4-H is Good for Kids

Kids and horses, life doesn’t get much better than that. 4-H is thriving in the Yukon. We are the Spirit Riders 4-H Horse Club, based in Whitehorse and loving everything. We are a district club operating under the umbrella of 4-H Yukon and regionally under 4-H British Columbia.

4-H has been around the Yukon for many years, but Spirit Riders was formed in 2008. Currently we have 15 members ranging in age from nine to 18.

4-H is a national and international youth organization based in Canada’s agricultural roots. 4-H Canada celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2012.

4-H is a youth development organization and is focused on developing leadership and citizenship. This is done by combining such things as public speaking, judging and student exchanges with local club projects. This fosters knowledge, leadership, citizenship and personal development.

Spirit Rider’s 4-H club project is horses. The focus of the horse program is animal husbandry, safety, nutrition and health of horses, and learning to handle and ride horses to a high level of competency.

Spirit Riders also focuses on agriculture, as well as youth health and nutrition.

We do this primarily through our horse project and other agriculture-related activities. 4-H Spirit Rider promotes the development of strong relationships with our community and territory. With 4-H’s roots in agriculture our club strives to connect our members in a meaningful way with the local agricultural community.

This year we plan to have several fundraisers.

First, the club picked rocks and weeded a 20 acre potato field for the Yukon Grain Farm. To add to the experience, farm owners Steve and Bonnie Mackenzie-Grieve gave the kids the opportunity to make the connection between potatoes in the store and where they come from.

The kids will also organize two gymkhanas. The gymkhanas are an opportunity to compete and to raise money, as the kids will run the concession as well as collect an entrance fee.

4-H also held a farm animal workshop at the Fireweed Market to raise public awareness of farming animals; and participated in the North of 60 Agricultural banquet running the silent auction.

4-H Canada has designed courses in horse husbandry and kids set their own goals of achieving success in each level and moving on to the next higher level. Every member is expected to keep a record book of their year’s activities. These are judged at the end of the year and are a major component of the member’s achievement. Their achievement and other successes are recognized at the end of each year when a wrap up banquet is held.

Public Speaking is an integral part of 4-H. The ability to publicly present skills, ideas and abilities can be one of the most rewarding experiences for 4-H members. As 4-H members work on their communications presentations, they are opening new doors for themselves.

By pushing personal boundaries and stepping out of their comfort zones, they grow and learn about another aspect of who they are and who they will be. Every year a couple of members give a presentation at the North of 60º Agriculture Banquet. This is hosted by the Yukon Government Department of Agriculture and it gives the kids an opportunity to hone public speaking skills and connect with Yukon farmers.

Relationships are important in life and so important in 4-H. Our members learn about building relationships with their horses, each other and the leaders – and those skills transfer out to the community. As part of team building our club trains and presents the “Spirit Ride”, which is a drill ride routine that all club members participate in. The kids train for it on horseback and present to the community at the annual Yukon Horse and Riders horse show every July and again at the annual Farm Fair at Midnight Sun Alpacas held in September.

This is great opportunity for the community to come and see what teamwork and positive relationships can do.

4 – H

4-H stands for head, heart, hands and health and the 4-H pledge is:

“I pledge:

My head to clearer thinking,

My heart to greater loyalty,

My hands to larger service

My health to better living,

For my club, my community and my country”

The 4-H motto is:

“Learn to do by doing”

The 4-H mission statement is: Inspire, educate and develop youth into empowered community leaders.

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