Written By Alana West
Newberry County 4-H continues to rebuild its post-pandemic programs using both in-person and virtual methods. Our membership year runs September through August. At the mid-way mark of the 2022-23 4-H year, we boast over 900 youth participating in our clubs, school enrichment programs, and independent projects.
4-H clubs are the root of our youth development programs, providing hands-on opportunities for youth ages 5-18 using volunteer leaders. Currently, we offer 3 shooting sports clubs in shotgun and air rifle disciplines, 3 age-appropriate cooking clubs, 1 sewing and needleworks club, and 1 virtual travel club. There are 64 youth participants meeting at least monthly, sometimes weekly, led by 17 certified and vetted adults.
4-H members showing off lap quilts they learned to make at 4-H summer camp. Youth were allowed to enter these quilts into the Union County Agricultural Fair for a chance to win prize ribbons and premium dollars.
School enrichment programs allow us to reach a wider range of youth and introduce them to 4-H opportunities. We are still utilizing virtual methods created during COVID to reach 3rd grade classes with standards-based virtual field trips and 5th grade classes with financial literacy lessons using adolescent literature to teach spending, saving, sharing, and earning. In addition, we offer monthly in-person healthy lifestyles lessons to 3rd grade classes as well as monthly in-person financial literacy lessons to 5th grade classes. In the spring, we will add our widely anticipated chick embryology program for 2nd grade classes, which generally reaches over 500 students.
4-H members who participated in our annual county Tomato Project learning to make and can salsa. They made enough to taste, take a jar home, and have a jar to enter into the Union Agricultural Fair for a change to win prize ribbons and premium dollars.
Independent projects allow youth to participate in 4-H programming on their own, without being tied to a group or club. In the fall of 2022, 5 local youth started the Wildlife Food Plot Project, which wrapped up in January. Additional independent programs will open this spring, including the Small Garden Project, Honey Bee Project, Tomato Project, and various livestock projects. While these are long-term projects, youth can also choose to participate in shorter events such as our Engineering Challenge on March 1 when over 10 Newberry youth will team up to compete in robotics, rocketry, bridge building, coding, visual arts, and/or a mystery challenge. There are also presentations, contests, and healthy lifestyles projects available.
In addition to club, school enrichment, and independent projects, 4-H also offers workshops and camps during school breaks. We are currently planning activities for spring break and summer. While students are out of school the first week of April, we have partnered with Bowers Farm to offer tours for 4-Hers. Stay tuned to the website for our summer line-up: https://sites.google.com/view/newberry-county-4-h.
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. For more information on Newberry County 4-H contact agent Alana West at email@example.com or 803.768.8442.