4-H around the world: Canada

4-H grows youth into leaders within the U.S. and beyond. Let’s explore 4-H in Canada and the successful three-way 4-H “Visual Letter” art exchange with Michigan 4-H and Poland.

4-H Canada members

4-H in Canada began in Roland, Manitoba, in 1913 as a community-based organization dedicated to the growth and development of rural youth, improvement of agriculture and enrichment of rural life. The creation of the not-for-profit was inspired by energetic and idealistic individuals, including agriculture officials and dedicated schoolteachers, who were committed to ensuring young, rural Canadians learned the skills required to succeed on and off the farm. Sustainable agriculture and food security have since remained integral to 4-H in Canada programming.

4-H Canada youth

Today, 4-H Canada is recognized as a leading resource for Canadian youth to develop into interested, caring and confident leaders through their “Learn to Do by Doing” philosophy. Programming has expanded into areas related to the environment, healthy living, communications, community engagement, science and technology. Through 4-H Canada, almost 23,500 members and over 8,500 volunteer leaders are empowered through a fun, inclusive and caring environment.

In 2017, 4-H Canada hosted the second Global 4-H Network Summit in Ottawa, Ontario. Professionals, youth and other delegates represented a global movement of over seven million youth. The Global 4-H Network Summit also coincided with Canada’s 150th confederation anniversary, a year-long celebration on Canadian heritage.

Zoom screenshot
The pilot three-way visual letter art exchange planning committee having fun learning origami. Photo by Dawn Krinke, Manitoba 4-H Council Inc.

It was during the Global 4-H Network Summit that a partnership was created with 4‑H Manitoba staff to pilot a three-way “visual Letter” art exchange between Michigan, Poland and Manitoba. The successful three-way art exchange with Warsaw, Poland; Manitoba, Canada; and Michigan started in 2018. In the 2019 three-way Michigan 4-H art exchange “Visual Letter” pilot, a total of 270 youth participated. Approximately 184 youth participated from Lenawee County at the Onsted Elementary School and the program is expanding in 2021-2022 to include Chippewa and Lake counties. Thirty-three youth from Manitoba Canada 4‑H Clubs participated and is possibly expanding to include a pilot in Ontario. Fifty-three youth from the Poland school classroom participated and has a possible expanded pilot with Puch.

Currently, the art exchange relationships continue with monthly touch base zoom meetings with discussion on the enrichment and expansion in all three countries. Strong relationships have been formed and the passion for positive youth development endures. More information can be read about this pilot exchange in the 20419 MSU Extension article, “Michigan 4-H pilot visual letter art exchange with Poland and Canada.”

Connect with our 4-H Manitoba friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or visit their 4-H Manitoba website to learn more. You can also follow the results of the Summit held in Canada in 2017 on Twitter and Instagram, or visit their Global 4-H Network Summit website to learn more. MSU Extension staff will be presenting in 2021 at the third Global 4-H Network Summit to be held in Arusha ,Tanzania, on the pilot’s success. To learn more about this global 4-H event, check out the MSU Extension article, “4-H around the world: Tanzania.”

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas.

Other global educational opportunities can also be found on the MSU Extension Global and Cultural Education webpage. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your county MSU Extension office.

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