Category Archives: 4-H

Alexandria Parks & Recreation Power On! & Power Up! with 4-H

Alexandria 4-H and Alexandria Recreation Power-On & Power-Up Programs partner to offer 4-H educational opportunities to the participants of these out of school time programs. Power-On & Power-Up programs sites are located in recreation centers and schools throughout the city of Alexandria. Students participate in a wide range of activities from creative and performing arts to fitness and health, all designed to provide a safe and wholesome atmosphere for youth to thrive in during the hours directly following dismissal from school. On Wednesday October 16, 2013 representatives from each of the programming sites assembled at Mt. Vernon Recreation Center to learn what it takes to be a 4-H after-school leader. Training attendees completed a variety of hands on activities and discussed several different ways to implement 4-H programming at their site. Alexandria 4-H looks forward to continuing this working relationship with Alexandria Parks, Recreation & Cultural Activities and expanding the reach of the program to a new audience. IMG_20131016_173537_723


Maps & Apps… Leading the way to success in science!

Arlington and Alexandria 4-H programs combined to celebrate Columbus Day by participating in the Maps and Apps science experiment. 4-Hers ages 8-14 came out and learned about GPS and GIS principles met new friends and got a glimpse of what 4-H can offer in their local communities. Arlington County Forester Vincent Verweij provided a brief presentation on how he utilizes GIS technology as a part of his job and showcased a hand-scrupled clay model of the park where are event took place.IMG_2991 IMG_2990 IMG_2987 IMG_2986


Mt. Vernon Power On Tackles 4-H NYSD Experiment Maps & Apps!


2013 4-H National Youth Science Day is right around the corner! This year Alexandria 4-H and the National 4-H Council partnered to kick things off with a bang. 4th and 5th graders from Mt. Vernon Recreation Center Power On! program were among the first in the county to try out the new experiment, Maps & Apps! This year’s experiment gives 4-Her’s the opportunity to think like a geospatial scientist using the geographic inquiry process and create their ideal park. National Youth Science Day is an annual event designed to promote 4-H’s effort to encourage youth participate in science based education and pursue scientific careers. 2013 National Youth Science Day officially takes place on Wednesday October 9. If you’re interested in learning more about this year’s experiment or would like to take a crack at it yourself, join Alexandria & Arlington 4-H on Monday October 14, from 10:00 am – Noon at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria VA.

For event information click here —–>

For more information on National Youth Science Day
click here ——>

Hope see you on October 14

Reggie Morris, 4-H Youth Development – City of Alexandria

4-H National Youth Science Experiment!


We will be hosting a local National 4-H Youth Science Experiment Event! Every year National 4-H Council presents a national science experiment. In the past these experiments have dealt with a variety of topics like robotics, wind power, and even biofuel. This year’s experiment is entitled “Maps and Apps” and is all about GPS and GIS technologies and solving problems using techniques associated with them. The best part is, you don’t even have to know what that is to be able to complete this experiment! Come learn what it takes to make a good map using modern technology that Columbus and his crew didn’t have! Hear about GPS and GIS technologies from the professionals who use them every day in their jobs. The event will consist of a presentation and then the actual conducting of the experiment.

Our event will be held on October 14th, from 10 AM – 12 PM at Four Mile Run Park’s old Duron Building. 4131 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA. There is no cost, and light refreshments will be provided.

See the flyer or the event page on the Arlington County 4-H facebook at

You can register for this event by filling out this registration form!

More about the actual experiment itself can be found on the National 4-H Website at

Don’t hesitate to contact the extension office if you have any questions or would like additional information. or (703) 228-6404

Tancil Court, Alexandria, “I Can Shine Garden”

“I Can Shine Garden” teaches children to grow vegetables

By Alice Reid

I Can Shine

Thanks to a hard-working group of children and more than a dozen volunteers, we’ve had a productive and fun spring at the “I Can Shine Garden” at Tancil Court in Alexandria.

While the weather was still cool, the children planted seeds for collards, spinach, bok choy, and lettuce as well as peas, radishes, and carrots. For their labors, they have harvested more than 10 pounds of collards, several bags of peas, lots of carrots and so much Swiss chard and bok choi that there’s been enough to supply several dishes for the children’s after school snack. Bok choi was the big surprise. The kids went from “Hunh? What’s that?” to “Yum, we want more.”

