After a busy and fast few months, the Ashcroft 4-H club is getting ready to head to the 78th provincial Winter Fair in Kamloops during the weekend of September 23.
With 14 current members the club is the biggest it’s ever been, says Sherri Oliver, mother of one of the members.
“There’s no minimum age,” she says. The youngest member is four years old, and has been part of the club for two years. “As soon as he could walk and lead his lamb he was in.” The oldest member right now is 19.
Pre-club members work with lambs. Photo by Sherri Oliver
“Anyone is welcome,” she continues, noting that there are many different ways for children to be involved. “Some don’t do a project, but they do speech night, or photography.”
Members who do projects are not confined to livestock; they can do sewing, or small engine work, or any number of other things.
“It’s really fun for the kids,” says Oliver. Since 4-H is an international organization there is an opportunity to travel and go on tours. “If you really get into it, you can go all over the world.”
In February the Ashcroft club took part in the district speech night in Kamloops, sending Alison Spooner in the senior category and Tyrell Simon in junior. In April the club was off to Kamloops again for rally day, bringing home third place in three categories: rabbit judging, junior judging, and senior judging.
Achievement day was held on July 9 at the Spooner place on Loon Lake Road, and club members brought their bunnies and sheep to show everyone what they were doing.
Ashcroft and Clinton 4-H club members with their rabbits. Photo by Sherri Oliver
For the first time, the Clinton 4-H club was invited to take part, and brought their own bunny and sheep projects. Judge Bill Mairs from Walhachin not only judged the two rabbit classes, but showed members what they needed to do to improve their projects.
Preparation is now underway for the winter fair, and the lamb club will be taking 15 projects to show and sell there. The market lambs still have a month in which to put on weight before they are sold at the end of the 4-H year.
Anyone interested in purchasing a project for their freezer should contact Barb Woodburn at (250) 457-9969. A lamb that weighs 125 pounds on foot will provide about 65 pounds of meat, and people who are interested can purchase a half-lamb if they prefer. Proceeds from the sale of the lambs go back to the club members who raised them.
Oliver admits that there are a few tears every year, when members say goodbye to their lambs. “They all bawl their eyes out,” she says. “But the tears go away after about five miles. And they’re always happy when they receive their cheques.”