By Matthew McCully
Among the displays and tables set up for Canada Day celebrations in Hatley, there will be a little canteen manned by members of the Hatley 4-H club.
Yes, they will be serving up popcorn, chips, freezies, watermelon and other light fare, all with a big smile. But if they seem a bit distracted, it might be because in the back of their minds, the club members are going over the details and thinking about the finishing touches for the upcoming provincial rally, which Hatley 4-H will be hosting in a few short weeks at the Ayer’s Cliff fairgrounds.
Each year, a different club is called on to host the event, which brings together youth from across the province for a weekend of competition and, according to 16-year-old Hatley 4-H president, Claudia Veilleux, a ton of fun.
Elected in November, Veilleux didn’t know at the time that Hatley would be hosting the next rally.
Between July 13-16, 75 participants from six different clubs across the province will attend the rally. Adding in parents and chaperones, that’s around 200 people, the bulk of whom will be camping at Ayer’s Cliff fairgrounds over the weekend.
The event needs to be organized, judges booked, barns prepped for animals, caterers lined up. It’s “a significant amount of work,” Veilleux said.
Luckily, Hatley 4-H took a divide and conquer approach.
“We have different committees, where different parents and kids are in charge of different things,” she explained. “Some people are in charge of farmers’ Olympics, some for judging,” Veilleux said, so the responsibilities don’t fall on just one person.
The theme for this year’s provincial rally is holidays.
Hatley is doing Christmas this year. Each of the other clubs will have its own dedicated barn space, and Veilleux said each one will have to decorate according to its chosen holiday. The theme will likely trickle into the costume class, she added.