As the program assistant for the 4-H Club, Elizabeth Merrill knows firsthand the benefits of a program which benefits millions of youths.
“When I was growing up in 4-H, I stayed involved right on through high school,” Merrill said. “So when I got to my senior year in high school, I was able to apply for 4-H scholarships. By doing so, I ended up getting a free ride to college.”
She wants others to enjoy some of the same opportunities she enjoyed as a member, by joining plenty of clubs.
The Sampson 4-H Teen Council is meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Livestock Facility, 55 Agriculture Place, Clinton. It’s for youths between the ages of 12 and 18. Anyone interested should RSVP by Friday, Jan. 6. Participants meet the second Tuesday of every month.
Through the council, members have an opportunity to engage in leadership activities, organizing events and other matters.
“It’s a great way to keep these teens involved and to get them involved in 4-H,” Merrill said. “When you get up in the teen levels, you start competing with a lot of extracurricular activities.”
Merrill expressed that involvement in community service may lead to other opportunities when it’s time to apply for college and earn scholarships.
“All of my 4-Hers that are seniors this year are eligible,” she said.
She would like to see membership increase. Currently, five are participating.
“We have enough to make a 4-H Club, but I’d like to see more teens involved,” Merrill said.
Members of the council participate in community theater, bands, music and Boy Scouts.
Teen Council is one of several upcoming program events. Merrill and others are currently preparing for the Horse Bowl and Hippology for 2017. The students compete and answer questions about horses. A district contest is set for Saturday, Jan. 28, at the University of Mount Olive.
In February, members will be honored for accomplishments in 2016 during 4-H Achievement Night, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Sampson County Exposition Center, 414 Warsaw Road, Clinton.
The Southeast Regional Chicken Project, which includes raising fowl and showing them off, hosted by Bladen County, usually draws between 200 and 300 youths. Merrill expects regional participants will exceed that amount in 2017.
“It’s really interesting,” she said. “The kids learned a lot this year. They learned a lot about their chicken project, the embryology (study of unhatched offspring) process and parts of the chicken.”
Another benefit included education about biosecurity, which protects humans and animals against diseases.
Involvement in the chicken project requires 4-H membership, but Merrill said it’s a simple process of filling out free enrollment and health forms.
For more information or to RSVP for the 4-H Teen Council, contact Merrill at 910-592-7161.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.