CARVERS CREEK — This summer, the Down East 4-H club that meets in Carvers Creek learned to build and program robots while participating in a two-day 4-H Robotics workshop. Twenty-two youth participated in the classes and as many volunteers helped to make sure the program was a success.
Luella Wills, the 4-H club leader, requested the 4-H workshop for their community so that more youth could experience 4-H and attend a technology workshop that would be exciting and innovative in their home community instead of having to travel elsewhere. With financial support and a willingness to host from the Tabernacle Believers Holiness Church, Wills and the Bladen County Extension Office began coordinating and planning the two-day event.
The church multipurpose room was converted into a STEM lab on July 26-27, complete with laptops borrowed from Bladen County Schools Technology Department and multiple Lego Robotics Kits on loan from N.C. A&T State University’s Cooperative Extension Program. In the mornings, elementary aged participants played and learned with the Lego We Do Robots; while in the afternoon, older participants experimented with the newer and more advanced version the Lego Mindstorms EX-3.
Some of the projects that were built included a spinning top, drumming monkeys, a robot that can travel and pick up a can and set it down, and robots that can recognize and announce 4-H green. Both groups learned the beginnings of coding to help instruct their creations to accomplish a goal. The older youth truly had to plan their programs whereas for the younger ones they just copied programs that had already been established.
The adults that supported and volunteered for the project were just as impressed as the younger participants. Church Elder Berline Graham, associate pastor, expressed excitement about the project, stating that “it was wonderful to see these young people so engaged and excited to learn about this new technology. We want to thank the county 4-H program and all of the church members, parents, and community volunteers who helped make this event possible.”
Another volunteer and supporter of the Down East 4-H Club, Dr. Pearly Hoskins, remarked that “our church was delighted to sponsor the Down East 4-H club’s Robotics Workshop. It was a great opportunity to offer a positive activity for the development of our youth.”
The Down East 4-H club is a chartered 4-H club that meets at the Tabernacle Believers Holiness Church usually on the fourth Sunday of each month. The 4-H program is the youth education program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, based at North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities. More than 239,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 participate in North Carolina 4-H activities each year with the help of 21,700 adult and youth volunteers.
If you would like more information about 4-H activities, programs, and clubs in Bladen County, please contact the local N.C. Cooperative Extension office at 910-862-4591.
Stacie C. Kinlaw is the Bladen County Extension agent for 4-H Youth Development. She can be reached by calling 910-862-4591 or at Stacie_kinlaw@ncsu.edu.