Two paragraphs or less

Writing concisely comes with this job. It didn’t make the task any easier last week when asked to explain something about an important part of our life growing up in Wellington County.

Many months ago dad trotted into the office with a few bags of dry-cleaning. Not one to throw anything away, he figured some old clothes hanging in the basement might be worth resurrecting. One item was a bright green jacket with the 4-H crest. A little note pinned inside apologized for the poor cleaning job, but they had tried their best. The fact is, that coat was well worn and lucky to be as good as it was.

The county had not yet urbanized to the point it has today. Instead of brand names like Hilfiger and Under Armour, many kids sported Ontario Pork and Milk Producers merchandise – so much so that we hazard to guess those without such attire were in the minority. Times sure have changed.

A few weeks back we heard the Wellington County Museum and Archives would be hosting an exhibit to celebrate 100 years of 4-H in Wellington County. It runs from now until May 6.

Unsure what to do with the old jacket and knowing some might get a kick out of a fashion flashback, it was added to the exhibit. The only hitch was a paragraph or two was needed on our experience with various clubs and what 4-H meant to us.

Suffice to say that many community leaders had their start in a 4-H program. For decades, young people learned about running a meeting, sharing responsibilities – whether that be president, treasurer or even press secretary. Leaders gave of their time so that young people could complete a project often shown at one fall fair or another.

At the end of the season a banquet was held and people recognized for excelling in their field of pursuit. A lasting impression though is that despite the competitive aspect of the program, leaders and older members always encouraged growth in leadership.

Between now and May residents can visit the museum and witness an important cultural aspect of rural Wellington over the past 100 years.