Expanding 4-H program inspires local youth

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

North Carolina Cooperative Extension is a strategic partnership between NC State and NC A&T State Universities in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, the State of North Carolina and local governments. Local Cooperative Extension offices exist in all 100 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. NC Cooperative Extension – Stanly County Center is at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center.

Mandy-Smith Thompson

4-H is the Cooperative Extension program that serves young people, and in Stanly County the program aims to reach and serve all 9,700 of the county’s 5- to 18-year-olds.

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States. As the youth outreach program of the nation’s land-grant universities, 4-H is often the first experience many youth have with higher education.

4-H empowers young people to reach their full potential while working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Its mission is to provide meaningful opportunities for youth 5-18 years of age
NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, political beliefs, family and marital status, sex, age, veteran status, sexual identity, sexual orientation, genetic information or disability.

Whether they live in cities, suburban neighborhoods, small towns, or farms, 4-H welcomes all youth between the ages of 5 and 18. 4-H considers each child their age on Jan. 1 of the year for the entire calendar year. For example, a child who is 5 years old on Jan. 1 with a Jan. 10 birthday is considered 5 for the entire calendar year for 4-H purposes. Members join 4-H because it’s fun and provides opportunities to meet, work, and play with friends, to learn and do interesting things, and to develop leadership skills. They enjoy being part of 4-H clubs, doing projects in which they learn more about their interests, serving in leadership roles, attending summer camp and more.

4-H is committed to securing opportunity for all youth, with a policy of open membership and non-discriminatory treatment. Everybody belongs in 4-H.

Stanly County 4-H program is poised to expand it’s reach in 2024 with at least five new clubs around the county, with varying focus areas including Meteorology, Cooking, General Interest, Agriculture and Nature & Wildlife. The best 4-H programs have an army of trained and dedicated adult volunteers, and Stanly County youth deserve the best. The impact a caring, trusted adult can have on a young person cannot be overestimated.

4-H volunteers serve young people directly as well as behind the scenes through club leadership, program leadership and administrative services like scheduling activities and organizing supplies. Watching young people step outside of their comfort zones and develop in positive ways knowing you had a hand in it is one of the best parts of serving your community as a 4-H volunteer.

To learn more about the Stanly County 4-H program and volunteer opportunities, visit stanly.ces.ncsu.edu or call our office at 704-983-3987. To enroll your child, visit 4honline.com.

Mandy Smith-Thompson is the extension agent for 4-H Youth Development with the N.C. Cooperative Extension.