hall of Fame laureates have impacted millions of 4-H youth, leading by example with their passion, dedication and creativity and helping to build strong leaders and citizens,” said National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) President Lisa Lauxman. “We are proud to celebrate their contributions by welcoming these inspirational people into the 4-H Hall of Fame.”

American Income Life Insurance Company partnered with National 4-H Council to support the ceremony. The National 4-H Hall of Fame is sponsored online by NAE4-HA at www.nae4ha.org/hof.

4-H is the youth development program of Cooperative Extension. Youth develop personal life skills and acquire knowledge by participating in a variety of 4-H projects that are grounded in the research base of the program’s land-grant university partners. Each year, more than 6.5 million 4-H members and more than 500,000 youth and adult volunteers celebrate National 4-H Week during the first full week in October.

–T. Leith

Posted by Natalie at 02:06 PM

November 01, 2006

4-H hay bales adorn 2006 State Fair

4-H hay bale worm
This "book worm" is really a hay bale decorated for a State Fair competition by 4-H'ers. (Terri Leith photo)

A pirate ship, a giant green worm and even a jumbo jar of dill pickles were among the entries displayed by 4-H’ers in the hay-bale decoration competition at the 2006 North Carolina State Fair. Those exhibits featured the slogans “4-H – It’s a Treasure,” “Wiggle Your Way Into 4-H” and “Don’t Get in a Pickle -- Join 4-H,” respectively. Near the worm and the pirates, an autumn-leaf motif sign reminded visitors that 4-H offers a “Harvest of Discovery.” Decorated by participants from 13 counties, the bales welcomed fairgoers at two entry gates and the Educational Building. 4-H is Cooperative Extension’s youth development program.
-T. Leith

Posted by Natalie at 09:17 AM

October 18, 2006

NJHA participants capture awards

NJHA delegates
North Carolina's NJHA delegates. Top row, from left, Will Houston and Dakota Starr; middle row, Ashley Kirby and Caitlin Davis; and bottom row, Ann Margaret Dietrich, Alex Hammerberg and Mary Kathryn Hardison. (Photo courtesy of Liz Driscoll)

North Carolina's participants in the National Junior Horticultural Association's annual convention in Omaha, Nebraska, returned safely in October, bringing with them numerous honors. The contingent of 13 included seven youth from Cleveland, Harnett, Stokes and Wake county and six adults to support them. They gave brilliant demonstrations, speeches, essays and competed in the horticulture contest.

All their efforts enabled them to gain the following awards:

Demonstration, Horticulture Uses
Grand National Champion, Mary Kathryn Hardison, Harnett County
National Champion, Will Houston, Cleveland County

Extemporaneous Speech
National Champion, Alex Hammerberg, Wake County

Illustrated Talk
Grand National Champion, Caitlin Davis, Stokes County

Horticulture Essay Contest
Grand National Champion, Dakota Starr, Wake County

Horticulture Contest, 4-H Team
3rd place, Ann Margaret Dietrich, Alex Hammerberg, Dakota Starr, Wake County

4-H Individual, Horticulture Contest
9th Place, Alex Hammerberg, Wake County
11th Place, Ann Margaret Dietrich, Wake County

Open Individual, Horticulture Contest
9th Place, Caitlin Davis, Stokes County

Many of the youth participated in multiple events, beyond what they had competed in at state 4-H Congress.

"The most amazing part of the experience is the chance for the youth to connect with others that share a passion for plants and learning," said Liz Driscoll, 4-H youth Extension specialist. "They formed a marvelous, supportive, enthusiastic, laid-back group of young people that represented North Carolina tremendously."

The group visited the Arbor Day Foundation Farm, got lost in the world's largest corn maze and learned swing dancing from award winner Will Houston of Cleveland County.

Posted by Natalie at 09:04 AM

August 25, 2006

Youth learn the importance of livestock preparation

Stacy Neal with steer
Lee County 4-H'er Stacy Neal practices techniques for showing her steer in the livestock ring. (Photos courtesy of Tyrone Fisher)

Livestock and 4-H agents from the Piedmont area coordinated a training session for 4-H’ers who exhibit beef cattle, sheep and meat goats. This training is held annually in Sanford, with the help of local cattlemen associations, the Sanford Lions Club and N.C. State University faculty members.

Youth exhibitors received hands-on training on how to prepare their animals before they go into the ring. A hoof-trimming demonstration was given to stress how to get animals to stand properly on all four feet and display the animals’ highlights for the judge.

N.C. State University livestock technician Brent Jennings taught the importance of shearing sheep. He discussed how and when to shear sheep, as well as how to train animals to stand during the show.

Jennings also conducted a practice show so exhibitors would know how to lead and set up their animals for the judge. This will help 4-H’ers perform and excel wherever they go, whether it be a local county fair or the grand finale of the N.C. State Fair.

Extension agents involved in the event were from Lee, Chatham and Moore counties. They included livestock agents Tyrone Fisher, Sam Groce and Randy Wood and 4-H agents Bill Stone and Sarah Hardison.

Brent Jennings shearing sheep
Brent Jennings demonstrates how to sheer a sheep.

-T. Fisher

Posted by Natalie at 10:07 AM

August 16, 2006

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day draws local children

Sixty-two children from Camden, Currituck and Pasquotank Counties learned how to identify and deal with hazards both on and off the farm on August 8, 2006.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Progressive Agriculture Safety Day drew children ages 5-12 from these communities for a half-day session on how to take responsibility for their own safety, respect parents' safety rules and share safety tips with their family and friends.

Read more from the Outer Banks Sentinel

Posted by Natalie at 01:00 PM

July 19, 2006

Carlton Blalock to be inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame

Dr. Carlton Blalock will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on October 6. Dr. Blalock served as the second State 4-H Leader in North Carolina and later served as director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. He continues to be a strong advocate for 4-H and youth progams and for Cooperative Extension.

Posted by Natalie at 08:04 AM

July 17, 2006

'Getting fit' is focus of State 4-H Congress

4-H candle lighting ceremony

Youth participating in this year’s State 4-H Congress will focus on "Getting Fit with 4-H." Congress will be held July 17-21 at North Carolina State University and other Raleigh locations. The annual event will attract roughly 700 4-H club members, adult volunteers and 4-H agents with North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

During the five-day event, delegates will participate in competition, workshops, assemblies, recreation, fellowship and service to the community.

During the State Theme Assembly Thursday, July 20, physical activity specialist Lori Schneider will lead 4-H’ers in fitness activity. This activity will take place toward the end of the assembly, which will be held at NC State’s McKimmon Center, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Other events of 4-H Congress are outlined below.

Monday, 7:30-9:30 p.m. - Opening Assembly, Exposition Center, State Fairgrounds
The annual 4-H Honor Club tapping ceremony takes place during the opening assembly. The top half of 1 percent of the state’s 4-H’ers are admitted to the Honor Club each year. 4-H’ers will also demonstrate their skill at sewing and modeling clothing during Fashion Revue, part of the opening assembly.

Tuesday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Athens Drive High School, 1420 Athens Drive, Raleigh
Delegates will participate in competition designed to demonstrate their knowledge of subjects ranging from landscaping to sewing to wildlife. State winners, many of whom go on to compete in regional or national contests, will be named in roughly 40 subject matter categories. Delegates not involved in competition will attend workshops on a variety of topics.

