4-H & NC State: Leading Together
4-H and NC State are dedicated to producing outstanding citizen leaders. The relationship between the program and the University is unique: 4-H is the only youth organization whose operations are based at the land-grant university. 4-H thus serves as the first exposure many youth may have with the world of higher education. Through 4-H programs, young people master skills to make career and life choices; connect with communities and learn to give back to others; mature in self-discipline and responsibility; learn to better understand themselves; become independent thinkers; and develop lifelong friendships and long-term relationships with caring adults.
4-H is the youth development program of the NC Cooperative Extension System in collaboration with the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The program is managed by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NC State and the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T. Extension 4-H agents conduct program efforts in 100 counties and at the Qualla Cherokee Indian Reservation.
"4-H & NC State: Leading Together" will be on display in the Exhibits Gallery in the East Wing of D. H. Hill Library between January and June 2011. For information about visiting D. H. Hill Library, please visit the Libraries' Directions & Parking page.
4-H and NC State
4-H club members at North Carolina State
Camp Whispering Pines
Wake County, July 14-17, 1941, Camp Whispering Pines. "The 14 girls have a hearty laugh after completing their job of making hot-pan mats from pine needles."
North Carolina State 4-H Club Week
4-H club members attend North Carolina State 4-H Club Week
4-H club members judge a calf
Projects and Demonstrations
4-H club children examine plants
4-H club meeting with members from Poultry, Bee, Pig, and Corn Clubs, 1920
I pledge my head to clearer thinking...
4-H helps young people see their potential. From beginning club projects to advanced robotics, 4-H believes in learning by doing. Through hands-on experiences in civic situations, career exploration, and applied sciences, 4-H puts today's students on the road to being tomorrow's leaders.
4-H club leaders work with schools and school boards across the state to provide curriculum enrichment and support for programs that encourage learning by doing. 4-H science programs range from agricultural and animal sciences to rocketry, renewable energy, and computer science. In 2010, NC 4-H'ers completed nearly 181,000 science activities and projects with the mentorship and guidance of their club leaders and public school teachers.
James Baxter (Jim) Hunt Jr. was the 69th and 71st Governor of the state of North Carolina (1977–1985, and 1993–2001). Governor Hunt got his start in politics as NC State's student body president and as a state officer in both 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
In July 2010, the Eco-Works Challenge featured a green design competition for 4-H'ers interested in fashion and interior design. This Challenge encouraged the ambition of participants and demonstrated that 4-H is so much more than livestock exhibitions and canning competitions.
The 4-H Embryology Program is a hands-on learning program that meets with both the NC Standard Course of Study and National Science Standards. Students in the program mark eggs (to track which ones hatch), to turn them and monitoring the incubator, developing an interest in science as they watch chicks develop.
The new 4-H Robotics Program is a strategic partnership between the National 4-H Council and FIRST Robotics. In 2009, 43 new 4-H robotics teams were formed across the country, giving hundreds of youth the opportunity to explore science fields through team-based experiences in designing, building and programming robots.
The AIRE (Application, Interview, Resume, & Essay) Program provides real experiences in writing letters of application, prepping for interviews, and developing a resume, cultivating positive visions of future success for the leaders of tomorrow.
4-H has long offered several scholarship programs at the club, regional, state, and national levels. Today, 4-H participants going to college find invaluable assistance in the NC 4-H Youth Development Program and the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund scholarships.
The House that Peanuts Built
In the depths of the Great Depression, a young boy named Rudolph Carl Ellis planted a plot of peanuts as part of a 4-H project. He sold "Ellis' Fancy Peanuts" from Dunn to Elizabethtown, and bought his family a new house on their own land. "The House That 4-H Peanuts Built" is today the centerpiece of the new North Carolina 4-H History and Learning Center at Millstone 4-H Camp in Ellerbe, North Carolina.
Seth Bollenbecker of Sethsapps.com notes "I make applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. 4-H has helped me develop my business in ways that have led to successful sales on the App Store, but the skills learned in this wonderful organization can be used on a day-to-day basis. Communication, patience, persistence, relation making, and creativity are all essential parts of our daily life perfected through programs like 4-H."
I pledge my heart to greater loyalty...
Through wide-ranging experiences working with others, 4-H shows youth how to get along in a diverse and rapidly changing world. Beginning in local communities and reaching out nationally and internationally, 4-H'ers develop relationships that cultivate empathy and understanding. Caring for and relating to others is at the heart of 4-H.
Gen. Hugh Shelton, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, executive director of the Shelton Leadership Center, "learned important values as a result of being raised on a farm and through my involvement in 4-H. Values like hard work, integrity, honesty...I learned that when things don't go right, you gather your wits about you, take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, and drive on!"
Citizenship: NC Focus
NC Focus promotes understanding of NC's state and local governments; demonstrates collaboration between NC's government, for-profit, and not-for-profit sectors; and develops marketing and public relations skills in youth.
