I would like to add my voice in congratulating the local 4-H clubs and the Taber Times on their special 4-H section commemorating the l00th anniversary of 4-H in Alberta.
If I can reminisce, many years ago I had the very good fortune of being able to be a member of one of the early 4-H clubs of the Taber area.
The Taber 4-H Grain Club was started in l953 by a push from Harry Meyers, principal of the then Taber High School, with Bob Simmons and John Calpas, local district agriculturists for the Taber area.
Through observing the 4-H motto, ‘learn to do by doing’ and through the usual uncomfortable but survivable experience of the public speaking aspect of 4-H, we were helped to prepare for adult life.
While all of the members of our club were connected to farms, many went on to further education and to pursue very successful lives elsewhere in private business, as professionals, as educators, and senior government personnel, including senior civil servants for both the provincial and federal governments.
And a few of us stayed in the farming game and had our own moments.
Our group is now mostly retired and some have passed to another distant field, including local successful farmers Reg Saunders and Brian Collett, as has well known Calgary lawyer Keith Conrad.
I would have to say of our group, that all became good solid citizens that 4-H and the country could be proud of.
For my wife Wilma, her early 4-H memories are of being a member of the Red Deer 4-H Beef Club (1954 onward) and later, shortly after our marriage, as an assistant leader of one the few 4-H sewing clubs in the province, the Taber Sewette Club.
She is still in contact with some of the girls residing in far-away places.
After my return to Taber, I have memories of helping Bill Sangster, an early strong supporter of Taber 4-H.
Later, I partnered with John DeBona as leaders of the Taber Bin Busters Grain Club.
All our children were 4-H members growing up in either beef, grain, or sheep clubs which focused their lives.
I personally credit 4-H as having had a tremendous impact on my life and I have to voice tremendous gratitude to early club leaders who took an interest in a bunch of young, energetic teenage kids and offered to them their wisdom and guidance.
This support has been continued over the years by club leaders whose names have changed, but not their heart.
And of course in every club there were the many supportive parents always ready to help.
So thank you to the 4-H program for all that it has meant to the huge number of mostly rural youth and to all those people out there who believed in and continue to value 4-H.