While 4-H has gone through a lot of changes over the years, one thing that hasn’t changed is that it remains a great organization for young people.
Janine Petterson is the secretary for the Saskatchewan 4-H District 1 Council. District 1 includes the Outram-Madigan club, which her kids have been a part of, as well as Benson, Browning, Steelman, Cymri and Crossroads 4-H clubs.
Nearly 100 kids are part of the clubs in the region, which Petterson said is a normal number.
“We haven’t seen a whole bunch of a decrease,” Petterson said. “Our club is down a little bit, just because there are people who have graduated, and other people who went to different clubs or are in different situations. Other than that, our numbers are pretty steady.”
The clubs have had to play a waiting game due to COVID-19, but they have enjoyed some activities already, with meetings to get things started and to get their executives in place.
But they have been able to enjoy some curling, and the district is slated to host the provincial 4-H curling championship in February.
“I’m glad we do have some things that the kids are able to do,” said Petterson. “It’s a little limited, because of the 10-person limit, so a lot of things are done online for our meetings, which makes it a little more complicated for projects and for hands-on things to do, but we’re making do and getting it to work so far.”
The kids understand they can’t do much about the current situation, and people have been in good spirits.
They also hope to have the regional 4-H Show and Sale in 2021. Traditionally held in July, it was called off due to the pandemic.
Kids in the different clubs have already started to work towards the sale by picking out their calves and getting them halter-broken.
Petterson became involved with 4-H through her family. Her husband was involved with 4-H when he was a kid, while she was part of her local 4-H club for about a year.
After she married her husband and they had kids, he understandably wanted their children to be in 4-H.
“When they became members, I also fielded duties that I need to step up and help out and support the 4-H. If it’s something that my children believe in, it’s something I need to believe in as well.”
She has been a District 1 council member for a decade, so clearly it’s something she does believe in and she enjoys the work.
As for 4-H, it teaches kids responsibility, gets them out into the community and teaches them interpersonal communication skills through their public speaking program.
“A lot of kids out there nowadays don’t have that ability,” said Petterson. “They’re stuck behind their electronics, so 4-H to me is a good thing. It gets them out there … gets them communicating and involved, and it teaches them to be good, well-rounded adults.”
In terms of community involvement, Petterson cited a steer that 4-H gave to the Salvation Army. As a district, each club donated $500 towards donating a steer to the Salvation Army, and drew Tanner Aiden of the Crossroads Club as the kid to have meat from his steer donated to the food bank.
The steer weighed 1,255 pounds, and generated more than 800 pounds of meat.