Going into last Friday night’s 4H rally/signup night at Glenburnie United Church, president Joanne Dickson was a bit concerned that the inclement weather might have an adverse affect on the number of people who showed up.
She needn’t have worried. The place was packed.
“I certainly didn’t expect this many people,” she said. “At least not all at once.”
Every year about this time, Frontenac 4H holds a similar event where prospective members can find out what they offer, and previous members get a chance to try something new.
In all, they offer 15 ‘clubs’ ranging from beef (2 clubs), dairy (2 clubs), horses, goats, rabbits, cake decorating, community involvement, swine, poultry, photography, gardening and clover buds for kids aged 6-9, where they learn a variety of skills.
“It’s not just for the country people, it’s for everywhere,” Dickson said. “It all depends on the kids and their parents ability to get them to meetings.
“It’s for anyone ages 9-21 and they can learn skills that aren’t taught much, such as sewing or preserving.”
And, she said, 4H is very involved in a variety of communities including Fairmount Home and Communities in Bloom.
“Some people think they can’t join because they don’t have any animals but we have people who will lend them animals to care for,” she said. “One year, we had a sheepless sheep club.
“We also teach kids to be part of the community, instead of being in front of a computer screen or TV.”
Like most volunteer organizations, 4H could use some ‘leaders’ who typically teach skills they’ve learned through 4H or elsewhere.
“We’d love to have somebody lead preserving again and there have been some boys who would like woodworking but you have to have the leaders,” she said.
Dickson herself has been in 4H since she was 10 years old, specializing in dairy and homemaking clubs. Her daughter chalked up more than 60 projects in her tenure.
And in many of the clubs, the term project relates to showing livestock at area fairs and competitions such as the Parham Fair, the Odessa Fair, where they also work the gates. One of their members, Rachel Clow, was the 4H dairy champion at the Royal Winter Fair.
4H in Canada celebrated 100 years in 2013 and in Ontario in 2015.
If you’d like more information, visit the 4H Ontario website and click on the Frontenac 4H link.