Seventy-five years is a big number. Especially for a club in small town Saskatchewan, but that is what the Senlac multiple 4-H club is celebrating this year.
The 4-H movement began in the United States at the turn of the 20th century; the first similar club in Canada was organized in Roland, Man., in 1913, and the concept quickly swept through the settled agricultural regions of the country.
In Canada the name Boys and Girls Club was used until 1952, when the name 4-H, used in the United States and many other countries, was adopted. The Canada 4-H Council combines private and government efforts and resources and offers a forum for national discussion and exchange of information as well as many national programs for 4-H members and for their leaders.
The stated purpose of the early Boys and Girls Clubs was to provide rural young people with the opportunity to learn farming and homemaking skills. The 4-H program now emphasizes all aspects of the mental, emotional, social and physical growth of its members.
The motto, Learn to Do by Doing, is the basis of all 4-H activities. Members are responsible for developing and executing projects as varied as raising a calf, sewing a dress or learning photography. By helping members acquire a positive attitude toward learning, 4-H helps them increase their knowledge and develop valuable skills.
Agricultural extension services have traditionally provided organizational leadership, while encouraging members to actually run their clubs. Volunteer leaders are vital to the success of the 4-H program.
Members regularly recite the 4-H pledge: "I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service and my Health to better living, for my Club, my Community, and my Country."
The 4 words beginning with the letter “H’ in this statement evolved the club name of 4-H.
4-H clubs succeed for members as they are not divided up necessarily by age for their meetings. The whole club meets with members ages eight to 21 and the older members provide leadership, guidance and mentorship for the younger members. The generations working together is something that can be attributed to their success. With all ages attending the kids learn to socialize together and experience the fun from an multi age viewpoint.
The Senlac club hosts 27 members this year in projects like beef, light horse and photography. They held their annual cake bingo April 7 supported by a large crowd. This popular event is always held Easter weekend.
Their achievement day will be held on May 27, 2012, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Senlac Arena. Supper and an award ceremony will be at 6 p.m. in the Senlac Hall. Members will be attending the 4-H Expo in Lloydminster June 2 to 4.
The club was founded by Emerson Wells who resided at Senlac .He started the Senlac calf club in 1937. According to records the calf club was the only project taken at this time with 29 active members for the 1937-38 season.
Club members say the key to 75 years of success is the volunteers who step up and put in the time and hours of teaching to make a club keep going. Parent support plays a role. Without them giving the kids the opportunities to be a part of the club whether it’s supplying a horse or calf or hauling them around to the 4-H activities, the club would not have the number of members that join each year. Also the members themselves play a big part. Without them wanting to take part and are willing to learn there would be no active club.
The biggest event for this club and likely all 4-H clubs is the achievement day that is held the last Sunday of May each year. This allows each member to show what he or she has learned or done over the season. The first weekend in June the club also takes in a regional show and sale in Lloydminister. The light horse project rides Saturday and Sunday, and the beef show is Sunday and Monday with selling of their steers Monday afternoon. Multi projects show their projects Sunday.
Reflecting on 75 years longevity, members of the club said it has always had great local support for club activities. They do try and make it fun for the kids, which plays a part in them wanting to return year after year.
There are other 4-H clubs in Unity and district that have held notable events in the past such as the 4-H provincial curling in 2010 and their annual speak off competitions throughout the province.
Facts on the Canadian 4-H club emergence was taken from an online source called The Canadian Encyclopedia.