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If you think about it, we have many commitments in our lives. Some are more pleasant than others. For example, hopefully, marriage is more pleasant than taxes; both are commitments we work hard to follow through on. Where did we learn to follow through on our commitments? Probably at an early age, with our parents teaching us to put our toys away or following through on an extra curricular activity we may not have liked. Many youth learn life skills from informal learning methods like extracurricular activities. These are commitments that are not mandatory but require the responsibility and maturity level to abide by the commitment of joining. Have you noticed that it seems we stretch ourselves so thin that we cannot meet the necessary obligations required?

I was having a conversation with one of our volunteers, and she brought up a good point. As we grew up, our parents made us follow through; we did not have a choice. Today, children are given many choices. Do you think they will choose something that isn’t shiny and fun? Teaching youth to be responsible and stick with a commitment is crucial in their success as youth and as adults. Joining a club, organization, or sports team requires a commitment. Being responsible entails being punctual, polite, respectful, engaging, and, most of all, attending meetings or events you have committed to by joining. The quality of involvement is more important than the number of activities and organizations you are involved in.

Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development shows that 4-H members excel beyond their peers. Members of 4-H are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to be civically active; two times more likely to make healthier choices; and two times more likely to participate in science, engineering, and computer technology programs during free time.

Robeson County 4-H is an excellent program for children to join. Youth have fun while learning in a safe environment. Clubs are run by trained adult volunteers, meet regularly, and provide age-appropriate activities. Youth learn life skills, leadership, responsibility, commitment, independence, and social skills, which leads to higher self-esteem. Participation in 4-H activities teaches youth how to balance academics with other aspects of their lives. Balance is important to becoming well-rounded.

Here is the kicker, club membership is FREE and open to youth ages 5 through 18. There are several community clubs throughout Robeson County as well as specialty clubs, such as Junior Master Gardeners, Shooting Sports, Arts and Crafts, Animal Science, a Horse Club, and our newest specialty club, Explore N.C. Together 4-H Club. If you are looking for a variety of opportunities for your child within one organization, 4-H may be for you. To find out, join us for a 4-H Family Game Night and Membership Drive on Monday, April 18, 2016, at 6 p.m. All youth must be accompanied by an adult. You will have the opportunity to meet the 4-H staff, club leaders, volunteers, 4-H members, and learn more about the 4-H program. Think about committing to 4-H.

For more information, please contact Wendy Maynor, Extension 4-H Program Assistant with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.