Orange County 4-H Staff Recognized at 2021 NCAE4-HYDP Annual Conference

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Blowing Rock– Orange County 4-H Extension Professionals Jonathon Smith and Sarah Maddry attended the North Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals’ annual conference at the Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock, September 1–3. The theme of the conference was “Roaring into the ’20s.”

4 people looking at camera

(left to right) Dr. Mike Yoder (State 4-H Program Leader), Sarah Maddry, Jonathon Smith, Lauren Nelson (2020-21 NC4-HYDP Vice President)

Jonathon Smith, Extension 4-H Agent, and Sarah Maddry, 4-H Program Assistant, received the Radio/Audio Program State Communicator Award for the 4-H Teen Talk Podcast they launched last year. The 4-H Teen Talk Podcast aired eight episodes all about helping teens connect with 4-H and community resources to help them navigate life. Episode 2 entitled “Four Tips for Developing Positive Mental Health” featured tips for developing positive mental health and an interview with NC 4-H Healthy Living Programs Coordinator, Kenan Bridges. Other topics included Healthy Habits for Teens and Trips for a Favorable Financial Future. 

Three people looking at camera

(left to right) Dr. Mike Yoder (State 4-H Program Leader), Jonathon Smith, Lauren Nelson (2020-2021 NC4-HYDP State Vice President)

Jonathon was awarded the Excellence in Workforce Development Programming Award. Jonathon partnered with the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce to develop the Students Transforming Expectations & Exploring Real Opportunities program. This program exposes youth to local careers. Students attended three sessions in-person and virtually in Spring 2020 focused on the information technology, energy, and manufacturing sectors while developing critical soft skills.

In addition, Jonathon was a co-recipient of the Excellence in Camping Award in North Carolina and the Southern Region of the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals. In support of the NC 4-H Camping Team, Jonathon worked to support the CAMP OUT! hosted by the NC 4-H Camps & Centers that took place in June 2020. Using technology as a tool, the team helped youth connect, learn, grow and get outside. A total of 550 participating families made crafts, built toad homes, learned about ecology, and even camped out under the stars. Jonathon developed and taught a session for youth on leadership entitled “The I LEAD Challenge.”

The purpose of the North Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals is to promote the profession of Extension 4-H and youth work in North Carolina. The 4-H program is the youth education program of the Cooperative Extension program, based at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State Universities. More than 260,000 young people ages 5 through 18 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 16,700 adult and youth volunteers. You can find more information on 4-H via the NC 4-H website.