Amelia Hofer

Amelia Hofer

4-H members embrace beef

Beef clubs in 4-H have increased membership for the first time in a number of years

Kevin Rothwell

Special to The Morning Star

Beef clubs in the B.C. 4-H program have become the most popular for the first time in several years, surpassing the perennial favourite, Horse clubs. Overall there are 2,264 members registered in 160 clubs with 604 volunteer leaders, a 5.4 per cent increase over 2012.

Top Ten Projects

Beef    446

Horse  402

Cloverbuds 286

Sheep 280

Swine 198

Photography 178

Dairy 175

Poultry 138

Rabbit 137

Dog 129

There are a total of 28 projects available through B.C. 4-H including self-determined, and Grade 11 and 12 students are also eligible for external high school credits, which in turn has been integrated into the 4-H scholarship selection process.

Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and Kamloops-Okanagan region combine to represent more than 75 per cent of all 4-H club activity in the province, with the other 25 per cent spread across five regions including a handful of Yukon-based organizations.

Much of the growth has come on Vancouver Island where clubs have recruited new members and retained youth in their clubs. The Cloverbud program, which introduces six to eight-year-olds to 4-H before they reach project age, has been a big area of additional growth.

True to its founding in 1914 in B.C. agriculture programs remain popular, with 81 per cent of 4-H members listing their location as farm or rural. Non-agriculture projects have been embraced by urban and rural youth alike with many clubs switching to a multi designation and having several projects within one club.

Members can do more than one at a time, with some in beef and clothing, or horse and photography, at the same time growth in urban areas has been steady, including a club at the University of British Columbia.

B.C. 4-H will celebrate 100 years in 2014 and it appears the motto “Learn to do by doing” isn’t going out of fashion.

Kevin Rothwell is interim manager of B.C. 4-H.