CAPE MAY — Fifteen teens successfully completed the Rutgers 4-H Summer Leadership Program on Aug. 16.

The eight-week program, for youth from seventh to 12th grades, ran from June 24 through Aug. 16 at the New Jersey Audubon Nature Center of Cape May. Teens assisted teacher-naturalists and learned leadership skills at the Nature Center for more than 20 years in this internship program.

The program, which is open to the public, included nine teens from Cape May County this year. Additionally, there were five teens from New York, Pennsylvania and Florida in the program. Participants included Alexandra Back, Isadora Bosacco, Jordyn Boone, Hope Campbell, Seth Edling, Dave Etgen, Leo Kotler, Max Kotler, Sarah Lofredo, Jakob Pender, Isabella Pruszinski, Ruverlynie Rivera, Emanel Rivera, Yadiel Torres and Maya Wenger.

As part of the program, the teen leaders mentored about 350 campers who attended the Nature Center of Cape May’s summer camp program. The teen leaders also took part in leadership training sessions with 4-H program coordinator Linda Horner and teen leader program coordinator Deborah Avicolli. These sessions were designed to build communication and problem-solving skills and help teens learn to set and reach goals. As their community service project, the teens staffed an educational marine science touch tank at the Cape May County 4-H Fair in July.

“The program proved to be an invaluable leadership opportunity and learning experience for the teens who learned marine and environmental science, enjoyed the outdoors and learned to work with children,” Horner said.

“Some of the benefits for the participants included meeting other teens with similar interests, earning valuable community service credits and gaining important work and leadership experience, which will be an asset when applying for a job, or college, and scholarships,” she said.

For more information about the 4-H Youth Development Program, call 609-465-5115, ext. 3606 or see cmc4-H.com.

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