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 time-consuming – 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) 759-4595 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.