As military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan escalated in the 2000s, NC 4-H joined with Operation Military Kids (OMK) to support the children of deployed military personnel. As OMK expanded statewide, 4-H developed Camp Purple, a weeklong summer camp focused on helping kids deal with the stress of having a parent serve overseas.
A Forsyth County 4-H Club leader organized a group of 4-H'ers to raise money for needy students in Africa. "Trailblazer Teens" organized two walk-a-thons and a car wash, served lunches, and car-hopped and ultimately raised $6,380 for Samaritan's Purse to expand a school in Aru, Congo to include an agricultural program.
The North Carolina 4-H Performing Arts Troupe (4-H PAT) produces and stages an original musical with only six days of rehearsals. This has given hundreds of 4-Hers the challenge of their lives and many have gone on to perform around the country on stage and on the air.
L. R. Harrill
L.R. Harrill, as North Carolina's first state club leader, brought all youth clubs together under one banner. He also worked hard to develop more programs, involve more counties, and improve overall quality of the facilities and activities. He pushed for more and better campgrounds, and increased the size and scope of the state club meeting, then called the 4-H Short Course. At the Short Course, he instituted new programs, including the Health Pageant and the Dress Revue. The Honor Club, designed by Harrill to further instill leadership values in selected 4-H members, began in 1931.
Alternative rock singer, Kyler England, attributes some of her success to 4-H. "You have to blaze your own trail, so I just went for it. My days in 4-H helped me build the skills I needed to be an independent musician &emdash; to form my own record label, book and promote my own tours and to manage my career."
I pledge my hands to greater service...
4-H provides youth with opportunities to learn the value of work and experience firsthand the joy of giving through satisfying and constructive service projects. For engaged, productive young people, responsible citizenship emerges naturally. Working cooperatively to achieve common goals, 4-H'ers "grow" themselves and their communities stronger.
A core element of 4-H youth development is the nurturing of leadership skills through cooperative experience.
Lacey Martin, Park Scholar and 4-H alum, feels that she is successfully prepared for college and a career because of 4-H. "Currently, I am interviewing for medical school. Through 4-H's intense interview training, I feel competent and at ease when I interview. 4-H helped me develop a love for serving my community. With so many ways to serve, anyone can find a project."
Many boys and girls in 4-H raise livestock for competition and gain valuable life skills in the process. Kids learn responsibility hands-on through caring for lambs, cows, horses, chicks; puppies that will be service dogs; and "pocket pets" like hamsters and gerbils.
Service Animal Programs
4-H has a nearly 50-year old relationship with The Seeing Eye, an organization that trains guide dogs to be service animals for the visually-impaired. 4-H teens and families adopt and raise Seeing Eye puppies that are 8 to 12 weeks and keep them about 14 months before the dog is returned to The Seeing Eye for further training.
A group of 4-H'ers worked with the Union County Council on Aging to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs in the homes of local seniors. With an average of 20 bulbs in each home, the 4-H'ers' efforts could save each senior as much as $900 over the lifetime of the compact fluorescent bulbs.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a young 4-H'er spotted a 4-H teddy bear in the TV news footage. He asked his mother how NC 4-H might help. His concern sparked a six-month, statewide relief effort that eventually filled three 18-wheelers with shoeboxes full of supplies for those in need.
North Carolina 4-H Volunteer Leaders Association
The NC 4-H Volunteer Leaders Association was formed in 1981 to provide a support network for volunteers who serve at the community, county, district, and state levels. Over 25,000 adults and 8,000 youth volunteer annually in addition to thousands of episodic volunteers to help 4-H accomplish its mission.
Hungry to Help
Youth at 4-H State Congress in July, 2010 committed to an ambitious campaign called "Hungry to Help." Through partnership with the Food Banks of North Carolina, the program has three core goals: collecting food, money and resources; expanding the awareness of hunger and food insecurity in the state; and fostering volunteer involvement.
During World War II, North Carolina 4-H activity surged. Local clubs were encouraged to participate in Victory Gardens, the national "Feed a Fighter" campaign, and a variety of local projects designed to foster community pride and a patriotic sense of helping with the national defense. During this time, 4-H membership grew by nearly 30,000 boys and girls, topping the 90,000 mark in 1945.
L. R. Harrill
Harrill's vision for 4-H during wartime evoked a blend of patriotism and civic duty. He wrote: "...youth [are] asked to assume new responsibilities, undertake bigger tasks and to do more with less...In facing these challenges youth will need the stamina, integrity, and clear vision that comes from experiences of rural life at its best...[4-H] must provide for the production of economic wealth, health improvement, citizenship training, cooperation, and recreation &emdash; in a broader sense, 4-H Club work must train youth in the art of living."
