4H leaders assemble at StFX

Photo by Matt Draper These 4H members worked on a leadership exercise during the 2017 Leadership Development Conference coordinated by 4-H Nova Scotia, StFX, and the StFX 4-H Society. The event took place June 27-29.

ANTIGONISH: 4H members had the chance to experience a taste of university living last week.

Between June 27 and 29, StFX University hosted the 2017 Leadership Development Conference, which was coordinated by 4-H Nova Scotia, StFX, and the StFX 4-H Society.

Society president Jane Stevenson and conference development coordinator Jordan MacDonald said the society started late last year and members wanted to host a senior conference to include people from across the Atlantic Provinces.

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“We really wanted to get [4H members] to StFX to get a chance to show off the campus because this is the first official partnership between 4H and a university,” she said. “I know Dal AC [Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Campus] has a lot of 4H members that attend and they host a lot of 4H events there too. We wanted to get 4H going at StFX because we do have a lot of 4H members here who might be in 4H back home.”

MacDonald said the event also works as a mutual recruitment and retention tool, noting they wanted to offer experiences for older 4H members.

“The people here are 13-18, and that’s the age group when people start to think 4H is not cool anymore and they want to leave,” he said. “By having experiences like this, we hope to make 4H something they want to stay in.

“From a university perspective, having lots of action and engagement here is beneficial for them.”

Stevenson explained agricultural sustainability and food security is one of 4H Canada’s four pillars for leadership development and was the theme for this year’s conference.

“We’re hoping to have this as an annual event and we’re hoping to throw it better each year,” she said.

The three-day conference included learning in the school’s human nutrition lab, visiting the Sisters of St. Martha’s garden, information sessions at the Bloomfield Centre, workshops, and a square dance.