Posts Tagged ‘4-H’

Sussex 4-H announce 2012 summer day camps

Sussex County 4-H will once again continue its tradition of offering day camps to area youth in Seaford and Georgetown this summer.

This year’s theme is “A Week at the Zoo!”  Counselors are busy preparing for different classes such as:  Arts & Crafts, Recreation, Food & Nutrition, Animal Awareness, and Dance.  Throughout the week, campers will also hear from guests on topics such as safety, healthy living, and of course, zoo animals!  Come join in the fun at one of the following camps!

  • Seaford Day Camp will be held at the Seaford Middle School, Monday, July 9 – July 13.  Cost for the 5-day camp is $75.00
  • Georgetown Day Camp will be held at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church, Tuesday, July 31 to Friday, August 3. Cost for the 4-day camp is $65.00

For more information, visit the Sussex County 4-H Day Camp page, where you may also download an application.  All camp applications must also include a health form.

Sussex 4-H Day Camps are opened to all Delaware youth ages 5-10. You do not have to be a member of 4-H to Join. Please see our special needs page for more information.  or call Jill Jackson at (302) 856-2585 x 524.


A bootiful two days for Sussex County’s 4-H farm tour at Hopkins dairy, Lewes

In rain and in sunshine, Sussex County 4-H held their annual two-day farm tour at Green Acres Farm in Lewes on Wed. May 9 and Thurs. May 10.  The dairy farm, the largest in Delaware  – milking 550 cows three times daily,  is owned by the Hopkins family, longtime 4-H supporters who have opened their barn doors for agricultural education for the past 26 years.

Luke Hopkins cuddles a baby chick inside his family's animal barn

Wednesday’s rain didn’t dampen this year’s exploration as more than 700 children, visited the farm’s many attractions, such as Pig Alley and Calf Lane and a tractor ride.  Sussex County 4-H focuses this agriculture education outreach for students in preschool to grade two. Students register through their schools. Each preregistered student received a free cone from the Hopkins Farm Creamery, which opened in 2009. Students, well-prepared in slickers and rain boots of many colors, confirmed that ice cream tastes as good in the rain as it does in the sun.

Thursday’s total neared 1,000 youth.  Wednesday’s rain had left a few mud puddles for the pigs to play in, delighting the students who watched them frolic in the soft, gushy Delaware soil.  In all, an estimated 1900 visitors in all,  including teachers, parents, chaperones, Extension staff and 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers, attended the farm tour on both days.

Hollymount 4-H'ers Colleen Anderson, Grace Hopkins and Holly Anderson show off their show cows!

During the tour, students, who leave the bus pinching their noses, eventually forget the farm aroma and begin to  make the connection between the family farm and the final food product – usually referred to as ‘farm to fork’ in this case was ‘farm to cone!’  Teachers and students have an opportunity to meet the Hopkins family; Walter and his wife Jenny; son Burli and wife Allison; and the next generation of Hopkins farmers, 4-H’ers Michael, Jacob, Grace and Luke who can be seen throughout the tour comfortably hanging out with the pigs, lovingly tugging on a cow’s ear and sharing their farm experiences with visitors.

Burli and dairy farm manager Bob Geiman offered tours of the modern milking process.  School children observed firsthand the all the teamwork efforts that go into producing healthy, nutritious and safe food.

Master Gardener Brent Marsh, AKA Farmer McGregor, asks his audience if they saw who took his vegetables!

Under blue and gold tents Cooperative Extension educators provided additional learning, including exhibits on corn and corn products, healthy beverages and the importance of exercise.  A popular puppet and people show, the Adventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Garden was performed numerous times by volunteer Master Gardeners.

Local 4-H youth members brought their project animals, providing a talkative tom turkey, horse, sheep, goats, ducks and rabbits for young students to interact with and pet. UD Poultry Extension provided a chick hatchery and baby chick display, the inhabitants of which are now taking a much needed rest after being gently cupped by 1700 little hands.

Any area school or daycare center up to the second grade are invited to attend, with registration opening in late January before the May tour. The event is free.

