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Kids meet kids at 4-H goats and lamb camp

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Dani Anderson, 5, left, and Addyson Futrell, 6, participate in 4-H Goat and Lamb Camp at Pitt County Fair Grounds on June 13, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, June 17, 2018

There are few better starts to the summer than kids — the two-legged kind — playing with kids — the four-legged kind.

Throw a few lambs into the mix and the first week of Pitt County Schools’ summer vacation become 4-H Goat and Lamb Camp.

For 22 years Pitt County children ages 5-12 have learned how to care for goats and lambs and the proper techniques for showing in livestock competition through hands on interaction, games and crafts. It’s one of 14 camps sponsored by Pitt County 4-H this summer.

Nearly 80 children participated in this year’s four-day camp, which ended Thursday with a demonstration show modeled after the yearly 4-H livestock shows.

“It’s a learning show that gives the kids an opportunity to show their skills,” said Jessica Henderson, a 4-H adult volunteer.

Vivian Smith, 10, a member of Southern Pitt 4-H Club, has participated in the camp for two years.

“It’s a fun thing to do. You get to interact with animals,” she said. Wednesday morning, she demonstrated how to milk a goat.

Smith also liked learning how to show the goats, including making sure they do not stop during the parade around the ring and that their back legs are set square when they stop.

Participants decided if they wanted to work with a goat or a lamb when they signed up, Henderson said.

“The kids love the goats for some reason, even though the lambs tame easier,” she said.

Conner Mills, 14, who graduated from camper to counselor, understands the appeal.

“I like goats because they are fun,” Mills said. “They are entertaining; they are probably the most playful animal next to dogs and cats.”

Goats have distinctive personalities and shifts in mood, he said.

Mills said he likes working with kids, the two-legged kind, because too few know what is involved in raising farm animals. His favorite event of the week is Thursday’s “wash day” when the kids, the two-legged kind, bathe the kids, the four-legged kind, and lambs to prepare for the livestock show held later that day.

It’s a practical demonstration about the amount of care animals require, Mills said. It’s also a chance to wear bathing suits and goof off, he said.

Gay Stocks, Mills’ grandmother, loaned the camp for four Boer goats, a meat-producing breed, for the week.

The camp, which Pitt County 4-H has offered for 22 years, is a great experience, she said.

“We put Conner in it because we thought it would help bring him out because he was a shy,” Stocks said. “Now he is a very good showman and is involved in a lot of community activities.”

Three camps still have spaces available, said Lauren Dail, Pitt County 4-H youth development extension agent. Individuals can enroll by visiting https://pitt.ces.ncsu.edu/2018/03/4-h-summer-camps-2018/ and downloading the registration form and directions.

All three camps are being held at the Pitt County Extension office, 403 Government Circle Suite 2. Campers are asked to bring a bagged lunch.

■ Adventures in Babysitting: ages 12 an older, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 25-27; cost is $65. Youth learn how to become a certified babysitter and receive a First Aid CPR certification among completion.

■ Fishing for Fun: ages 8 and older, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 6; cost is $10. Youth will travel off site to a local pond and learn the basics of making a great catch! All materials will be provided, but youth are encouraged to bring their own rods.

■ Microbiology: ages 8 and older, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 19-20; cost is $10. Youth will learn about microbes in general and Salmonella in particular. They will examine where microbes grow and under what conditions. They will investigate the roles that microbes play in a healthy ecosystem as well as the roles that microbes play in our own bodies. They will then design technologies to help keep people safe from dangerous, food-borne microbes.

Dail said Pitt County 4-H Camps host 250 campers throughout the summer.