4-H and My Pragmatic Paradigm

This past weekend was another 4-H event for me. The Arnal Brothers Memorial Bursary Supper and Dance. This is an event I cater with my 4-H Club, and it is an event that is very close to my heart. This supper is a part of a larger fundraising weekend, with a hockey tournament, supper, and dance. The whole event is in memory of three brothers, two of whom were in my 4-H club with me, who passed away in farming accidents.

I am currently a member of the Bear Creek 4-H Club in Saskatchewan, but I have also been involved in other clubs both in Alberta and Saskatchewan. My experiences with this fantastic program have turned me into the confident individual I am today.

About 4-H

There really is not an effective way to truly describe 4-H besides saying, “It’s what you make it to be”. Yes, there is a motto and a pledge that we live by, and the most common project is Beef, but there is so much more to the program that started as an agriculture

4-H Pledge

club. To me, it is a family, a community that raises youth to be responsible, confident, and capable. It is “Learning to Do By Doing”, and pledging to the betterment of myself and the community I am a part of. The National (Canada 4-H) and Provincial websites (Alberta and Saskatchewan in my case) for 4-H can explain the technicalities better than I can, but here are some of the basics:

  • A 4-H Club requires more than 4 members (but can definitely have more!)
  • Members fall into one of five categories (in Saskatchewan 4-H)
    • Cloverbud (6-8)
    • Junior (9-12)
    • Intermediate (13-15)
    • Senior (16-21)
    • Future Leader (22-25)
  • Members must complete a Public Speaking requirement
  • Members must select a project to work on, and there are many to choose from! Not all projects are agricultural, but many do have an agricultural base, such as Beef, Light Horse, and Swine. There are too many to list specifically, but if you look into the available projects and cannot find one for you, there is a “4-U” Project, where you can focus on anything you wish! One year in 4-H I did a 4-U Singing project, because of my personal interest in singing and music.
  • Members must complete a record book for their project
  • Members must attend an Achievement Day, where they showcase their project and what they learned. It may be competitive, or just for fun.

For the greatest Public Service Announcement ever, click here! I still get goosebumps watching this video from 4-H Canada.

About Bear Creek 4-H Club

I mentioned I am a part of the Bear Creek 4-H Club. Here is some cool info about my own club!

Bear Creek 4-H Beef Club was formed in 1948 with 11 members and George Sanderson as the leader. Although it’s still is technically called the Bear Creek 4-H Beef Club, it is now referred to as the Bear Creek 4-H Club. Membership in the 4-H Club has increases and decreases but remains a strong club with 27 members this year. Although in the past it was a beef club, in 2009 members joined and completed canine projects. This helped with membership and keeping local people involved. In the last three years, other projects were added. This diversifies the projects and learning experiences that come with. It is great to see youth involved with projects related to their interests.

Projects in the club this year include Beef (Market Steer, Heifer, and Cow-Calf), Ranch Horse, Swine, Canine, Goat, Poultry, Welding, and Junior Leader.

The club takes on fundraiser and community projects each year. Catering is one of the things the club does to fundraise and give back to the community. The 4-H Club also does ditch cleaning in the R.M. of Piapot every year.

Each year the club goes on an educational trip. This year was to Agribition, but we have also gone to Vetavision, an exhibition on the Veterinary occupation and education in the University of Saskatoon.

As I mentioned in my last post, Public Speaking is also a very important aspect of 4-H, and one of my favorite activities.

What Does This Have to Do With Teaching?

While all of that information is really cool, it still doesn’t accurately describe why I love 4-H so much, and why it applies to my teaching and learning style!

So what do I love about 4-H?

I love:

  • Making new friends
  • Learning more about a project I’m interested in (this year I am raising a flock of Silkie Chickens in Poultry and am working on a Junior Leader project)
  • Public Speaking
  • Contributing to my community
  • Livestock Judging and Consumer Decision Making
  • Traveling
  • Becoming more confident
  • Teaching the younger members of my club, district, region, and province
  • The opportunities to become an Agvocate (advocate for agriculture)

The opportunities 4-Hers have in the program are unbelievable! In my 10 years of 4-H, I have:

  • Been to provincial Public Speaking (4-H Saskatchewan) twice so far, and placed 3rd and 1st.
  • Been to Provincial Judging (4-H Alberta) twice, and placed 5th and 19th, and won a trip to the Denver National Stock Show and Agribition for the National and International Competitions.
  • Travelled to Toronto Members Forum, a national event where I met many influential 4-Hers.
  • Travelled to Ottawa Citizenship Congress, where I toured the parliament building, had a mock debate in the Senate Chamber and learned about my beautiful country!
  • Contributed to my community, especially the Arnal Brothers Memorial Bursary in 2017 when I fundraised and shaved my head with my brothers for the cause.
  • Attended numerous 4-H Winter and Summer camps, where I made lifelong friends, and became more confident in myself and my own talents.

 

Because I grew up with the “Learn to Do By Doing” philosophy, it is now one of my best teaching methods. 4-H is one of the biggest factors in why I would love to teach, especially in an Industrial Arts class.

A recent example of teaching others in this manner was at the Arnal Brothers Memorial Bursary supper when I was showing our newer, younger members how to confidently serve and clear plates. I gave them an example when I worked and then allowed them to practice first on other 4-H families to gain confidence. Then I would give some constructive tips so they could improve and learn. In front of my eyes, I watched these nervous new members become confident in their abilities in a professional manner! These are the situations that I love so much about 4-H and its educational methods.

Final Thoughts

The pragmatic, hands-on approach is something that will stay with me forever as a teacher, and I know I will always try to find ways to apply the concepts I teach to a hands-on learning philosophy.

Public Speaking, Consumer Decision Making, appreciation for agriculture, and confidence in a project can be taught, and should be incorporated to the classroom.

I wish there were a way to get every youth involved in 4-H, but until that is possible, I will just have to focus on building these individual skills when I teach my own classroom.

Pictures of My 4-H Experiences

4-H Public Speaking
This is a photo from Regional Public Speaking in 2017, I placed 1st in the Senior category. Another member of my club also placed 2nd in the Intermediate category.
4-H Members Forum
This is from Toronto Members Forum 2016, I am on the left, and my friend Melissa is on the right. We were both representing Saskatchewan 4-H.

 

4-H Beef
This is my last Market Steer project in 2016, Amigo. As you can see, we were very close!

 

 

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