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4-H’ers leave lasting mark with community service project when Sou’West 4-H Club hosted Manitoba counterparts

BARRINGTON, N.S. – 4-H’ers from Manitoba got a full immersion of East Coast living when they were hosted by the Sou’West 4-H Club Aug. 6-15 as part of the 4-H Club to Club Exchange Program.

From a lobster boil on the beach, a visit to Nova Scotia’s tallest lighthouse and giving lumberjack sports a try to participating in 4-H activities at the Shelburne County Exhibition and helping out with a community service project at the Barrington Municipal Exhibition grounds, it was a busy week for the group.

“They had an amazing time,” said Jennifer Spencer, Sou’West 4-H Club leader. “They can’t believe how different things are here from where they live.”

The Sou’West 4-H Club picked up their guests at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in the Yarmouth Mariners bus, taking them for a tour of the Halifax Citadel and the Halifax downtown and waterfront before heading back to Shelburne County.

Day two was all about the Shelburne County Exhibition.

“It was the first time they had ever taken part in building a float,” said Spencer. “They loved it. It was a great experience for them. They loved the exhibition and were able to see a lot of the projects we do here.”

After a tour of the South Shore Lobster Company on Aug. 8 it was off to Stoney Island Beach for a lobster and corn boil, followed by a beach cleanup.

Thursday, Aug. 9, was community service day at the Barrington Municipal Exhibition grounds, where clean-up work was carried on in the riding ring and the barns, painting was done, two new livestock pens were built, as well as a covered gazebo picnic area, as part of the Hands to Larger Service program launched earlier this year by 4-H Canada.

“As chair of 4-H Canada, I’m extremely proud of what you are doing here today,” said David Hovell, addressing the group during a brief ceremony.

“For almost 100 years 4-H has instilled in young people to be responsible, caring, contributing young leaders in all aspects of Canadian life. This project, building a 4-H-themed covered picnic area, is a prime example how caring young people can give back to communities that raise and shape them,” he said, adding the project “will leave a lasting mark in the community” and is “something everyone should be proud of.”

Spencer gave credit to the two Hands to Larger Service youth service leaders involved in the project for doing the legwork by organizing, planning and co-ordinating the community service day, which is going to be featured in a Hands to Larger Service video being launched in October by 4-H Canada.

Tours of local museums, dory rowing, building a lobster trap and holding a bingo for residents of Bayside were among the other activities the visiting 4-H’ers took part in before heading back to Manitoba, where eight members of the Sou’West 4-H Club were hosted in July for 10 days with host families living outside Winnipeg.

Visits to Canadian Human Rights Museum, the University of Manitoba Farm to Food Discovery Center, the Manitoba Stampede, the Royal Canadian Mint and the Manitoba Threshermen's Reunion and Stampede were on the schedule for members of the Sou’West 4-H Club during their visit to Manitoba.

The group also took part in a community service day by participating in a fun day for newcomers to Canada. They also toured a dairy farm with 1,100 head of cattle and a grain farm that had was a “huge grain operation,” said Spencer, adding the trip was “very interesting. It really opened up a whole world for us, projects we could do. Everybody was so full of inspiration when we came back.”

The 4-H Club to Club Exchange Program is partially funded by Canadian Heritage as a way for 4-H youth to experience the rich culture and history of Canada. Spencer said the Sou’West 4-H Club received amazing support from the community during their fundraising efforts in support of the club exchange, adding although there was a lot of paperwork involved in applying for and organizing the exchange, “the trip was priceless.”

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