Eight-year-old Francis Barss

Metchosin 4-H keeps kids connected with rural life

Debbie Cooper looks content decked out in garden gloves and rain boots.

Debbie Cooper looks content decked out in garden gloves and rain boots.

Looking over her shoulder, her cat Seth walks by with what appears to be a dead rat in its mouth. “She’s a good ratter” she says, rubbing her gloved hands over her miniature horse Little Joe.

Cooper, who last January revived the once-popular youth club 4-H, aimed at animals and agriculture, is passionate about rural living. But her seven-year-old daughter may even love the lifestyle more than her.

“Last year I tried (sending her to) soccer, but it always came back to her love of animals,” Cooper said. “Not all kids are interested in sports and it is still nice to have a club that keeps the interest in what (they) are interested in.”

For its inaugural year, about a dozen pioneering 4-H kids delved into bike safety and public speaking, among other confidence building activities. “4-H isn’t just about animals,” Cooper remarked. “Kids can learn about small engine repair, public speaking and sewing. There’s a lot of different things in 4-H.”

That said, this year the Metchosin-based club will focus on the farm, with lessons in horticulture, honey bees, sheep, beef and poultry. The program allows largely urban kids from the West Shore and Sooke to be connected with where their dinner comes from, in a hands-on way.

“It is about keeping farming in the community — but contrary to popular belief you don’t have to have a farm to get involved,” she said. “We teach them about the farm animals, we are providing activities that make it fun.”

Cooper hopes to expand the program in the West Shore to include older children who can branch off into more specific fields such as sheep or horses. Eventually 4-H kids of all ages could show these animals off at events including the Luxton Fair and Metchosin Day, where stalls to accommodate the activity already exist but currently sit dusty and unused.

“To be able to teach kids how to grow (their) own vegetables, have your own eggs, have your own sustainable living. That is big in our world today,” Cooper said. “Buying local and the 100-mile diet — that is what I enjoy, bringing that back to our kids.”

Eight-year-old Francis Barss who will enter his second year with West Shore 4-H, just can’t get enough of the animals, especially the sheep.

“I have had quite a bit of fun (with) sheep because they are big and warm and fluffy,” he said. “(Animals) are quite fun … I would recommend it.”

Enrolment is $140 per child to fund field trips and 4-H curriculum, and takes place Dec. 18 at Metchosin Community House, 2 to 3 p.m. For more information email debbiecooper@shaw.ca.




Just Posted

Researchers say ‘text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millenials’ skulls

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Tiny Yorkshire terrier Poppie survives days on remote island

ROAM rescue crews, family searched for dog, missing in Saanich for days

UVic microbiology student chosen for 2019 Amgen Scholars Canada Program

Dushanthi Dissanayake and 14 other Canadian students head to Toronto for mentorship, research

Greater Victoria region home to four licensed recreational pot retailers

Vancouver Island home to six out of 34 licensed retail outlets across British Columbia

Spontaneous combination causes fire at Saanich’s urban-rural boundary

Crews had already responded once to MacNutt Enterprises Sunday morning

WATCH: Thousands gather for National Indigenous Peoples Day at Royal Roads University

Day to embrace and celebrate culture and lives of Indigenous peoples

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read