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4-H Awards Night celebrates outstanding youth achievements

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Filled to capacity with proud family members, friends and contemporaries, local youth gathered for a special annual event to ‘pawse for celebration’.

The Prince Edward County 4-H Association 2018 Awards Night, held at The HOPE Centre on Picton’s King Street Friday, featured two-hours of non-stop presentations as all members of the PEC 4-H Club were recognized. The well-orchestrated awards ceremony, hosted by the PEC 4-H Small Animal Pet Club, was themed “Pawsing to Celebrate!”.

“4-H has been in Ontario for over 100 years, so we are a long-standing positive youth development organization and this program tonight, the 2018 4-H Awards Night, is the culmination of our year when the members are celebrated for all their achievements over the course of the year,” said Jane Thompson, PEC 4-H Secretary.

“We are the future of Canada and this is our to-do list,” announced a welcoming message. “We will do our part, do our best to learn, do right by our communities and the land that sustains us. We will do the right thing, do the world proud, and difficult though it may seem, do our utmost to lead and all of this we will do because with 4H, and the dedication of volunteers, we are learning to do, by doing.”

Masters of ceremonies for the evening were Maggie Lindsay and Christopher Bell.

Maggie has been with 4-H for eight years and has completed 72 clubs, Christopher has also been with 4-H for eight years and has done 36 clubs.

PEC 4-H Association president Gaye Insley noted 90 members who participated in 17 clubs and thanked all the volunteers and leaders who put in many hours running clubs, sitting on committees, working in the milkshake booth and organizing events, as well as the evening’s organizing committee, the evening’s host and all the sponsors.

Seventeen main local categories were showcased together with provincial, regional, youth leadership and Picton Fair 2018 awards were presented.

“Members are nominated by their fellow members, by club leaders and even by people in the community and they are selected by an impartial committee who really doesn’t know much about 4-H; they are just given the nomination forms and from that they select the winners,” explained Thompson.

A cheque for $2,500 presented to the PEC 4-H Cloverbuds from Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities with Cloverbuds’ leaders Lynn Ward and Sherrie Brown.

Cloverbud leader Sherrie Brown was proud to present Cloverbuds leader Lynn Ward and the Cloverbuds with $2,500 from Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities.

“The idea of the fund is all about giving back to local non-profit organizations through farmers rural community grants that they sponsor throughout Canada,” said Brown.

The grant will benefit the Cloverbuds through program funding for snacks, activities and giving back to the community. “We are very excited to be using these funds to support our Cloverbuds programming over the years to come,” she said.

First year Cloverbuds members with graduating Cloverbuds with leaders Sherrie Brown and Lynn Ward.

The 2018 graduating Cloverbuds are Milly Dowson, Jasper Hankyle, Emily Inwood, Neve Kamink, Alexis Kellar, Ethan Loft and Isabella Myderwyk.

“The Cloverbuds met once a month and we did a variety of things throughout the year, and we really tapped into the community,” said Brown. “Our year-end party was held at Langridge’s Farm and we had pumpkin carving and lots of games and fun and food, of course.”

“We are very proud of our Cloverbuds group, the youngest, six-to-eight-year-olds, and that’s the fastest growing of our programs right now, so we are pleased to see that,” said Thompson. “Also, our senior members, as they take on the role of youth leader in the club, they get some training for that, but it’s quite a bit of work required and there are certainly some strict standards and they all rise to the occasion. There is a good bit of competition, but there’s nothing wrong with competition for some of these awards.”

Beef Club members with award winners (centre) Shae-Lynn Bell, Sydney Galt and Emily Norton with Brenda Bell.

The Beef Club, with leaders Brenda Bell, Alissa Rabbie, Matt Rabbie and Lynn Ward announced Shae-Lynn Bell as the recipient of the Spirit Award, which is voted on by members of the public.

The Rising Star Award and the Champion Beef Animal both went to Sydney Galt. Emily Norton was the recipient in the Champion Beef Showperson category.

