Union County 4-H Inspires Kids to Do Great Things

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
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Be bold.
Gain new experiences.
Build a raised garden.
Become more involved in my community, state, and country.
Dream Big.
Be open to all people.
Become inspired.
Try new things.
Become outgoing.
Volunteer more.
Get involved.
Go outside of my comfort zone.
Do better. Be better.

4-H STEAM Camp

This list goes on of Union County 4-Hers sharing what 4-H has inspired each of them to do. Union County 4-H has more than 100 years of experience inspiring youth in the county to become productive leaders and citizens with more than 300 club members and serving more than 6,000 Union County youth each year through special interest projects in the community, school enrichment, and summer camp program.

On February 8, Union County 4-H club members were recognized for their quality work within the past year at the annual Achievement Night. This year’s theme was Union County 4-H Inspires. Youth between the ages of five to eighteen years old received awards for project areas ranging from agriculture-related projects such as horse, livestock, and poultry to shooting sports, STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math), and talent.

Union County Outstanding Junior 4-H member Maggie Jo White for 2018 shared this year, she learned about forensics which is a growing interest for her. She was so intrigued by her science project that she submitted it for her project record book. A project record book is a goal setting scrapbook for youth to set goals for their 4-H year, document their accomplishments, and write about their overall 4-H experience for the year.

“For my project record book, we started with a crime scene. We started collecting evidence. We did fingerprints, maggots, blood, and hair samples (to solve the crime),” White, 11, said.

Through projects like forensics or poultry and the newly discovered life skills, youth become inspired to accomplish so much more in life.

“4-H inspired me to try new things and be a leader,” White said. “The next thing, I want to do with 4-H is a different event. I really want to expand to try something new.”

Samantha Franze, the 2018 Outstanding Senior 4-H member, started 4-H as a teenager. The now 16-years-old has participated in different projects available to older youth from NC 4-H Congress, Teen Retreat, serving as an officer on the county’s Teen Council and Counselor-in-Training program.

Franze said, “My two favorite things that I have done in 4-H this year is 4-H Congress and being a Counselor-in-Training (CIT). I love working with younger kids and they have given me the opportunity to be a better person in general.”

“4-H has inspired me to do so many things (including) coming out of my shell. 4-H has really provided me the opportunity to become a better public speaker and better socializer,” she continued.

4-H produces better leaders of tomorrow. As a first-time camper going to Millstone 4-H Center, youth are greeted by a quote from L.R. Harrill who was the first State 4-H Club Leader in North Carolina, which says, “You will leave this place a different person. We hope you will be a better person.” The 4-H program in Union County does just that.

4-H alumni members use the skills learned throughout the program and apply those important life skills as well as the willingness to continue to serve in the local 4-H program as volunteers, supporters, or dancing in this year’s 10th Dancin’ in the Clover competition on March 16 at the Union County Agricultural Center.

To learn more about Union County 4-H contact, Crystal Starkes, the Union County 4-H Agent at crystal_starkes@ncsu.edu or 704.283.3735.

N.C. Cooperative Extension in Union County provides information you can trust to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future. Extension specializes in agriculture, 4-H youth development, communities, food and nutrition, and the environment. To learn more about our programs, please visit the Union County website.