Three years ago, I excitedly moved to a small town in North Carolina called Rockingham. I am not a NASCAR fan, so of course, I had never heard of the town or had any idea what I was getting into. What I did know was that I had spoken to a wonderful lady at the N.C. Cooperative Extension office and I was hopeful to get back into the world of Extension and 4-H. Here is what happened next.
On moving day, a beautiful lady and her sweet girls came to welcome us to the neighborhood. They told us about a wonderful Christian school for our Pre-K girl and that school told us about a wonderful daycare for our baby girl. I interviewed for the 4-H youth development agent opening and within a month I started working. Little did I know what was to come.
As I began to meet people, I began to realize this was a special place. Over the past three years, the 4-H program has grown from about 25 enrolled members and two clubs to almost 150 enrolled members and five clubs. I call this my Clover Family and it’s true — they are my family! I have watched young people who barely said hello evolve into giving wonderful presentations in front of a crowded room. I have watched youth graduate and step out into the college world and others into the real world. I have taken kids on trips, laughed with them, cried with them and, most importantly, bonded with them.
Through Richmond County 4-H, I have had the pleasure of working with the Richmond County school system, The United Way of Richmond County, Millstone 4-H Camp, Richmond County libraries, Sandhills Children’s Center, food banks, farmers, wonderful volunteers, and so many other agencies that I am going to miss dearly. There really are no words to describe what Richmond County has meant to me other than to say it has been “home.”
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “Why did you move here?!” I would be retired. However, this is a wonderful place to be. Sometimes, it is just a matter of perspective. Richmond County, Richmond County 4-H, along with our wonderful church and friends that we have made while here will forever hold a place in my heart. Thank you for being such a welcoming and loving community!
My family will leave for Texas at the end of May to start a new chapter in our life. Although I am excited to be close to family and have my kids grow up having their grandparents at their 4-H Achievement Night, it is hard to say goodbye. Hard to tell everyone just how much it has meant to me to be trusted with your youth. I can only hope that the work we have done together has made Richmond County 4-H stronger and a place that youth come to have fun, learn and give back.
If you would like more information about the wonderful things happening at Richmond County 4-H, call 910-997-8257 or email [email protected] You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter and learn about the exciting summer camps and classes that are open for registration. Information can also be found on our Facebook page, RichmondCounty4H.
Alyson Hoffman is the outgoing 4-H youth development agent with the Cooperative Extension office in Rockingham.