Fondness for 4-H

Sally Cole
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North River club invites people to annual achievement day to help celebrate the organization, share their stories and mark the 100th anniversary of 4-H in Canada

Organizers of the North River 4-H achievement day say there will be a historical component to this year’s event, which takes place July 13 on the Crapaud Exhibition grounds. It will mark the 100th anniversary of 4-H in Canada and will include historical displays. All 4-H members and alumni are invited to dress in period dress for the event. From left are alumni Alex Dixon, Hilda Colodey and North River 4-H leader Cheryl Jewell.

Every year, 4-H clubs across P.E.I., and all across Canada, celebrate their accomplishments at achievement days.

Families gather together with members and leaders to view exhibits and projects created over the past several months, watch a wide variety of demonstrations and enjoy some tasty food in the good company of friends and neighbours.

This year, the North River 4-H Club is taking it a bit further.

To mark its 70th anniversary, and to celebrate a milestone for the organization in Canada, the club is inviting 4-H members and alumni  from around the Island, as well as friends of all ages, to a  special achievement day at the Crapaud Exhibition grounds on July 13.

“This year we’re planning some extra activities to mark the 100th anniversary of the 4-H Club in Canada,” says Cheryl Jewell of Meadow Bank, who is a leader with the North River club.

Besides the usual displays, games and the livestock show, 4-H members and alumni are invited to come dressed in period costumes. A photo booth will be set up for those wishing to have pictures taken.

“There will also be a historical display with trophies and former projects. In the 1970s, we all made aprons during our first 4-H year. We’ll have some of these,” says Jewell, adding the event will also include a hotdog barbecue.

The night before, July 12, the club will hold a square dance at the Crapaud Exhibition Grounds, 7-9 p.m.

“In keeping with the theme of the 100th anniversary, we’ll be serving a traditional lunch — biscuits, molasses cookies, tea and lemonade,” says Jewell.

The day will also be a great opportunity to swap 4-H stories from throughout the years. And for people like Jewell, there are plenty of memories to share.

For example, there’s the time she attended her first out-of-province 4-H conference in Newfoundland.

“I was in Grade 8. I had never flown before. My mother drove me from Montague to Charlottetown, put me on a plane and I arrived at St. John’s airport at 10 at night in a snowstorm,” says Jewell, who back then was Cheryl MacKinnon of Brooklyn and a member of the Brooklyn-Heatherdale 4-H club.

“But, there wasn’t a soul there to meet me. So, after crying my eyes out in the bathroom, I went to the ticket counter and told them my story,”

The cashier comforted her, telling her that a woman had been in earlier looking for a 4-H member.

“He said, ‘you just wait. I know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody in 4-H’, ” says Jewell, who was relieved when her billet returned to pick her up a few minutes later.

Learning how to communicate with others and navigate her way through the conference made a huge impression on her.

“I met wonderful Newfoundland people. They gave me a whole different perspective about life.  The experience also got me out of my comfort zone and gave me a taste for travel,” says Jewell.

Hilda Colodey, who was nine-year-old Hilda Dixon of Clyde River when she joined 4-H, is also looking forward to the special event.  As a young member, she threw her energies into learning to sew at the local club, but her main interest was public speaking.

“It was the best aspect of 4-H because I learned to present my ideas coherently. I’ve used it all my life. It was a confidence builder, you could say . . . ,” says Colodey.

It’s important to mark this anniversary, says her brother, Alex Dixon, another alumni member.

“Any organization that’s been able to survive for 100 years is worth something. It’s also a significant year because it’s the 70th anniversary of this club. The fact that we’ve survived as a club is incredible,” he says.

Jewell agrees.

“Our club, which consists of 65 members, covers communities from Tryon to North River. We have a long history, and now have multi generational families involved,” says Jewell, whose husband, Kevin, and their three sons all belonged to the North River 4-H Club when they were growing up.



4-H Club facts

The North River 4-H is one of 23 clubs on P.E.I.

In total, there are 580 4-H members on P.E.I.

The centennial anniversary of 4-H in Canada doesn’t just represent 100 years of an organization — it marks 100 years of learning to do by doing, of pledging service to community and of volunteer leaders and 4-H members working and learning together, says Emily Brown, administrative director, P.E.I. 4-H Council. “North River, as one of the biggest clubs on P.E.I., has a long history of doing all of those things. North River 4-H Club has a rich culture that is important to celebrate. It’s exciting to see how they bring together community members and alumni, and how they share their own unique brand of the 4-H story with current members and families,” says Brown.

Anyone who would like more information about the July 13 4-H event should send an email to

Organizations: 4-H Club, Meadow Bank

Geographic location: North River, Canada, Iceland Newfoundland Charlottetown Brooklyn Clyde River Tryon

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