By Erin Ferguson - The Weekly News
As the mad dash begins to register children for swimming lessons, gymnastics or piano, Dawn Asprey hopes that parents will consider adding a 4H membership to the mix. Asprey is the general leader of HRM’s only 4H group, and is determined to increase the group’s membership - both with participants and leaders.
“When I was the age of my kids now, we had two 4H groups in Eastern Passage,” said Asprey. “There was also one out in Cole Harbour at the Heritage Farm in the 80s, but all of them just dwindled away. We started 4H in the city last year. By the time we got underway, it was just after Christmas and we had 15 members and seven leaders. We really want to try to get more than that this year.”
Asprey explained that through their involvement with 4H, members learn about responsibility, deadlines, healthy competition and new skills that will benefit them both in school and future work environments. Boys and girls, age nine to 21, have the opportunity to “learn by doing” and compete at club, county and provincial levels in areas ranging from crafts to livestock to public speaking.
“It’s a fantastic program. Every skill you learn in 4H is an asset as you grow older. There is a general meeting every month, which is for the entire team, the leaders and the kids. They kids are the president, vice president, treasurer, etcetera. They learn how to do each role and get to run the meetings themselves. It is a great responsibility for them.”
The members also meet once or twice a month with their project groups, which are selected following registration. “Last year we [offered] foods, photography, scrapbooking, heritage, crafts and outdoorsman.”
Members had the opportunity to showcase their public speaking skills, build a birdhouse, research their family tree and test their compass skills.
Asprey has a wish list for potential leaders who are willing to commit five hours of their time each month. “The more leaders we have the more we can offer the kids. I would love to find someone to do dog obedience with the kids, small engines, cake decorating, woodworking, vet science and foods. There’s nothing better than seeing kids who can cook, it’s getting to be an old art form!”
Asprey, who’s husband Roger Asprey, is also a volunteer leader with 4H, says they are proud to be involved.
“The pleasure and the smile on the kids’ faces, to me that’s it! It’s emotionally rewarding. The leaders get to have as much fun as the kids do and we learn as much from them as they do from us.”
Those interested in becoming a member or volunteering with 4H are encouraged to contact Dawn Asprey at 802-3610.