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Hands to Service
4-H’ers will participate in Hands to Service activities, spending the morning hours working with local non-profits and human service agencies. At McKimmon Center, a group will help assemble learning materials for the Wake County Human Services’ Ready to Learn preschool program. About 250 youth will assist with painting, trail maintenance and installing pavers at various Raleigh Parks and Recreation sites. Deconstructing a house for Habitat for Humanity and stocking the shelves at a local food bank are among the other service projects. A complete list of service agencies and locations will be available at the 4-H host and hostess table in McKimmon Center or by calling Harriet Edwards, 919.515.9548.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, a former 4-H’er herself, will host 4-H Town Hall meeting, 10:30 a.m.- noon, McKimmon Center, focusing on how youth can make a difference in their communities. Also, state 4-H officers will be elected during the afternoon, and a banquet and farewell dance will be held 7-11p.m. at the Expo Center, State Fairgrounds in the evening.

Delegates will leave campus Friday.

The 4-H program is conducted by North Carolina Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. More than 199,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 24,000 adult and youth volunteers.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 10:21 AM

June 28, 2006

Master Gardeners help students learn

Student with tomato plant
A student at Brunswick County's Supply Elementary School shows off the tomato plant he potted at a workshop, with help from local Master Gardeners. (Daniel Kim photo)

Brunswick County Master Gardeners helped teach youth at Supply Elementary School about growing things during a special education event held in April. Supply is the only Brunswick County school to receive a U.S. Department of Agriculture Fresh Fruits and Vegetables grant, designed to introduce students to fresh fruits and vegetables. Brunswick’s North Carolina Cooperative Extension center provided education for the program, combining the efforts of 4-H, family and consumer sciences and Master Gardeners.

“Extension has been involved from the beginning,” said Susan Morgan, family and consumer sciences agent in Brunswick County. “The success of this program has been that it involved students, parents, teachers and a number of volunteers who reinforced or enhanced the classroom activities and instruction.”

A total of 669 students, 55 teachers and staff members and more than 30 volunteers were involved in three outdoor workshops, led by Brunswick Master Gardeners. One session provided was a "hands on" opportunity for students to see a worm bin, where earthworms aerate soil. Students also learned about recycling kitchen wastes through composting, and everyone got to pot a tomato seedling to take home and plant.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 11:35 AM

June 27, 2006

Youth, leaders participate in SESAMM

Youth present plan
Two youth present a plan during a workshop at the SESAMM workshop in May. (Becky Kirkland photo)

About 100 youth and adults participated in a statewide summit on Students Eating Smart and Moving More, held May 5-7 in Greensboro. A total of 24 county groups were selected participated in this first-ever summit. Teens and adults worked together at the summit as advocates for healthy eating and physical activity in North Carolina's schools and communities. County groups returned home to implement a program to improve the health of citizens in their home communities. The program is a partnership of the State 4-H Project and 4-H’s 2005 TRY-IT! Obesity-Overweight initiative, the state Department of Public Instruction's Child Nutrition Services, and the state Department of Health and Human Services.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 11:34 AM

May 15, 2006

4-H WHEP contest winners announced

Chris Moorman at WHEP contest
Extension wildlife specialist Chris Moorman, center, works with participants in the 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program Contest held April 29.

The 2006 North Carolina 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program (WHEP) Contest was held at Latta Plantation and Nature Preserve in Mecklenburg County April 29. Twelve teams and 10 individuals from 10 counties competed in the contest, which included recommended on-site habitat management practices, wildlife species identification, wildlife foods identification and interpreting wildlife habitat from aerial photographs.

The Alexander County senior team will represent North Carolina at the National 4-H WHEP Invitational during late July in Madison, Wis.

Members of the Alexander Senior Team are Michael Hill, Caiti Cranford, Vanessa Patterson. Coaches for this team are Lenny Rogers, Alexander County Extension director, and Dennis Wahlers, Alexander County forest ranger. Suzanne Rhinehart is the 4-H agent.

The Henderson County senior team, which placed first in the state, represented North Carolina in 2004. Teams may attend the National WHEP Invitational only once, so Alexander County, as second place team, was chosen to represent the state this year.

Though a competitive event, WHEP’s primary purpose is to increase participants' knowledge of wildlife management practices while building life skills including leadership and teamwork. The North Carolina State Council of Quail Unlimited and individual chapters currently sponsor the NC WHEP program.

Team rankings:
Senior Team Division (age 14-19):
1. Henderson: Katie McCraw, Kyle Stinnett, Lory McCraw, Patrick McCraw
2. Alexander: Caiti Crandford, Michael Hill, Vanessa Patterson

Junior Team Division (age 9-13):
1. Catawba: Adam Coto, Ben Huysman, Chris Moore, Mason Coto
2. Henderson: Bethany Hyde, Caleb Worrell, Drue Stinnett, Gideon Worrell
3. Stanly: Chris Almond, Jared Hatley, Nicholas Lambert, Timothy Hatley

Senior Highest Individual Score:
1. Lory McCraw, Henderson County
2. Katie McCraw, Henderson County
3. Andrew Kimball, Johnston County

Junior Highest Individual Score:
1. Adam Coto, Catawba County (contest highest score)
2. Gideon Worrell, Henderson County
3. Ben Huysmen, Catawba County

Posted by Natalie at 02:50 PM

February 24, 2006

4-H, engineering create math, science curriculum

In his recent State of the Union address, President George W. Bush brought the issue of improving math and science education to the forefront of national debate by calling for more funding for math and science education. It has long been acknowledged that keeping students interested in math and science is a challenge for teachers, who must compete with videogames and iPods for students’ attention.

A February 13 U.S. News and World Report article, “Did Bush Do The Math?,” cites a recent study that shows that close to half of all 17-year-olds in America do not have the basic math skills needed to hold a production associate’s job in the automobile industry.

At North Carolina State University Dr. Eric Klang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Dr. Ed Maxa, associate professor and 4-H youth development extension leader, have joined forces to create a math and science curriculum that has no trouble holding the attention of students of all ages.

Drawing on the roar and excitement of motorsports, Klang, faculty advisor for the Wolfpack Motorsports team, has partnered with the national and North Carolina 4-H programs to develop a prototype math and science curriculum that teaches students the principles of math and physics. “On Track for Learning” is designed as an education tool that follows students from elementary grades through high school.

“This project has been a great collaboration between engineers and the 4-H program,” says Klang. “Engineers have the math and physics background, and 4-H provides the curriculum development expertise. The result is a first-rate curriculum that is hands-on and exciting for students.”

Based on national math and science standards, the prototype curriculum brings the two disciplines together by emphasizing experiential learning through motorsports-related experiments. According to Klang, the program would dovetail with an undergraduate and graduate program in automotive engineering, giving students incentive to pursue a college degree.

The lessons in the curriculum include “Friction: Friend or Foe?” and “Energy Conversion: Form-Shifter.” In the lesson on friction, students study the forces that govern the performance of a racecar and learn how friction is a key factor in the motion of the car. The lesson then also gives common examples of friction that people encounter in daily life, such as the friction between shoes and sidewalk. The full curriculum is broken into four categories: matter, motion, force and energy.

“This is a unique program that will address many of the current deficiencies in math and science education at the K through 12 level,” says Klang. “With more funding for developing and expanding the curriculum, we could have a unified curriculum for all grades.”

Work has already begun with middle school students and teachers. The first On Track for Learning event, which was held in fall 2005 at the Mooresville Dragstrip, involved approximately 50 fifth graders from a Statesville charter school.

The event was organized by John Moloney, manager of Penske Technology Group, based on the education program developed by Klang and Maxa. The students learned about friction, aerodynamics, and elapsed time and velocity as they apply to a dragster. The students met National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) driver Tisha Wilson, a high school student who competes in NHRA events. Wilson demonstrated her driving skills in her NHRA dragster.

“The event was a great success,” says Klang. “The students were able to apply the lessons from the curriculum and watch the principles of physics at work on the racetrack.”