For more information about the Sussex County 4-H Farm Tour contact the 4-H office at 856-7303.
Additional photos and videos of the farm tour may be found at 4-H’s Flickr site:  where photo sets for both days can be found, or visit Sussex County 4-H on

Article and photos by Michele Walfred

Sussex 4-H member Emma Rider, selected as Delaware’s top high school youth volunteer

Sussex 4-H Member, Emma Rider, selected as Delaware’s top High School Youth Volunteer. 


Emma Rider, 14, of Bridgeville was named Delaware’s top High School youth volunteer for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.


Mary Argo 4-H Agent, presents Prudential Spirit of Community Award to Emma Rider, of Bridgeville

Emma, a seven year member of the Dublin Hill 4-H Club and a freshman at Sussex Technical High School, has collected nearly 40,000 pairs of used shoes over the past year and a half in order to buy water purification systems in developing countries.  While participating in summer mission trips with EDGE OUTREACH, an international organization that helps prevent waterborne diseases through clean water initiatives, Emma learned that a child dies every 15 seconds from drinking impure water.  She also learned that by collecting shoes, she could have a direct impact on reducing the death toll.


When Emma first started her project, she set a goal of collecting 4,000 pairs of shoes, which would then be sold to an exporter through EDGE OUTREACH and resold to small businessmen around the world.  This would provide enough money to purchase two water purification systems, each capable of purifying more than 10,000 gallons of water per day.  The project also creates jobs, gets shoes on people’s feet, and keeps tons of shoes out of landfills.  Emma organized shoe drives in schools, churches, and 4-H clubs in three states.  Within four months, she had collected 8,500 pairs of shoes.  Then she set her sights on collecting a trailer load of shoes – about 22,000 pairs.  Emma got a trailer from a shipping company, asked local farmers for pallets and large bins, and to promote her effort, scheduled speaking engagements and sent out information packets.  She also recruited volunteers to help pick up and sort donated shoes, as well as organize their own shoe drives.  So far, Emma has collected close to 40,000 pairs of shoes, enough to bring life-saving clean water to nearly 20 communities in impoverished lands overseas.  She hopes to be able to travel to Kenya or Haiti with EDGE OUTREACH in the next year to help install a water purification system.  “It would bring me great joy to see pure water flowing into the cups of children who have never even tasted it before”, she said.


Emma is the daughter of Lori and Dennis Ockels and Rob and Susan Rider.


To learn more about Emma’s project or to find “shoe drive” locations, please contact Lori Ockels at

(302) 542-1485.


More information on EDGE OUTREACH can be found at


Sussex 4-H, Hopkins family celebrate 25 years of farm tour

Fluffy yellow chirping poultry puffballs are always a main attraction inside the Hopkins' family barn

Each May in Lewes, Sussex County Cooperative Extension, 4-H and the Hopkins family (owners of Green Acres Farm, Delaware’s largest dairy operation) swing open the farm gates and welcome busloads of young students eager to discover what really goes on at authentic dairy farm.

Two gorgeous days provided the backdrop to an estimated 1900 youth, teachers and parents.

Unaccustomed to farm aromas, many young students arrived pinching their noses, but soon little hands relaxed and began to explore – holding chirping, yellow poultry puffballs, petting a young, well-behaved Holstein cow and peeking through a slatted fence to watch pigs snort, and sometimes sleep, in their pens.

It is an agricultural classroom without exams or textbooks. The experiential learning component of 4-H allowed students and adults to explore the many ways a family farm brings food to the table. Under the blue and gold tents, Extension staff offered entertaining and educational interactive displays, helping the young visitors make the agricultural connection to nutrition, safety and fitness. Sussex Master Gardeners provided a theatrical show and Extension staff directed bus traffic, assisted in the tractor rides and kept the lines to the popular milking tour moooving!

In addition to the herd of Holsteins and 4-H project pigs that are kept full time at the farm, 4-H volunteers brought in other animals that one might typically see around the farm grounds. Goats, small horses, rabbits, barn kittens, and a few ducks, delighted the students. Volunteers were assigned stations and filled curious minds with fun facts about the display animals.

