As summer winds down and we look towards another school year, there are 4-H’ers all across the nation that have made fond new memories to reflect upon. That thought alone may stump some of you readers. We get it all the time: “I didn’t know 4-H still existed!” and from others: “I forgot to sign my kids up for 4-H Summer Camp! I guess we’ll have to wait until next year.”
Well, yes and no. Yes, 4-H is still alive and well, even here in Newberry. And no, you don’t have to wait until next summer to sign your kids up!
Turning ideas into action, 4-H youth, ages 5-19, are becoming everyday heroes who persevere through challenges to leave lasting, positive impacts on their communities. Through the work of caring mentors and volunteers, S.C. 4-H – a positive youth development organization tied to Clemson University – is cultivating a growing number of America’s youth to lead us. Newberry County 4-H offers programs, clubs and projects in animal agriculture and veterinary science, natural resources and the environment, gardening, leadership and citizenship, personal growth and development, and science, engineering and technology. Programs are offered in schools across the district, in after school settings, on an independent basis, and through camps and workshops.
During the 2017-18 school year, nearly 1,600 Newberry County youth were exposed to 4-H programs and opportunities: over 1,400 elementary students, 60 middle school students, and over 50 high school students. Of those, 49 percent are male and 51 percent are female; 52 percent are white, 33 percent are black, and 15 percent are Hispanic. There are nearly 70 adults who volunteer their time and talents to work with these youth, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes, weekly, and sometimes monthly. These youths are competing in shooting sports competitions, showing rabbits, cows, chickens, and goats, participating in cooking clubs and camps, studying the beef cattle industry, tent camping, and much more. 4-H has a presence at eleven Newberry County Schools, offering programs on healthy lifestyles, embryology, and financial literacy.
What’s even better than all of that is the fact that we still have room to grow! The S.C. 4-H year runs September through August. That means enrollment for our clubs will open soon. We are in the process of scheduling school programs across the district for the 2018-19 school year. Currently, the S.C. 4-H Wildlife Food Plot Project is open for registration. We have something for everyone: city kids, farm kids, young kids, old kids, experienced kids, and rookies. But 4-H isn’t just for kids! We are also on the look-out for adults who would like to help by volunteering to lead clubs.
So how might you go about joining 4-H in Newberry County? We operate out of the Newberry County Clemson Extension Office, located beside Piedmont Technical College (1860 Wilson Road), we can be found online at www.clemson.edu/newberry/4h and on Facebook, and you can give us a call at 803-276-1091 x142. Ask for 4-H Agent, Alana West. Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.