Farm kids are not the only ones going to 4-H clubs anymore.
The U of M Future Leaders 4-H Club is a group where students can learn practical skills including leadership, finance, public speaking and holding formal meetings.
U of M’s 4-H club started in 2012, but these clubs have a much longer history. In Canada, 4-H clubs began over 100 years ago in Roland, Man., teaching rural children practical skills like sewing, woodworking and cooking.
It has since expanded internationally, evolving to teach members practical skills for today.
Brittany Pankiw is the director of communications external of the U of M’s 4-H Club.
This marks Pankiw’s third year with the U of M’s 4-H club, but growing up she was also a member of her local chapter of 4-H in Morris, Man., for about seven years.
“We’re learning to do by doing, that’s the 4-H motto,” said Pankiw.
The club makes sure their members get opportunities to practice diverse skills, hosting workshops and participating in a public speaking competition.
“What we do is find qualities of ourselves that we want to improve that would make us better leaders,” she said.
Fifteen hours of participation qualifies students for a full year as a 4-H member along with participation in the club’s public speaking event. It is a good thing to have on your resumé, according to Pankiw.
“Especially within the agriculture industry, saying that you’ve been a part of 4-H is a huge thing just because 4-H is so deeply rooted in agriculture, but other faculties are starting to realize ‘Well this person has really good public speaking skills, they know how to run a meeting,’ and stuff like that,” said Pankiw.
The age range for 4-H clubs has recently expanded from ages 6 to 18 to 6 to 23.
Once members “graduate” from their clubs, they often become leaders in their home clubs.
The U of M’s 4-H club is open to students of all ages, but students over the age of 23 will typically be classified as a leader.
“We’re one of the only adult clubs in all of Canada,” said Pankiw.
The club hosted its first social, the Clover Leaf Social, in March.
“Our goal was to raise money towards helping the 4-H endowment fund, which provides scholarships for students in 4-H, and then also for Winnipeg Harvest,” said Pankiw.
The social raised a total of $2,000, which was split evenly between Winnipeg Harvest and 4-H.
The club also holds bake sales through the school year to raise funds.
Pankiw said the club’s main goal right now is to recruit new members.
“We’ve all been in 4-H for a while, so we’re trying to get new ideas,” said Pankiw. “We’re working also on getting funding from the faculty of agriculture to do more professional workshops, so really focusing on how to run a meeting and how to be that future leader that we want to be,” said Pankiw.
The club will be holding an info meeting for new students Sept. 25 in 130 Agriculture Building.
To find out more about the U of M Future Leaders 4-H Club, visit their Facebook or Instagram page. For more on 4-H as an organization, visit 4-h-canada.ca.