Start Off 2024 With 4-H!

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The start of a new year brings a number of new opportunities, including the opportunity to enroll in 4-H! Below are some of the programs Wilkes County 4-H has to offer:

What is 4-H?

4-H is the largest youth organization with 7 million members across the country. The program is made up of different clubs and programs to help youth explore their interests, develop life skills, and have fun! Competitive events can be found in many of the 4-H program areas for youth interested in displaying their knowledge and skill, and the opportunity to attend state and national events.

Wilkes County Offerings  

I often get asked, “what can my child do through 4-H?”, and the potential answers to that question are endless. Most associate 4-H with livestock and agriculture, and although those are a part of it, there are a slew of other topics that youth can engage in. S.T.E.M., career readiness, public speaking, leadership & citizenship, camp, and even international programs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what all 4-H has to offer! 

4-H Shooting Sports is one of the largest 4-H project areas in North Carolina, and youth gain a plethora of skills while participating. From safety and responsibility to goal setting and increased self-esteem, this program has a lot to offer besides learning to hit a bullseye. Wilkes County has a newly-formed Shooting Sports club, and we would be happy to have your child join! This program is open to youth ages 8-18 (as of January 1st), and there is no cost to join.

Youth attending an archery workshop.

Youth attending an archery workshop.

Livestock and Poultry shows and competitions allow youth to expand their knowledge, or display what they have already learned about different species. Whether or not youth grew up on a farm, or have limited experience with livestock, they are welcome to be a part of Wilkes County 4-H! Shows are a well known component of 4-H livestock/poultry programming, but there are other opportunities for youth that do not own animals. 4-H judging competitions are designed to teach youth how to evaluate livestock and poultry for different purposes. The skills learned while preparing for this event translate into a career in the animal science industry.

Highland calf at a workshop.

Highland calf at a workshop.

4-H Residential Camp gives youth the opportunity to spend a week away at one of North Carolina’s three 4-H camping facilities. Without the distraction of video games, cell phones, and other electronic devices, youth spend their time swimming, fishing, and playing with other 4-H members from across the state. Campers are also required to keep their cabins clean and other responsibilities during their stay. There are different tiers for 4-H Camp depending on the age of the campers. Traditional campers are 8-12 years old, Adventurer & Trekkers are 12-14 years old, and there is even a program for teens (15-17) called Leaders in Training, where they act as assistant counselors during the week. The Adventurers and Trekker program takes traditional 4-H camping to another level with more advanced activities including off-site camping and excursions.

Campers having a safety briefing at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center

Campers having a safety briefing at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center

As of January 30th, 2024, camp spots for 2024 Wilkes County 4-H camp are full barring any changes. If you are interested in attending camp in 2025, or to be added to the 2024 waitlist, contact Wilkes County’s 4-H Agent, Alex.

Additional activities are offered throughout the year including hunter education, different workshops, and citizenship events. 4-H is a great way to explore what interests your child to encourage growth and skill development that will benefit them throughout their lives.

4-H youth at the NC ZooGrills at a 4-H BBQ Workshop

Not seeing something your child may be interested in? No problem! Starting a 4-H group or club requires 5 youth members from 3 separate families, and can cover almost any topic.

For more information on how to join 4-H or the opportunities it provides, please contact Alex Kissinger at or (336)651-7347.

Written By

Alex Kissinger, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionAlex KissingerArea Agent - Livestock, Forage, and General Agriculture Call Alex Email Alex N.C. Cooperative Extension, Orange County Center
Updated on Jan 31, 2024
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