Written, in part, by 10 Perth County 4-H members: Phillip Koskamp, Sam Reidy, Sam Becker, Emma Francis, Natasha Klaver, Brianna Nichol, Natalie Nichol, Valarie Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton and Halle Horn.
In the summer of 2016, 10 members from Perth County, along with chaperones Marilyn Reidy and Jen Aikens were “twinned” with Deep Creek Dairy 4-H Club in Salmon Arm, B.C. as a part of the 4-H Canada Club to Club Exchange. Some of us had never flown before so this was very exciting. We stayed with our “twins” for 10 days learning about how they live, the history and culture of their region and we travelled together as a large group of 20 members and four leaders seeing and participating in some awesome activities. Some of our highlights while we were in B.C. was the chance to enjoy a day on a houseboat on beautiful Mara Lake, riding the gondola’s at Mount Revelstoke and floating down a river in tubes near Enderby, B.C. As a part of our community service component of this exchange while we were there we worked on 250 metres of new hiking trails with the Shuswap Trail Alliance. It was great to see and learn how others live. The opportunity to see a different province was an incredible experience. Although it felt strange staying with a family we didn’t know at the beginning of our journey we can now say we have made new life-long 4-H friends. After 10 days of fun in B.C., we arrived home to rest up and prepare for the arrival of B.C. members to our great province. We began our adventure with them doing our community service work with Habitat for Humanity in Listowel. It was hard work removing flooring, a deck and wiring out of a house that was being demolished but we now understand the great work that Habitat for Humanity does for communities around the world and the importance of volunteering in our communities. We did so many things with our “twins” to show the great area we live in. We toured a number of local dairy farms, a water buffalo farm, Bar-B-Dee elevators and we visited St. Jacobs (including a visit to an Amish farm), visited the Stratford-Perth Museum, the Costume Warehouse and the production of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe at the Festival Theatre. Other highlights included a trip to Toronto to the CN Tower, a visit to the Welland Canal and Niagara Falls, including a ride on the incredible jet boats there. Jennie Nichol had both of her daughters, Natalie and Brianna attend the exchange and said it was a great experience for them to experience a different part of Canada and to fly for the first time, something that may not have been possible without 4-H. “They were able to learn about a part of Canada that was quite different from where we live here in Ontario and meet other kids in 4-H and learn about their experiences,” she says. “As a parent, I am really pleased that my daughters were given this opportunity.” We learned so much about ourselves, others and so much about the great country we live in. Canada Heritage is a big contributor to this 4-H Canada exchange. The goal is for members to learn more about other provinces as well as our own region. We’re very thankful for all the generous supporters of this 4-H exchange club, everyone who supported our fundraising projects, the time the leaders took to plan our trip and, of course, our families.