4-H Makes ‘Lemonade Out of Lemons’

— Written By J. Scott Enroughty
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Dealing With the Pandemic, 4-H’ers Made ‘Lemonade Out of Lemons’

J. Scott Enroughty
Extension Youth Development Agent, 4-H
Article published online June 25, 2021, by StarNews

I know you have heard the old saying “making lemonade out of lemons.” Well…that is exactly what the New Hanover County 4-H program is doing.

Like many programs, due to the pandemic, 4-H is taking all necessary precautions to protect our youth and families as we move back with face-to-face activities. Although we are learning to be more creative and to think outside the box with fun yet educational programs (activity kits, virtual photo challenge and collaborating with our community partners); however, 4-H summer fun camps are so much better face-to-face. In other words, our youth are wanting to enjoy being together.

4-H volunteers

4-H volunteers, 4-H Teen Leaders, and Arboretum volunteers help create the “birdhouses” campers will construct during summer fun camps at the MLK Center and Davis Rec center. photo by Enroughty

With schools reopening in early Spring, summer would soon be upon us. Being a  4-H youth development professional, I know students are ready to ditch their iPads, cell phones, and laptops for some fun and exciting face-to-face summer programs. With pandemic restrictions carefully being lifted, summer was getting closer, and I needed to make lemonade quickly.

I would need to squeeze and stir in just the right ingredients to adhere to the remaining pandemic restrictions to make this summer’s 4-H programs happen. Making this lemonade takes several ingredients, patience, and several people to help in the process. With the generosity of the Derick GS Davis Community Center at Maides Park and the MLK Center, these community partners are providing New Hanover County 4-H ingredients to make 4-H summer fun activities possible by offering their centers. Beginning on Mondays at Maides Park and Thursdays at the MLK Center, campers will have the opportunity to experience 4-H summer fun activities with kitchen science, power of wind, outer space, bees and pollinators, birds and habitats, and team building.

Volunteer with kids

Teamwork activity “spaghetti tower challenge” provided volunteers and campers work together to achieve a common goal at Davis Rec Center provided by New Hanover County 4-H. photo by Enroughty

“The 4-H program provides fun and exciting enrichment programs to youth”, states Ryan Brill, recreation supervisor with GS Davis Community Center at Maides Park. “We are so excited for this opportunity to work with the 4-H program.”

Campers are not the only ones having fun during 4-H summer fun camps; so are our 4-H teens and volunteers. This group of caring and compassionate people are making the lemonade sweeter by donating their time with helping while enjoying the activities alongside the campers. Campers learn new skills, gain a greater sense of confidence and compassion, and feel a sense of belonging and importance in their community. Volunteers gain new skills, more confidence in working with youth, and perhaps most importantly, a greater sense of connection and commitment to the community. The 4-H Teen Leaders gain responsibility, develop leadership skills, and confidence.

Kids presenting their cake

Campers present their “cake challenge” creation to the judges as part of their teamwork activity at the MLK Center conducted by New Hanover County 4-H. Photo by Enroughty

Adding just a little extra sweetness to the lemonade, New Hanover County 4-H received sponsorships for several of this summer’s activities. These amazing sponsors have given campers the incredible opportunity to experience the hands-on, educational, yet recreational approach to 4-H programming. Thank you for your generous support of Nabell Winslow Investments and Wealth Management sponsors of the Teamwork/Team Play/Team Challenge activity; New Hanover County Farm Bureau, sponsors of the Busy Bees and Pollinators activity; and Gardens by Design & The Friends of New Hanover County Arboretum, sponsors of the Birds of a Feather activity.

Founded on the belief that when youth are empowered to pursue their passions and chart their own course, their skills grow and take shape, helping them to become true leaders in their lives, and communities. Four-H is grounded in a deliberate, research-backed development, and delivery model, where youth learn critical life skills of resilience and independence. Whether youth participate through individual projects, as a member of a 4-H club, or attend 4-H camp, 4-H fosters curiosity and inspires youth to pursue their passions.

To learn more about 4-H, contact J. Scott Enroughty, extension youth development agent, at 910-798-7660, by email at jsenroug@ncsu.edu, or visit the New Hanover County website.

N.C. Cooperative Extension – New Hanover County Center and Arboretum is free and open every day from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and is located at 6206 Oleander Drive in Wilmington.