Despite COVID-19 suspending all in-person gatherings, the Lone Butte 4-H Club and other 4-H Clubs throughout the Cariboo are still working on their projects and doing their best to support one another.
Heidi Meier, the current A leader of the Lone Butte 4-H Club, said that they’re encouraging all their members to meet online (virtually) once a month, in place of their usual monthly meeting. Meier has been involved in the club for the last nine years since her daughter was six and she has since become a leader and a member of the local district and regional councils.
Meier said that this year the Lone Butte club has 11 members eight of which are new members. Their chosen projects include photography, food, swine, sheep and alpaca, the only ones in the district.
“4-H members across B.C. are still engaged with their projects, from small engines to photography, swine, sheep and beef to name a few, members are still actively pursuing the end goal – the successful completion of project requirements and the ability to offer their community well-raised livestock to fill your freezers for the winter,” Meier said.
As a youth enhancement organization, Meier said the 4-H Club typically strives to teach children leadership, organization skills and communication. Registration is generally done in January and, following a communication course, they move into selecting and pursuing their projects for the year, with a maximum limit of four projects per member.
After taking photos, learning how to cook food or raising and training livestock, typically Meier said they’d been done by the end of July in time for the Williams Lake and District Annual 4-H Show and Sale around the middle of August. This includes a live auction and a competition between the various clubs as their projects are judged.
COVID-19 has, for obvious reasons, thrown much of this system into question. While in-person meetings have been replaced by Zoom meetings and the projects can be done from home via self-direction, the usual show and sale is up in the air, Meier said, for both the Lone Butte Club, the district and the rest of the province.
“We are taking it month by month, we really hope that some of the rules and regulations are relaxed enough so that, by the time we get to the end of July early August, that we can have those in-person get-togethers to achieve the kids’ projects and celebrate what they’ve done over the course of the year,” Meier said. “But we can’t say that will happen or not, so that leaves a whole lot of questions up in the air right now for the kids and their projects.”
Personally, Meier misses the chance to interact with her club members as she said she has a “great group of kids.” As a long term leader, she’s looking forward to when they can get together once more and she can see their bright and cheerful attitudes in person.
“It’s important that the community does not forget that 4-H is here. We are continuing, every club (in the district) is continuing so in 100 Mile House itself we have three clubs, there’s one in Clinton and there is six in Williams Lake,” Meier said. “For our district, we have 10 clubs and each of these clubs is going to have projects that are for sale.”
Whether they still do a live auction, virtual auction or have each member sell their project on their own, Meier wants to impress upon the community that they would really appreciate the continued support for their organization. She feels that everyone is in this together and that young people who have had their lives disrupted by the pandemic needs to know that, as a community, we’re here for them.
Meier added that 4-H BC has released a new program for 2020 4-H @ Home. This new free 4-H @ Home project is open to all B.C. youth with contests, activities and projects that can all be done from the comforts of home via 4hbc.ca/4-h-home.