4-H PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPERIENCE SPACE CAMP, FORESTRY, AND SO MUCH MORE
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Ben Cook has been involved in 4-H for most of his life and it has given him the opportunity to learn from everyone from forest rangers to an astronaut.
Ben is a 15 years-old homeschooled 10th grader who has been in 4-H since he was 4 years-old. His mother enrolled him and his older brothers in 4-H when she was looking for educational activities that would let them meet new people.
Ben has been involved with numerous community service projects, forestry and wildlife sciences, electricity, and STEM projects. He’s also been an officer in two 4-H clubs and the Forsyth County Council.
Ben is an aspiring NASA engineer and 4-H gave him the opportunity to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama for five days. “Dr. Mo, one of my 4-H agents, recommended me as a 4-H delegate to attend Space Camp,” Ben said. “I was excited and grateful for her recommendation and the opportunity to go. I was also a little nervous as it was my first time flying, and I didn’t know any of the other kids going.” Space Camp, now in its 40th year, let Ben experience an anti-gravity chair, create a heat shield, participate in an engineering competition, and more. He also got to meet the scientists who worked on Saturn V, which was a super heavy-lift launch vehicle rocket developed under the Apollo program that was used in the 1960s and 1970s to launch the Skylab space station. Ben even got to meet an astronaut! “I heard Robert ‘Hoot’ Gibson speak about his experience as an astronaut,” said Ben. “Hoot was the astronaut who shook hands with the Russians on the Space Station Mir in 1995, essentially ending the Cold War. As an aspiring NASA engineer, hearing Hoot speak about his experiences was great!”
Over the summer, Ben attended North Carolina Electric Congress and stayed at UNC-Charlotte for three days while learning about renewable energy and electric vehicles. He also got to learn about careers in the industry and visited local facilities.
Ben said Forestry was his favorite 4-H project. The Wildlife and Forestry programs let him spend time outside meeting with forest rangers. He learned about animals and their habitats along with how to identify trees. His team took third place in the National Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program Contest in London, Kentucky. He’s also going with his team to the National Forestry Contest next summer in West Virginia.
“I have never regretted being a part of 4-H,” said Ben. “I am grateful that it has forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me so many things that I will continue to use throughout my life.”
For more information about 4-H, email, April Bowman, Extension Agent, Livestock, Forages, and 4-H Youth Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-703-2855 or Dr. Monique Pearce-Brady, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development at email@example.com or call 336-703-2856. Youth ages 5-18 are invited to become a 4-H member by using, 4-H Online to enroll. You can also visit our website and click on the buttons on the right-hand side of the page to learn more about 4-H.