by Seth Freeman
The Hill ’n’ Dale 4-H Club was formed in 1961, with the first meeting held at Centre Consolidated School in Dayspring, N.S. That first meeting included 10 members, their parents, and George Mackenzie, the region’s provincial agriculture department 4-H representative.
The club name Hill ’n’ Dale originated from a Mrs. Berringer, who took note of the many drumlins and valleys that could be found in Lunenburg County, otherwise known as hills and dales. The club name could not be community-based as members lived in many different communities all across Lunenburg County.
The only projects featured in the club that year were dairy and beef, with the expansion into more projects in the following years. The beef project was included along with the dairy project, as the project leader could not acquire the 10 dairy calves necessary. Since 1961, the dairy project has been a part of it for every one of those years. Each member would take a turn hosting the project meeting. Members would gather around the kitchen table and discuss that day’s agenda while the mothers would provide sandwiches and other refreshments. The leaders for the dairy and beef projects in those first years were Elvin Falkenham and Dawson Wile.
This past year, Hill ’n’ Dale featured 46 members along with 22 very dedicated leaders. The club meetings are no longer held at Centre Consolidated School but are now held at the Wileville Fire Hall every third Saturday of the month.
Each year, members participate in many 4-H events and activities, such as public speaking, showmanship and judging, the Lunenburg County Christmas get-together, awards night, winter carnival, woodsman, tug of war, achievement day, the 4-H Provincial Show, and much more.
In the early years of the Hill ’n’ Dale 4-H Club, achievement days were held at the Hill Top Park in Bridgewater, whereas now they are held at the Wileville Fire Hall.
Another event that members participate in each year is the Adopt-a-Highway program, with 2018 marking the 25th year that the club has undertaken this event. Members remove all the garbage along a five-kilometre stretch of road, once in the spring and once in the fall.
Along with the many 4-H events, members also participate in community events, such as Christmas tree displays, Canada Day activities, and visits with livestock to senior citizens homes. Anyone is able to bring an animal to visit the seniors. We have had cows, goats, rabbits, sheep, and dogs. Everyone enjoys these visits! It is great for the club members and the residents to interact with the animals. The past few years, the members have visited the Harbour View Haven home in Lunenburg.
Plans for 2019 include a Canadian club exchange, a Canada Day petting zoo, Remembrance Day activities, applications for the Kevin Grant Rural Youth Leadership Tour, the Debert leadership weekend, the Fluff ’n’ Buff program, and the EastGen Atlantic Showcase.
In past years, Hill ’n’ Dale 4-H Club members have arranged Canadian exchanges with other 4-H clubs from all over Canada, with the most recent taking place in 2016. These exchanges are great opportunities for members to experience what 4-H is like in different parts of Canada.
The Kevin Grant Rural Youth Leadership Tour is a program which members have to apply to and be selected for. Once chosen, members gather in different rural areas of Nova Scotia to visit local community leaders and businesses.
The EastGen Atlantic Showcase is an event that dairy and beef members are eligible to attend to better their showmanship and clipping skills. The event is held at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition grounds in Bible Hill, where members from all over the Maritimes converge to sharpen their skills in their respective categories.
Fluff ’n’ Buff is for all livestock project members and takes place in Lawrencetown, Annapolis County. This is a wonderful opportunity for members to have one-on-one discussions with project leaders and Nova Scotian experts in all livestock categories. This event is for Tri County, Valley, and South Shore 4-H members.
The Hill ’n’ Dale 4-H Club is fortunate to have such dedicated leaders, parents, and members. Judy Wile and Diane Barry are the current general leaders.
(Seth Freeman has completed eight years of 4-H with the Hill ’n’ Dale 4-H Club, completing projects in heritage, small engines, great outdoors, and plumbing. He has participated in 4-H Canada’s club exchange program and the Kevin Grant Rural Youth Leadership Tour. He is very active in Lunenburg County’s 4-H woodsman team.)