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Activities and Events

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Spring Events

Dairy Beef Feed Calf Program

The WNC Dairy Beef Feeder Calf Program is designed to introduce youth to livestock showing, feeding, and care. Participants in the program will be provided a dairy calf that they will feed and care for at their home or another approved facility from March through the 2022 Mountain State Fair when the calves are sold. Participants will attend an informational orientation to prepare them for their project, participate in other events/clinics where they will work with their calf, and conclude their project by showing and selling their calves at the Mountain State Fair.

West District Teen Retreat

Join teens from across twenty-two different counties for a day of fun! Teens will have the opportunity to participate in educational workshops, have fun dancing with new or old friends, run for district officer positions, and elect district officers to represent them at the state level. Usually held over 1-2 days in February or March. Scholarships are available to teens who complete a county 4-H project.

County Activity Day

Qualifying showcase event for club participants. Youth complete either a presentation or poster of their project to share with the community. Event is a competition. The top two placing youth from presentation categories qualify to compete at district. Held annually in May.

Livestock School

Learn the fundamentals of raising a great livestock project from start to finish. A mixture of classroom and hands-on activities will equip individuals with information needed to be successful. Held annually in early spring.

Dairy Judging

Youth dairy judging programs are designed to help youth improve their cattle evaluation, but also provide the opportunity to develop excellent communication skills. Members of dairy judging teams often become lifelong friends and share invaluable experiences through team practices and travel to competitions. Local dairy judging teams (both 4H and FFA) are invited to the North Carolina Youth State Dairy Judging contest, typically held in April.

Horse Artistic Expressions

Share a love of horses through different creative expressions. Divisions include crafts, drawing/painting, digital art, poster, photography, and creative writing. No horse required to participate. County, district, and state opportunities are offered for competition. To compete at district or state, project must be exhibited at the county level. Annual county and district competitions are in early spring. State competition is annually in early & conferences handout-5

Horse Bowl

Similar to an academic quiz bowl team, but for horse knowledge. Participants work in teams of four to answer horse-related questions. No horse required to participate. Both the district and state competitions are held annually in early spring.

Horse Hippology

A knowledge-based competition that provides participants with the opportunity to highlight what they know about horses. Contest components include an exam, matching pictures with descriptions, and horse judging. No horse required to participate. There is no district contest. All youth are eligible to participate annually in the state competition in early spring (usually occurs on the same day as the horse bowl competition).

Horse Judging

Learn how to identify good confirmation, breed characteristics, and performance ideals in different breeds of horses and different disciplines. Judge video or live classes and place them in order based on your knowledge then defend your choices by giving reasons. No horse required to participate. There is no district contest. All youth are eligible to participate in the state competition annually in the spring.

Horse Shows

Multi-discipline horse shows are offered at both the district and state level. Participants must own or lease a horse and make arrangements to haul on-site. All exhibitors must qualify at the district level to participate at the state contest. The district contest is held annually in late spring and the state contest is held annually in early summer.

Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP)

Teaches 4-Hers about the fundamentals of wildlife management and brings participants together to develop team and leadership skills. Although WHEP is centered around a competitive event, its primary purpose is to increase participant’s knowledge of wildlife management while promoting life skills. Annual state competition held in the spring.

Forestry Competition

The 4-H Forestry Contest helps develop appreciation for the importance of conserving forestland as a source of products, benefits, and services necessary for quality living. 4-H foresters learn practical forest management skills through participation in the 4-H Forestry contest. Learning these skills will help our leaders of tomorrow be prepared to own forestland or deal with environmental issues in the future. Events covered at the state contest include tree identification, tree measurement, insect and disease identification, and compass traverse. State competition held annually in late spring in Raleigh.

Summer Events

4-H Congress

An annual event that promotes leadership and community among 4-Hers statewide. This four day event offers educational workshops and engaging speakers along with plenty of networking opportunities with other 4-Hers. Congress has a strong focus on leadership and representation of 4-H values. Attendees must be age 13-18 and must complete a project record book. Scholarships may be available. Event is usually held in July.

AIRE (Application, Interview, Resume, Electronic Video)

A workforce development and college prep program. Youth, ages 11 – 18, are eligible to participate in this program in one of two ways: Option 1: Youth participate in this program by completing the four (4) AIRE candidate packet components. Option 2: Youth participate in this program by completing the AIRE program components as self-study and/or as part of their local 4-H program.

North Carolina Citizenship Focus

Join friends from across the state to explore youth advocacy and local and state government. This three day conference includes citizenship themed workshops, visits with elected officials, offsite tours in Raleigh, and facilitated discussions related to the importance of advocacy, action planning, and other citizenship topics. Scholarships are available for youth who complete either a career & leadership or civic engagement project record.