Coming along we have four tomato plants, a handful of pepper plants, some zucchini plants, pole beans ready to climb on our teepee, and some cucumbers to compete with them. Over in our little “annex”, i.e. two abandoned tree wells in the court yard of this Old Town Alexandria public housing project, we have a watermelon patch going, and a 10 by 10 foot area that the kids planted with sweet potato slips they rooted themselves. Keep your fingers crossed that the potatoes catch on. Oh, and we have two baskets of regular potatoes coming along as well.

We are also participating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a Harlequin Bug experiment (the Organic Vegetable Garden is also participating in this experiment). The USDA is trying to find the best kind of bait to lure these voracious bugs away from collards and their other cabbage-family favorites and into traps. We have four USDA-supplied collard plants at the corners of Tancil Court. Each one has a pheromone-laced bait  hanging above it to lure the bugs. Each week the children tour the baits, count and collect any harlequin bugs that may be resting on the plant leaves. They bag and freeze any they find, and those are collected by the USDA. Tancil Court is one of several area gardens participating in the experiment.

Summer is when we focus on harvesting our crops and maintaining our garden. We’re also hoping to do a couple of projects such as making solar ovens and baking a pizza using some of our own produce.

We sometimes use healthy snacks as a teaching tool, such as serving “parts of the plant salad,” – carrot roots, celery stems, spinach leaves, broccoli flowers, pea seeds, and tomato fruits – all blended with a little ranch dressing.

This project started three years ago under the auspices of a city effort to combat childhood obesity through healthy activity, i.e. gardening, and healthy eating habits. The garden has certainly helped these children on both fronts.

Reposted from the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia blog.

2013 Junior 4-H Camp!

A few weeks ago Reggie and myself were out at out annual Junior 4-H Camp which is held at the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center in Front Royal, Virginia. Our camping cluster is Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the City of Alexandria, which means that those three VCE units send campers for the same week. Lenah Nguyen, the Fairfax 4-H Extension Agent, Reggie, and I were had at work through out the summer getting ready for this wonderful week of camp.

This year, camp had a theme of “Disney!” with our spirit days and camp events all in the Disney spirit.

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Our camp shirt designed by one of our counselors, Alexia!

Each day started bright and early with a delicious breakfast. After everyone was pleasantly full, campers went off to their 3 classes. These classes included archery, canoeing, outdoor cooking, outdoor living skills, high and low ropes course, Counselor in Training, weird science. outdoor sports, fishing, arts and crafts, swimming, and so much more!

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Robotics Class programming their robots

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Archery class shooting at some targets

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Fishing class learning how to cast a rod

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Weird science class shooting off film canister rockets

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Canoeing class out on Lake Culpeper

After classes everyone was definitely ready for lunch! The afternoon program was immediately after lunch. This was put on by the summer staff members while the counselors had their teen time. The rest of the afternoon consisted of free recreation time and swim time which were very popular events for everyone – time to just relax and have fun!

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Lunch in Molden Hall

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Afternoon program with summer staff member Shark Bait

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Afternoon program fun with summer staffers Chimp and Pandora

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Campers having fun in the ‘ool (We call it that because there’s no “P” in the pool!)

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Campers playing basketball during rec time

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Camper showing off some awesome cannonball skills during swim time

And every night we had an evening program where all of the campers were together having a great time. Sunday night we were scheduled to have Nemo’s Pool Party, but unfortunately that didn’t happen because of rain. But we did a fun photo scavenger hunt instead.

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Product of the photo scavenger hunt

Monday night was Cinderella’s Ball, and crafts/games/rec time for those who just didn’t feel like getting their groove on. Campers danced the night away upstairs, while downstairs there was gau-gau pits, card and board games, and summer staff member Hawkeye even had the x-box Kinect Adventures up and running!

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Everybody conga!

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Intense game of gau-gau downstairs from the dance

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Having a blast at Cinderella’s Ball!

Tuesday night was our Lightning McQueen Camp Olympics! Packs competed in relay type events to see who came out on top! The event culminated in the Piston Cup – a relay race in which each pack designed and created a “chariot” that everyone had to take out for a lap. These chariots showed some amazing creativity and imagination from our campers, I was truly impressed. Unfortunately I do not know who the winning pack was – but everyone displayed great teamwork skills and had a great time!

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Pool Noodle Spinning Relay

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Getting ready for the Piston Cup!

