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New 4-H club includes younger kids

Cloverbuds Club gives kids under age of 9 an introduction to 4-H

Cloverbuds Club leaders Bonnie Wells and Sonya Sommerville invited kids to join the new 4-H group on July 25. Kids aged 6-8 can learn about 4-H concepts through Cloverbuds before officially joining Waterloo 4-H at the age of 9. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Cloverbuds Club leaders Bonnie Wells and Sonya Sommerville invited kids to join the new 4-H group on July 25. Kids aged 6-8 can learn about 4-H concepts through Cloverbuds before officially joining Waterloo 4-H at the age of 9. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
For the younger tots who can’t wait to join 4-H Waterloo, the organization is making a new addition to its already diverse cluster of youth clubs. This week 4-H volunteers Sonya Somerville and Bonnie Wells, sat down to plan the first meeting of the Cloverbuds Club, designed to teach kids aged 6-8 about all aspects of the 4-H community. The first meeting was held on Thursday.

“Young kids, they really learn by the hands-on learning opportunities,” said Wells while planning at her home in Cambridge this week.

Kids aged 6-8 can become Cloverbuds before joining the 4-H program that starts kids off at age 9. The initiative was launched by 4-H Ontario in March as a way to introduce younger kids to the general ideas of the club and expose them to all aspects of the organization at an earlier age.

“The whole 4-H program is just a phenomenal opportunity for kids; it’s a fantastic value in terms of the fees and the value you get back out of it. In our family it’s been such a great benefit that I think extending it into the younger age is really just a huge opportunity for many of the kids,” said Sommerville.

Many 4-H youths have younger siblings who can’t wait to join, and the Cloverbuds program gives them a taste (up to three years) of 4-H-inspired activities before they join 4-H Waterloo, Wells added.

With the popularity of the local chapter, many kids without farm backgrounds are joining the youth organization as well. The information in Cloverbuds will help kids of all backgrounds understand age-appropriate 4-H concepts.

“[The club] is really opening up to more urban areas because they are realizing the opportunities that 4-H gave the rural kids are actually not necessarily as available to the urban kids. Some of the 4-H clubs they now have, they’ve got paintball, they’ve got mountain biking. There are all sorts of cooking ones, baking, chocolate, quilting, scrapbooking, crafts. If they have an interest in animals this gives them an opportunity without necessarily having a friend who has a farm,” said Sommerville.

Each meeting will feature a different unit of learning and include elements of regular 4-H meetings; 4-H Ontario outlines 24 options for topics for each year in the Cloverbuds Club program. Club leaders such as Wells and Sommerville must cover a minimum of six units per year and kids have to attend at least four each year to complete the program.

The two club leaders plan to start lessons with the recitation of the 4-H pledge, followed by icebreakers and the main unit where kids might have a chance to cover everything from field trips to cooking and gardening. The club will also introduce kids to 4-H parliamentary procedure, public speaking, judging and positive feedback that are considered staples of learning at the organization.

Registration fees for the Cloverbuds Club are same as for 4-H members: $70 per year covers the cost of all materials. For more information and registration visit www.waterloo4-h.ca.

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