Extension@YourService: Summer Is Fun With 4-H! 

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Summer vacation is a wonderful time for our Richmond County kids. Students are excited to be out of school and take on the heat with days at the pool or beach, taking it easy in the AC or visiting with friends and family, just to name a few. Several decided to spend some of their free time with various 4-H activities such as camping at Millstone 4-H Camp and Betsy Jeff Penn 4-H Educational Center, State Presentations and Congress in Raleigh, and Summer Fun Classes at the NC Cooperative Extension Office.

4-H Summer Fun Classes kicked off with a week of arts and crafts. 4-H’ers were able to paint, draw, color, design, and create several different types of art. We visited STARworks, a glass blowing business in Star, NC and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC. We also received a painting lesson from Richmond County’s own, Susan Perkins.

We stirred up the second week of 4-H Summer Fun with a cooking class that focused on reading recipes, grocery shopping, and of course, cooking! We learned about healthy eating choices and took our skills to the kitchen and made breakfasts, smoothies, a vegetable stir fry, and baked alternatives to chicken nuggets and fries. Thanks to some of our volunteers, we learned knife skills and visited the Sandhills AG Innovation Center in Ellerbe to learn proper food handling and processing skills under the supervision of Davon Goodwin. We ended this busy week cooking a spaghetti lunch for campers and their favorite guests.

“Birds, Bees and Pollinators Please”, a week devoted to learning about honey bees, native bees, and other pollinators in our area kept campers busy with several hands-on activities. Members from the Richmond County Beekeepers Association played a big part in teaching students about bees, how they make honey and their valuable ability to pollinate. We built bird houses, planted our own pollinator gardens, and made lip balm from beeswax. We took a field trip to Hitchcock Creek, where we listened to and identified several types of birds and butterflies with expert bird watcher, Terry Sharpe. Students also visited the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge and learned about native and migratory birds that call this sanctuary their home.

Our final week of class was “sew” much fun! Led by sewing instructor, Valeria Lunceford, students learned the basics of sewing, how to use sewing machines, how to thread a needle, and pin fabrics together. They were also able to practice their math skills through measuring and making straight lines. Students made pillows and designed shirts but their greatest accomplishment was making their very own quilt from start to finish.

Though summer is coming to an end, 4-H activities never stop! The 4-H Farm Credit Showmanship Circuit is in full swing. Several members from our Richmond County 4-H Livestock Club are practicing for and participating in competitions where they get to show off their showmanship skills and market animals. The Richmond County 4-H Goat Show will be held Saturday, September 8 at 1:00 p.m. at the Dale Dewitt Farm in Ellerbe. The show is open to the public and free to attend. 4-H clubs are another great way to get involved. Clubs generally meet once a month and participate in service projects and field trips throughout the year. Joining is free and easy!

For year round fun and more information about 4-H, call 910-997-8255. When you are ready to join, visit https://nc.4honline.com. For the latest information and pictures, check out the Richmond County 4-H Facebook page at RichmondCounty4H. We would love you to be a part of our clover family!

(This article will be printed in the weekend edition of the Richmond County Daily Journal.)

Catherine Shelley is currently serving as CYFAR, Regional STEM Education Coordinator for Richmond and surrounding counties, but will assume the roll of Richmond County 4-H and Youth Development agent beginning September 4, 2018. You may e-mail Catherine at cgshelle@ncsu.edu, or visit her office at 123 Caroline Street in Rockingham, NC.