Next week we will celebrate 100 years of North Carolina 4-H as a part of State 4-H Congress. As we move into next week, I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to campus and field faculty and staff that have worked so hard over the past couple of years leading efforts related to the North Carolina 4-H Centennial at the club, county, district and state levels. I also want to thank our 4-H youth leaders at the club, county, district and state levels who have been so critical to us in this effort. Furthermore, it is important that we acknowledge and express appreciation for the great work and support of our volunteers, alumni, donors and the 4-H Honor Club who play such a vital role in the state 4-H program. This has truly been a team effort that has stretch across North Carolina Cooperative Extension.
The Centennial has provided an opportunity for us to celebrate our past, highlight our current program and consider our next steps for North Carolina 4-H. It has offered us an opportunity to reconnect with 4-H alumni and past supports. Additional we have and continue to use the Centennial to engage new audiences and supporters.
It has been and will continue to be a great time in our history that we will always remember. As we go through this next week and months ahead, I would like to share with you a part of a conversation I had this week with Jim Harrill, the son of L.R. Harrill our first state 4-H leader. JIm shared that as a youth he had the opportunity to travel with his dad to various 4-H events. He said one of his most memorable experiences was when his dad would do orientation for camp staff. As part of that orientation he would say to the staff, “if a young person does not go home from camp a changed and better person, then we have failed.” Many of you recognize these words as they are publicly displayed at MIllstone 4-H Camp. These words continue to embody what it is that we do through North Carolina 4-H. We have the opportunity to change lives. This opportunity is indeed our greatest opportunity and responsibility.
Thank you for your continuing leadership and service for North Carolina 4-H. We look forward to a great week Congress celebrating our past, highlighting today and considering the future of 4-H. Thank you for your efforts to, “make the best better.”
Marshall Stewart, Ed.D
Associate Director, NC Cooperative Extension Service Head and State Program Leader Department of 4-H Youth