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Hula-Hoop Relay!

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And they’re off! Packs racing in the Piston Cup

And our last evening program was the talent show! We had several AMAZING acts from all three counties. We were treated to fantastic singers and dancers, fabulous performances of the “Cups Song”, a stand-up comic, some amazing soccer skills, and even a mime! All of the campers who got up on stage have such great talent and made it a fun evening for everyone!

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Some of our amazing talent show acts

After our evening programs, it was time to start winding-down, and we had our nightly campfire. This is not the type of campfire where we sit around roasting marshmallows and making smores, much to some peoples disappointment. Our campfire is a time to reflect on the day, gain some insight into tomorrow, and we even sing a few songs, but most importantly is we have a great time! Each day during pack meetings, the packs would come up with a chant or song unique to them which they would perform at campfire that night. The camp summer staffers usually concluded the campfire with vespers – lessons to take away from camp and into your life away from camp. And on our final night of campfire, the summer staffers performed the ever popular “If I weren’t a staffer…” song.

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Campfire Circle

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Packs having fun during campfire

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One of the packs presenting a song during campfire

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More campfire fun with summer staffer Melody

But sadly the week had to come to an end on Thursday. But it was a great week of camp, and we cannot wait for next year!!  If you want to see more pictures from the week, visit Arlington4H on instagram!

If this sounds like something you/your children would enjoy – registration will start in early March!

And we had an amazing group of teen counselors this year. We hope to have them all return next year, but we are always looking for more outstanding teens to join us at camp! If you will be 13 by March 1, 2014, you are eligible to be a Counselor-in-training. If you will be 14 or older by January 1, 2014, you are eligible to be a teen counselor at camp. If this sounds like something you or your teen would be interested in – the application will be available around winter break.

2013 Virginia 4-H State Congress

This month I had the pleasure of attending Virginia 4-H State Congress! This is an event put on by the state 4-H office down at Virginia Tech. Congress was held June 17-20 on the Virginia Tech Campus in Blacksburg, VA. Participants are 4-H members aged 14-19. They get to stay in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, and take workshops in actual college classrooms! This year’s theme was ” The Path to Success, Luck Has Nothing to Do with It.”

Congress is a phenomenal opportunity for teens to get to experience a taste of “college life” while participating in 4-H structured programming and meeting other teens from all across the state! This year congress had several different workshop and learning opportunities.

The first evening of Congress, there was an opening ceremony where the participants were welcomed. During this opening ceremony, Miss Virginia 2012, Rosemary Willis, delivered an amazing keynote address about her participation in pageants, healthy living, and overcoming difficulties.


The next few days consisted of various workshops for the teens to attend. Tuesday morning consisted of “competition workshops” which helped better prepare 4-H members for state-wide 4-H competitions, such as food challenge, forestry judging, shooting sports, and even some livestock competitions such as horse bowl. During this time, some state level competitions were being held, including share the fun  which is the 4-H talent show, public speaking and presentations, photography, and fashion review. I chaperoned the cattle handling competition workshop. In the cattle handling competition, the youth participants must know how to administer preventative medicine to cattle, read a medication label to administer the proper dosage, and move the cattle from one location to another. This was a very interesting and informative workshop led by Dr. Whittier of Virginia Tech.


Tuesday afternoon was the Great Summer Series workshops which introduced the teens to a wide variety of topics in which they could explore. These workshops ranged in topics including basic first aid, all about alpacas, DNA extraction, stop-motion animation, large animal veterinary medicine, leadership, and dairy science! These workshops gave teens a taste of what it is like to study in these fields and introduced them to some activities they may encounter along the way.


Tuesday night was capped off with a carnival held in War Memorial Gym! A fun time was had all around. There were tons of different games to play; giant Jenga, Character Counts! Twister, mini golf, and the just dance video game was up and running for everyone to try! The Hokie Bird even made a special appearance at the carnival.


Wednesday morning was the college fair and career workshops. There were different workshops put on by the colleges within Virginia Tech, such as the College of Veterinary Medicine, Pamplin College of Business, College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, and the College of Engineering. Each college presented different opportunities available to the students. I was lucky enough to be able to chaperone the teens over to the vet school. While we were there, we got a tour of the facilities, a presentation from a current student on what it took for him to get in, and even met some of the dogs they had available for adoption.


