by Jessica Larsen
The Albany Centennial 4-H Club was formed in 1973 by sisters Lorraine Noonan and Mabel Carmichael. The name Albany Centennial was chosen to recognize Prince Edward Island’s 100th anniversary of joining Canada.
This year, we have 28 members and 20 leaders, and we are proud to have the longest-standing 4-H leader on P.E.I. as part of our club. Lorraine Noonan has been a part of our club since day one and now has a total of 50 years of 4-H leadership under her belt. She continues to lead foods projects yearly.
Each year, our club meetings are run by six executive members and the overall leader. Currently, Hannah Larsen is treasurer, Matthew Murphy and Sydney Muttart share the position of secretary, Patrick Lauwerijssen is our club reporter, Justin Larsen is vice-president, and I’m president. Our overall leader is Brenda Larsen, who’s in her 20th year as a 4-H leader.
Our club offers a wide variety of projects, including foods, sewing, knitting, woodworking, great outdoors, rabbits, gardening, and many more. Many members participate in multiple projects. And if we don’t offer a project you are interested in taking, you can do a self-determined project.
We recently received a Rising Youth community service grant of $750 to host an event in our community for all ages. We will host a bingo and games night in July.
Each year, to celebrate the members’ accomplishments, we host our Achievement Day. We award members with certificates and ribbons of achievement for the projects they have completed in that 4-H year. All projects are also put on display for everyone to look at. This is also a great time for anyone interested in 4-H to come out and take a look at what 4-H is all about, learn about the projects that are available, and talk to members and leaders about the fantastic program.
Our club loves to be a part of the community. Each year, we complete community service projects.
At Christmastime, we go carol singing at seniors’ homes, a nursing home in Crapaud, and a seniors complex in Borden. At every house we stop at, we sing a few songs, have a chat and let the seniors know who we are, and give them a tray of sweets before we leave.
Every Christmas, we support an “adopted family” by providing gifts, Christmas dinner, and hygiene products. Our 4-H club also supports an “adopted family” in India. We also pick up garbage during the P.E.I. Women’s Institute annual roadside cleanup in Albany, among many other things. We love being part of the community and seeing all of the smiles we bring to people’s faces. We’re very proud to have won the Brookville Lime Community Project Award multiple times.
Albany Centennial is also very committed to promoting the importance of agriculture in our world. With about two-thirds of our 4-H families directly involved in the agriculture industry, our club has participated in Open Farm Day, hosted agriculture trivia at our monthly meetings, attended the Atlantic Farm Mechanization Show in Moncton, learned about safety on our farms at the local fire department, and celebrated Earth Day by watching a movie about agriculture while two senior members, Patrick Lauwerijssen and Justin Larsen, cooked and served a roast beef dinner featuring local foods. Our club has been recognized for our dedication to agricultural awareness by recently winning the P.E.I. Women’s Institute Agriculture Awareness Project Award.
I have been in 4-H for seven years, and those seven years have been some of my best. The 4-H organization has changed my life in such a positive way and I wouldn’t be the same without it.
Throughout my years in 4-H, I have taken many projects, including gardening, knitting, quilting, rabbits, and six foods projects all focusing on a different area of cooking and baking. I’ve learned so many valuable skills that have been beneficial to me and will continue to be as I grow up. I’ve become more comfortable with public speaking through 4-H. I’ve completed two demonstrations and made four speeches, and I was also chairperson for our public speaking competition two years ago.
I’ve also met many friends through 4-H. During the summer of 2018, I got the opportunity to go on an exchange trip to Manitoba. I met many amazing people on that trip and I will never forget the memories I made with them. My favourite aspects of the 4-H program are the endless opportunities available and getting to meet so many new people and learning about what projects they take and what they love about 4-H. Everyone has a different perspective that’s so amazing to hear.
(Jessica Larsen is president of the Albany Centennial 4-H Club. She is 15 years old and is in Grade 10 at Kinkora Regional High School. In her spare time, she enjoys playing hockey and volleyball, and spending time with family and friends.)