Beefing up the 4-H club
Thursday, 10 October 2013. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze
Laura Welsch with her 2010 reserve grand champion steer.
Photo by Gail Gatto of G&G Photos
Beefing up the 4-H club
By Brad Quarin
A parent meeting tomorrow night and a meeting for children and parents on Oct. 19 will kickstart another year for Pincher Creek’s Foothills 4-H Beef Club.
Members of the club, aged nine to 21, learn about cattle, take care of steers or heifers and auction steers off. That explains the name, but the club is also more, getting children active in community service and teaching them a variety of other things, says leader Kathy Welsch.
At the MD of Pincher Creek office basement tomorrow at 7 p.m., parents will learn what the club has in mind for the year and establish project leaders. The Oct. 19 meeting, also at the MD basement at 7 p.m., will see elections for various positions within the club and planning for the club’s events. The second meeting will also determine if members want to raise a charity steer or scholarship steer this year.
While an individual member can raise a steer and collect the money from its auction, a charity steer or scholarship steer is a team effort. A family looks after the steer and the proceeds from its auction go to a charity or scholarships for club members.
With a scholarship steer, the member of the community who purchases the steer is basically investing in a 4-H member by supporting his or her education. “This community is so supportive of 4-H,” Kathy says.
Last year, the club had a charity steer. It sold in May, and the decision of where to donate the money was left to the young members of the club. They chose causes important to them, one being the Care Bears, who drive for local seniors and disabled people.
The other cause which members were passionate about was more global, namely Free the Children, which aims for education and development in other countries. Free the Children commented to the Foothills 4-H Beef Club that this was the first time they’d ever received money from a steer auction. “They thought it was the neatest idea,” Kathy says.
It’s a challenge to raise a steer, including feeding it, grooming it, making sure it weighs the right amount, with a weigh-in day in November, and learning how to sell it.
Besides a chance to earn some money from a steer auction, the club offers other benefits for those who join. Members can keep heifers and produce calves. “They’re building their own herd,” she says.
The community service is also good for the club’s members. “It’s good for the kids to give back,” she says, as the youth have enjoyed meeting seniors, playing games with them and performing music for them.
Members can also learn about public speaking and giving presentations, and the meetings themselves teach them how to have meetings. Kathy finds it neat to see young children sharing ideas, beginning to make motions and growing confidence in the meetings.
Last year, the Foothills 4-H Beef Club had 10 members, aged nine to 18. “We would love to have more members,” Kathy says, and it’s not too late to join. If you have questions, call Kathy at 403-627-4698 or David DeCock at 403-627-4769.
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From the Oct. 9/13 print edition of Shootin’ the Breeze.
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