Finally, my heat is off and the air conditioning is on at my house. That is a sure sign that spring is here and summer is not far away. Another sure sign is that the 4-H Summer Fun Brochure is out and sign-up has started.
Needless to say, as the Extension 4-H Agent in this county, I am slightly biased and very excited about the offerings we have this summer.
Parents, even if our program is not the one for your child, I would like to encourage you to sign them up for some type of experiential learning opportunity this summer.
Why sign them up for something other than chores, TV, and video games? The reasons are enormous.
Being a couch potato is physically and mentally not healthy for them. The longer they sit inactive, the more likely they are to eat more because they are bored. Eating more can result in weight gain that could lead to serious health conditions.
Summer is also the time risky behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, and making poor decisions, begin. Also, when their brain is not challenged during their summer months, it makes that transition back to school even more difficult. When they are in a structured summer program, they will have the chance to interact with other young people, have hands-on learning opportunities, and be active.
For example, let’s take a look at one of our 4-H Day Camps, Biotech. This is the sixth year for this camp, and it involves everything science. A lot of youths will tell you they hate science. As a child, when my parents talked about atoms and molecules, I would give them a dirty look like they had said very bad words.
However, during this camp, we go somewhere different each day to learn about energies, bio fuels, animal sciences and more. At the end of the camp, 100 percent of the youths demonstrate an increase in knowledge and state there is some aspect of science they really like.
During the camp, they have hands-on experiences, like crabbing or building robots, that give them insight into the types of careers they may or may not want to pursue as adults. Careers are growing faster in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields than anywhere else. Why not give your child the chance to be exposed to these careers, get out and make new friends, and be active while they learn?
There are lots of great summer options in our area. Organizations like the Robeson County Partnership for Children, the Public Schools of Robeson County, and Indian Education share as many youth opportunities with the public as possible, from a variety of organizations.
If you are interested in learning more about the 4-H Summer Fun Program, you can download our brochure from our website at robeson.ces.ncsu.edu or come by our office to pick one up. Registration is currently open to 4-H members and will open to the public on May 1. No matter what you and your children do this summer, I hope you stay cool and have a lot of fun.
Shea Ann DeJarnette is the Extension 4-H agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Robeson County Center.