The Impact of 4-H

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I recently had the privilege of attending our district 4-H activity day in Kinston where nearly one hundred youth showcased their talents and participated in public speaking competitions. It was heartwarming to see youth from 5-18 years of age conquering their fears as they braved the stage or podium in an attempt to deliver their long-awaited performance. As one of the county commissioners said in their welcoming comments, “What a great investment of their time.”  But don’t take my word for it, read this personal testimony on the impact 4-H has had on their life:

“My name is Maggie Underwood and I would not be the person I am today if it was not for Shea Ann DeJarnette and the Robeson County 4-H program. I graduated summa cum laude from Lumberton Senior High School just 2 days ago. I credit 4-H with my success in school and life.

I have been a 4-Her since I was five and scared to attend Cloverbud camp. Since then I have won countless ribbons at different fairs, medals for presentations, and attended many meetings. Above all this, I cherish the opportunities I had to learn and grow. 4-H allows you to explore different topics and lets you choose if you like it or not. I found my passion for gaming during a summer camp when we visited the campus of NC State University. Since then, I have been given the chance to present a variety of gaming topics and make video games. I have also learned and competed on other topics that I enjoyed but do not have a lifelong enthusiasm for such as camping outside and poultry production. I knew I could grow inside my comfort zone; but, 4-H taught me you can indeed grow outside your comfort zone.

Most people think of cows when they think about 4-H and the cooperative extension. And it is true. I did learn about farm animals and agricultural. I gained an understanding for what it takes for food to be made and how it gets to my table. I find that most people my age do not grasp this concept so I am proud that I understand. But, 4-H is way more than cows. I have learned about the importance of etiquette and manners, seen robots at work, made catapults, and been encouraged to follow my own path.

So what happens now that I graduated high school? I am lucky to have a few more months before I age out of 4-H. I plan to attend Congress and Dorm 101 summer camps. In the fall, I plan to compete in Artastic and at the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair. Educationally, I will attend High Point University and study Game Design. Game Design, where did I learn about that to start with…? Oh yeah, 4-H! I also intend to be a lifelong volunteer and 4-H promoter.

I stole this week’s article to tell Shea Ann DeJarnette that I appreciate all the time and work she invested in me. She has inspired me, ‘voluntold’ me, literally driven me, and taught me infinite lessons. Please keep in mind; she does this for EVERY 4-Her in the county.

I would also like to thank the entire staff of the NC State Cooperative Extension Center Robeson County past and present, NC State University, Robeson County, and the Lumber River United Way for pouring into our community’s youth by supporting Robeson County 4-H.”

For more information contact Mac Malloy, County Extension Director and Field Crop Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at (910) 671-3276, by E-mail at, or visit our website.