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Fair opportunity through activities

Club will be represented at Pacific National Exhibition
Andy Rice

Two young residents will make a trip to Vancouver to represent the Powell River 4-H Club at the 101st Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). Patrick Rogers, 18 and his sister Melissa, 12, will depart this afternoon, in time to arrive for a members’ event on Thursday, August 18, followed by a day of fun at the fair on Friday with fellow 4-H’ers from across the province.

Powell River 4-H members have attended several other fairs in the past but this is the first time the club has been represented at the PNE. There are currently two branches of the organization found locally: the Jinglin’ Spurs 4-H Horse Club and the 4-H Community Club, which teaches skills in crafts, clothing, foods and photography to those ages nine to 18.

In addition to sending members for the first time, the community club has also submitted several craft projects for judging this year. One of Melissa’s creations, a polar fleece vest and pleated skirt combo, is up for adjudication, along with a set of pyjamas made by another Powell River resident, 14-year-old Carly Missio.

For the Rogers family, 4-H has become a family tradition. Patrick and Melissa’s older brother Josh took part in the program before they followed suit. After “tagging along” for several years, they began officially participating around the age of nine. Their mother Helena is currently the district key leader, district treasurer and assistant leader of the community club.

The 4-H motto is “learn to do by doing.” Youth are encouraged to reach their fullest potential by trying a wide range of activities called units—everything from bees to bicycles.  Participants gain important skills that provide life-long benefits, often becoming leaders and better citizens along the way.

In his nine years of involvement, Patrick has tackled a variety of units including foods, crafts, small engines, cavies, rabbits and swine. With swine, he had to obtain permission to participate from another 4-H chapter on Vancouver Island because the unit is not offered in Powell River. Over the course of a year, he raised a market hog on a friend’s farm in Comox, selling it for top dollar at the PNE last August.

This friend, of course, was one he met through the 4-H program. Fairs and show events provide a chance for members from various parts of the province to socialize and form life-long friendships. “They’re just a wonderful bunch of kids,” said Helena. “They’ve really spent the time communicating and getting to know each other.”

Within club membership, various levels are set up to accommodate different age groups. Ages six to eight enrol in the Cloverbuds program, a junior level is in place for ages nine to 12, along with a senior level for ages 13 to 19. All members between the ages of nine and 19 can choose projects and an ambassador program is in place for 20 to 22-year-olds.

While Powell River 4-H has yet to see any of its members serve as ambassadors, “mainly due to the time commitment and travel logistics involved,” Helena said, the club does have a committed enrolment coming up through the ranks. Between the Jinglin’ Spurs and Community Club, 18 youth are currently involved in 4-H, along with eight leaders.

But what do all those Hs stand for anyways? “Head, heart, hands and health,” said Patrick. “It comes from the pledge: my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, my health to better living, for my club, my community and my country.”

At this year’s PNE, which runs August 20 to September 5, all of the above will be represented by youth from Powell River and beyond.

For more information on the 4-H club, interested readers can contact ‘A’ leader and district secretary Maureen Venables at 604.485.4534 or