No reason to be sheepish about their accomplishments
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No reason to be sheepish about their accomplishments

The Waterloo 4-H Sheep Club held its achievement day Aug. 6 in Floradale. [Bill Atwood]

Months of hard work and dedication have paid off for members of Waterloo 4-H Sheep Club. Last Saturday saw members gathering at a farm in Floradale for their achievement day to show off the lambs they have worked with over the last 16 weeks.

“Over those four months, we were all at home and working on our lambs or farmers from around here volunteered lambs. So kids would go to their houses, and just to get them used to walking and stuff,” said club participant Iris Perriman.

While the leaders provided support over that time, getting hands-on experience is what 4-H is about, said volunteer Susan Martin.

“Our motto is ‘learn to do by doing.’ These kids have done a wonderful job of learning by doing, they help each other. Our job as leaders in this club is to generate friendship, teach leadership, and for them to learn and take ownership in what they’re doing,” said Martin.

It takes dedication from everyone involved, she added.

“Not only for the kids, the leaders, but the parents, because the parents have to get those kids to those lambs. That means driving to a farm if you’re borrowing a lamb. So that’s dedication by the parents as well.”

The club members gained a new appreciation for farming while taking care of their lambs, Perriman said.

“We meet a lot of farmers, and they tell it like it is. Farming is hard. And so you gain a new appreciation for how much work goes into it,” she said.

While the participants and animals were judged on different categories including showmanship and the conformation of the lamb itself, much of it depends on the lamb and is out of the control of the participant, Martin explained

“I tell the kids before they go in the ring; you do the best you can do. And that’s all we expect.

“Some breeds are easier to train than others. You have to connect with your lamb. [However] you might have a lamb that just like people just wants to be miserable. And if that’s today, it’s today, so you just smile, and you go, ‘Oh, well’ and you just keep on smiling,” she said.

Allison Pepper, who judged the event, agreed.

“There was a girl in the showmanship class and her lamb wouldn’t want to walk. But she had every other piece of the showmanship puzzle, like her lamb would stand there, and it would set up and she looked good. And she knew what she was doing. And she knew where I was. Her lamb just wouldn’t walk today.

“It’s hard because then you’re there and you’re, like, ‘wow, people are going to think that I didn’t work with my animal’ and that sort of thing. And then you just stress yourself out a little bit more, but it’s always a different day.”

Perriman explained why it is important for kids to be involved with organizations such as 4-H

“I think kids today don’t go out as much – everybody’s online – but stuff like this gets you outside. You meet new people – these are people from like Kitchener, London, and I’m from Ayr. And you make acquaintances. Some of these people I’m going to know for the rest of my life – that’s just the way it is. Everybody learns new stuff from 4-H,” she said.

Pepper agreed.

“These [kids] are the future. Where I am now, that’s where they’re going to be soon.”

Winners from the event included grand champion in senior showmanship class Madison Bartlett, while the reserve grand champion was Brock Bartlett. In the junior showmanship class, the grand champion was Albert Reinhart and the reserve grand champion was Cameron Schill. The overall show grand champion was Madison Bartlett.

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