Wednesday afternoon included the banquet in which awards were presented to Extension Agents for programming grants, and the teens chosen to represent Virginia at National 4-H Congress were announced. After the banquet everyone was treated to the share the fun show, where the state winners showed off their talents. Everyone was fantastic and showed off some amazing skills! The acts included dancers, singers, piano players, and even a magician!


Sadly things came to a close on Thursday, but not after an awesome night of dancing and recreation time. The dance went for several hours, during which time the new state 4-H officers were announced. For anyone not in the dancing mood, there was bowling, billiards, and other games available to play.


Congress is an amazing event, and anyone who goes will grow tremendously in so many different ways. The 2014 Virginia 4-H State Congress will take place June 16-19, 2014 in Blacksburg, VA on the campus of Virginia Tech. If you or your teen are interested, do not hesitate to contact myself or Reggie about attending! We would LOVE to take some delegates from Alexandria and Arlington to this spectacular event.


Also, if you want to see some more pictures from this year’s congress, check them out on instagram! Follow username “Arlington4h” or go to:

Both Arlington 4-H and Alexandria 4-H are also on twitter! Make sure you follow @Arlington4h and @Alexandria_4H

New Alexandria 4-H Agent

Hi EVERYBODY! My name is Reginald (Reggie) Morris and I am extremely honored and excited to be the new 4-H agent for the City of Alexandria. I’m not new to Extension or the 4-H program; I previously served as 4-H Agent in Henrico County, Virginia since the fall of 2009. I’m a product of the benefits of 4-H, and truly believe in all the great qualities 4-H instills in young throughout the world. I am ready to reintroduce the wonderful learning opportunities of 4-H to the citizens of Alexandria and I’m looking forward to establishing a quality youth development program that will be active and thriving for years to me. I am a Gloucester, Virginia native where I participated in the 4-H program on various levels and continue to serve as an adult volunteer whenever I get the change to return home.  I graduated from Hampton University in 2008 with a B.S. in Business Management and recently completed the Master’s Degree program in Career and Technical Education at Virginia Tech in the spring of 2013.  I would like to thank everyone who’s welcomed me with open arms, and I look forward to continuing the 4-H spirit by making “the best even better!” If you have any questions or just want to chat about programming or volunteer opportunities please don’t hesitate to give me a call.



A Special Visit

Written by Carrie Vergel de Dios

On Tuesday, June 4th Arlington’s VCE office was proud to welcome Dr. Edwin Jones, Director of Virginia Cooperative Extension who also serves as the Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. Kirsten Buhls started the day off by demonstrating how the Master Gardener Help Desk answers community members’ gardening questions. Next the new Arlington and Alexandria 4-H agents, Samantha Nagurny and Reggie Morris talked about their plans for youth development work in the area. Following was a presentation given by Jennifer Abel and Wendy Peichel about recent achievements in local financial education programs and the many contributions of the Master Financial Education Volunteers. Three Energy Masters volunteers, Barbara Englehart, Nabilah Haque, and Colleen Morgan next talked about the exciting work that this group has been doing over the past two years and the two awards that they have recently won.  The chair and vice chair of the Arlington & Alexandria Extension Leadership Council, Mary Van Dyke and John Woodard, then talked with Dr. Jones about local priorities.

The visit ended with a wonderful lunch prepared by Katie Strong, Hareg Tecklu, Megan Mauer, and included the special help of several Master Food Volunteers: Nancy Broff, Caroline Comport, Sue Gonzalez, Catherine Hader, and Kate McCarthy. The delicious lunch consisted of Tuna Boats (pictured below), Green Salad with Cider Vinaigrette, and  Brown Rice and Orange Salad, with refreshments of Lemon Water and Black Tea as well as Fruit Salad for dessert.

 tuna boat


New Arlington VCE 4-H agent

On May 10 Samantha Nagurny joined the Arlington office as the new 4-H agent. Sam graduated in 2011 from the University of Tennessee with a degree in animal science and has a deep background in 4-H. She has been going to 4-H camp and has participated in 4-H clubs and activities since she was 9 years old, spent two summers working as an intern for the 4-H agent in Fairfax County, and leads a 4-H club in Fairfax. Most recently Sam worked at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon where she helped visitors learn more about the park’s many farm animals. Sam is looking forward to leading a group of Arlington children and teens to 4-H camp this summer in Front Royal and to starting many clubs, after school programs, and other enrichment activities for youth in Arlington.