4-H Youth Development 2022 Traci Spencer, Agent
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4-H Youth Development
Title: 4-H Citizenship Focus
Public school education programs in civics and government at the middle and high school levels are typically limited
to classroom instruction. Research conducted by Kelsey and Furman (2020) at the University of Georgia shows that
long-term engagement in 4-H was found to increase and deepen leadership and life skills (LLS) among participants
by reinforcing lessons learned and through positive role-modeling between peers. 4-H programs offer teenage youth
hands-on opportunities to develop these skills through workshops, public speaking instruction and engagement with
elected officials at that county and state level.
Citizenship Focus is a three-day North Carolina 4-H program that provides leadership and communication skills
workshops for teens from counties across the state. This program helps teens increase their self-confidence, social
skills and gives them an enhanced awareness of how state government is run. With a registration fee of more than
$400 many 4-H youth cannot afford to participate. To overcome that hurdle Pender and Brunswick County 4-H works
year-round to raise funds and find sponsorships for eligible teens to participate in these and many other leadership
Four Pender County youth and one Brunswick County 4-H youth traveled to Raleigh to participate in Citizenship
Focus. They met with North Carolina Rep. Carson Smith and North Carolina Senator Bill Rabon who represent Pender
and Brunswick County. The youth were given a tour of the NC Legislative Building's Senate floor to saw where the NC
Senate holds their meetings when the legislature is in session. They then were invited to attend the last 2022 Senate
session where they were recognized by the NC Senate. The Pender and Brunswick County 4-H teens were asked to
stand and were given a standing ovation by the NC Senate. This had a profound effect on these youth. In addition to
this tour they attended workshops where they learned about the legislative process in NC, sharpened their
communication skills and became aware of how important 4-H is for NC youth. This will help build confidence in
these youth and give them the skills to engage in future civic and community events and organizations.
The 4-H Youth Development Agent is supported by a part time 4-H Program Assistant (8 hours per week). The Agent
and PA directed 114 volunteers who donated 673 hours valued at $20,156. These programs reached 60,244 (55,647
digitally) youth and adults that were delivered via in-person programs, email, newsletters and social media. In-
person programs reached 2,488 participants, across 379 contact hours and 118 group events. More than 500 youth
5 to 19, participated in Pender County 4-H programs in 2022. There are five active 4-H clubs in Pender County with
83 youth participating. One Holly Shelter 4-H Shooting Sports club member was a national champion in pistol
shooting at the National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship in Omaha, Nebraska. Participation also included 30 in
the Cape Fear & Expos Goat Show, 13 in the Down East Dairy Project, 14 youth and 11 adults helped decorate and
represent Pender County 4-H in the Burgaw Christmas parade and 100 parents and youth attended the 4-H
Achievement Awards ceremony. And more than 100 volunteer gleaned over 700 pounds of blueberries for the Food
Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina.