‘Finding a perfect fit’ with 4-H Teen Council


By Kevin Spradlin

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ROCKNGHAM — Laura Grier had a simple message she hoped got through to members of the Richmond County 4-H Teen Council: It’s what you want it to be.

Grier, 4-H Youth Development agent for the county extension office, spoke with Jordan Carroll, DeLani Reep and Faith Thompson on Thursday during the groups quarterly meeting. The council serves as an advisory board to Grier and the Richmond County 4-H program and aims to increase participation in 4-H programs from members and the general public.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Faith Thompson, Jordan Carroll and DeLani Reep are key members of the Richmond County 4-H Teen Council. They met Thursday night to discuss upcoming community service projects and summer programming options.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Faith Thompson, Jordan Carroll and DeLani Reep are key members of the Richmond County 4-H Teen Council. They met Thursday night to discuss upcoming community service projects and summer programming options.

Grier’s goal is not to run the meeting or the group, but to act as a guide, keep the conversation focused and prod in a certain direction here and there. And by and large, the approach works.

The agenda on Thursday didn’t include any action items but did request of its members to brainstorm ideas for community service projects and what the council wants to accomplish. Recruiting new members — the group averages between six and 10 teens per meeting — also was a factor in upcoming programming.

Community service

Last year, Teen Council members helped out with Our Daily Bread. That’s a possibility again this year, but instead of assuming that course, council members chose instead to brainstorm other possibilities. Along with Our Daily Bread, Carroll mentioned the “Bottled Blessings” campaign. The annual baby bottle campaign benefits the Pee Dee Pregnancy Resource Center on North Lawrence Street in Rockingham.

Grier, though, questioned whether or not council members had time to solicit donations. After all, they each have academic careers first, household chores and other extracurricular activities along with their 4-H commitments.

Carroll said council members could donate their own money.

“You got money to put in there,” Grier queried.

The answer was no — or, rather, not much. Grier noted that the 4-H council could solicit donations as it is a partner agency with the United Way of Richmond County. Grier mentioned another United Way agency, Backpack Pals — which goes to feed hungry children on the weekends and long holiday breaks — as another option.

Carroll had something else in mind.

“We could volunteer at the Humane Society,” he suggested.

Animals, of course, are right up the alley of nearly every 4-H participant.

“I’d like that,” Thompson quickly agreed.

Grier emphasized that a community service project “doesn’t have to be major big” and a few smaller projects could have as great an impact. She also encouraged the teens to consider helping the human population and not exclusively animals.

“We do want to help animals, but we also want to help people,” Grier said.


Earlier in the day, Grier met with 4-H Advisory Council members. One idea in particular stuck out. Dr. Carlotta Knotts, of Richmond Community College, mentioned a career program for 4-H members.

“Some people think inside the box and want to be a policeman or a fireman,” Grier said, “and that is fine.

Just as important, though, as the positions in society that support those professionals — such as the people who build the vehicles or engineer a new tool to use in live-saving situations.

Grier said the series of workshops would be devoted to helping 4-H youth determine which career is best for them, guiding them to “finding a perfect fit.”

The discussion evolved to more than career options.

“What kind of program would you come to in Richmond County,” Grier asked.

The floor was open to any and all ideas. Carroll mentioned Ultimate Frisbee, a sport that has been gaining in popularity in Richmond County in recent months.

Grier is an outdoors person, to be sure, but sports are “kind of outside of my realm.”

Still, it’s not off the table. Teen Council members and Grier would simply have to work to find an adult volunteer to help guide the group. Combining with an existing entity is one option teens could pursue.

Thompson, a volunteer instruction at Camp Millstone for visiting elementary school students, suggested something at Millstone. Grier nodded.

“There are children that have never been in the woods,” Grier said.

Grier noted that a Richmond County woman who is active in the Senior Games of Richmond County and other, personal physical fitness exploits discussed with her the idea of a health and wellness field day. That could happen at Millstone, Grier said.

Summer camps

Thompson helped rescue and now owns a horse that was beaten and abused by its previous owner. She’s hoping to attend a summer horse camp at Millstone. The cost is somewhere around $400. Thompson said she believes the camp, which would be for both her and her horse, would be good.

Thompson said she’s not sure, though, how the horse would react to an arena — the creature was barrel-raced by her previous owner.

“They have flashbacks just like we do,” Thompson said.

Reep intends to attend 4-H Congress this year. Last year, she participated in the Youth Summit in Asheboro — a program designed to engage youth in local government.

Members also spoke of participating in the FARM-tastic Acres of Fun day camp from July 6 to July 10. Designed for those ages 10 to 18, up to 13 youth will travel to a variety of places — Lee Berry’s farm in Ellerbe, Chris Yaklin’s hog or chicken farm in the Ellerbe area, a tour of a meat processing plant in Mount Gilead and a tour of a dairy farm and a trip to N.C. State University.

“This is geared towards y’all,” Grier encouraged.

 * * * 

The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. More than 227,780 young people ages 5 through 18 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of more than 20, 330 adult and youth volunteers.

For more information on the 4-H program in Richmond County, please contact Laura Grier, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, by email at laura_grier@ncsu.edu or visit Facebook.

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