Five members of the Dairy Club (Madison Osborne, Joy Prinzen, Michaela Zantingh, Shannon Zantingh and Maria Prinzen) with leader Phil Prinzen.

Dairy Club leader Phil Prinzen and five members were in attendance for the evening. “We are a bit smaller than the Beef Club,” said Prinzen, “but just as powerful.”

Prinzen said the Dairy Club was a young but enthusiastic club doing something great, noting that they will be giving out their awards next week.

It is the first year for the Farm Machinery Club which had three of its eight members present, namely Carter Black, Wyatt Loft and Maria Prinzen. Leader Steve Black said, “We showed the kids how to do an oil change, we covered combine harvesting, tracking GPS and auto steer, and we held our achievement day at the Hastings County Plow Match.”

Members of the Giant Pumpkin and Vegetable Club with leaders (far left) Matt Rabbie and (far right) John Vincent.

The Giant Pumpkin and Vegetable Club is led by John Vincent, Matt Rabbie and Shannon Desjardins. Vincent said they had a pretty fantastic year, noting the club seems to be fairly popular.

“Our objective has always been to get the kids involved with growing stuff, getting their hands in the dirt and to teach them all about soil science,” said Vincent. “I think it’s a little bit different to what they learn in school because they are actually getting out and putting it to use and seeing what they can do.”

Vincent noted Carter Black has grown the largest water melon in Ontario two years in a row. The Most Outstanding Club Member is chosen by ballot and was awarded to Wyatt Loft.

Go for the Gold Club members Joy Prinzen, Maria Prinzen, Emma Whiten and Misha Vader with leaders (far left) Selena Prinzen and (far right) Lynn Ward.

Led by Selena Prinzen and Lynn Ward, the Go for the Gold Club consists of members Joy Prinzen, Maria Prinzen, Emma Whiten and Misha Vader. Shannon Desjardins and Lynn Ward are leaders.

Horse and Pony Club members with leaders Melissa Kempers and Lori Sprigings.

The Horse and Pony Club is led by Melissa Kempers, Joelle Briggs-Sears and Lori Sprigings. “We wanted a wacky horse club this year, we did things people hadn’t seen before,” said Kempers who said the club was a good size again this year and who herself has been active in the club for 18 years.

“You don’t have to have to a horse to join our club,” she added. “We like to do things that even people with their own horses wouldn’t necessarily get to do. This year, we did vaulting which is gymnastics on horseback; we did extreme cowboy and we went to Upper Canada Village’s Medieval Day and saw some extreme jousting.”

Most Outstanding Club Member was awarded to Joy Prinzen.

“Joy has been in the club a number of years, but this year took a leadership role in the club. She was very vocal at the meetings and she really improved on her horsemanship this year,” said Kempers.

Judge It Club members Samantha Karja, Phaedra Molyneux, Maria Prinzen, Shannon Zantingh with leaders (far left) Alissa Rabbie and (far right) Jane Thompson and R. John Garside.

“This is our second year for the Judge It Club with myself, R. John Garside and Alissa Rabbie as leaders,” said Jane Thompson. “We’ve had so much fun with this club because we teach critical thinking basically. We’ve judged fountain pens, sheep, grapes and grape vines, dairy cattle and cars, and they have to be able to support their ranking with reasons, that’s a very important part of the process.”

“One of our meetings was to go to the Judge It competition competing against all counties in Region Three,” said Rabbie.

Prince Edward County member placings in the Judge It competition included top novice placing member Maria Prinzen. “Our top junior member was Bethany Foster who attended but is not in the club. Second place in the junior division was Misha Vader and the top placing in the older division in the County was Paige Prinzen.”

Let’s Eat Right Club members with leaders (far left) Michelle Karja and (far right) Jane Thompson and Sherrie Brown.

The Most Outstanding Club Member in the Let’s Eat Right Club was awarded to Kyleigh Condon who received a cook book. The club is led by Sherrie Brown, Michelle Karja and Jane Thompson.