-J. Weston

Posted by Natalie at 02:24 PM

February 17, 2006

4-H, FCS departments to merge July 1

In keeping with the spirit of Cooperative Extension’s change management and marketing initiative, the departments of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences will become one department within N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on July 1.

The merger was announced Feb. 16 by Dr. Jon Ort, director of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. (Dr. Ort's message -- opens in PDF) Dr. Marshall Stewart, head of the 4-H Youth Development Department, and Dr. Sandy Zaslow, head of the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, announced the change to their staffs that morning. County agents in both programs received the announcement by email.

Stewart and Zaslow said their faculty and staff members had reacted well to the news. Stewart will head the new department, which will retain both department names. Zaslow, who also announced on Feb. 16 her intention of retiring from the university in October, will serve as Extension’s associate director of family and youth programs. When she retires, the title will be added to the title of department head and state program leader for the combined department.

“We began strategic dialogue about the future of CALS departments at the dean’s retreat in October 2005,” Ort said in his announcement to Extension. “When Dr. Sandy Zaslow notified me of her retirement this fall, it made sense strategically to think about how we might move ahead with bringing these two departments under one administrative umbrella.”

Stewart read Ort’s prepared statement to his faculty and staff. “They were positive,” he said. “This had been in some people’s minds for a number years and so seeing it was not a total surprise.”

Zaslow and Stewart praised Ort and Dean Johnny Wynne for their efforts to move the merger along and address concerns that employees would likely have, including leadership, department name and titles. Employees of both departments will retain their rank and titles. And both disciplines will continue to have their distinct identities on campus and in county centers.

Zaslow said the merger news, coupled with the news of her retirement, came as a double
surprize for campus and field faculty and staffs. She shared with them that “when they wake up on July 2, their world will seem very much like it was on July 1 – and that was the intent of both department heads.

“Marshall and I have a very strong commitment to making this a positive transition for all our employees. We are very aware of the strong program identities and brands that agents, their associations and their foundations have worked to develop. Each program has many assets and resources to bring to the table,” Zaslow said.

“We believe there will be a synergistic effect that will occur from new opportunities to collaborate and be advocates for youth and family issues,” she said.

Zaslow was pleased that an associate director’s position had been created for youth and family programs and that she will help set the direction for that position to benefit youth and family programs. In the Cooperative Extension Service at N.C. State, there has been an associate director’s position for agricultural programs.

“Adding an associate director’s position truly indicates the value that Dr. Ort and Dean Wynne place on youth and families and their relationship within agricultural programs,” Zaslow said.

She looks forward to working with Stewart in merging the two departments. “I really want Marshall to be successful and for the programs to be successful,” Zaslow said. “Our intent is to look for the best environment to support and sustain the programs.”

Both programs have traditionally shared some programming initiatives. The Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program includes youth and adult components and has faculty in both the 4-H and FCS departments. And with growing concern over the issue of child overweight/obesity, the two departments have discussed collaborating on the issue, bringing together their strengths in youth programming and nutrition education.

“This puts Extension, the college and the university in the strongest position to address families and youth,” Stewart said. “Statewide, no one has the network of paid staff and volunteers focused on these issues that Extension has.”

The combined department also will have a stronger academic component, Ort said in making the announcement. FCS and the Department of Human Environmental Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are creating a master’s degree program in parenting education. Dr. Karen DeBord, FCS associate professor of child development, has been active in the initiative and serves as the department’s director of graduate programs.

In addition, 4-H Youth Development has created a youth development leadership specialization within N.C. State’s College of Education. Courses are taught by faculty in 4-H Youth Development.

“The degree programs that we bring to the table and the one that 4-H offers bring new opportunities for our agents to earn advanced degrees,” Zaslow said.

Stewart and Zaslow praised each other, as well as Extension and college administrators for creating a smooth plan for the merger. “Sandy has been a champion for this,” Stewart said. “She sold me on it. She wanted to create a structure that will endure, and this will endure.”

“Marshall is a perfect match, with his energy, enthusiasm and genuine commitment to both programs,” Zaslow said. “Our vision has been the same from the beginning.

“This is a very bold step forward, and I salute Dr. Ort’s leadership to support us and for the vision to create an associate director’s position for youth and families,” she added.

“I wanted to credit Jon (Ort) and administration for having the courage and foresight to put us in a stronger position,” Stewart said. “They led the charge, and I appreciate their vision.”

Questions or comments? Scroll down to post your response. Online News will work with Stewart and Zaslow to answer your questions.

--N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 01:20 PM

January 26, 2006

Program teaches respect for water resources

The first North Carolina State University 4-H20 program -- which helped youth learn about the importance of water resources by having them actually in and on local watercourses for five 2005 summer days -- created a big splash. Read more

Posted by Art at 04:37 PM

January 12, 2006

Libraries to digitize 4-H, home demonstration records

The NCSU Libraries' Special Collections Research Center is involved in a new digitization project called "'Green 'N' Growing': The History of Home Demonstration and 4-H Youth Development in North Carolina." To read more, visit the libraries' Focus newsletter and select the article, "Digitizing 4-H and Home Demonstration."

Posted by Natalie at 09:26 AM

December 15, 2005

Edwards will oversee volunteer education

Dr. Harriett Edwards has accepted the tenure track position of assistant professor and Extension specialist for 4-H continuing volunteer education in the Department of 4-H Youth Development at North Carolina State University./a>.

Edwards has held a number of positions in state government, including volunteer recognition coordinator for the Governor's Office; executive assistant to the secretary, N.C. Department of Economic and Community Development; director of visitor services, N.C. Division of Travel and Tourism; community planner, N.C. Housing Finance Agency.

From 1993-96, Edwards was an associate 4-H Extension agent in Granville County. She also has served as a 4-H Extension associate in the department. She holds a bachelor's degree from Campbell University, as well as a master's degree in public administration and a doctorate in training and development from N.C. State.

"Harriet has been a valued member of the North Carolina 4-H program for many years and we are excited about her continuing advancement," said Marshall Stewart, 4-H youth development program leader and department head. "We celebrate her accomplishment and wish her well in her new role."

Edwards can be reached at 919.515.9548 or harriett_edwards@ncsu.edu.

Posted by Natalie at 10:58 AM

November 22, 2005

4-H lends helpful hands to heal hearts

Dr. Ort and daughter
State Extension Director Dr. Jon Ort sorts boxes with his daughter, Hunter, who is a 4-H'er. The two were on hand as boxes were loaded in Raleigh. (Photos by Becky Kirkland)

When Hurricanes Fran (’96), Floyd (’99) and Isabel (’03) devastated North Carolina, assistance poured in from 4-H’ers and Cooperative Extension professionals from around the country. And they did not forget the kindness.

So when the Gulf Coast was overwhelmed this fall, first by Hurricane Katrina and later by Rita, North Carolina Cooperative Extension and 4-H’ers joined forces to return the favor and help other 4-H’ers and Cooperative Extension employees through Operation “Helpful Hands, Healing Hearts.”

Shortly after Katrina hit, a North Carolina 4-H’er watching television news coverage saw a heart-breaking story, “Toys Among the Rubble.” As the news reporter pulled children’s toys from the rubble of a devastated home, he came across a dirt-covered 4-H bear. The story really hit home, reminding 4-H’ers of their connection to youth whose lives were turned upside down by the disaster.

State 4-H and advancement staff members formed a committee to consider relief efforts, and “Helpful Hands, Healing Hearts” was born. The 4-H bear photo became a symbol of the project and is posted on the Web site: http://www.nc4h.org/relief/ .

