4-H Nova Scotia

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4-H was established in Nova Scotia in 1922 in Heatherton, Nova Scotia. 4-H began as a rural organization which was focused around agriculture in the United States as a boys and girls club and has since been adopted all over the world. The program was originally aimed at rural youth with the goal of increasing and bettering the production of farms, recently, the program has started to transition into urban areas and is appealing to a wider variety of youth as the project scope has been expanding.[1]

Board of Directors & County Councils

4-H in Nova Scotia is governed by the Board of Directors. This board makes decisions about the 4-H program and future of the organisation. The board of directors is composed of President, 1st and 2nd Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Past President. Three youth positions are also available on the board including the Host and Hostess and the Youth Advisory Committee representative. Also sitting on the Board of Directors are 6 regional representatives. These representatives take concerns and ideas from County Councils and bring them forward to the Board of Directors. The county councils are composed of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Senior 4-H members and leaders can attend county council meetings and act as voting members.

Board of Directors Mandate

To advance the 4-H program, in partnership with the Nova Scotia department of Agriculture, to strengthen communities by providing life and technical skills to those involved including members, leaders and parents. Develop leadership and life skills in Nova Scotia youth Encourage the education of the public about the 4-H program Promote 4-H[2]

About the Program

The 4-H motto is "Learn to do by Doing", it is the principal that 4-H was established around. In 4-H youth are encouraged to learn new skills by completing hands on experience. The 4-H colours are white and green, white represents youth and green represents agriculture. The four H's in 4-H stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health and are explained in the 4-H pledge: "I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community and my country." [3] Each year there is a theme selected for the year, this year the theme is "Let the clover be seen in 2017." [4] 4-H is an organisation for youth ages 7–21. 7 and 8 year-olds can join the program as cloverbuds which gives them the opportunity to participate in events without the expectations of the older members. Junior members are ages 9–13 and senior members are ages 14–21. The program is run by volunteer leaders.

A Year in 4-H

The 4-H year starts in December with registration, members are able to decide which projects they would like to take. A complete list of projects can be found below. Throughout the year volunteer project leaders teach youth skills specific to the projects they join.

Public speaking competitions begin in February/March at club level. All members are encouraged to complete public speaking in some capacity because it is a good life skill. All members have the option of doing a speech or demonstration. Members can also team up and do a double demonstration. Unique to the junior age category, is the introducer and thanker competitions which allow younger members to introduce or thank another junior member's speech. There are 3 levels of competition, county, regional and provincial. Members that win in each age category move onto the next level of competition. These competitions finish in May at 4-H weekend. During this time there is also a poster competition that members can participate in, the theme changes each year to correspond with the yearly theme.

Judging days occur in April. Judging requires the members to judge a class of 4 items/animals related to their project work. They rank the items/animals best to worst and justify why the placed the class in that order to the judge.

4-H weekend occurs in May, details can be found below.

At the end of May, 4-H Achievement Days begin. Achievement days are held for each club, it is when the members pass in their projects for evaluation. At the end of the Achievement Days members are given certificates of achievement based on their project work, club contribution, record sheets, judging and public speaking. To achieve a gold standard members must complete all of the above activities, for silver one option may be missing and for green 2 options can be missing. To complete a project record sheets and project work must be complete.

After Achievement Day members compete against one another at county day to determine who will represent the county at Provincial Show. These competitions vary in time around the province.

The final event of the 4-H year is the Nova Scotia Provincial 4-H Show.

4-H Projects


  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Dog
  • Draft Horse
  • Goat
  • Light Horse
  • Market Lamb/Goat/Turkey/Steer
  • Miniature Horse
  • Sheep
  • Poultry
  • Rabbit
  • Waterfowl



  • Cake Decorating
  • Computer
  • Crafts
  • Exploring 4-H
  • First Aid
  • Foods
  • Heritage
  • Horticulture
  • Junior Leader
  • Great Outdoors
  • Photography
  • Scrapbooking
  • Sewing
  • Small Engine
  • Tractor
  • Vet Science
  • Welding
  • Woodworking


4-H Weekend

4-H weekend is held in early May at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus every year. The weekend has several exciting competitions for spectators to watch and youth to compete it. The woodsman competition is where teams of 5 youth compete in lumberjack sports including water boil, back tank race and a series of sawing events. The weekend is also where the top members from around the province compete in public speaking and demonstration competitions. The host and hostess competition is a highlight of the weekend where the successful competitors from each reason compete to represent the 4-H program at various events throughout the year. For the competition the members must undergo an interview, impromptu speech and sight reading. [7]

Camp Rankin

Camp Rankin is Nova Scotia's Provincial 4-H camp. The camp was built in 1972 as part of the Centennial project in Richmond County. The camp is located on 60 acres of land in Cape George, just outside of St. Peters.

The camp runs for 5 weeks in the summer throughout the month of July and the first week of August. The first 4 weeks are for junior members ages 9 to 13. The last week is an intermediate camp for youth ages 14–16. The campers stay overnight at the camp from Sunday evening to Friday morning. While at the camp the youth are supervised by 6 counsellors, the director and assistant director.

While at the camp youth spend much of their time outside partaking in recreation, canoeing, swimming, hiking and nature activities. There is a craft shed on site where members have the opportunity to make spend time with friends while letting their creativity flow. Other activities include 4-H and drama sessions. The end of the week is marked by a banquet, dance and a final camp fire. There is a cook on site that provides the campers and staff with three nutritious meals a day along with a bed lunch. The Department of Agriculture implemented a new program at the camp that allows 4-H members to bring a friend who is not in the program to camp with them for the week.

Provincial Show

The Nova Scotia Provincial 4-H Show is held each year at an exhibition grounds in the Province; the show is commonly hosted in Truro, Windsor and Bridgewater. The first provincial show was held in 1977, since this time it has grown to be the largest 4-H show in Canada with over 10,000 visitors each year.[8] The show is held during the last weekend in September/first weekend in October and is the highlight of the 4-H year for many 4-H members. For the life-skills projects, the top articles from each county, compete at the show for Champion and Reserve Champion projects. Each county then has a life-skills display which allows other 4-H members, family and general public to see all of the hard work that the 4-H members put into their projects. In the livestock projects the top competitors from each county bring their animals to compete for top honours. Members show their animals in both showmanship and conformation classes, in the horse project members also compete in riding and driving classes. In the beef and dairy rings member and their animals are selected for the beef and dairy teams to represent Nova Scotia and the Royal Winter Show.

Other highlights of the show include the tug-of-war competition where each county has the opportunity to enter a team of 10 members weighing a maximum of 1325 pounds for a 5-minute pull. There is also a tractor driving competition where members must maneuver a tractor and trailer though an obstacle course. At the end of the show there is a grand Champion showmanship class and a Grand Champion judging class to determine the overall top competitors.