“I have known Kyleigh for several years in another group which finished at the end of Grade 4 and I encouraged her to come to 4-H,” said Thompson. “She knew nothing about 4-H, so she was very brave, I felt, and it’s largely from this bravery to come on her own. She didn’t know any of these girls and she jumped in with both feet and was very enthusiastic about learning to do by doing.”

Scrapbook Club members with leaders (far left) Sue Vincent and (far right) Elizabeth Williams.

Elizabeth Williams and Sue Vincent lead the Scrapbook Club and nominated Shae-Lynn Bell as Most Outstanding Club Member. There was a tie for Up and Coming Club Member which was given to Devyn Henderson and Sara Fowler.

Also acknowledged were the Sheep Club led by Stephanie Diamant, John Vincent and Lynn Ward and the Small Animal Pet Club led by Sherrie Brown, Michelle Karja and Jane Thompson. Most Outstanding Club Member in this category was Dawson Mallett. Dawson is described as energetic, enthusiastic, confident in public speaking, willing to help, always has a smile, and knowledgeable about pets, particularly horses.

The STEM Club’s (short for science, technology, engineering and math) Most Outstanding Club Member was awarded to Julianna Tyers. The evening’s 17 main categories concluded with Woodworking Level 1 Club and Woodworking Level 2 Club.

Provincial, regional and youth leadership opportunities were acknowledged, together with Picton Fair 2018 club exhibit boards and special class winners. First place winners in the special class category were Christopher Bell (funny animal picture), Noah McGill (baby animal picture), Seamus McFaul (wild animal picture) and Mallory McFaul (other).

Shae-Lynn Bell was presented with the Youth Leader Award.

New for 2018 was the 4-H Ontario Provincial Seal Awards which were presented to first year members as well as those members completing a number of projects ranging from six to 72. Kiandra Gibbons completed 42 projects, Shae-Lynn Bell and Emily Norton completed 48 projects and with 72 projects was Maggie Lindsay.

“Some of these young people do eight to 10 projects in a year. A project is six weeks, but it still means they are doing two or three usually at once, so they are very busy,” said Thompson. “One of the leaders calculated, we have one member who completed 72 projects, that’s equal to the time for a year of school, so that’s quite remarkable really.”

2018 Gay Lea Award of Achievement recipients Kiandra Gibbons and Tanner Bell with Selena Prinzen.

The 2018 Gay Lea Award of Achievement, which involves the completion of 24 projects and five years in 4-H, was presented to Tanner Bell and Kiandra Gibbons. The 2018 recipient of the Graduate Award was Victoria Austin.

Outstanding Member Award winner Emily Norton, with 4-H president Gaye Insley.

Wyatt Loft, winner of the Keitha Gilbert Award, with Elizabeth Williams.

In the individual categories, among those recognized were Alexa Prinzen for the top overall cattle showperson with the F.J. Webster Memorial Award; Emily Norton with the Ontario Ploughmen’s Association Outstanding 4-H Agricultural Member Award; Wyatt Loft received the Keitha Gilbert Award for most outstanding first year member.

The Bay of Quinte Mutual Insurance Company Award, which is presented to the most outstanding second year member, went to Dawson Mallett; and the Top Senior 4-H Member Award, presented to the most outstanding senior 4-H member, was given to Jaret Parliament.

Small Animal Pet Club members with leaders (far left back) Michelle Karja and (far right) Sherrie Brown and Jane Thompson.

“It’s wonderful to have this celebration and I want to thank the Small Animal Pet Club for being our hosts tonight as it’s quite an undertaking,” said Thompson. “Part of the reason I do 4-H is you get to meet and work with the most wonderful people, this is my 30th year I think, and it’s just too much fun!”

Anyone interested in 4-H can call Jane Thompson at 613-476-5470. The PEC 4-H Association will be holding an open house and registration day at The HOPE Centre at 46 King Street in Picton Saturday, Nov. 24, from 10am to noon. The age range for 4-H members is nine to 21 years; and six to eight years for Cloverbuds.

“All the leaders will be there with their club information and people can talk to the leaders, find out what interests them and sign up for the clubs they want to do,” said Thompson.

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