The Gift That Keeps Giving

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A week ago, we held our 4-H Appreciation Night. It is traditionally a night to honor our youth and volunteers for all they do during the year in 4-H. Our youth are recognized by the activities and programs they participate in;   our adults by years of service. It may sound a little boring on the surface, but when you realize everything these folks accomplish in the year, it is heartwarming. Then, when you pair that with a theme, games, and yes, more activities where they can be creative and accidentally learn, well that’s a night to remember.

Our youth took part in more than 80 activities during the year, plus club meetings, community service, and more. Even during appreciation night, those who could donated dry and canned foods that will be donated to the Church and Community Center. It is really amazing to see all they accomplish and how they have grown not only during the year, but during their tenure in 4-H. It is especially prevalent in our teens who were role models helping youth with our activities, and then sat down in our café to enjoy hot beverages and talk. You can almost see them as they transition to college, sitting in the student union, enjoying conversation, hot beverages, and learning about life.

Our volunteers were honored for their years of service – from one all the way to 39 years of service. Joyce Jones has been an incredible part of our program, and we are honored that she still wants to be a part of it. We also announced our prestigious 4-H Volunteer of the Year. This award is sponsored by the Dr. Eddie and Mrs. Brenda Locklear Endowment, and we are honored that they support the backbone of our program this way. This year Mack Johnson, who volunteers with our Jr. Master Gardener Club and a variety of SPIN clubs and other programs, was chosen for this honor. As one of the audience members said that night, they couldn’t think of anyone more dedicated or hard-working.

My point behind all of this is that at this time of year when we are counting blessings, I am counting my blessings for the gift that keeps on giving, which is 4-H. Our youth make a positive impact on our community that many may not be aware of, and it is turning them into citizen leaders. Our volunteers are incredible, giving their knowledge, time, and love to our youth to help them grow into successful adults. I am blessed daily to work with incredible adults, youth, and families. I am blessed to see the positive impact they are making now and will make in the future for all of Robeson County. This county is blessed by all the positive things these folks do.

Here is wishing your holidays, and every day, are filled with such wonderful gifts and blessings.

For more information, please contact Shea Ann DeJarnette, 4-H Youth Development agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by email at, or visit our website.