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Laura Allen column: Don’t forget about 4-H in 2021

By Laura Allen
N.C. Cooperative Extension

Happy New Year! Our 4-H enrollment begins annually in January of each year, so now is a great time to join Rowan County 4-H.

4-H offers a broad range of opportunities for youths ages 5-18 (as of Jan. 1). Through 4-H, youths explore their interests and participate in leadership and citizenship development opportunities offered at the local, district, state and/or national levels. 4-H provides a positive environment for youths to learn by doing, while having guidance from adult mentors.

Due to COVID-19, some of our 4-H activities look a little different now than they did pre-COVID. However, most of our 4-H events will be transitioning back to in-person activities in 2021, but with smaller groups and more guidelines and safety precautions.

There are lots of 4-H events coming up soon that will be great opportunities for the youth in your life. I challenge you to find a way to get involved with 4-H in 2021.

Embryology

This school enrichment program is open to second-grade and seventh-grade classrooms within public, private and charter schools in Rowan County, as well as home-school families. Teachers will be trained via Zoom and provided with an incubator, fertilized eggs and curriculum/materials ($210 value) to allow their students to have a hands-on opportunity to learn about the life cycle of chicks. Those who participate will have to supply shavings as well as a tote to use as a brooder box. The cost to participate is $10 per classroom. Supplies are limited to 29 participants per cycle listed below. Pre-registration is required at least a week prior to the Zoom training for the cycle of your choice, but please register as soon as possible. Those interested can register by emailing laura_allen@ncsu.edu. The embryology cycles offered this year are:

• Cycle 1 (for public/private/charter schools): Zoom training, Jan. 20, 3-4 p.m.; Drive-thru item pick up —Jan. 25, 3-5 p.m., drive-thru item/chick return — Feb. 19, 3-5 p.m.

• Cycle 2 (for homeschool and private/charter schools): Zoom training — Feb. 23, 3-4 p.m.; Drive-thru item pick-up — March 1, 3-5 p.m., drive-thru item/chick return — March 26, 3-5 p.m.

• Cycle 3 (for public/private/charter schools: Zoom training — April 7, 3-4 p.m.; Drive-thru item pick-up — April 12, 3-5 p.m.; drive-thru item/chick return-May 7, 3-5 p.m.

4-H clubs

Rowan County currently has six 4-H clubs and most of them plan to once again meet in-person in 2021 (some may continue to meet virtually for a bit longer, too). We have two clubs that focus on a variety of topics. The additional clubs have more focused topics and include: a cooking club, a horse club, and two shooting sports clubs. These clubs are made up of at least one screened and trained adult volunteer and then youths who join the club. The clubs allow youths to learn how to run a business meeting and then provide additional educational opportunities for youths. Youths in these clubs are involved in the total 4-H program and participate in 4-H achievement plans, project record books, presentations, and other opportunities and competitions offered through 4-H. Clubs meet at least once per month. Any youths ages 5-18 as of Jan. 1 can join and new adult volunteers are welcome, too. There is also the opportunity to start a new 4-H club, if you desire. For more information about our 4-H clubs, go to rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/rowan-county-4-h-clubs/.

4-H Camp

Rowan County 4-H will be attending 4-H Camp at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Educational Center in Reidsville on July 4-9. The NC 4-H Camping Centers, which are accredited by the American Camping Association, have already created new plans and guidelines to help ensure a safe camping atmosphere in 2021.

The camping facility offers lots of opportunities for youth to learn new skills and make new friends. Activities include high ropes courses, rock climbing, arts and crafts, cooking, horses, archery, nature exploration, campfires, canoeing, swimming, teambuilding and more. Total cost for youth is $450. Any Rowan County youths ages 8-14 can attend 4-H Camp, regardless if they are currently in 4-H or not. Active Rowan County 4-H’ers are offered a slightly discounted price. Scholarship opportunities may also be available. We are also seeking any donations from local citizens or companies to help offset costs for youths who need financial assistance. To attend, a $200 non-refundable deposit and registration form are due to Rowan County 4-H by April 7. The remaining balance is due by May 8 during the 4-H Camp attendee/parent meeting. Please note that if 4-H Camp is canceled due to COVID-19, all monies paid for camp will be refunded.

Competitions

4-H provides competitions in the following areas: presentations, project record books, expressive arts, photography, horse shows, dairy/poultry/livestock/horse judging and quizbowl, shooting sports and more. Youths have many opportunities to learn and practice their skills.

If you or your children are interested in any of these opportunities, contact 4-H Agent Laura Allen at laura_allen@ncsu.edu or 704-216-8970. You can also check out our website for more information at rowan.ces.ncsu.edu.

Rowan County Cooperative Extension is located at 2727-A Old Concord Road in Salisbury.

Laura Allen is the Rowan County 4-H agent.

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