Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:04

4-H Funtastic in Swift Current a hit

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Members of 4-H groups across Saskatchewan are always working on developing their public speaking skills and building their self-esteem, but every other year they have the opportunity to take part in a special workshop geared to really boost their self-confidence with 4-H Funtastic.

This three-day event focuses on encouraging members to build life skills while having fun and interacting with other 4-H members from across the province. Due to the magnitude of the event, it is only held once every other April.

“It’s just such a big undertaking, but we’ve been doing it for more than 30 years,” explained Jackie Andreas, president of Saskatchewan 4-H. “It’s open to any 4-H members aged 13 to 21 from throughout the entire province, and it usually takes us about six months of planning.”

The organizational committee consists of about eight members, who are all volunteers.

Most of the work involves finding sponsors to provide clothes for the fashion show event, which takes place at the end of the three days of skill-building.

“It takes courage to get up on stage in front of all of those people,” admitted Andreas. “We always do two fashion shows, and for the first show they are so nervous, but by the second one they are feeling great about it. They look beautiful, they feel beautiful, and I think that’s important. This really makes them feel good from the inside out.”

Many of the participants return each time, and Andreas noted for the last few years, they have even started to see more participation from the male 4-H members. The fashion show aspect of the workshop has been a huge hit for the group.

“In this program, we try to teach them how to feel good about themselves, to feel good in their bodies, and then they can come and participate in the fashion show afterward to show how much they’ve learned,” Andreas added. “And it’s a really fun weekend, so the kids come back.”

One of the goals of the 4-H program is to build future leaders. Public speaking is an important element of that, so members start from a young age, learning how to present themselves well in public. Each year, members are required to participate in public speaking events and activities.

“We are trying to encourage them to be leaders, and the majority of them already are,” said Andreas. “You can pick out a 4-H kid from a mile away. They are usually outgoing, easy to talk, and present themselves well. It’s a really important part of our program, to give them the skills to do that.”

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