Lethbridge County residents Mark and Pat Sayers are two of the 2018 inductees into Alberta’s 4-H Hall of Fame.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an honour and a humbling experience,” Mark Sayers said. “4-H has been a huge part of our family so for Pat and I to be inducted together means a lot. Being recognized by your peers in this way is amazing. The comments and notes we have received from all over the province have been overwhelming.”
The Sayers family have lived in the Sunnyside area, which is just east of Lethbridge, for the past 36 years and have raised two daughters there. Mark Sayers is currently the the UFA Delegate for the Lethbridge District and has chaired their Nominating Committee for the past two years.
Mark Sayers is also serving his second term on the Lethbridge Exhibition Park Board and chairs the Ministry and Personal Committee at McKillop United Church. Pat Sayers currently works at a local fertilizer/chemical plant and enjoys weekly “Maple Ridge Floors” bowling league mornings. She also works with the Coaldale branch of Ducks Unlimited. Pat also enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.
“Pat and I also own and operate Maple Ridge Floors, which we started 31 years ago,” Mark Sayers said. “It has helped pay for the cattle and sheep we raised over the years. We welcomed three more grand kids to the family this summer, so life continues to change.”
The Sayers family first became involved in 4-H when a friend of their oldest daughter, Shelley, called and invited Shelley to a 4-H meeting that very night. Shelley agreed to go and from then on, the family became involved in 4-H.
“I have loved working with 4-H. I believe that you get back what you put into anything you do in life,” Mark Sayers said. “In this case I got back much more than I put in. When you meet people from across the Country and around the world that are involved in 4-H you feel like you have known them all your life. It truly is amazing.”
Mark Sayers says that working with 4-H members at all levels has been a driving force in his life and he truly appreciates the energy and enthusiasm that the kids show. When Mark became involved with the Provincial Council, he moved to the political side of 4-H which provided a new and exciting challenge where he was not working with the members, but for the members.
“I became tougher than a boiled owl from that experience, but it has served me well in other organizations I have been involved with,” Mark Sayers said.
Pat Sayers says that her greatest satisfaction came from working with the members in of the 4-H Club and encouraging them to not only take part in club activities, but also in Regional and Provincial Programs.
“I very much enjoyed my time in 4-H,” Pat Sayers said. “Whether it was leading the club or cooking at one of the summer/winter camps, being involved with the members and watching them grow has been so rewarding.”
Both Mark and Pat have many wonderful memories about their time in 4-H and both think it is important to look back and remember those folks who worked to support the members and keep the 4-H Program going. Being inducted into the Alberta 4-H Hall of Fame has allowed the Sayers’s to look back and remember those who have been inducted over the years and also those who may not be in the Hall of Fame but who were just as dedicated to the Program.
“We have met and worked with so many wonderful people over the years and the list is long,” Pat Sayers said. “One of the most memorable memories for me was my first year as a leader when one of our junior members spoke for the first time and was terrified and froze. Four years later that same member stood up in front of everyone and was one of the most confident kids in the club.”
Mark Sayers remembers his first year as a leader of a beef club with 51 members as being interesting and he appreciates the 4-H Club executive who took him under their wing and taught him how to be a leader and how to run a club.
“I was involved with the Citizenship Seminar in Ottawa for three years and worked with members from across the Country,” Mark Sayers said. “My first year being a chaperone, I ended up spending the night at a Hospital with one of our kids. At the end of the program we had autograph books that everyone signed before we left. Her note to me said, “Thanks for not being just a chaperone, but for being a Dad to a scared little girl”. That one tugged at my heartstrings.”
Mark and Pat Sayers both say that working with 4-H for so many years has been appealing simply because of the satisfaction they get from watching the members grow and mature as they go through the program and now watching them raise their families. The Sayers family continually enjoys getting to watch first hand as the kids grow from shy children to confident adults who become good citizens and leaders in their communities.
“It has been a privilege to serve 4-H over the years,” Mark Sayers said. “We both have learned a great deal and leave with fond memories and lasting friendships. 4-H is not just something you are a part of. It is something that becomes a part of you.”