Young people from across the Westman Region travelled to Boissevain yesterday for the 88th Annual Boissevain & Area 4-H Rally held at the Boissevain Ag Grounds on Thursday of this week.

The wind was blowing but there were smiles on everyone's faces as kids from seven 4-H clubs participated in the many events throughout the day, including the noon parade where Ninga residents, Dave Hicks, a longtime 4-H supporter led the way! It's important to note that Mr. Dave Hicks has been involved in 4-H for 67 years!

Parade Flag bearers included Sarah Meggison carrying the 4-H flag.  Sarah is the recipient of the 2023 Senior Member Award of Distinction, and a graduating member of Goodlands 4-H Variety Club. Sarah was awarded a National 4-H Travel Opportunity, the Citizenship Congress in Ottawa which she attended last month.  Sarah will be attending the University of Manitoba this fall.  

The Manitoba flag was carried by April Willis.  This is April's third year of being the Westman Club Support Coordinator for the 4-H Westman Program.  And the Canadian flag was carried by Karen Olafson, the Eastman Club Support Coordinator with 4-H Manitoba.

Marching in this year's parade was the Deloraine Community 4-Hers with their 8 members.  Teagan Maddess participated in the Provincial Intermediate Camp at Clear Lake.

Also marching in this year's parade were the 5 members of the Goodlands 4-H Variety Club.  Ainslee McGregor also participated in the Provincial Intermediate Camp at Clear Lake.

This year's parade floats showcased the imaginations of the 10-member Boissevain Home & Hobby 4-H Club, and the 11-member Boissevain Beef 4-H Club.

In the Equine division, the 6 members of the Coulter Western Trail Riders participated in the parade, as did the Boissevain Boots 'n Bits Club with their 21 members.  The Archie 4-H Light Horse & Pony Club also brought smiles to parade watchers as their 23 members rode past.

Boissevain 4-H member, Gary Nowazek, was awarded the 2024 Senior Member Award of Excellence.  Gary has been in 4-H for 10 years, has held 9 club positions and has represented his club for area council. 

Co-head Leader of the Boissevain Home & Hobby 4-H Club as well as member of the 4-H Rally Planning Committee, Victoria Nowazek, says reaching the milestone of 88 years for the Boissevain & Area 4-H Rally is amazing.

"It's great to see 4-H grow. Numbers have definitely dwindled from what it was back in the 1960s but we're still strong and we've still got lots of enthusiasm from our members and it's such a great program, and to see them come back each year," she shares.

Victoria Nowazek started out 10 years ago when her son Gary joined the local 4-H program. "I didn't start out as a head leader, but I was involved and have been on the planning committee for probably eight years now."

The 4-H program has come a long way over the past 111 years (it started as the Boys and Girls Club in Roland, Manitoba in 1913).  Nowazek says she's been reading up on the history of the 4-H Boissevain & Area Rally.  "Back then there were over 700 members and leaders that attended and there were probably 30 some clubs!"

Nowazek adds the number of members has dwindled over the past decades, however she notes these local clubs are still going strong and will continue to instruct and mentor everything 4-H with their members!

Please listen to more with Victoria Nowazek as she shares more on the 4-H history.