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Nathan Patton said his four years in 4-H have given him confidence and leadership skills he’s learned through his projects in the Electric Program, Poultry Judging, and Wildlife Habitat Evaluation.

Nathan is currently a senior in high school who’s dual enrolled at Davidson-Davie Community College. Nathan’s mother heard about 4-H from a family that was involved in the program. At the time, Nathan was hesitant to join. He was getting over a move from Pennsylvania and didn’t want to meet new people, but his mom made him join. This was a decision he became very grateful for as he got into the program.

Nathan was drawn to Forestry in 4-H because he was interested in learning about trees.

“Forestry is very enjoyable to learn about,” he said. “From learning about measuring trees to learning to shoot bearings, Forestry has really taught me about a line of work that was so foreign to me.”

Nathan’s love of the outdoors also led him to the Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) and to attend the National WHEP Contest, where he got to meet other 4-H groups and learn about wildlife.

“It turned out to be a true testament to 4-H’s ability to bring opportunity.” said Nathan. “During the contest, we learned about real-life environmental practices like pen traps, trapping animals, and net trapping used for turkeys.”

Nathan’s fascination with electricity led to him becoming involved in the Electric Program. He said he’s learned a lot thanks to Club Leader Carla Arrowood and even got to go to Electric Congress.

Nathan learned skills you might expect in the Electric Program, like wiring, which he used to wire and rewire servo motors in a recent project, and even to rewire a dryer. But he also learned leadership as well.

“One great example of this was when I led a workshop at a county event,” he said. “I originally did not feel prepared for this task, but because of the reassurance, encouragement, and help from my peers and our great county agents Monique and April, I felt encouraged to go beyond my comfort zone. One such peer is my friend Luke Arrowood, who reassured me that I was able to lead something I had never done before and was even willing to help me along the way.”

Nathan said his favorite 4-H project has been poultry judging, which has let him learn about the poultry industry and those who work in it. In his second year of competition, his team won the state contest and got to attend the National Poultry and Egg Conference. He recommends poultry judging for anyone with even the slightest interest in chickens.

“I grew up with pet chickens, so I had always loved chickens and this was right down my alley,” he said. “Through studying for both state and national contests, I learned greatly about the process of grading chicken products and about the chickens themselves. I found all of this very intriguing, and I still do to this day.”

Nathan said he’s glad to be a part of 4-H and that it’s never too late to start your 4-H journey.

“4-H is truly a special place of learning and is a community,” he said. “It really has become like a second family to me and, in turn, has made me a better person.”

For more information about 4-H, email, April Bowman, Extension Agent, Livestock, Forages, and 4-H Youth Development at or call 336-703-2855 or Dr. Monique Pearce-Brady, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development at 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.