Elizabethtown, NC — The anticipation is over for National 4-H Week, and the excitement is here. This week millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating everything 4-H.
Bladen County 4-H will observe National 4-H Week this year by showcasing the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people, and will highlight the remarkable 4-H youth in our community who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them.
The theme of this year’s National 4-H Week is Inspire Kids to Do, which highlights how 4-H encourages kids to take part in hands-on learning experiences in areas such as health, science, agriculture and civic engagement. The positive environment provided by 4-H volunteers and staff ensures that kids in every county and parish in the country ̶ from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities ̶ are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles and are empowered with the skills to lead in life and career.
Bladen County 4-Hers kicked off this week-long celebration with the Board of Bladen County Commissioners. The commissioners presented the official proclamation to the local youth members and officers at their October 7th meeting.
You will also see our 4-H members helping to sell 4-H clovers at the local Tractor Supply store on October 9 through 20th to raise money for local scholarships and programs. In addition, 4-H members, volunteers, and friends will be spreading awareness about 4-H via social media this week using highlighting these messages #InspireKidstoDo and #National4HWeek.
“As I begin my eighth year as our local 4-H Agent in Bladen County, I am excited about the continued growth in programs, partnerships, and activities for Bladen County 4-H,” said Stacie Kinlaw, 4-H agent. “We continue to focus our programming efforts toward improving health and nutrition through education and opportunity and increasing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for Bladen County’s youth as a strategy to prepare them for careers beyond high school. This year we increased the offerings of FREE Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities to many communities in our county serving more than fifty NEW 4-H participants using Innovative Community funds from NC A&T State University. We started our first Juntos 4-H program at both high schools with our Latino parents and youth. We even sent two of our youth and one adult volunteer to space – space camp that is!!! In addition, we are growing teen leaders on the Pathway to CS (computer science) through a partnership with NC A&T State University, Google, and National 4-H Council. Our program is filled with great opportunities for youth and I have great expectations for our success.”
Bladen County 4-H programming continues to grow and expand programs and partnerships in our community. Last year, our program reached more than 1600 of the youth ages 5 to 18 in our county. We have maintained our existing clubs; while initiating new programs and projects that involve the non-traditional 4-H member.
4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H provides youth empowers them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in their free time.
In Bladen County more than 150 4-H youth, around 1500 other youth, and at least 100 volunteers from the community are involved in 4H. To find out what is going on in our local 4-H programs, please check us out on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BladenCounty4H or call or email our local 4-H agent at Stacie_kinlaw@ncsu.edu or (910) 862-4591.
One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week every year is 4-H National Youth Science Day, which sees hundreds of thousands of youth across the nation taking part in the world’s largest youth-led STEM challenge. The exciting theme for this year’s challenge is Game Changers, which will run throughout October. Developed by Google and West Virginia University Extension Service, Game Changers will teach kids coding skills through fun exercises including gaming, puzzles and physical activity.
To learn more about how you can get involved, visit http://www.4-h.org/.
4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).