2020, The Year We Won’t Forget

Hannah Peterson is a 4-H British Columbia Ambassador, where her role is to promote awareness of 4-H in her region and province, be a resource for 4-H members, and take on leadership duties in her 4-H club activities. Hannah has submitted a recap of her year in 4-H to the 4-H Canada blog.

This year began like any other, with a meeting in January, a few team-building exercises and voting on each of the positions that opened up this year. Thankfully before any big change was made, I was able to go on a 4-H trip, (PCW), with 40+ other BC members. We had team-building exercises, a campfire, small groups, and a movie night. The day we came back we realized that our isolated paradise in the mountains was different from “real life”. After that, our 4-H year and lives changed quite substantially with the pandemic. Of course, it takes more than a virus to stop 4-H’ers from working with their projects. Ambassadors such as myself were tasked with making online projects for kids to continue in this unique year. We hosted drawing lessons, gardening videos and participated in photo contests. Due to the nature of the year, I was unable to work with younger members in person, but we made do! We helped members online with record book Zoom meetings teaching them how to find the information they might need and assisting them with filling it in.

Seeing as school was cancelled in person, it enabled my sisters and me to train whenever during the day worked best for us and the farmer we borrowed our animals from. We were able to help a younger member, the farmer’s daughter, with training as well since our calves, were at the same place. Of course, we were always supervised by one of my parents and the owner, Brad was never too far away to be found. Our 4-H leader also did her best to supervise and assist us with training when possible. Working with our animals this year gave us more ability to focus on our own projects but also posed the difficulty of us being unable to introduce our heifers to new environments, people, and surroundings. We also brought others from our little bubble to the farm teaching them to train, clip how to trailer calves or wash. This gave us the opportunity to educate our friends on agriculture and it gave them a chance to see an entirely new side of where their food comes from. I even managed to convince a friend who was a beef member to come train twice with me for the experience.

As our summer progressed it reached our usual show season and this, of course, was going to be different from any other year. Thankfully, we were able to attend Agrifair in Abbotsford along with one other dairy club and a multi-club where we were all separated into different thirds of the barn. Even if the experience was different than a typical year, we still had lots of fun – and hey, the show must go on! Closely following health guidelines, we separated our club into teams so that we were all only interacting with a few other members. Our leaders and parents were always available to each of the groups if they needed anything and there was never an adult too far away to assist a member in need. Each team had the supplies they needed to wash, prep, and decorate. The teams also taught us how to work better and gave each person the chance to take on bigger roles. The Agrifair show was a success and soon after we had our achievement day, where we got together on a farmyard lawn and then a float down the river around the property.

When I started college in the fall there was no way this meant I would end my 4-H lifestyle. I quickly joined the judging, stockman (beef), and dairy clubs on my campus. Not only have I been participating in those clubs, but I also was able to attend a cattle show in Lloydminster to observe how beef is shown and practice my judging. I have had some practice since being here as I have stayed on a friend’s ranch to learn about beef showing, washing, and clipping and I have participated in all three of those. I plan on bringing the skills I learned back to my club when I am there to train in the spring. I have stayed in contact with members and assisted a few with record book difficulties from here. I have also been participating in ambassadorial activities such as performing interviews, writing thank you letters and attending virtual meetings.

In conclusion, I would have to say that even though this year threw something hectic at us it continued to be amazing. Being able to attend shows and my trip, teaching kids online how to complete their record books, educating others on how things work on the farm, each of these experiences truly made this year one for the books. With that I say we flip the page and start planning our next 4-H year, 2021.

Author: Hannah Peterson, 4-H B.C. Ambassador