Kind of a weird title for a post, don’t you think? Well maybe… unless you know what those four words represent.
Sure, we all recognize those terms and what they mean individually. But together, they are the four H’s that make up 4-H.
4-H is a worldwide youth organization that fosters positive development opportunities for young people. In Canada alone, 4-H has been present for over 100 years. And it’s this milestone that’s being celebrated at our local fall fair this weekend.
Our Quarter Horse mare, Docs Fancy Rena (Fancy) and I at our club’s 4-H Achievement Day, circa 1995 or 1996.
I was in 4-H when I was a kid as a member of the Mildmay 4-H Horse Club. I have many, many amazing memories from my years in 4-H. I learned so much about horses – riding, grooming, showing, health care, etc. – but more importantly, I learned a lot about myself. My first year in 4-H, when I was just 10 years old, I took a very, very bad fall from horseback. The horse I was riding (not the one pictured above) decided she didn’t want a rider anymore and so bucked me off, bucking bronco rodeo style. I was okay but that accident could have been much, much worse. It still affects me and how I interact with a horse to this day, 24 years later. But I was also able to eventually overcome my fear of (literally and figuratively) getting back in the saddle. It took a long time, but I did it. And eventually, with a fantastic coach and strong support from my mum, I even got into barrel racing and other speed events that are very technical and kinda dangerous!
4-H taught me to respect animals and to care for and about them. It taught me the value of hard work and dedication. It put a huge challenge in front of me and then gave me the tools to overcome it. These are skills that everyone can use, no matter how old a person is – but are especially important for young people to foster within themselves.
So this weekend, although I’m really excited to attend arguably one of Ontario’s most well-run and well-known rural fall fairs, I’m more excited to help celebrate 4-H and all that it’s done not only for me, but for thousands of kids before and after me (my own kids, included!).
Bella & Grampa, practicing leading her calf for the weekend (Cash is clearly less interested).
If you’re in the area, definitely come out to the Glencoe Fair this weekend! It is such a great time and has something for everyone. If you have little ones who might want to get a taste of what 4-H is like, make sure to come out Saturday around 1pm to the 4-H dairy show. We have a class for kids who are too young to join 4-H or just want to try leading a 4-H calf. It is a great experience for all, and is often the largest livestock class of the entire fair – and super cute, too!
Learning new skills is always a great thing, especially for kids and young people. And as they say in 4-H (as the 4-H motto) – Learn To Do By Doing.
Have you been involved in 4-H before as a member, volunteer or leader, or have kids who are? I’d love to hear about your experiences with 4-H in the comments below.