Golden LEAF Scholar Intern an Asset to 4-H

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This summer was going to be a challenge for 4-H to work with the summer programs at the schools and to provide challenging 4-H “learn by doing” curriculum to the students in the program. I, 4-H agent for Cherokee County, had lots of out of county programs to attend, as well as, some personal time out of county with my family, which was going to interfere with continuous summer programming.

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Cherokee County 4-H partners in the summer with Cherokee County Schools After School Summer Camp at Murphy Elementary and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers After School Summer Program. This year there were 3 sites for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers After School Summer Program: Murphy, Andrews, and Ranger. Having basically 4 sites that meant 4 days a week programming for the sites. Three of the 4 days would be covering the same topic but at different locations with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers After School Summer Program and the 4th day would be a different curriculum with the Cherokee County Schools After School Summer Camp at Murphy Elementary.

In March of this year, I was contacted by local Murphy High School Alumni, Erika Sena, who is a recipient of the Golden LEAF Scholarship and a current senior at Western Carolina University. Golden LEAF gives scholarship students an opportunity to do paid summer internships. Golden LEAF pays the students and their Golden LEAF coaches help them get placements in the community they will be spending their summer. Erika would be home for the summer and just happened to have the 4-H Agent in Davidson County, NC as a coach. He suggested that she contact me to see if she could be helpful this summer to our 4-H program.

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Erika, a senior, is going into her last semester this fall at Western Carolina University. She is working toward her bachelors degree as a registered nurse. She says she would like to work as a nurse in the pediatric field and that her internship with Cherokee County 4-H has helped her gain insight into working with a wide range of children of different ages and abilities. Erika is on the deans list at Western Carolina University for the Spring Semester 2023.

Erika was able to teach our 4-H summer programs which included a wide range of curriculum activities from cooking to planting to making bead wind chimes as well as launching rockets. I was going to be unavailable to work with the schools to provide 4-H curriculum based activities all summer because of 4-H district programs and 4-H camp this summer. Erika was able to provide the programs using our 4-H curriculum when I was out of the county on both work and family commitments which helped us continue providing hands on “learn by doing” 4-H programs to both summer camps with little to no interruption in programming.

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Erika has been a great asset to our 4-H program in Cherokee County and I am glad that she came to us through her Golden LEAF Scholarship Leadership Program. Erika was able to pick up quickly on teaching the lessons and working with a wide range of youth. The teachers at the summer programs said Erika was great to work with and a pleasure to be around. I could not agree more.

We have another couple of weeks with her and then she will be back to college and we sure will miss her being here helping with 4-H.