In recent years the Hopkins family has added new playground features to their pasture to coincide with the opening of their Hopkins Creamery in 2009. Many climbed aboard a wooden tractor, milked a display cow the old fashioned way, savored complimentary cones at one of the picnic tables and poked their head through a farm photo prop.

The farm tour has been conducted at the Hopkins’ location for 25 years and Sussex County 4-H Educator Mary Argo has coordinated the last 16 of them. Argo feels at home with the hustle and bustle of the two-day event. “The weather was great, animals were perfect,” Argo says. “We are always delighted to partner with the Hopkins family for this unique educational opportunity for Sussex students. This was a picture perfect farm tour.”

Visit the Sussex County 4-H Flickr page for more photos of the event.

Article by Michele Walfred
Photos by Tammy Schirmer

Delaware youth attend 4-H National Conference, meet their representatives

During the first week in April, more than 200 delegates from across the country attended the 2011 National 4-H Conference held at the National 4-H Headquarters in Chevy Chase, Md. Delaware 4-H was proud to send an outstanding delegation of eight youth leaders to this event.

Delegates took time to soak in the sights and sounds of our nation’s capital as the gorgeous blooms of spring enveloped the city and surrounding areas. Workshops and seminars focused on a variety of topics important in the lives of our teens today such as bullying, distracted driving and healthy living. Opportunities were also made available for delegates to meet and hear leading public officials in government like USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Education Secretary Arnie Duncan.

In addition, Delaware 4-H teens were able to connect with members of their Congressional delegation in their Capitol Hill offices as they met with U.S. Sen. Christopher A. Coons and U.S. Rep.  John Carney. Both members of Congress took time out of their busy schedules to answer questions and share insights on their experiences representing the people of Delaware in our nation’s capital.

Funding to attend National 4-H Conference is provided annually thanks to generous contributions from the Delaware 4-H Foundation. All of us in the Delaware 4-H family thank the Foundation for their tremendous support.

The 4-H youth attending were: Jackie Arpie – Sussex County, Haley Gerardi- Kent County, Melanie Jackson-Kent, Seth Kurz – New Castle County, Mary Catherine Lagano-Sussex, Renee Moore-New Castle, Hunter Murray- Sussex, and Bree Wilkins- Kent.

4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. It is supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University. Click here for more 4-H National Conference photos.

Delaware 4-H to host regional volunteer forum

On Aug. 6, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell promoted volunteerism with an announcement encouraging Delawareans to nominate outstanding volunteers and offering resources to encourage new volunteers.

Delaware 4-H has long recognized and valued its dedicated volunteers. 4-H volunteers, known as leaders, are the engine behind the success of 4-H in Delaware. 4-H curriculum boasts more than 130 project areas and delivers them with the support of Cooperative Extension at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.

As a direct result of volunteers, more than 64,000 Delaware youth in traditional 4-H clubs, day and overnight camps and afterschool programs have been exposed to the benefits of public speaking, robotics, biotechnology, textiles and clothing, art, performance, animal and plant science, photography, food science and promotion of healthy lifestyles, just to name a few.

As the 4-H curriculum continues to expand, so do the opportunities for those wishing to volunteer in service of Delaware youth.

On Nov. 4-7, in Rehoboth Beach, 4-H will serve as host for a 13-state regional volunteer forum. The weekend forum, held at the Atlantic Sands in Rehoboth, offers training for new and established leaders. Volunteers have the opportunity to network, train in specific content areas and recognize excellence through the annual Salute to Excellence awards program. Regional forums are rotated every two years, so this is a special weekend for Delaware 4-H volunteers as Delaware is not anticipated to host again for another 26 years or so.

In addition to the regional forum, one-day state training forums are rotated every year in each county. New Castle will host the 2011 Delaware 4-H Leader Forum in January.

Both forums are open to new and existing 4-H volunteer leaders. As volunteer educators, Delaware 4-H leaders complete a criminal background check. Each leader is considered to be a highly valued member of the Delaware Cooperative Extension team. The public is welcome to join the 4-H and Extension family as participating members or as volunteers.

For more information, contact Ernie López at (302) 856-2585, ext. 544, or visit the Delaware 4-H website.