What’s the Good News?

— Written By and last updated by Kerri Rayburn
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I’m tired of hearing all the bad news and some days need some inspiration to keep from getting overwhelmed by it. I thought you might like some too…

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service runs 4-H programs all across the state. The 2015 4-H Impact Report shows that “4-H is the largest youth organization in North Carolina with 21,700 youth and adult volunteers and more that 239,000 participants.”

Of those youth, 20,017 were involved in 4-H Club Programs and 89,467 were involved in Special Interest programs. The largest number of 4-Her’s across the state were involved in activities related to 1) Foods, Nutrition & Heath, 2) Plants & Animals and 3) Biological and Physical Science. In Jackson County 1,504 youth were involved in 4-H in some way with 80 who were 4-H Club members.

Numbers are great but let me tell you about the 7 year old child who did his first 4-H presentation about “how to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich” – dressed in a chef’s hat and apron! He didn’t know it but he learned about follow through, preparation, how to speak to an audience and self-esteem. Good news.

Or how about the three girls who are members of the Scotts Creek School student council who dreamed big about what they could do with $500. They created plans that would provide 20 children with a fun activity including food and music as well as items they might need such as gloves, socks and coats. They would also host a fundraiser to bring in funds so the program could continue into the future. Isn’t it nice to know there are kids who want to change the world and help others?

How about the 2nd grade girl who attends the Summit Charter School who asked “will the mommy and daddy chickens recognize their chicks when they go home after we hatch them?” Think about this one for a moment. I love this! The students are hatching chicks in their classroom to learn about the life cycle.

Or maybe you’d like to hear about the teenage members of the Youth Leadership Council who raised $830 through bake sales and purchased items specifically for teenagers for Christmas boxes. These youth also cut out cloth pieces that will make 50 pair of shoes for children in Uganda. Who says this generation of young people is all about themselves?

And let me tell you about Kelly Morgan, recipient of the Outstanding 4-Her Award for 2016. Kelly solved a problem. She established a communication system for the Youth Leadership Council. We needed a way to share information for those who missed a meeting and a place to share documents. Kelly set up emails and Google drive folders (on-line) so that everyone can access the agendas and minutes of all of our meetings. She also created a Google calendar for the club and sends out two text reminders each week about the bi-monthly meetings. In addition, she also served as emcee for the 2016 4-H Achievement Night and hosted Dr. Richard Bonnano, N.C. Cooperative Extension Director, during his visit at a regional 4-H event held in Jackson County. Leadership and management skills being practiced by a teenager who will help lead the next generation.

We hear lots of depressing news about the youth of today. I’m here to tell you that there are lots of wonderful, interested, engaged, and caring young people out there. The best news of all!

If you are interested in volunteering to help create some more good news, or if you know a young person who could benefit from some great learning experiences, please contact me at the Cooperative Extension Office at 586-4009 or heather_gordon@ncsu.edu.