After phone calls to determine what was needed in Mississippi and Louisiana, the 4-H office sent out a plea for all counties to participate in the program in some way. The response from 4-H was overwhelming. On Oct. 8, trucks from N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service crossed the state, collecting 4-H donations from 20 sites.

4-H’ers filled more than 8,000 shoeboxes, Clover Packs with crayons, small toys and school supplies for 4-H’ers and Essentials Kits with personal hygiene items. Five tractor trailers from North Carolina delivered the goods to three sites in Mississippi and one in Louisiana. One truckload of supplies was delivered to Kiln, Miss., where schools were closed for nearly two months after Katrina.

In addition, the N.C. 4-H program sold green and white wristbands and collected donations for hurricane recovery, bringing in more than $21,000 to help 4-H and Extension families in the Gulf states.

It has been called the largest 4-H community service project in North Carolina since WWII when school children, including 4-H’ers, saved their pennies to purchase the USS Battleship North Carolina, now a tourist attraction in Wilmington.

“The Helpful Hands, Healing Hearts project demonstrates the power of the Extension and 4-H system in making things happen. One 4-H bear pulled out of the rubble in Mississippi resulted in more that 8,000 Clover Packs and Essential Kits being packed by 4-H'ers from every corner of North Carolina to send to our 4-H friends in need in Mississippi and Louisiana,” said State 4-H Program Leader Marshall Stewart. “This project demonstrates what the 4-H program is all about -- empowering our youth to take action and to lead in unique ways that make a real difference.”

A 4-H Club in Spearfish, South Dakota, joined the effort, sending a pallet of kits that 4-H’ers created. When the North Carolina trucks pulled into Louisiana, they arrived at the same time as relief supplies from Florida 4-H’ers.

The effort even attracted presidential attention. Former President Clinton, who is co-chairing the recovery effort with Former President George Bush, visited North Carolina in September and accepted Clover Packs and Essentials Kits from 4-H’ers. Clinton promised to deliver the items to the Gulf region on his next visit.

4-H Clubs across the state were asked to choose a project: creating Clover Packs or Essential Kits. The Clover Packs included: a letter of encouragement from a North Carolina 4-H'er, 4-H curriculum and activity sheets, crayons and coloring books, pens and pencils, paper, small books, flashlights with batteries and small games and toys.

The Essentials Kits included non-perishables such as diapers, infant formula, wipes, hand sanitizer, bottled water; hygiene items, including soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloths, laundry detergent; first aid items and craft and game supplies. All the items were stored in small boxes or bags and labeled for appropriate age and gender.

Oct. 8 was the big day, when 4-H’ers delivered their donations to 20 sites where tractor trailers picked them up. At 4-H headquarters in Raleigh, there was a celebratory atmosphere. 4-H’ers and state officers led a press conference. They were joined by Dr. Jon Ort, state director of the Cooperative Extension Service, and Congressman Bob Etheridge.

“Extension is proud of our staff, volunteers and youth,” Ort said. “You have loaned helpful hands to help heal hearts.”

“This is a great, great project, especially for young folks. You’re reaching out and helping folks you don’t know,” said Etheridge, who described himself as “one old 4-H’er.”

“That’s what America’s all about, and you’re showing that North Carolina really cares,” he said.

4-H'ers load truck
4-H'ers load trucks bound for Mississippi.

4-H’ers from nearby communities brought their contributions to be loaded onto the trucks. The Great Strides 4-H Club from Franklin County brought 191 boxes that club members created. They spent two weekends outside a local WalMart, handing out wish lists of items they needed for their boxes. Many customers purchased items and dropped them off as they left the store.

“There were a lot of kids our age (affected by Katrina),” said club member Jackie Dean, 14. “If I were in their situation, I would want help.”

Members of the Raleigh Rangers 4-H Club adopted hurricane relief as their major community service project for the year. In addition to packing over 100 boxes at their club meetings, 4-H’er Ben Rowland convinced his Principal Muriel Summers, a 4-H alumna from Anson County, and the students at Combs Elementary School to participate. During a press conference at the school, more than 650 shoe boxes were delivered by students and loaded into vehicles for transport to the tractor-trailer trucks.

At the Raleigh press conference, Raleigh Rangers Sam Robinson, 11; Ben Rowland, 11; and Meg Malone, 7; described their project to write letters and create 650 boxes for the effort. “I think the kids will feel really good and happy and glad there’s someone out there to give them something,” Meg said.

Sunday, October 9, three tractor trailers from North Carolina arrived at Mississippi State University’s Bost Conference Center, bringing with them more than 6,700 care boxes packed by North Carolina 4-H’ers. They also presented more than $10,000 raised for Mississippi Operation 4-H Relief.

A week later, trucks arrived at the Louisiana State University Ag Center. There 4-H administrators and agents were grateful for the effort. The boxes went to both 4-H’ers and other youth still struggling with hurricane recovery. One agent said 300 boxes would be taken to Ascension Parish where 300 young people evacuated after Katrina were still living in a shelter.

Trey Williams, executive director of the Louisiana 4-H Foundation, said the North Carolina project gave hope to youth in his state. “It really shows that even though we are miles apart and in different states that we do have a bond and that 4-H and the 4-H clover is that bond,” he said.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 03:17 PM

November 14, 2005

Columbus County second graders are nuts about pecans

Kids watch pecan demonstration
Pecan grower Rossie Ward demonstrates a neat way to pick up pecans without bending over. (Daniel Kim photos)

Horticulture Specialist Mike Parker held the attention of Columbus County second graders as he explained how pecans are grown and harvested. But for some of the students, it wasn’t so much what he said as how he said it.

“PEE-cans!” they shouted, correcting Parker’s pronunciation of “pi-KAHNS.” Parker, who’s not from around here, also threw them a curve by pronouncing “roots” as “rutts.”

In spite of those few slips of the tongue, the third annual pecan education event for second graders in Columbus County was a big hit. The county is the state’s leading pecan producer (that’s PEE-can), and many students reported having a tree in their yards.

Many counties host education events that focus on agriculture. What makes this one unusual is its focus on one commodity that is important to the local economy. Partners in the effort include North Carolina Cooperative Extension campus and county faculty, the N.C. Pecan Growers Association, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the N.C. Museum of Forestry in Whiteville, a satellite of Raleigh’s N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

Parker says the event gives the children an appreciation for agriculture in general and what it takes to grow pecans. “It’s part of their history, part of their heritage,” he says.

The two-day event, held at the Museum of Forestry, involves 1,100 second graders. Over two days, more than 50 classes attended the event. Classes rotate through five educational stations related to pecans. This year, the Museum of Natural Sciences provided a sixth education station from its popular fall “Bugfest” event.

Mike Parker talks pecans
N.C. State Horticulture Specialist Mike Parker tells a class about the pests that can invade pecans. Kids teased Parker about his pronunciation of 'pi-KAHNS.'

Parker and Extension Associate Allan Thornton, based in Sampson County, conducted a 30-minute overview of pecan production. Betty Thompson and Carolyn McCain, Columbus County family and consumer sciences agents, used pecans to talk with students about healthy snacks versus unhealthy, or “sometimes” snacks. Nuts, like pecans, can be a part of a healthy snack, Thompson said.

Thompson showed students how to make their own healthy snack at home with nuts, cereal, crackers and dried fruit. The Pecan Growers’ even provided funds so each student could taste a sample of a snack prepared with those ingredients.

Betty Ezzell of the Pecan Growers Association provided additional information on uses for pecan shells in filtration and crafts. She also described how wood from pecan trees is used for making furniture and crafts. She showed them a variety of small nutcrackers used to crack pecans at home.

