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Learn To Do By Doing

A 4-H leader compared the partnership with the Triangle Women’s Institute to that of an awesome marriage. As a sponsor of 4-H, the TWI plays an integral role in its success. TWI members have been leaders, judges, and mentors for 4-H, which promotes animal husbandry and animal sales at public auctions, supported by the community.

The 4-H mission is to empower youth to be responsible, caring, and contributing leaders that effect positive change in the world around them. That fits hand-in-glove with the TWI philosophy on community and sharing.

The Pioneer Hall has been the focal point of interchange between these two groups. 4-H works in the kitchen and serves at banquets, earning badges and putting money into the club coffers.

The organization is open to the ages of 9 to 19. In the small rural community that the South Country is, youth learn to work with, share, respect, and acquire skills from those older than themselves.

For some 4-H members, these early contacts transition into later membership in the Triangle Women’s Institute.

“It’s a good example, and it has a positive outcome so that over the years, that voice has been heard and those results have given power, and you’ve seen things accomplished, ” said 4-H Leader and TWI Member Heather Serafini.

The 4-H vision statement is thriving communities in partnership with youth leaders.

Looking back through the history of both the South Country region and TWI, it is clear that these two groups build on each other, the older women mentoring 4-H members and the youth bearing service to all kinds of community needs.

When the TWI was planning to build the new Pioneer Hall, the South Country 4-H Homecraft Club sponsored a Walk-a-Thon which raised a substantial sum of money for the building fund. The Club also furnished curtains when the hall was finished.

4-H today operates in more than 70 countries around the world. The four H’s represent the core values of the organization:

Head: managing, thinking.
Heart: relating, caring.
Hands: giving, working.
Health: being, living.

In the South Country, these values reflect in everyday life. 4-H’ers learn commitment to their projects while preparing to release their charges at the same time. For example, a nine or ten-year-old member will choose a calf or steer, care for it through the year while monitoring weight gain, health, and disposition.

Grooming the animal, which grows three or four times the size of the 4-H’er, the project is then presented at a Show and Sale and purchased by a representative of the commercial food chain.

Human development is incalculable but visible in all of the club members. That same focus comes over into public speaking.

4-H sponsors local, regional and provincial competitions, and the South Country 4-H Beef Club (and later the Craft & Critters club) has been successful at all levels.

“For a child, everything’s a milestone. So whether you see them become great leaders or whether you put a smile on their face, that’s a reward,” said Serafini.

There is an excellent link between the two – TWI and 4-H – that benefits everyone. The TWI members could have written the 4-H mission statement.

“To empower youth to be responsible, caring and contributing leaders that effect positive change in the world around them.”

The 4-H pledge:

I pledge
My head to clear thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service,
My health to better living,
For my Club, my community,
My country, and my world.


Started in 1947 as the Potato Club under the leadership of Allaster Munro, the name quickly shifted to the South Country Boys and Girls Beef Calf and Potato Club.

Allaster raised certified Netted Gem potatoes and purebred Hereford cattle on his Fish Hook Ranch at Newgate, BC.

He shared potato growing as he knew it, and club members took 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th places, plus Reserve Grand Champion, for Netted Gems at the 1948 and 1949 Royal Winter Fair at Toronto.

Allaster’s achievements marked a lustrous beginning for a club that is still thriving today.

With Andy McDonald from Roosville as President, founding members came from Waldo, Newgate, Rock Lake, Roosville, and Baynes Lake. The Potato Club members were the first to have their distinctive uniforms, subsidized by the newly formed Waldo Stockbreeders Association.

The Ministry of Agriculture supported the South Country 4-H Clubs through the District Agriculturist in the early years. However, this association gradually shifted to a Ministry-supported 4-H Specialist working out of Cranbrook. Slowly Government removed Club support, although the Ministry of Education still works with 4-H to offer some educational credits for club work.

Several sewing clubs for girls were formed with Glayda Wilkinson, Marg Fitzpatrick, and Louise Rosaine as leaders.

The South Country 4-H Homecraft Club was started in 1963 by Lita Salanski and Louise Rosaine. Members took part in local parades and sponsored potluck suppers and teas to raise funds.

They participated with the 4-H Beef Club in an annual Christmas Carolling party. Members travelled to Seniors’ homes to sing and later enjoyed a party at home or the hall.

By 1981 the South Country Craft and Critter 4-H Club had been formed with Susan Hoszouski and Barrie McDonald acting as Leaders. As in all undertakings, the South Country 4-H’ers were successful beyond the South Country. In 1963 Marci Butler placed first in the Area public speaking finals.

Shelley Salanski captured the Provincial Craft Judging competition at the 1982 Pacific National Exhibition, and Kyla McDonald was a PNE winner in the 4-H Fashion Show. These are just a few examples of the enormous talents fostered by South Country 4-H through the years.

Many South Country men and women took the 4-H movement forward. Stan Wilkinson from Newgate (and then Elko) sponsored a Small Engine group popular through the 1960s.

Past and present 4-H Leaders include Betty Sinclair, Lita Salanski, Jessie McDonald, Judy-Lou McDonald, May Letcher, Judy Butler, Susan Hoszouski, Heather Serafini, Andy, and Barrie McDonald.

For many years the Waldo Stockbreeders Association sponsored the Beef Club. The TWI continues to support 4-H to this day.