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4-H opens registration for summer day camps

4-H offers a variety of day camp programs for youth ages 5-18 this summer

LENOIR, NC (April 19, 2022) by Sarah Kocher – Families with youth wanting to fill their summer calendar with fun, hands-on activities can look to 4-H for help. Caldwell County 4-H opened their registration this month for summer day camps with topics such as gardening, space technology, careers in trades, grilling and more. 4-H offers positive youth development for ages 5-18.

For day camps, families first reserve spots through Eventbrite, and then registration is completed through youth enrolment in 4-H Online at before the event.

Older youth, ages 12-18, are also eligible to apply for Junior Leaders. Junior Leaders is a leadership and personal development program for youth ages 12-18. Junior Leaders facilitate social games, assist other youth with hands-on activities, and practice their leadership skills during Summer Exploring programs. Youth can also log service hours by participating. In addition to serving our community and building leadership skills, Junior Leaders often report increased confidence.

To access the Junior Leaders application, which is due April 29, visit Then, a team training will take place May 21 from 2:00-7:00 p.m. No previous 4-H experience is required for any Summer Exploring programs, including Junior Leaders.

In June, Summer Exploring really kicks off with “Explore Space Tech” for ages 8-14. It will be a free STEM workshop on June 9 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Youth will learn about space and related technologies.

Boy working on project (Photo courtesy of Ken Martin): A 4-H member works on a hydraulics project in 2019. Three of the Summer Exploring programs in 2022 focus heavily on STEM concepts. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Next, “Cloverbuds at the Garden” invites youth ages 5-8 to get their hands dirty. Participants will enjoy a morning at Unity Park and Community Garden in Lenoir on June 14 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The theme will be seeds, and this program is free of charge for registrants.

Also in June, “Grill Skills” will be for youth ages 10-18 who want to learn about preparing food on the grill. One parent or guardian can also register to attend with each youth participant. (Youth can attend without a parent or guardian too.) The cost is $20 per person. Activities will teach participants about meat science, grilling and food safety, local foods and more.

Boy preparing to grill (Photo courtesy of Ken Martin): A 4-H member grills during an outdoor contest in 2019. Grill Skills is a summer program offered this year by 4-H for youth ages 10-18 who want to learn about preparing food on the grill.

The program is being offered twice – once on June 24 and then again on June 25 from about 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. When registering on Eventbrite, families should confirm their ticket reflects the day they want to attend and the county where they reside, because it is being offered for youth in both Caldwell and Watauga counties.

Other activities in June include a photography contest and a regional livestock skillathon clinic in Lenoir.

For the contest, photos are due by June 22 through an online submission, also available at This year’s contest categories are special effects, nature’s beauty and 4-H in action. If an entry does not fit one of the categories, it can be entered as “other.” Prints will be displayed publicly at the Caldwell Agricultural Fair June 30 through July 4.

The Livestock Skillathon clinic on June 4 will teach youth ages 8-18 about basic animal science concepts such as feeds, equipment, livestock breeds, and meat science. Species covered will include beef cattle, sheep, meat goats and swine. The clinic is from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. with check-in beginning at 8:30 a.m.

FFA teams can attend with an advisor or coach. The cost per person for the skillathon clinic is $10.

In July, the fun will continue with “It’s Electric,” a program organized in partnership with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s construction and energy trades. Whether youth have a current interest in trades or not, the program will be engaging and educational. Youth will gain an understanding of what trades classes are like, how power reaches homes and businesses and other STEM-related concepts.

It’s Electric is for youth ages 10-18 on July 12 from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Participants will tour indoor and outdoor classroom spaces, see students in action and complete hands-on activities related to the community college’s esteemed Electrical Lineworker Institute. The cost is $10 per person.

CCCTI lineworkers: It’s Electric, a 2022 Summer Exploring program, will be located on Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s campus in Hudson. It will include a tour of the new Electrical Lineworker Training Center and a variety of hands-on activities.

Another family-oriented camp is “Kick Back & Relax.” This free healthy-living workshop will be held July 22 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Youth ages 5-18 are invited to register and attend with an adult of their choice. Youth will learn about mindfulness and participate in spa-themed activities.

Last but not least, a Horsemanship Camp will be held for ages 5-14 on July 26-28 from 9 a.m. to noon each day. Participants do not need to have riding experience or special clothes or equipment.

Lisa at Anita Alta: Lisa Deal instructs a group during Summer Exploring in 2021 at Anita Alta. She is the lead instructor for Horsemanship Camp in July 2022.

Activities will be designed for beginners, who want to gain experience with horses and knowledge about horses.

Actual riding time will be provided each day. The cost is $45 per person.

Again, registration is required for all Summer Exploring programs, and the website has more information about how to reserve spaces for them. Prior to attending an in-person program, youth will need to be enrolled in 4-H Online. Families can also reach 4-H Agent Sarah Kocher at to ask questions.

To learn more about how youth can participate in 4-H during the summer, view Caldwell County 4-H information online at Caldwell County 4-H is a proud member agency of United Way.

Sarah Kocher is the 4-H Youth Development Agent with Caldwell County Cooperative Extension. The Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Center, 120 Hospital Ave. NE #1 in Lenoir, provides access to resources of N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University through educational programs and publications.

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