Students also learned how pecans are cracked and shelled by commercial processors. At one of two outside stations, Columbus County pecan grower and processor Rossie Ward, demonstrated a high-speed machine that cracks and shells pecans one at a time. Ward processes 15,000 pounds of pecans for local growers. His business also sells a honey-roasted pecan, popular in retail outlets.

Don Ezzell, executive director of the Pecan Growers Association, demonstrated several tools for harvesting pecans without bending over, including a wire box on a pole that collects pecans as you press down on them. At Ezzell’s station, students also saw how a mechanical tree shaker clamps onto a tree and vibrates mature nuts right off the branches. Those that are not ready to fall will hang on a little longer, he said.

Bill Bunn of Bailey, president of the N.C. Pecan Growers Association, says that Columbus County growers produce about 100,000 pounds of pecans each year, more than any other county in the state. The popular education event falls two days before Whiteville’s Pecan Festival, held downtown.

Museum Director Harry Warren commented on how nice the weather has been for the event each year. “It’s clear that God’s favorite nut is a pecan,” he said.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 02:32 PM

November 08, 2005

Youth take honors at NJHA

photo of NJHA winners
NJHA youth from North Carolina took honors in national competition last month.

Eight teenagers from North Carolina participated in the 71st National Junior Horticultural Association Convention in Aurora, Ohio, Oct. 7 - 10. The theme of the convention "Horticulture Rocks" resonated throughout the four-day event.

All competitions were conducted on Saturday, leaving the remainder of the time for educational workshops and tours. Participants were able to choose from a broad list of workshops. The tours included a stop at Klyn Nursery, a wholesale nursery on the shores of Lake Erie with over 1,700 species and cultivars and Holden Arboretum. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Science Center were of great interest to the youth.

As the convention came to a close on the final evening and the awards were announced, the North Carolina delegation fared extremely well. Winners were as follows:

Beth Tevepaugh, Cabarrus County, Grand National Award, Illustrated Talk "The Food Pyramid Guide Fit For a Pharoah."
Lory McCraw, Henderson County, Grand National Award, Fruit and Vegetable Use, "Cooking With Color."
Kayla Mason, Cabarrus County, National Winner, Peanut Food Use, "Peanut Hotline."
Katie McCraw, Henderson County, National Winner, Artistic Arrangement, "Flowers: The Fruity Way."

Matt Gromlich, Anna Sauls, Sara Turner and Vanessa Weidrick of Pasquotank County, members of the N.C. Horticulture Team, competed in the 4-H Horticulture Contest. Only five teams place, and this team was only .6 from placing.

Young America Projects (youth 5 to 14 years of age may compete in two projects in a calendar year from Gardening, Plant Propagation, Experimental Horticulture, and Environmental Awareness. Their projects are sent in and they only attend if the convention is in their area.) Wake County youth received a total of 18 Young America Awards (four Grand National and 14 National Awards).

"This was a super group of young people," said leader Carol Norden of Wake County Cooperative Extension. "They excelled in their competitions, had a wonderful time, and they represented North Carolina extremely well! It was a great opportunity for me to coordinate the trip and to work with all of you to make this a very successful trip for our youth."

Questions about the program can be directed to Carol Norden, 919.847.5462 or cnorden@bellsouth.net .

Posted by Natalie at 01:26 PM

November 04, 2005

Inquiring minds: Extension project helps teachers build students’ understanding of science

Teachers at workshop
In Haywood County, teachers learn to improve science education through inquiry-based learning methods. (Daniel Kim photo)

“Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” It’s an ancient Chinese proverb that gets at the heart of 4-H’s learn-by-doing approach to helping young people gain knowledge and develop life skills. And it is the essence of the inquiry-based learning movement in education.

In Transylvania and Haywood counties, North Carolina Cooperative Extension educators are teaming with local school systems and an N.C. State University teaching outreach program to increase the use of inquiry in the county’s classrooms.

The ultimate goal: greater scientific literacy – and greater chances for economic development in remote counties that have lost major industries in recent years.

This spring, with seed grants from N.C. State University’s Office of Extension and Engagement, the Cooperative Extension centers in each county hosted workshops to help elementary and middle school teachers better understand the power of inquiry-based learning. Because of the interest and momentum gained during the workshops, the partners have made plans to bring the teachers back together for additional meetings so they can share the lesson plans they’ve developed and learn from each others’ insights and experiences.

The grant funding helped pay for supplies and for substitute teachers so the participants could attend the workshops. The workshops were led by Lindsay Moody, outreach coordinator for the Asheville satellite office of N.C. State University’s Science House.

The Science House helps K-12 teachers improve their students’ understanding of science and math through hands-on learning. Through the workshops, Moody’s goal was to help participating teachers get a handle on how they could “incorporate inquiry into their classrooms.”

“We didn’t want the teachers to think inquiry was something new we were asking them to do – they already have too many things to do –- but we wanted to show them how inquiry could be incorporated into things they were already doing,” she says. “We wanted to make it easy on them.”

Through the workshops, teachers learned classroom management tips and age-appropriate activities using common household items. They also discussed what makes inquiry-based learning truly different from traditional teaching and even hands-on activities. And they took away lessons, activities and materials they can use in their classrooms and share with other teachers in their schools.

Mary Arnaudin, a 4-H agent in Transylvania County and a former science teacher, explains that in inquiry-based learning, students gain knowledge and understanding through a process of questioning, testing and drawing conclusions from the answers to those questions.

Pointing to a definition from the book Doing Good Science in Middle School, she says it’s “a shift away from textbook-centered, direct instruction that emphasizes discrete factual knowledge claims and passive observation of science phenomena toward active, learner-centered, hands-on, minds-on investigations ... by students themselves.”

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s standard course of study recommends inquiry-based learning, as the National Science Teachers Association does in its science standards.

And research has shown that the approach increases test scores not only in science but also in reading, math and writing, Arnaudin says. That’s important because the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires science testing in elementary and middle schools by 2007.

“The school system is seeking ways to improve science teaching, but as a small rural county, Transylvania has long lacked the resources to offer adequate inquiry training for teachers,” she says.

The same is true in Haywood County, where County Extension Director Bill Skelton organized a Science House workshop for 23 teachers representing every elementary and middle school in the county.

“The Haywood School’s central office support staff is not large enough to provide a full-time science coordinator,” he says. “They rely on the generosity of outside agencies to partner with them to provide opportunities for students and teachers.”

Sandy Caldwell, elementary supervisor for Haywood County Schools, expressed appreciation for Extension kick-starting the process by securing a grant.

“Haywood County Schools is grateful to Bill Skelton for writing a grant proposal that allowed our teachers the ... opportunity to participate in an inquiry-based science workshop,” she says. “Lindsay Moody from the Science House did a wonderful job giving our teachers strategies and activities to teach science. Our teachers learned what differentiates true inquiry-based ‘experiential learning’ from hands-on activities. It is our wish that our students will become as excited learning about science as their teachers were learning these new strategies.”

One of the workshops’ major objectives was to help connect elementary and middle school science teachers to resources available through The Science House, Cooperative Extension and other N.C. State University programs, as well as through area public forests and parks and other agencies.

The workshops also served to help build a network among teachers so that they can help each other through an important transition in science education.

Ron Rudd, the director of curriculum and instruction for the Transylvania County Public Schools, said that network-building was among the greatest benefits of the workshops.

“Teachers are out there on an island, and they don’t have a lot of opportunity to interact,” he said. “They really appreciated being able to get out of the building and getting to be together.”

In their evaluations, teachers praised the workshops, saying they’d given them new ideas for presenting “science in a more meaningful way to encourage student involvement,” for “increasing knowledge and interest in science,” and for promoting “high student success” and improving students’ analytical skills.

Based on how warmly the project has been received, Arnaudin sees the potential for it to be a springboard for similar partnerships across the state.

“Inquiry-based learning incorporates a learning cycle that is very much like 4-H’s learn-by-doing experiential learning model. 4-H agents who bring science school-enrichment programs to classrooms have the potential to be model presenters of inquiry-based teaching,” she says. “And students who learn through inquiry-based methods gain many of the same life skills 4-H programs promote – team work, decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, planning and organizing, keeping records, communication and cooperation.”

Especially in remote rural counties with limited professional development resources available for teachers, such collaboration could have a big impact, she says.

Rudd agrees.

“The timing was perfect, with the changing in instructional focus of the science curriculum and the science testing that is to come.

“The delivery of the workshop was excellent,” he adds. “And the followup and the partnerships built -– that’s perhaps the most important thing that has come out of this project.”

Thanks to Cooperative Extension’s initiative, teachers who participated “now know they have resources among themselves and through The Science House to make this transition. ...

“It’s been awesome.”

-- Dee Shore

Posted by deeshore at 04:29 PM

October 27, 2005

4-H agent raises champion state pumpkins

Simmons with prize pumpkin
4-H Agent Wallace Simmons poses at the N.C. State Fair with his champion pumpkin, weighing in at 854 lbs. (Mark Dearmon photo)

The pumpkin patch at Wallace Simmons’ Canton home only has a few pumpkins, but he keeps it that way on purpose. Simmons’ pumpkins weigh from about 500 to 850 lbs., and he has grown North Carolina’s largest pumpkin for the past five years.

A 4-H agent from Haywood County, Simmons won first place at the State Fair this year with a whopping 854-pound pumpkin. It is still not the largest ever grown in the state – that one weighed 860 lbs., and Simmons grew it as well.

Even North Carolina’s largest pumpkins don’t stand a chance in international competition. The longer daylight and cooler nights of more northern climates provide the best growing conditions. This year’s world champion, grown in Pennsylvania, tipped the scales at 1,469 lbs., enough to feed pumpkin pie to a small rural town.

Raising a giant pumpkin is no small feat, especially for a 4-H agent with a busy summer schedule of camp, 4-H Congress and activity days. When he’s away, Simmons relies on his family to care for the burgeoning pumpkins. “It’s hard to get them this big without rotting. You have to treat them like a baby the whole summer,” Simmons said.

Simmons got started growing big pumpkins when he offered to bring one from Haywood County to the State Fair for a local grower. After the fair, he dumped the pumpkin in his compost pile, which yielded a 375-pound volunteer pumpkin the next year. Simmons was hooked. At that time, the state record for pumpkins was about 600 lbs., a record that Simmons has since smashed.

Simmons says there are three key factors to growing a large pumpkin: good seed, good soil and good luck. Water management is also important, and Simmons says his water bill during pumpkin season will increase by $20 to $120 per month.

“You have to manage the water carefully or your pumpkin will split. Then your pumpkin will be gone for the year,” he said.

Canton was struck in fall 2004 by two major hurricanes that dumped 12.5 inches of rain. The roots of Simmons’ pumpkin vines drowned, and the largest pumpkin stopped growing at 852 pounds.

Simmons starts seeds in a greenhouse in May and transplants them at the perimeter of his yard after the treat of frost is past. As he identifies the most promising pumpkins on each vine, he removes others to allow all the plant’s energy and nutrition to flow to the giant-pumpkins-to-be.

Once the pumpkins get large, Simmons keeps them covered because the sun can harden the skim and may cause cracking before the pumpkin reaches it’s full size. Other threats to pumpkin health are insect and rodent damage, disease and vine damage.

Moving the 850-pound pumpkins takes power. With a lifting tarp, eight to 10 people can lift one. Simmons uses a modified engine hoister to lift his pumpkins on a pallet into the back of his pickup truck.

After the State Fair, Simmons delivers his prize pumpkin to a buyer in Winston-Salem who carves it into a giant jack-o-lantern for a Halloween party. The buyer cleans and saves the pumpkin seeds so Simmons will have a start for next year

Simmons shares his skill with other would-be large pumpkin growers, sharing lessons on seed germination with Haywood school children. He will send seed free to those who request it and provide a stamped, addressed bubble pack for shipping.

And he shares the experience with his 4-H’ers. “I tell my 4-H’ers to do their very best in everything they do, just as I give this (raising pumpkins) my very best,” he says.

--Natalie Hampton

Posted by Natalie at 02:05 PM

September 22, 2005

Karen DeBord to be interviewed on 'Science Friday'

Dr. Karen DeBord, child development specialist in N.C. State University's Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, will be interviewed on National Public Radio's 'Science Friday' Sept. 23. DeBord will discuss child stress related to Hurricane Katrina. The show airs on NPR stations from 2-4 p.m. For more information, or to listen on the Web, visit sciencefriday.com.

Posted by Natalie at 09:40 AM

September 21, 2005

4-H exchange program forges friendships across continents

Photo of participants in Japan exchange
Manami Niwa, Pam Drews and Katy Drews share pizza - and a few laughs - at the going-away party. (Becky Kirkland photos)

Remember what it was like to be 13? Well, imagine having the courage at that age to travel several thousand miles from home – by yourself- and live in a strange country for a month.

That’s what 34 Japanese students, ages 12 to 16, did in July and August, taking up residence with families across North Carolina as part of the 4-H Summer Inbound Program.

By the end of their experience, most of these students had been unofficially “adopted” by their host families.

“We now have a third daughter,” said Wes Deal of Granite Falls, who with wife Lisa and daughters Autumn, 14, and Moranna, 13 months, hosted Yuko Nakazawa, 13, from Gifu, Japan. This was the Deal family’s first year in the Summer Inbound Program, and they’re hooked.

One of Yuko’s life-long dreams became a reality on the Deal family farm, where she learned to ride a horse. In fact, she spent every day with the family’s 12 horses, mastering her riding and learning to care for the animals. The Deals wanted Yuko simply to experience their daily life, but they also treated her to special outings to a water park and baseball game. Yuko also accompanied Autumn Deal throughout her experience in the Miss Teen North Carolina pageant.

“Yuko got to be a country girl and a city girl at the same time, mucking out the stalls and going to the Miss Teen North Carolina pageant,” said Lisa Deal. “She was a big help at our 4-H horse camp, and by the end, she was riding every day.”

North Carolina 4-H has been involved in the Summer Inbound Program since 1990 through a partnership with the LABO organization in Japan. LABO provides an integrated program of youth development, language learning, and cultural exploration for Japanese children and their families. Just as North Carolina 4-Her’s belong to groups in their counties, Japanese children participate in LABO clubs.

Each summer nearly 30 Japanese students and a handful of chaperones live with North Carolina families for four weeks, coinciding with the summer break of the Japanese school year.

According to Carolyn Langley, Randolph County Extension Director and State 4-H International Exchange Coordinator, the goal of the program is to provide a “global education” to the state’s 4-H’ers, helping them learn about and develop appreciation for new cultures.

Langley and her team do their best to pair each Japanese student with a North Carolina child who has similar interests. The rules are simple: the Japanese student must be within two years of age and the same sex as at least one child in the North Carolina host family. Langley seems to have a knack for creating good matches that open doors to new learning experiences, lasting friendships, and ultimately, profound respect for different cultures.

“We live in a global society and need to have understanding, appreciation and respect for other cultures,” Langley says. “The month-long program is a great opportunity for children here to have a glimpse into another culture.”

For the Thomas family of Asheboro, hosting Japanese student Megumi Funahashi, 13, of Nisshin, revealed that typical teenage behavior is universal. “Megumi loves two things – eating and sleeping,” says 15-year-old Tayler with a smile. “Just like me!”

