Regional

4-H a game-changer in St Elizabeth

Garfield Myers

Sunday, March 23, 2014    

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BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — If the recent Parish Achievement Day in St Elizabeth is any indication, the 4-H movement in Jamaica is doing very well.

Hundreds of students, from primary to high school, converged on Black River High School to show off their life skills and stake their claim for a place at the national 4-H Achievement Day at Denbigh in Clarendon next month.

Activities judged included public speaking, agro-processing, needle work projects, animal husbandry, plant propagation, among many other aspects which embrace youth development, leadership and life skills.

As explained by Bridgette Powell, parish development officer for the 4-H movement in St Elizabeth, the chapter chose to pay special attention to melon which is produced in huge quantities by south St Elizabeth farmers.

A dizzying array of displays showed off such delicacies as melon cake, melon doughnuts, melon cupcakes and melon pickles. There was even melon powder and paper made from melon pulp.

"We teach life skills," said a proud Powell. "We find that a lot of persons who are able to do embroidery properly for example, got their background from being in 4-H many, many years ago.

Noting that on April 1 the 4-H movement will be celebrating its 74th year in Jamaica, Powell said "we have touched many lives".

That, she says, won't change.

"We (4-H leaders) have tried even from our own pockets two assist kids going to school, we encourage them to come in, get the skills, these are hard times, so being taught to make a cake you can actually make a business out of it," she said.

Basil Bennett, chairman of the 4-H parish advisory council underlined his organisation's importance. "The movement is very, very vibrant," he said. "We have 80-odd clubs in the parish, and at last count we had 6,665 clubbites."

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