Perth County Experiences B.C.

Written, in part, by 10 Perth County 4-H members: Phillip Koskamp, Sam Reidy, Sam Becker, Emma Francis, Natasha Klaver, Brianna Nichol, Natalie Nichol, Valarie Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton and Halle Horn.

In the summer of 2016, 10 members from Perth County, along with chaperones Marilyn Reidy and Jen Aikens were “twinned” with Deep Creek Dairy 4-H Club in Salmon Arm, B.C. as a part of the 4-H Canada Club to Club Exchange. Some of us had never flown before so this was very exciting. We stayed with our “twins” for 10 days learning about how they live, the history and culture of their region and we travelled together as a large group of 20 members and four leaders seeing and participating in some awesome activities.

Some of our highlights while we were in B.C. was the chance to enjoy a day on a houseboat on beautiful Mara Lake, riding the gondola’s at Mount Revelstoke and floating down a river in tubes near Enderby, B.C. As a part of our community service component of this exchange while we were there we worked on 250 metres of new hiking trails with the Shuswap Trail Alliance. It was great to see and learn how others live. The opportunity to see a different province was an incredible experience. Although it felt strange staying with a family we didn’t know at the beginning of our journey we can now say we have made new life-long 4-H friends. After 10 days of fun in B.C., we arrived home to rest up and prepare for the arrival of B.C. members to our great province.

We began our adventure with them doing our community service work with Habitat for Humanity in Listowel. It was hard work removing flooring, a deck and wiring out of a house that was being demolished but we now understand the great work that Habitat for Humanity does for communities around the world and the importance of volunteering in our communities. We did so many things with our “twins” to show the great area we live in. We toured a number of local dairy farms, a water buffalo farm, Bar-B-Dee elevators and we visited St. Jacobs (including a visit to an Amish farm), visited the Stratford-Perth Museum, the Costume Warehouse and the production of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe at the Festival Theatre. Other highlights included a trip to Toronto to the CN Tower, a visit to the Welland Canal and Niagara Falls, including a ride on the incredible jet boats there.

Jennie Nichol had both of her daughters, Natalie and Brianna attend the exchange and said it was a great experience for them to experience a different part of Canada and to fly for the first time, something that may not have been possible without 4-H.

“They were able to learn about a part of Canada that was quite different from where we live here in Ontario and meet other kids in 4-H and learn about their experiences,” she says. “As a parent, I am really pleased that my daughters were given this opportunity.”

We learned so much about ourselves, others and so much about the great country we live in. Canada Heritage is a big contributor to this 4-H Canada exchange. The goal is for members to learn more about other provinces as well as our own region. We’re very thankful for all the generous supporters of this 4-H exchange club, everyone who supported our fundraising projects, the time the leaders took to plan our trip and, of course, our families.

Perth County Takes Home GFTG Honours

By: Ryan Métivier 

All across the province, Go For The Gold (GFTG) teams have been practicing and competing for months for a chance to represent their regions at the Provincial Championships held at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Saturday, November 7, 2015. This year’s finals saw Perth County of Region 5 come away victorious over Durham East from Region 3.

Congratulations go out to Nathan Williams, Brooklyn Johnston, Halle Horn, Brett Harding, Glenna van der Heiden, and Coaches Terri Kraus and Carolyn van der Heiden.

For over three decades, Go For The Gold has been an integral part of many 4-H Associations across the province.

In order for teams to participate at the Provincial Go For The Gold competition they must have competed and won at their local and regional levels. The Provincial Championship presents the ultimate challenge to members by testing their skills and understanding of 4-H project material as well as general knowledge of 4-H, agriculture, food, nutrition and current events.

Leading up to the 2015 competition there was much preparation, with teammates meeting throughout the month following Regionals and a couple times a week as the provincial event drew near. There was also lots of cramming the night before.

Left to right – Terri Kraus (coach), Nathan Williams, Brooklyn Johnston, Halle Horn, Brett Harding, Glenna van der Heiden, Carolyn van der Heiden (coach)

“We rotated through everybody’s house and sat and practiced game after game after game,” said Carolyn. “Everybody took designated manuals and studied them and made up a mock game so that we could practice, and at the beginning of our practices we would always go in groups of twos and they would read questions back and forth and then we would get together and actually play a mock game at the end of the evening.”

Perth County definitely came out prepared as they managed to go 5-0 through round robin play. Facing the 4-1 Durham East team, Perth took the championship game by a 170-155 score.

“There’s a lot of competition out there, more than I expected,” said Brooklyn. 

“They seriously know their stuff, so you do need to do those months of practice and make sure you do everything,” added Glenna. “And the games, usually we would just make up questions to practice, but making up an actual game and having the different formats really helped study.”

The team included two members (Brett and Hallie) who were new to competing in GFTG this year, who got a taste of how much work it is to prepare, while also balancing school and studying for both.

In fact, all of the members had challenges when it came to meeting and practicing between full-time jobs, school, living in different areas and farming obligations. Social media, texting and emails was what they credit for helping them to all stay on the same page and communicate amongst each other.

The team also credited their coaches for being amazing, excellent, dedicated and supportive.

“They surprise us every time and you think they gotta know this and they gotta know that, and they do,” said Terri. “And it’s like where do you come up with those answers and they’re right on.”

“The end goal was to win, but it was learn to do by doing and let’s have fun,” said Carolyn. “We told them you guys know what you know, we’ll take it from there. You could see that they were going up and down in their stress levels as they played. We’re so proud of them and they know so much.” 

The final standings for the Provincial Competition were:

1st: Perth
2nd: Durham East
3rd: Carleton
4th: Halton
5th: Middlesex
6th: Sudbury

For more photos from the 2015 GFTG competition click here.

Go For The Gold is made possible through the generous support of Ontario Mutuals.