Along with sister Bailey, 5, and parents Christy and Brett Thomas, Tayler enjoyed her first experience hosting a student from Japan. The family treated Megumi to “our typical summer … just condensed,” said Christy. Activities included movies, boating, horseback riding, bowling, ice-skating, youth group and church. Megumi taught the family Kanji, a Japanese writing style, and brought summer kimonos for Tayler, her mom and sister.

“She showed us a lot about her culture,” said Brett Thomas. “Everyday things are so different. We realized that we take a lot for granted.”

When asked what she enjoyed most about her experience with the Thomas family, Megumi exclaimed, “everything!”

Photo of Manami Niwa
Megumi Funahashi enjoys a final evening with the Thomas family during the going-away celebration hosted by 4-H for the Japanese exchange students.

Pam and Gordon Drews and their family are no strangers to the 4-H Summer Inbound Program – they’ve participated for nearly eight years. The Drews’ sons, David, 18, and Matthew, 16, have enjoyed hosting a variety of students from Japan. This year was their sister Katy’s turn.

Despite the language barrier, Katy, 11, and exchange student Manami Niwa, 12, hit it off immediately. They’d “chatter away” in the back seat of the family van, Pam says, forming an instant friendship. Although Manami’s experience got off to a bit of a rocky start, she had a wonderful time in Stoneville with the Drews family.

“For the first few days of her visit, I thought we were going to have an international scene,” jokes Pam. “She wouldn’t eat anything!” It turns out that Manami, from Anjo, Japan, was suffering from a bad case of jet lag, but after 12 hours of solid sleep, she made a full recovery. “This morning, she ate five waffles!” Pam said with a laugh. “We can’t fill her up!”

For Manami, life with the Drews family was nothing short of an adventure. They took her to 4-H camp, church, a couple of family weddings, Girl Scout meetings and the YMCA. She also experienced North Carolina’s diverse geography during outings to Morehead City and Linville Gorge. Manami seemed to flourish in the classroom, Pam said, delivering presentations on origami and calligraphy to Pam’s kindergartners. She also read from a picture book that she’d created in Japan, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” while Katy accompanied with a reading in English.

Although the Drews are seasoned veterans of the exchange program, they gain new perspective on Japanese culture and traditions each time they host a new student. Manami prepared for them a special meal of sesame noodles with fish sauce, made with ingredients from her hometown. She also brought a vivid pink kimono for Katy and taught her how to wear it. Each member of the family received a piece of parchment with their individual names printed in Manami’s flawless calligraphy. Beyond these material gifts, Pam says, was the gift of seeing another culture through new eyes.

“My children are experiencing a different culture without having to go to Japan,” she says. “Katy has even begun to speak some Japanese.”

To prepare for Manami’s arrival, the Drews family attended several orientation sessions hosted by Langley and the 4-H program. They also read through a handbook provided by LABO that offers vocabulary and phrase translations, as well as tips on Japanese culture and customs. Most helpful of all, Pam says, was actually having the opportunity to visit Japan last summer and experience the culture first hand. The Drews stayed with the family of the first Japanese student they had hosted, demonstrating the unique potential of this program to create lasting bonds between families who live continents apart.

The Drews family became immersed in the culture of Japan, soaking up the country’s history, diverse geography, unique architecture, and of course, its distinctive cuisine. Trying to adapt to the Japanese lifestyle revealed to Pam and her family how jarring the experience can be for the Japanese students they host in North Carolina.

“Everything is so different in Japan – even the light poles are different,” Pam says. “After [eating Japanese food] for a while, McDonald’s was the best thing I’d ever seen. It made me realize how much our exchange students must miss their home food. So, we made a point to take Manami to Japanese restaurants every week.”

Langley explains that the host families aren’t expected to plan special activities, but rather, to show the Japanese students what daily life is like in North Carolina. “Take them to church, to the grocery … treat them as part of the family,” she says.

The financial commitment is minimal – meals and transportation to and from the airport – but according to the families who participate, the benefits are immeasurable. And, Langley adds, the experience for the Japanese students is unforgettable.

“First and foremost, we want them to have had a quality experience … to have bonded with their families and formed relationships with people in the U.S. who care about them,” she says. “It’s amazing how quickly that happens.”

--Suzanne Stanard

For more information about the month-long 4-H Summer Inbound Program and other international exchange opportunities, please visit www.nc4h.org.

Posted by Suzanne at 08:26 AM

September 16, 2005

For some kids, school was never out

Sponge5104a.jpg Raisin-chew585a.jpg dissectflow056a.jpg
About 16 Lee County youngsters spent part of their summer holiday having fun while learning more about plants and insects by participating in the 4-H Summer Fun program at the Lee County Cooperative Extension Center.

Using activities from the Junior Master Gardener curriculum, Sarah Ivy, Extension horticulture agent, and Bill Stone, 4-H and youth development agent, impressed upon the kids that much of what we use, such as clothing, as well as what we eat, comes from plants. The group learned that even though hamburgers come from a cow, the animal eats grass to manufacture protein. Ivy used other activities to teach kids plant parts, seed science, flower dissections, plant needs and insect and plant interactions. After learning insect mouthparts, kids took an outdoor survey at the Extension center to find insect damage to plants. Terri Sharpe, 4-H program assistant, helped with the classes.

--Art Latham

Left, from top:

Summer Fun participants demonstrate the ‘sponging’ mouthpart of insects like a fly by using a sponge to ‘eat’ sugar from a plate.

By picking up raisins with their fingers, participants demonstrated the ‘chewing’ mouthparts of insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars.

Participants learned the function and parts of a flower through a flower dissection lab.
(Art Latham photos)

Posted by Art at 03:57 PM

September 06, 2005

4-H'ers asked to help peers hit by Katrina

Making landfall on the morning of Aug. 29, Hurricane Katrina left a path of destruction that will be felt by millions for years to come. With no power, no water, no food and the remaining floodwaters, the affected communities in the Gulf Coast states face a tough recovery.

Our 4-H friends across the country helped us during our time of need during the most recent descructive hurricanes: Floyd, Fran and Isabel. 4-H Clubs, 4-H'ers, individuals, volunteers and county agents contributed the much needed essential supplies including cash donations, to North Carolina during our time of need. Supplies and money from our 4-H family across the country were sent directly to our families in need.

North Carolina 4-H is asking our state's 4-H'ers to help fellow 4-H families in the Gulf states by agreeing to do one service project in your community. Our supplies and money will be sent directly to 4-H and Cooperative Extension families in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Let's help the many Extension and 4-H families who have lost their homes and or personal belongings. Please go to the Web site listed below to see how you can assist, and be aware that there is a deadline for beginning these efforts. We are working on the specifics of the pick-up locations that you will read about. Details will follow as soon as we can get the truck routes planned and after I hear back from those who will participate. Let's make it 100 percent participation.


The site can be found by going to NC 4-H's home page:
http://www.nc4h.org .

Shannon McCollum

Posted by Natalie at 01:49 PM

August 25, 2005

Electric Congress

Electric Congress

BUSY DELEGATES –- Each summer, just before 4-H’s annual Congress in Raleigh, the state’s three energy companies host the 4-H Electric Congress in either western, Piedmont or eastern North Carolina. Attendees take home not only awards and other prizes for various energy-related achievements, but information they gain in several workshops, which they’ll share with their home 4-H clubs. Here, at this year's Electric Congress in June at Western Carolina University, 4-H’ers Melissa Corey of Beaufort County and Sam Nzewi of Forsyth County work on their 2005 projects: building a magnetism-driven motor, a basic miniature turbine. (Art Latham Photo)

Posted by Art at 10:25 AM

August 22, 2005

Millstone reunion unites former campers

three ladies sitting
Three veteran 4-H'ers and Millstone campers recall good times at camp. They include Carolyn Smith Ivey, left, Martha Cashion Archer and Lucille Mayes Carter, all of whom were 4-H Honor Club members. (Art Latham photo)

The muggy June day at Millstone 4-H Camp honoring camp benefactors and veterans Fred and Dot Wagoner was filled with fellowship and good food.

