When it comes to expanding the horizons of teenagers in Sampson County, Daniel Collins believes the opportunities are endless through The Sampson County 4-H Teen Council.
As the extension agent for the 4-H Youth Development, Collins is looking forward to expanding the organization operated through the Sampson County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. The first meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Sampson County Extension Center, 55 Agriculture Place, Clinton. During the meeting, Collins and attendees will discuss plans for the years, programs and opportunities for teens in Sampson County.
On several occasions, youths have addressed their concerns to Collins about a lack of activities in the area. He said it’s something the extension office is trying to change.
“We’re trying to give them more opportunities for more things,” Collins said. “Not every kid is an athlete and not every kid is interested in books. They’re interested in the hands-on component of what we offer. That’s something that we’re really pushing for.”
The council is comprised of teens who are 13 to 18 years old. Collins said the council gives participants the opportunity to become involved in leadership, knowledge and service learning activities to improve their communities and lives.
Collins said some of the work will include getting involved and having representation on the district and state councils for 4-H. Currently, about eight people are involved in the program and Collins hopes to receive more in the future. He noted that some have hundreds.
“It’s going to take a little while to get it built,” he said about expanding.
Extension officials said there will be prospects for providing mentorships to younger 4-H members, learning through hands-on activities and field trips. The first scheduled trip is an indoor water park. According to the organization, any teenager may become a member to spread awareness about the organization.
Another goal and idea is to reboot the interstate exchange program, which allow council participants to travel and interact with other clubs throughout the United States. It’s something Collins has done in the past.
“I still have conversations with people that I met on those adventures,” Collins said. “It’s expanding their horizons as a teenager. Sampson County has a lot to offer, but a lot of people don’t realize it’s a lot outside of it as well.”
In addition to expanding the teen council, the Sampson County Center is seeking volunteers to a grow the 4-H program. The first volunteer meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the local extension center. During the meeting, dinner will be served and information will be discussed about the programs.
“We need people to be involved,” Collins said about assisting with events and 4-H shows.
For more information about the Sampson County 4-H Teen Council and volunteer opportunities, contact Collins at 910-592-7161 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.