This initiative helps youth learn more about county government as well as how to become more involved in local decision making. The event is sponsored and supported by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Youth must apply through their county. This program is for youth ages 13-18.

Summer Fun

An annual summer enrichment program for youth of all ages. Programs dates and topics vary but are typically held between June and August. All programs are either free or low cost.

Horsemanship Clinic

This clinic offers the opportunity for participants to hone both their mounted and unmounted horsemanship skills. Western, hunt seat, dressage, and contesting sessions are typically offered so riders of all disciplines can participate. Must own or lease a horse and make arrangements to haul on-site. Scholarships are available. Clinic is typically held annually in June.

District Activity Day

Youth share presentations at the district level. Event is a competition. The top two placing youth from presentation categories qualify to compete at state. Held annually in June.

Electric Congress

An annual three-day event held at rotating UNC campuses each year. Each day is packed with fun activities including workshops, presentations, group outings, and a dance. Youth must complete an electric project book or portfolio and submit it at the state level to attend. Event is usually held in July. Scholarship may be available.

Horticultural Science Summer Institute

The Horticultural Science Summer Institute is a residential, hands-on, pre-college program designed to engage youth into the many career opportunities within horticulture. Students will dig into workshops led by faculty, staff and students on topics ranging from breeding better vegetables, propagating ornamental shrubs, lengthening the life of cut flowers, learning sustainable production and design practices and delving into practical tools that enhance our understanding of plant processes. This program is for high school students only. Applications open in January and the program usually occurs in July. Scholarships may be available.

Poultry Science Summer Institute

The Poultry Science Summer Institute (PSSI) is a four day immersion experience designed to broaden high school students’ understanding of educational disciplines, scholarship opportunities, careers and industries related to poultry science. Students will be introduced to the sciences behind poultry production ranging from embryology to immunology, feed milling to food safety, and beyond. This program is for high school students only and takes place in Raleigh. Registration opens in January. Scholarships may be available.

Poultry Judging

Learn how to evaluate, select, and place various aspects of the poultry world. Practice judging layer hens, egg quality, and broiler carcass quality. State competition occurs annually in the summer and various clinics occur throughout the year.

Avian Bowl

Avian Bowl is a team quiz event that tests participants’ knowledge of a wide range of avian topics (think chicken quiz bowl!). Youth must participate as part of a team of at least four members. No poultry ownership is required. State contest is held annually in the summer. Various clinics occur throughout the year.

Dinah Gore 4-H Healthy Food Challenge

The Dinah Gore 4-H Healthy Food Challenge is a contest that challenges a team of three to four 4-H members to create a dish that will serve three people using a predetermined ingredient, food category, and items from the pantry. Once the ingredient is revealed, the team will have 40 minutes to prepare the dish, clean up and prepare their presentation for the judges. The team will make a presentation to the judges covering their dish, its health benefits, and the nutrients that the dish provides to the body, about 10 minutes after the dish is ready. Event is held in Raleigh in late Summer.

Dr. Kim Ingold 4-H Photography Contest

This statewide annual contest highlights North Carolina 4-H’ers’ photographic achievements. The winning photos are then displayed on the North Carolina 4-H Photography Contest website. Categories include 4-H in action, nature’s beauty, and special effects. Competition usually occurs in late summer.

Livestock Judging

Learn how to evaluate, select, and place various livestock species including beef cattle, sheep, meat goats, and swine. Practice judging animals to determine the difference between superior, average, and inferior animals within each species. Place them in order as a class, and then defend your reasons for placing before a judge. State competition occurs annually in the summer and various clinics occur throughout the year.

Livestock Quiz Bowl

Structured like an academic bowl, this activity is an opportunity for youth to display their knowledge of different livestock species in a fun competition. Youth must participate as part of a team of at least four members. No livestock ownership is required. State contest is held annually in the summer. Various clinics occur throughout the year.

Livestock Skillathon

Learn basic animal knowledge on beef cattle, sheep, meat goats, and swine. Gain knowledge on everything from tools and equipment, feed, and breed to identifying meat cuts. Knowledge is tested at competition through a written exam, picture identification and a team problem. State competition occurs annually in the summer. Various clinics occur throughout the year.

Fall Events

Mountain State Fair

Not a 4-H event but provides opportunities for youth to exhibit projects that do not fit into other competition categories. Examples include food, crafts, and livestock.

Shooting Sports Competitions

Competitions occur at the district and state level. Categories include archery, pistol, shotgun, muzzle loading, rifle, wildlife/hunting, and coordinator. To participate youth must practice under a 4-H certified instructor. District competition occurs in late summer and the state competition is held annually in the fall.