BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Members of the Central Lacombe 4-H Beef Club were honoured this week, as they were named grand champions of the 4-H Centennial Contest, ‘Stand out from the Herd’.
The contest, hosted by UFA Co-operative Ltd., encouraged 4-H clubs across the country to create videos of what 4-H means to them, to their communities and how each group is unique.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of 4-H clubs in the country, so the goal of the contest was to reflect the lasting impacts that 4-H has on its members, and on their communities.
The Central Lacombe club came together to create a meaningful video, based on a poem written collaboratively by the group, which landed them the title of the ‘Grand Champion’ and a cash award of $3,000.
Connor Bresee, 16, is the Central Lacombe 4-H Beef Club President. He lent his voice as the narration for the video, and said he remains very proud of what their group was able to put together.
“The process of making the video began with brainstorming a bunch of ideas, and taking a few major points about our club and expanding on them. We talked about perseverance and new experiences, that sort of thing, and expanded those into different examples,” he explained.
Bresee said the group came together to decide what was most important for them, and mentioned themes of friendship, skill development and opening members up to new experiences.
The product of their brainstorming turned into a poem, which was then re-formatted to reflect the style of the poem ‘So God made a farmer’ by Paul Harvey.
“The video had all of our own ideas, but was formatted into a cleaner flow. I did the voice-over for the video, and we put that together with a bunch of photos of our group to make the video for the contest.
“Everyone who saw the video said it was really good, and we were all very proud of it.”
For Bresee, the video was a chance to celebrate all the positive things that 4-H has brought to his life, and to the lives of his peers. He said it was very meaningful to them to be able to share their club, and to have it recognized as one that truly betters the lives of the members.
He said the cash award would go a long way to helping the kids participate in shows, and will allow them to purchase materials and tools to be able to perform to the best of their ability.
“That reward will definitely have a lasting impact on how our club is able to do what we do and that’s really positive. However, for our club to be recognized as one that has something special over other clubs fills me with pride,” he said.
“I’m glad we were able to do something better than other clubs and see the rewards of that work.”
David MacTaggart is a Junior Leader within the Central Lacombe 4-H Beef Club, and has held many executive roles in the past, such as president and secretary.
He said that the local 4-H club was an amazing addition to his life, and that he is very proud of the group for being able to showcase their club in a way that received national recognition.
MacTaggart added that this particular club does a very good job in creating well-rounded young people, and promotes a very healthy culture for them to learn, grow and explore their own interests.
“Our 4-H Club is a bit of a snapshot for what 4-H clubs offer. What we focus on, mainly, right now is a beef project, with a smaller canine project and a small horse project. Those are the livestock components that we focus on. However, there are also outdoors and leadership projects. That is supposed to help find what members are interested, and we develop that throughout the year,” he explained.
“A focus for every 4-H Club that members particpate in is multi-speeches judging, public speaking and community service. What we really try to do with that is to make sure that members are getting involved outside of their club to make a positive impact on their community, that they might not necessarily have been involved with before 4-H.”
MacTaggart and Bresee both said that the skills they learn in 4-H are able to transfer far beyond the agricultural grounds, and allow the members to develop themselves as kind, driven and multi-talented individuals.
As well, both young men said a major focus of the group is to help build a better future in agriculture, by allowing the young people to take leadership in their communities and become ambassadors of ag in the future.
MacTaggart said, “It’s very important to our group to be able to pass accurate information about agriculture to the public. We want people to know how their food is grown, and who the people are that do that work. We also try to encourage our members to use their public speaking skills to promote agriculture, and be “ag-vocates’ for our industry.”
With the $3,000 winnings, the 4-H Beef Club will be able to continue their work in achievement event shows and to attend new learning opportunities. This could include farm fairs, livestock expeditions and even take short trips to places like Olds College, where there are a number of agriculture-based education paths to explore.
The legacy of the Central Lacombe 4-H Beef Club is, at it’s core, the members.
“I’m really proud of all of the young people involved in 4-H groups,” MacTaggart said.
“I think sometimes people can be pessimistic about young people being able and willing to put in work as members of our society. Our club really shows just what these young people can offer to the future.”