This summer, the Essex 4-H Exchange Club had a fantastic opportunity to participate in the Youth Exchanges Canada trip. The 4-H Youth Exchanges Canada program is a reciprocal exchange between 4-H groups across Canada and is administered by 4-H Canada. Four Ontario groups were selected to participate this year, the Essex group being one of them. The exchange provides delegates with the opportunity to travel to other parts of Canada, and in doing so, experience the culture, geography, history, and economy of the regions they visit.
Essex 4-H Exchange Club
By Alexandra Lockley
In July Essex 4-H Exchange Club left Windsor Airport to travel to Canwood, SK. After a long travel day we arrived at Saskatoon Airport where we were welcomed by our host group and met our twins. We travelled about 2 hours by bus to our groups homes. Our first morning we all met at the Aiken Family’s home for brunch and than travelled to a nearby Bison farm for a tour, than we had some friendly games of 5 pin bowling, bench ball and a BBQ and finished the evening with a baseball game.
We had a family day to spend with our host family and everyone went to different lakes for the day and enjoyed the hot summer weather they were having. Our next day we travelled to Blue Mountain for “Fear Factor” which was being harnessed in and climbing a 30 foot telephone pole and standing on a small platform and jumping off trying to hang on a trapeze, than if you made it you hung upside down from your feet and let go! After most people in the group braved the jump we went zip lining, we ended then went for a swim in the lake. Our next stop was the Crooked Trees, the trees in this area grow crooked and can not be explained, the trees across the driveway are straight.
Our next day we went to a bronze foundry and it was very interesting how the bronze was melted and designed into all different kinds of artwork. The local John Deere dealer was having a “Hay Day” and we went to check out some new tractors and balers, and had a great lunch. At the Aiken home we had a dough bake by the campfire, it was something new for us and enjoyed by all. Then we were off to a Branding, this was an awesome experience that most felt was the highlight of the trip! We watched and than helped with rounding up the young beef cattle and made sure they were vaccinated, branded and sent back to their mothers. Some of the group was even able to ride horseback to push the herd of cattle out to a different pasture as the sun was setting. We then went down to a river and had a bonfire and dinner and tried some new things bison and elk stacks and a few tried the prairie oysters, we all felt like real cowboys and cowgirls!
The week went by too quickly and our last day we went we went the Doukhobor settlement where we learned how this group of Russian immigrants made homes dugout in the sides of the hills and saw the largest tree in Saskatchewan. Next we headed into Saskatoon to visit a wave pool for some fun than it was dinner at the Taste of Saskatchewan and opening night of Hamlet on the river.
Many friendships have been made and wonderful memories of a beautiful province.
In August we were able to host our new friends from Saskatchewan. When they arrived our first stop was the Roots to Boots festival in Amherstburg, we were able to show them the tall ship, a cannon being fired on the Detroit River by people in period costumes, we were hosted for dinner by the O’Connor Family.
Our next day was a family day and many travelled to stay overnight in Niagara. Tuesday was spent in Niagara Falls where we went on the Maid of the Mist and enjoyed the indoor water park. Our next day start with donuts and peach juice at Colasanti’s followed by goofy golf, a tour by Mr. Joe Colasanti and than buffet for lunch. We then challenged the twins to a game of 10 pin bowling at Empire lanes. On our way to Point Pelee we stopped for pictures by the Big Tomato in Leamington, and a drive by Heinz. We braved the black flies and made it to the tip for a picture, we also made a stop at the board walk, and nature centre.
Thursday we headed to Windsor for a tour of the Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant to see how minivans are made. After our interesting tour, Local 444 hosted us for a pizza lunch from Franco’s. Even though the weather was cool and raining we than headed to the river for a tour on the Windsor River Boat. We went to Coventry Garden for a walk by Peace Fountain Park and had ice cream from Cooleez! This evening we had a fun night back at the Kiwanis Camp near Kingsville. Taras Natyshak joined us to welcome our friends from Saskatchewan, and we also had an exchange student staying with a 4-H Family from the LABO program and she was also welcomed. Everyone was given pins and certificates. We than had some fun with a hay bale toss, ride that pony dance, and lifesaver pass games, followed by smores and a dough bake.
Friday morning we had to pack up the camp and headed to Amherstburg once again, we had a tour of Wismer Clydsdales farm, lunch in the park and a tour and tinsmithing at the Park House. We than went to the annual Steam and Gas Show in McGregor to see a thrashing demonstration and had dinner hosted by the Stratichuk family. This was our last night together and everyone spent it with their twins.
Alexandra Lockley is a 4-H’r from Essex 4-H. Alexandra has completed 12 project including Walk on the Wild Side, Fitness 4 Health, and Drama.