4-H clubs move to virtual projects after cancellation of Prince County Exhibition

Alecia Gallant has been taking part in 4-H for seven years, and has won several ribbons for her knitting at the Prince County Exhibition. She's disappointed the exhibition was cancelled this year, but is taking part in virtual programs the organization is offering.

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In early spring 4-H PEI pivoted their focus to offering virtual 4-H projects an effort to keep members engaged, and allow members to continue 

“There are a large amount of virtual projects available,” said Moira Shaw, one of the leaders of the Elmsdale 4-H Beavers, and member of the board of directors for 4-H PEI. “They range from agriculture, home economics and STEM and include a few projects like gardening , exploring pets, rabbits, to other projects like sustainable living, photography, cake decorating, crafts, and scrapbooking. These are just a few listed, more can be found on the 4-H PEI website.”

The decision to move to virtual programs has proven to be a wise one as the Prince County Exhibition, along with many other summer events were cancelled this year to keep Islanders safe from during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alecia Gallant, one of the members of the Elmsdale club, was very disappointed when she learned of the cancellation.

“It’s a big thing for 4-H because that’s how we get out there, that’s how we show off the 4-H club in the community,” she said. “We can’t do that this year, and people can’t see that 4-H is still alive and well in West Prince.”

4-H is a family-oriented, community based, youth organization that provides opportunities for leadership and life skill development all while promoting agriculture awareness. It’s one of PEI’s longest running youth organizations for youth aged nine to 21.

There is also a “cloverbud” membership for kids younger than nine who want to learn about 4-H.

Ms Gallant has been taking part in 4-H since she was 12. Now 19, she’s still involved with the organization as part of the Elmsdale 4-H Beavers. She has continued to take part in the Prince County Exhibition, displaying knitting projects that she’s completed. She’ also won ribbons at the exhibition for some of her work.

She said taking part in the exhibition is a great opportunity to show off the hard work they’ve done with the club.

“I know some of the kids in our club are like ‘I can’t wait to put this on the exhibition circus’ because they made this really cool knitting project, or they made this cool looking cake,” Ms Gallant said. “It’s like a goal for them to get on the exhibition circuit.”

So far, 25 per cent of members have signed up to do virtual projects.

Ms Gallant is taking part in virtual projects for knitting and crocheting, while her sister is doing a virtual STEM project, and a virtual cake decorating project.

The virtual projects are optional, and are also open to the general public if a person is interested in learning more about what 4-H is about.

Ms Shaw said 4-H is a very interesting and engaging opportunity.

“I’ve made lifelong friends through this organization, had the opportunity to travel, and have learned many new skills including public speaking and an interest in community service,” she concluded. “I would encourage everyone to take this opportunity to look into 4-H and if anyone’s interested in joining as a member or leader they are more than welcome.”

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