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Wednesday, 05 October 2016 14:21

Southern Alberta 4-H celebrates a century in 2017

Written by  J.W. Schnarr, Alberta Newspaper Group
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Southern Alberta 4-H turns 100 next year, and to celebrate, Lethbridge Exhibition Park is hosting an event marking the importance of the organization to generations of southern Albertans.
The Southern 4-H Region kick-off event will take place  Jan. 7 in the North Pavilion at Exhibition Park.
The region comprises an area from south of Calgary to the U.S. border, and both provincial borders east and west. There are 56 clubs with more than 950 members, and more than 250 volunteer leaders.
4-H Clubs and the projects they provide for young people can include traditional animal-based projects, but in the years since, 4-H began have expanded to include other activities such as photography, woodworking, snowmobiling, and more.
“If you can dream it, you can do it,” said Andy Pittman, committee chair for Southern Alberta 4-H.
4-H ambassador Christine Suominen said the organization has encouraged her to develop citizenship, life skills, leadership, and responsibility through opportunities and positive role models in a tight-knit community.
“To me, 4-H is a big community equipping their children with skills necessary to enter society. This is achieved by compassionate, warm-hearted people who believe in the program.

“I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without 4-H.”
The day’s events will include a trade show with educational showcases, speakers, and interactive activities. The trade show is open to the public to attend. Following the trade show there will be a reception, silent auction, and a special announcement of the introduction of a time capsule.
The time capsule will be built in the shape of a miniature grain elevator and filled with memorable and significant items from individuals and groups throughout the Southern Region’s 4-H community.
  The guest speaker for the evening will be Dave Poulsen, a celebrated pro rodeo announcer, award-winning author, speaker, and former 4-H leader.
Kayley Dueck just wrapped up her ninth year as a 4-H member, and is looking forward to give back to the program as a volunteer.
“4-H has been a great experience for me. It’s really given me an opportunity to meet new people. I’ve been able to network with people from across the province,” she said.
“Going in as a junior member at only nine years old, I was very shy, but I definitely think I’ve been able to move my way up from that.”
Dueck said 4-H is important to promoting rural lifestyle, and keeping children connected to the land.
“A lot of times there is a lack of knowledge about agriculture,” she said. “I think a lot of people who grow up in the city kind of miss out on where we get our produce from.
“I think 4-H is great at building awareness around that, as well as the consumer decision-making awareness to go along with that. For me, I’ve learned a lot about how we view agriculture and how it shapes us.”
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