Happy 100 birthday 4-H B.C.

4-H clubs in B.C celebrate the organization's 100 birthday this year.

This year 4-H B.C. is celebrating 100 years of service in support of youth development across the province.

By making it past the century mark, the club’s focus remains on creating awareness that the club is still here and going strong, said Cindy Hassen, leader at large in Vanderhoof and chair of this year’s planning committee.

“100 years will never happen again in our lifetime. It is so special that a club has survived that long even with all it’s changes,” said Ms. Hassen.

4-H is an organization dedicated to helping youth with their future by preparing them in a fun way to be an adult. Children can participate in various leadership, agriculture, communication, creative and mechanical programs to help them acquire essential life skills.

A known part of 4-H has always been working with animals and allowing children to learn and grow using animal projects. Young children can start off with a rabbit or poultry assignment while others learn the ins and outs of raising their own beef and swine.

“Its very educational because you learn all the odds and ends about husbandries. If you choose to have a beef farm in the future you will know how,” said Jayci Pyy 17, who has been a 4-H member for seven years.

A popular outdoor-living program offered by Vanderhoof 4-H clubs gives children a chance at making their own emergency first-aid kits. The unit then takes them on a hike to practise following safety rules such as staying together and carrying a whistle at all times. The program also boosts a campfire-building component. ‘Learn by doing’ is the 4-H motto.

“If you don’t know how to do it we will teach you, and that’s for the parents and everybody,” said Ms. Hassen.

Although animal and environmental projects are a big part of 4-H, over the years the club has changed and added programs in order to better suit the changing and dynamic needs of a growing population.

“There are more workshops, more evolvement, and more chances of learning for the kids. There is even  a lot more traveling opportunities for seniors,” said Ms. Hassen.

Some other 4-H programs include speech giving with a focus on personal development, photography with a focus on creativity and building small engines with a focus on mechanics.

Children up to the age of 19 can participate in the step-by-step unit programs, and if they choose to, can become ambassadors  by traveling and representing their club. Those in grade 11 or 12 can even earn full credits with 4-H by being a dedicated member and completing the requirements of their specific unit. There are also scholarship opportunities for those who may excel in their given field.

“There’s a reason after 100 years were still here and going strong,” said Ms. Hassen. “It’s a fantastic club doing amazing things.”