Ann Babcock believes leaders aren’t born, they’re grown.
Speaking from her farm in Frontenac County, the friendly woman smiles as she talks about her 31 years with Frontenac 4-H Association, a volunteer organization that teaches life & farming skills to youth.
“4-H is extremely important in Frontenac County and everywhere else it exists,” says Ann, the club’s secretary. “It provides opportunities for members to learn skills such as cake decorating, photography and leading a calf. At the same time, they learn responsibility, cooperation, tolerance and self-worth. They learn to make informed decisions. They learn parliamentary procedure. The Community Involvement Club teaches compassion for the less fortunate and a desire to help make our community a better place to live. Involvement in 4-H helps to create valuable individuals as they follow the 4-H motto, “Learn to Do by Doing.”
Passionate about making the community closer and stronger, Ann enjoys nurturing youth.
“I volunteer because I enjoy working with our youth. I like the sense of accomplishment I feel when I help others,” she confirms. “I also appreciate establishing friendships that might not have materialized otherwise.”
The friendly woman notes, “Volunteers often say they do it for the kids, and that’s true, but it’s also true that volunteers benefit as well by honing their skills in a variety of areas, while making friends across the province.”
A popular program in the county, 4-H kicks off this year with a rally night at Glenburnie United Church on Friday, Feb. 22.
According to Ann, the rally is a great way to learn about the 4-H program and see what clubs are offered this year. Members can also meet volunteers who lead the clubs. The rally begins at 7pm and there is no cost to attend.
“There is no obligation to sign up at rally night; it is primarily an information forum,” says Ann. “However, registrations will be taken if you wish. The 2019 membership fee (set/collected by the province) is $85 a person, regardless of the number of clubs a member chooses to participate in.”
The 4-H program is open to children between the ages of 9-21. A Cloverbuds’ Program is available for children 6-8 years of age.
New to the club, Cloverbuds introduces a variety of subjects to young children to give them a taste of 4-H.
According to organizers, 4-H clubs currently offered in Frontenac are beef, dairy, swine, horse, poultry, rabbit/cavy, cake decorating, garden, photography, community involvement. There are also camps, seminars, competitions, scholarship opportunities and an annual county judging competition.
Last year, Frontenac 4-H Association hosted Region Two’s Go for the Gold Competition, a game similar to Jeopardy that uses information from 4-H project manuals.
Speaking on behalf of South Frontenac Township, Deputy Mayor Ron Sleeth notes, “I think 4-H is one of the most important programs in a rural area because it teaches life skills. Speaking as an old 4-H member, I can attest to the importance of this organization. I still remember the skills I learned when I was in 4-H. The same goes for my sons and grandsons who participated in the program. I have a great deal of respect for the leaders who volunteer their time to help our youth grow into capable adults and effective leaders.”