Pic­tou County 4H clubs en­cour­ag­ing new mem­bers

Clubs in the area are wel­com­ing reg­is­tra­tions, of­fer­ing a di­verse set of pro­grams that teach life skills

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - BY SAM MAC­DON­ALD

Betty Lou Scott is op­ti­mistic about the po­ten­tial for re­cruit­ing mem­bers to the Salt Springs 4H Club. This year, she said there have been more par­ents in­quir­ing about the club, and ask­ing about what sorts of things pro­grams they of­fer.

Scott sees that as a good sign, given the many im­por­tant life skills that 4H can help youth de­velop. She said the only club that has com­pleted its regis­tra­tion this year is the one in Hopewell – one that has man­aged to at­tract more mem­bers.

“We’re just barely be­gin­ning, but there seems to be a lit­tle more in­ter­est. In the case of the Salt Springs club, I’ve had three or four calls from new fam­i­lies that are in­ter­ested, and want to know when regis­tra­tion was, and so on,” said Scott, re­fer­ring to her the 4H Club where she serves as a leader and ad­min­is­tra­tive co­or­di­na­tor.

Although she sees some in­ter­est, Scott main­tained that, “the ac­tual regis­tra­tion will tell the tale,” not­ing that other ac­tiv­i­ties that chil­dren en­roll in, such as sports tend to take up a lot of time, and “kids who join soc­cer or hockey re­al­ize they’re time­con­sum­ing – and they have to make a choice as to what they want to go with.”

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in 4H en­tails meet­ings and projects and is a se­ri­ous com­mit­ment for those who join, Scott said.

The clubs have a va­ri­ety of pro­grams for prospec­tive mem­bers, Scott said, adding “many years ago, there was a theme. ‘4H aint just cows and cookin’,’ since that’s the com­mon per­cep­tion.”

Two of the ma­jor pil­lars of the 4H ex­pe­ri­ence are pub­lic speak­ing and judging – rites of pas­sage in all the 4H pro­grams that Scott says pre­pares youth with es­sen­tial skills they can prac­ti­cally use in var­i­ous ways in life.

“Every­one who joins has to do some form of pub­lic speak­ing, and they have to do judging along the way. These are as­sets in the real world – even get­ting through high school and post-se­condary, pub­lic speak­ing and judging are real as­sets,” said Scott. “Most peo­ple who join 4H don’t specif­i­cally join to do pub­lic speak­ing – they do it be­cause it’s a re­quire­ment.”

The of­fer­ings in lo­cal 4H Clubs in­clude over 40 po­ten­tial projects for youth to un­der­take. Mem­bers can be­come en­gaged in var­i­ous live­stock pro­grams; cook­ing; sewing; cake dec­o­rat­ing; wood­work­ing; first aid; out­door ex­plo­ration; fish­eries; en­vi­ron­men­tal or her­itage projects – a se­lec­tion of ac­tiv­i­ties that “runs the whole gamut,” Scott noted.

“The va­ri­ety of projects you can make in 4H is ap­peal­ing. To use my own club as an ex­am­ple, we had 20 mem­bers last year, but we of­fered 23 dif­fer­ent projects,” she said. “Those kids had a va­ri­ety of things they could ex­plore, and work with – that’s a big ap­peal.”

Each pro­gram en­tails plenty of prac­tice, with three projects be­ing as­signed to show­case the skills of those who par­take. “For ex­am­ple, if they choose to do crafts, they have to do three dif­fer­ent crafts be­fore they com­plete a year in 4H,” said Scott.

“If they do wood­work­ing, they can do re­ally elab­o­rate projects. A child can chose three to­tally dif­fer­ent crafts – the sky’s the limit when it comes to hand­crafts. I think the va­ri­ety is the thing that re­ally ap­peals to them.”

As chil­dren move through the pro­gram and grow, Scott added there are “all kinds of ter­rific op­por­tu­ni­ties and schol­ar­ships.”

For older mem­bers, Scott noted there is al­ways the op­tion of propos­ing self-de­ter­mined projects that “can be ones that aren’t on the list.” One ex­am­ple of such un­der­tak­ings is a videog­ra­phy club, es­tab­lished with the help of an ex­pert with Eastlink.

“He de­vel­oped the project – called videog­ra­phy – and they did video tap­ing, and learned about that for the year. There re­ally is un­lim­ited va­ri­ety and that is one of the big­gest draws for stu­dents,” said Scott.

Regis­tra­tion for the 4H Clubs in Pic­tou is spread over the course of the month, and will take place at a num­ber of lo­ca­tions in the com­ing weeks.

Regis­tra­tion times for 4H Clubs in Pic­tou County River John: Oct 16th, at 7 p.m. at St. Ge­orge’s Church Hall

For more in­for­ma­tion, call Mar­garet Cripps at (902) 7594595 or Chris­tine Heighton at (902) 351-2061.

Scots­burn: Oct 23rd, at 7 p.m. at Scots­burn Ele­men­tary School

For more in­for­ma­tion, call Cathy Lavers at (902) 485-8204.

Salt Springs: Oct. 23rd, at 7 p.m. at West River Fire Hall

Fore more in­for­ma­tion, call Betty Lou Scott at (902) 925-2057.

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