Registration underway for 4-H summer camps

By Chase Jordan -

Throughout the summer, 4-H leader Elizabeth Merrill is looking forward to seeing youths engage in fun and educational hands-on activities — a departure from video game controllers.

“Getting involved with these camps gets kids off the couch,” she said. “A lot of kids nowadays spend their summer on the couch watching TV or playing video games. We want to get these kids out, so they can start developing leadership and communication skills, which is what a lot of our 4-H kids do.”

Merrill believes the 2017 Summer Adventure Series is a good way to do that. Registration is now open for the camps, hosted by the Sampson County’s 4-H program, which is part of Sampson County Cooperative Extension. Registration will continue through May 17. A variety of camps will begin in June and continue through August. The cost range for each is between $5 and $25.

“It’s gets them out so they can explore and spark some of their interest,” she said.

Merrill, 4-H Program Assistant, is preparing for the upcoming series along with other agents from Sampson County Extension.

“We want to open it up to cover all different interests and areas,” Merrill said.

For the younger participants, ages 5 to 8, one of them includes Music Makers. It allows participants to learn about the creation process.

“They’re going to learn how to make their own musical instruments and the importance of music,” Merrill said.

Some of the other highlights will include art camps and a trip to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, which allows visitors to experience aquatic life.

Different camps are tailored to different age groups: Cloverbud, 5 to 8; and Junior/Senior, 9 and up.

“There’s different things that allow them to get out and explore their world,” Merrill said about Cloverbud workshops.

Extension officials are offering participants in the Junior/Senior group an opportunity to travel to the North Carolina coast to learn about dolphins and other sea subjects. A Junior Master Gardener camp will teach campers how to grow plants at home.

For three days in July, through Careers in Ag, different job opportunities will be explored throughout Sampson County. Merrill believes it is important for teenagers 14 and older to have this experience.

“Agriculture is the number one industry here in Sampson County,” she said.

Merrill has been involved in the camp for several years and enjoys seeing new people. She recalled a time last year when a camper from Oregon who was visiting Sampson signed up for the camp.

“We see new faces that we may not get the opportunity to see throughout the year,” she said. “These summer camps are a good way to interact with the kids that we may not get to see because they live in other places or because they don’t know about the 4-H program.”

Workshop descriptions and dates for the series are available on Sampson County 4-H’s Facebook page at More than 30 camps are being offered during the summer. Extension officials are advising that interested youths and their parents should sign up soon, since camps fill up quickly. It is handled on a first-come, first-served basis. For waiting lists, prepayments are not required.

Online registration is available at

For more information or to obtain forms, contact Merrill or Genny Thompson at 910-592-7161. Merrill may also be reached at 919-738-7516 or by email at

By Chase Jordan

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