© Eric Sparling - Amherst Daily News
Pauline Verstraten, president of the 4-H county council, with an oak shelf-cabinet completed by a 17-year old member of 4-H
OXFORD – Mike Griffin is inspecting the metalwork.
“Very good…they’re using their head(s),” said Griffin, who owns A&M Fabrication.
The tradesman has a number of projects to judge. He’s been recruited by 4-H to evaluate the work of members. He said the young fabricators are thinking.
“It’s nice to see…,” he said.
4-H-ers from across the county are gathered at the County Exhibition in Oxford this week to compete for a place at the provincial championship. The life skills category of competition runs the gamut from cake decorating to welding, rug hooking to photography.
“It’s their chance to compete against each other,” said Pauline Verstraten, with winners going on to provincials in Truro at the end of Sept.
The president of the 4-H county council, and leader with the Sunrise Club said Cumberland has seven chapters, with close to 200 members, although membership is down a little this year.
The building is dimly lit after the bright outside, but still light enough to reveal the quality of the work: A cake ready for an occasion, a glass-fronted bookshelf that would do the classics justice, knit dinosaurs only lacking a toddler to give them love.
“We have a whole assortment (of life skills),” said the president.
“It is things that are of interest to kids.”
Verstraten said 4-H used to be limited to cows and cooking, kids and country. She said it’s taken on a more urban feel, while retaining traditional skills. Participating kids may come from Amherst. Their parents may not be farmers. But the club activities still have interest for them, even rural skills, according to Verstraten.
“Because it’s different, it’s new, it’s cool,” she said.
She hopes the experiences offered by 4-H – like competing in tractor driving at age 14 – open their eyes to the role of agriculture in society.
“It’s really confidence building. You can win,” she said, and everyone likes winning.
SIDEBAR: Tuesday’s event highlights
8:30 a.m. Draft horse mane and tail and showmanship
9:15 a.m. Tug-of-war weigh-ins
10:00 a.m. Poultry, waterfowl and sheep showmanship and conformation
11:00 a.m. Beef and dairy show. and conform.
2:00 p.m. Goat show. and conform.
3:30 p.m. Grand Champion livestock showmanship
4:30 p.m. Tug-of-war final
6:30 p.m. 4-H parade and trophies
7:30 p.m. J&P 4-H scholarship fundraising auction
8:30 p.m. Small fry barrel racing, followed by barrel racing