Before each meeting and at 4-H special events, the members make a pledge. “I Pledge: My head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service and My health to better living …..for my club, my community and my country.” And then they proceed to fulfill the motto, “Learn to do by doing”.
Learning through experience and active participation is a key objective of 4-H. Although completing a project such as raising, showing and selling a calf is an important learning process, the young people gain lifelong, valuable skills such as communication, leadership, problem solving and technical and life skills. They learn how to cooperate, work together, have fun, make friends and yes, they “Learn to do by doing”. By developing a set of skills that augment all other learning opportunities, 4-H has been an integral part of Alberta since 1917 by developing leaders and strengthening communities.
The year-end celebration and presentation of awards June 9 by the Lakedell 4-H Beef Club was a prime example. Young members helped set up the audio system, M.C.’d, presented awards, received awards helped host calf buyers and guests and assisted with any other tasks requiring attention throughout the evening.
They also contributed to the community by making an important donation to the Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services. Executive director Petra Pfeiffer, explains, “Although our program receives funding through the Victims’ of Crime Fund and other resources, we rely heavily on local community support. The funding provided by the Lakedell 4-H Beef club will go a long way towards helping provide our staff and volunteers with extensive training, additional safety equipment and professional development opportunities. Our base funding provides base services but it is the public funding and donations and the extensive time put in by our volunteers that enable us to provide the high level of service that we do.”
Pfeiffer describes the role of victim services in the region. “We reduce the effect of crime or tragedy on victims by providing information, referrals and support at the time of the incident, throughout the investigation and during the court proceedings. With the help of our highly trained volunteer advocates our unit assisted over 1,200 victims of crime or tragedy during the past year.”
Cyrus Dastouri, CA, Grant Thornton and treasurer of Victim Services was impressed with the commitment the Lakedell 4-H Beef Club showed for their community. “This donation is a perfect example of the 4-H pledge in action and the local community working together to make a positive difference. Through the hard work of the members, the knowledge shared by the leaders, and the generosity of the buyers, Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services will continue to have the resources it needs to assist the victims of crime and tragedy in our community.”
Tanya Schmidt, a long-time member of the Lakedell 4-H Club who won several awards that night including the coveted sportsmanship award, explains the importance of contributing to the community. “I have been an active member of the Lakedell 4-H Beef Club for nine years, and I cannot even begin to describe how much 4-H has taught me. I’ve learned everything from raising cattle to consulting businesses, and promoting agriculture. However if I had to narrow it down to one single lesson I learned in 4-H it would be is that your success is not measured by wins or losses, but by what you learned and what you did with it. Real strength of character is not displayed through words or appearance, but rather through actions, good deeds and kindness. 4-H is so much more than the busy show time glam, the buckles or the pay check. 4-H is about learning, helping others and extending a helping hand into the community.”
These young men and women are very dedicated. They spend countless hours, days, weeks and months caring for, and training their animals in preparation for the Show and Sale. Needless to say, many of them form a special bond with their animals and know it will be a sad time when they will be leading their “pet” into the show ring for the last time. But as Schmidt explained the trade-off is, “4-H is an excellent program that has taught me a lot, and I truly believe it has shines a bright light into the future of the agricultural industry.”
Melanie Caissie, the Victim Services liaison with the Lakedell 4-H Beef Club adds her personal appreciation. “Thank you very much to the 4-H club for their consideration and for the very generous donation! Thank you also to the buyers/supporters of the 4-H club. Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services provides information support and referrals to victims of crime and tragedy. We deal with over 1,200 files every year. This donation will go a long way towards helping victims in our community.”
The Lakedell 4-H Beef Club is grateful to the supporters, buyers, donors, volunteers and spectators who supported this event. Victim Services and victims of crime and tragedies can be grateful to the Lakedell 4-H Beef Club.