Savannah McGunigal, a Davie County 4-H'er and NC 4-H Honor Club member, started the Davie Eagles Special Olympics cheerleading squad. "They are so enthusiastic and excited every night we meet. I can't have a bad day. I walk in and immediately I have a huge smile on my face."
I pledge my health to better living...
Being a productive, contributing member of your community is easy when you're healthy, happy, and clear-headed. Through educational programs from enrichment to mentorship, camping and leadership development, 4-H helps young people find the knowledge and gain the skills that are integral to growing strong bodies and minds.
"4-H trains youth in the art of better living." L. R. Harrill
On a trip to Raleigh with his 4-H club, Tommy Burleson's uncle showed him around campus and they dropped by the basketball office. He notes, "In 4-H, you learn by doing, you learn by sharing, and you learn to put others ahead of your own personal needs. One of the nicest things I learned from 4-H was to be a team player." In addition to being a key part of the 1974 Wolfpack NCAA Championship team, Tommy is one of only three players in ACC history to win back-to-back ACC Tournament "Most Valuable Player" awards.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families, Healthy Communities
4-H has several programs oriented towards Teens Reaching Youth (TRY) that focus on placing teenagers in mentorship roles with primary school-aged children. "Caution: Adult Under Construction," provides teams of teenagers that help youngsters develop a sense of their own growth and well-being.
Providing an opportunity for youth and adults to enjoy the camp experience has been at the core of NC 4-H since 1924. Camp experiences reinforce and foster life skills through positive identity, social skills, physical and thinking skills, positive values, and spirituality. Today, a statewide system of five residential camps provide year-round opportunities for NC youth, families, and communities.
Jane McKimmon's early focus was on healthy canning in a time when most NC families depended on personally canned products for the nutritional well-being of their families. When a canned product was completed and the seal finally made, the 4-H logo was attached to the glass jar as a symbol that it was safe to eat the contents.
L. R. Harrill
L.R. Harrill was passionate about the power of organized recreation to improve the lives of young people. "However hard the time, living well at home also means playing more in order to get the most out of life." Play was serious for Harrill &emdash; there were important moral and mental benefits to recreation.
At 8 years old, Allen Monk weighed 300 pounds. Through a 4-H hen raising project, he began to learn about nutrition, exercise, and positive attitude. He quickly lost more than 100 pounds, and regained control of his weight and his life.
Mulligan Stew was an Electric Company-style children's educational program, sponsored by the 4-H Council and shown both in schools and on television in the 1970s. Each of the six half-hour episodes gave school-age children information about nutrition.
4-H'ers learn important life lessons by caring for animals. Sarah Osborne rescued her pony Rory, collecting $75 in babysitting money, and preparing a paddock for him to stay. Rory is now a healthy happy horse. Sarah said "I learned to be responsible, compassionate, dependable, well-organized, and confident in my decisions and abilities."
NC State was created to improve the lives of North Carolinians. As an early land-grant college, its mission was to facilitate research and provide Extension services that would supply practical, hands-on learning opportunities, connecting public higher education with rural life. The mission of 4-H, as it emerged in the early twentieth century, was integrally tied to that of NC State. This remains true, as the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences is positioned to respond to some of the most important issues facing North Carolinians today.
In 1909, NC State College President D.H. Hill signed a memorandum of agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture to cooperatively develop farmers boys' clubs, or corn clubs. These clubs gave boys the opportunity to lead improvement in farming techniques and advance economic productivity for rural communities.
I. O. Schaub
In Ahoskie in 1909, State Farm Extension agent I. O. Schaub began what were known as corn clubs for boys. Members received 1-acre plots of land, were taught new farming methods, and reaped profits from their crop. Many corn club boys doubled, tripled, even quadrupled previous plot yields.
Girls in tomato clubs — led by Jane McKimmon — soon followed suit. Farm and home demonstration of scientific techniques for growing and canning, administered through NC State's Agricultural Extension Service and corn and tomato clubs, formed the basis for what would become 4-H in North Carolina.
Tomato club girls were given the opportunity to grow tomatoes on 1/10-acre plots. They canned their yield using safe and sanitary methods they learned from home demonstration agents, and sold canned tomatoes at local curb markets.
The science-based demonstration model that drove 4-H at its inception continues to shape its programs and agenda today. Just as corn and tomato clubs were designed to help young people improve their lots through science, today's STEM programs are centered on nurturing youth's curiosity and competence in these core disciplines.
The ongoing cooperative partnership of 4-H and NC State is evident in the program and University's shared emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). North Carolina 4-H aims to address the needs of youth in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through engaging, substantive, experiential and inquiry-based experiences.
4-H youth are exposed to STEM principles in ways that demonstrate real-world applications for their learning experiences. Through innovative in-school and out-of-school settings, North Carolina 4-H seeks to improve youth’s capacity to compete in key scientific fields and take on the leading challenges of the 21st century.