4-H Family Leaves a Legacy for Future Generations

Written by: Ryan Métivier

Everyone has their reasons for wanting to give back to their community. For the Knapp family, supporting youth has been deeply engrained in their family’s culture since as far back as 1915. The year is significant as it’s the year Stanley Knapp, recognized as the “father” of 4-H in Ontario, formed the first recorded Boys and Girls Club in Waterloo. These short courses gave rise to the Junior Farmers’ Associations in Waterloo County. 

“He always seemed to be happiest when he was surrounded by children and young people and was a real believer in youth and their potential,” says David Knapp, Stanley Knapp’s grandson.

Knapp remembers fondly, his grandfather speaking passionately about giving youth a chance to learn for themselves and implement what they had learned to help future generations.  The Knapp family has been tied to the 4-H program uninterrupted for 100 years now. All four generations have been involved as members, leaders, coaches or supporters in one form or another, with a fifth generation on the horizon in the not too distant future.

David Knapp and his sister Beth Pearson accepted a Certificate of Appreciation to the Knapp Family for founding the first 4-H club in Ontario in 1915.

With Stanley’s induction into the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2006, the family felt it was a fitting time to establish a fund in his honour to give back to the organization which he started and that has helped to shape their family’s lives. The Stanley Knapp Resource Development Endowment Fund was created this same year and supports project resource development. Most recently, funds were used to create the Judging Handbook in 2015. 

“His vision started it, but countless people have worked diligently over the years to ensure the 4-H program’s success and modify it for the next generations,” says Knapp.

In September 2015 at the 100th Anniversary Gala in Cornwall, David and his sister Beth Pearson accepted a Certificate of Appreciation to the Knapp Family for founding the first 4-H club in Ontario in 1915.

“It was obviously a pretty proud moment for my sister and I to represent the family,” says Knapp. “There’s not too many things that endure 100 years and to see the enthusiasm that is still there for 4-H and to have him recognized for having an idea way back then, was a very humbling and proud moment.”

If your family would be interested in creating a legacy by establishing a Family Named Endowment Fund, please contact a Trustee within the Ontario 4-H Foundation or Katherine Smart, Manager, Corporate Giving & Philanthropy with 4-H Ontario by calling 519.856.0992 x461 or by email at giving@4-hontario.ca.

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