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Arboretum & NCSU Extension Service

Posted on: July 5, 2023

How New Hanover 4-H is enriching youth by engaging in summer fun programs

youth standing in a circle

Many of us, including myself, have fond memories from our childhood during the summertime in eastern North Carolina. Exploring the outdoors, getting my feet wet and hands dirty, growing in a skill, discovering new interests, overcoming challenges, and making lifelong friends. These experiences didn’t just happen but were cultivated by organizations like New Hanover County 4-H to engage youth and provide memorable experiences. Now, as a 4-H Educator, I treasure the opportunity I have to create impactful programs for the youth in my hometown. 

youth looking at a tub of soil

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States. The four Hs stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health. Through our programs, we strive to relate to each of the Hs through hands-on learning experiences, character development, community service, and leadership opportunities. Young people who participate in 4-H are four times more likely to give back to their communities, two times more likely to make healthier choices, and two times more likely to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities. 

This summer, 4-H is providing ample opportunities for the youth of New Hanover County to participate in exciting activities as part of their 4-H Summer Fun Program! Through these programs we hope to provide the same fond memories, hands-on experiences, character growing opportunities and more to the next generation that many of us experienced in our younger years. 


Each of the programs 4-H is offering incorporates hands-on learning activities that are followed by reflection and are built upon by the application of what those youth are learning. This Experiential Learning Model supports the 4-H Circle of Courage that brings to light the four needs of youth. These include Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity.  

In addition to bringing 4-H programming to youth at the MLK Community Center, the Derick G.S. Davis Community Center, and the Pleasure Island Library, New Hanover County 4-H will also be hosting local programs for youth. These include 4-H Cooking Camp, 4-H Pollinator Camp, and 4-H Island and Sound Exploration Day. All these programs will take campers out into those environments to gain firsthand experience. 

4-H campers getting their feet wet at the Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H camp.

New Hanover County 4-H will also be taking youth to the 4-H Camp at Betsy Jeff Penn where participants will explore the outdoors, learn new skills, and build friendships. 4-H teens will have the opportunity to attend State 4-H events such as 4-H Congress, which is a youth conference for teenagers across the state. These are just a few of the many opportunities 4-H offers throughout the year!  

To learn more about these programs or find out how to get your young person involved visit the New Hanover County 4-H website (


Elizabeth Stratton is the 4-H program assistant at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Center for New Hanover County, located at the arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington. Reach Stratton at or 910-798-7660. The arboretum is free and open currently 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day. 

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