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4-H Canada Blog

Exploring Jamaica 4-H through a Going Global Exchange

I’ll never forget the time I travelled to Jamaica with 4-H Canada. I can still taste the fresh mangoes in my mouth and hear the sound of dance hall music in my ears.

Over four weeks in the summer of 2015, I participated in 4-H activities like their national 4-H camp, learned about agriculture and food production in the Caribbean and explored Jamaica’s rich history.

With my host family, I swam the Caribbean Sea, toured the Governor-General’s residence, climbed Dunn’s River Falls and experienced plantation houses (large estates formerly occupied by slave owners). My host family also brought me to local factories, farms, fairs and agricultural colleges where I learned about the different aspects of food production.

Maggie Kyle PictureBy seeing how 4-H in another country works, I learned that their programming isn’t so different from ours and that 4-H is popular all over the world. In Jamaica, over 70,000 4-H members complete projects like towel folding, cake decorating and beekeeping.

Through this unique opportunity, I saw Jamaican culture from a local perspective while learning more about 4-H and agriculture. I was even able to share my passion for 4-H on a local Jamaican radio station where I read a poem I wrote.

I often think about how much I learned in Jamaica – by simply living the “Learn To Do By Doing Motto,” I gained a better understanding of the world we live in.

Over the past two years since I experienced this Going Global Exchange with 4-H Canada, I’ve shared what I’ve learned in Jamaica back to my club in Ontario.

I was so inspired; I became a youth leader of a Cultural Diversity club to continue sharing Jamaican 4-H programming with my fellow 4-H peers.

This trip has prepared me for other big 4-H experiences, like working in Nicaragua as a teaching assistant, attending the Global 4-H Network Summit as a Youth Advisory Committee member and for other adventures that come my way.

I’ve made 4-H friends from all over the world through national 4-H Canada programs, and encourage any senior member aged 18-25 to sign up if they can! Applications for next year’s Going Global Exchanges close this November 30, 2017. Visit 4-h-canada.ca to learn more.