4-H Clubs

4-H Jubilee, August 5, 1955, Admiral.
Everett Baker (Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society)

The 4-H Clubs and their predecessors, Boys and Girls Clubs, have been a part of rural life in Saskatchewan since 1918. Administered by the Agricultural Extension Department of the University of Saskatchewan, these clubs were a means of actively engaging youth in the development of farm products and promoting a rural lifestyle. Early clubs focused on one area of agriculture such as beef, grain, or homecraft; but “Multiple Clubs” that combined different projects started to emerge in the 1950s. In 1952 Boys and Girls together with Homecraft Clubs across Canada adopted the name 4-H (from the motto “heads, hearts, hands and health”). As well as learning about agricultural topics through their individual projects, club members gained valuable experience in running meetings and organizing community events such as the annual Achievement Day. Saskatchewan 4-H members and leaders have long been involved in national activities. Even before 1918, farm boys and girls attended farm camps that were held in conjunction with agricultural exhibitions. They learned how to prepare, show and judge agricultural produce; and top participants often represented their province at larger fairs, competing with youths from other provinces or even countries. Though still focused on traditional topics such as beef and sewing, current 4-H projects reflect the diverse range of activities undertaken in rural Saskatchewan, from photography to llama production.

Lisa Dale-Burnett