And the day ended with the establishment and partial funding of an endowment fund in the Wagoners’ name to help pay for repairs and renovations for the venerable, non-air-conditioned camp in the piney woods east of Ellerbe.

The Wagoners earlier had been the first 4-H Honor Club members to accept the challenge of establishing 4-H Awards Program endowments. They endowed the 4-H Forestry Cumulative Record and annually fund the 4-H Forestry trip to National Congress. In 2004, they added to the endowment to provide for the forestry trip in perpetuity.

The $15,000 Millstone endowment, now funded to $13,194.25 through donations from friends and 4-H “family,” is another first: the first endowment dedicated to renovation and repairs for North Carolina 4-H camps.

Such unique endowments are critically important to 4-H camps’ continued growth and success, since camps receive no other repair and renovation funding, says Sharon Rowland, N.C. 4-H Development Fund executive director.

“This is a great day for our North Carolina 4-H camps,” said Larry Hancock during the alumni day ceremonies. “Not only are we honoring Fred and Dot Wagoner, but we also are laying foundations for significant improvements at the 4-H camps they loved so much.” Hancock holds Fred Wagoner’s original position as state 4-H camping specialist

Speakers during the day’s events included Jim Harrill, son of L.R. Harrill, North Carolina’s first state 4-H leader; George Joyner, former Swannanoa 4-H Camp director; and Carol Ann Tucker, former Mitchell 4-H Camp staffer.

The sticky weather and the weekend’s events pointed out the need for camp renovation. For instance, while everyone seemed to have a fine time, after the steamy day ended with volleyball, basketball and other outdoor sports, camp alums and family trooped indoors to the old wood-floored, screened, but not air-conditioned recreation hall.

A dress from an old pattern and other displays greeted former campers at the silent auction in the old recreation hall, while basketball games continued outside. (Art Latham photo)

There they viewed silent auction items and a camp memorabilia exhibit and danced. They then retired for their second night into the screened, but non-air-conditioned wooden cabins, some in place since 1939.

The Wagoners, as veteran 4-H’ers and 4-H boosters, understand the problems. The couple met at 4-H Club Week, now 4-H Congress.

In 1940, Fred Wagoner, an outstanding 4-H Club member in his native Guilford County, was tapped into the North Carolina 4-H Honor Club, the highest honor then afforded to a club member. He represented 4-H at National 4-H Club Congress and later played football for his alma mater, State College (now North Carolina State University).

Wagoner began 4-H work in 1949 in Edgecombe County and was quickly moved to the state 4-H office. As part of his lifelong passion for 4-H camps, he reopened Mitchell 4-H Camp, and was Millstone’s director while also working with his district’s county agents as a camps specialist.

While an Alamance County 4-H’er, Dot was named State Health Queen and state clothing winner.

“Dot could easily be named the ‘First Lady of 4-H Camping in North Carolina’ for she was never far behind Fred in his camping endeavors,” said Jim Clark, the day’s master of ceremonies and author of Clover All Over, a history of 4-H in North Carolina. “She has always been involved in 4-H Honor Club as a supporting spouse and often assisted with the Collegiate 4-H Club at State College.”

Since Fred’s 1974 retirement, the couple have been growing trees at their Fraser Knoll Christmas Tree Farm in Ashe County.

Editorial disclaimer: The writer admits to attacks of nostalgia connected with Camp Millstone, as he is an alum.

--Art Latham

Posted by Art at 02:46 PM

July 28, 2005

Wacky Water Day a cool relief

Hosted by Craven County 4-H Agent Tammy Boyd, with Joan Hobbes providing instruction, Wacky Water Day kept 4-H'ers cool, while they also learned how to conserve water.
Continue reading about Wacky Water Day in the New Bern Sun Journal

Posted by Dave at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

Service to military youth is 4-H Congress focus

4-H'ers inducted into the Honor Club form a candlelit clover during a traditional 4-H Congress ceremony

Serving the state’s military youth will be the theme of State 4-H Congress, July 18-22 at North Carolina State University and other Raleigh locations.

The annual congress will attract roughly 800 4-H club members, adult volunteers and 4-H agents with North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

During the five-day event, delegates will participate in competition, workshops, assemblies, recreation, fellowship and service to the community. The theme of this year’s congress is “Operation 4-H: Civic Responsibility.” Service activities during congress will focus on serving the youth from the state’s military families, particularly those with parents deployed overseas.

On Wednesday, July 20, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 4-H’ers will engage in service activities. One activity will involve assembling 800 Hero Packs: backpacks that will be filled with special items for military youth across the state. The activity is part of a larger 4-H effort, Operation Military Kids, designed to reach North Carolina youth whose families are serving in the military.

Hero Packs will be assembled at McKimmon Center. Some 4-H’ers will be involved in Hands to Service activities at local agencies and nonprofits.

Other 4-H Congress events:

Monday, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Opening Assembly, Kerr Scott Building, State Fairgrounds The annual 4-H Honor Club tapping ceremony takes place during the opening assembly. The top half of 1 percent of the state’s 4-H’ers are admitted to the Honor Club each year. 4-H’ers will also demonstrate their skill at sewing and modeling clothing during Fashion Revue, part of the opening assembly.

Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Presentation Contests, Athens Drive High School, Raleigh Delegates will participate in competition designed to demonstrate their knowledge of subjects ranging from landscaping to sewing to wildlife. State winners, many of whom go on to compete in regional or national contests, will be named in roughly 40 subject matter categories. Delegates not involved in competition will attend workshops on a variety of topics.

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Hands to Service activities 4-H'ers will work with local non-profits and human service agencies. A large group will assemble “Hero Packs” for military youth at McKimmon Center.

Thursday, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Town Hall Meeting State Revenue Secretary E. Norris Tolson will host the meeting focusing on how youth can practice citizenship in their communities.

Delegates will leave campus Friday.

The 4-H program is conducted by North Carolina Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. More than 200,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 27,000 adult and youth volunteers.

Posted by deeshore at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

Henderson 4-H'ers host Sandburg house visit

Girl with goat

On June 15, Henderson County 4-H invited 4-Her's in the West District to visit the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. Fifty-seven youth from several counties toured the Sandburg Home and enjoyed a performance of The World of Carl Sandburg by the Flat Rock Playhouse Apprentices. The children learned about Mrs. Sandburg's dairy goats from 4-H volunteers. Flat Rock's Exceptional Sandburg Helpers (FRESH) gave barn tours, as well as cheese-making and goat-showing demonstrations.

Posted by Natalie at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

'Mini-Society' teaches youth entrepreneurial skills

Yolanda Black's after-school interests run pretty standard for an 11-year old. Parties, dances and trips to the movie theater top the list. (Story from The Reidsville Review)

Continue reading 'On their own'

Posted by Natalie at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2005

Library gets grant to create 4-H and home demonstration history site

The NCSU Libraries' Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) recently won a grant to create a resource-based research and educational Web site entitled "'Green ‘N’ Growing': The History of Home Demonstration and 4-H Youth Development in North Carolina." The goal is to enable teaching, learning, and research by providing access to primary resource materials. Read more in the NCSU Libraries News story.

Posted by deeshore at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)