4-H agent reaches out to children
SALISBURY — Sara Drake, 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent in Rowan County, coordinates educational programs for youth and adult volunteers. Drake works with the Rowan-Salisbury School System, promoting the 4-H School Enrichment Program. Teachers receive educational materials, resources and training to supplement classroom teaching with hands-on, experiential activities. In 2012, the school enrichment program reached 1,627 people. Drake also coordinates Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Summer Fun Program offering educational workshops not only to increase knowledge, but also to aid in the development of life skills.
Research has shown that public speaking is a prevalent fear in adults. One avenue that Cooperative Extension uses to help youth practice this skill is participation in 4-H public speaking and presentation competitions held at the county, district and state levels. The Rowan County 4-H Program holds a series of public speaking workshops, known as 4-H Speak Up, to help prepare youth for these competitions, and to be more confident in their public speaking abilities. After the workshop, participants and their parents completed an online evaluation. When asked about how they feel about their public speaking abilities, 83 percent of participants felt more comfortable speaking in front of an audience. All of the participants believed this workshop would help them with other school projects and reports. The parent survey offered more open-ended questions for parents to share their impressions regarding the impact of the workshop on their children. One parent reported, “After the Speak Up sessions, our child is excited to speak in front of people.” Another said, “We have noticed more poise and more willingness to strike up conversations with others, so (she has) more self-confidence.”
Rowan County 4-H had seven active 4-H clubs during 2012 with more than 100 youth members. 4-H clubs are led by volunteer leaders. Club participation provides youth a yearlong experience and helps them gain leadership, citizenship and life skills.
Contact Sara Drake at 704-216-8970 or online at www.rowan4h.com for more information regarding upcoming events and activities.