Each year, the local 4-H club, encourages and supports its member kids and youth and hosts a grand auction in Smithers for their animals, however due to Covid, this year’s auction is going to be moved online.
“With the Covid-19 situation, everything is looking definitely different. We haven’t been able to have a meeting since March, but we have been doing a lot of things online and stuff and now moving forward, we are doing our auction online,” said Wendy Siemens of the Topley 4-H club.
The Topley 4-H club has members from Topley, all the way to the west of Houston. The club is also a member of the Bulkley Valley 4-H however this year the council passed a motion requiring each club to deal with their own achievement individually, in order to keep the numbers under 50.
On July 18, the club held its achievement day for which Myles Dekker was declared the Grand Champion while Joe Stephens was declared the Reserve Champion. Siemens mentioned that with the fair cancelled, it was good that they were able to do the achievement day.
The club will be hosting an online auction, the details for which will be released by the club closer to the date.
“Our auction will be a timed auction, starting on August 22nd, and people will be able to bargain and bid through till August 25,” said Siemens, adding, “And there is no pressure, they can look at the kids’ steers and decide and bid, all online.”
Siemens told Houston Today that the club was very socially aware and realizes “that it is very important to keep the members and families in our community safe so, we are doing our very best to complete the kids’ project, and we are just hoping to have the community support through it.”
Currently, the club has a total of 24 members of which 13 would have their animals up for the auction. Now even though the kids are excited that their effort will get its due, they are still a little upset about the fair being cancelled.
“I think the kids are a little disappointed that they can’t showcase their animals, because they work for a long time; they started the project in October and November and there is a lot of work that goes in to it. Plus, they love being together and showcasing the animals and sharing it with people so they are disappointed by that,” said Siemens. “But the 4-H model is to ‘learn to do by doing’ and they are very keen on the idea of starting something new, trying something new and making it successful and this is what we have to do.”
“They are great kids, really fabulous,” she added.
Over in the Burns Lake area, there are two 4-H clubs, one on the northside, and one on the Southside. The Southside 4-H club will also be hosting an online auction this year.
“Members have been very resilient and willing to continue with their projects through these trying times. The club used Zoom to meet for club business meeting as well as project meetings. They have now moved to outdoor, socially distant meetings under 50. We have had all but one project continue this year despite Covid-19,” said Deanne Lambert of the Southside 4-H club.
The Southside 4-H club’s auction will be more of a hybrid auction with the kids presenting their animals that will be cast live via Zoom.
“Southside 4-H Club Auction will be held on September 12 at five p.m. A hybrid of in-person and Zoom will be used to host the auction. Potential buyers need to contact Deanna Lambert at email@example.com or 250-694-3811 to find out more information and how to pre-register,” she said.
As of now, the club has 27 members with three swine projects, four steers, one Bred Heifer, seven lambs, seven Small Engine, one junior leader and 10 Cloverbud. However, the auction will be offering four steers, five lambs and five swine.
“These are the same kids who were evacuated in 2018 due to the forest fires on the Southside. They are really proving to be a resilient and dedicated group of kids,” said Lambert.
Lambert also said that two members from the Northside 4-H Club from Burns Lake will be joining the Southside 4-H Club with their swine projects for the achievement day and auction as they have only two animal projects for sale.
In March 2020, Lambert was elected as the 4-H British Columbia Provincial Council President. She has served on that council since Fall 2015. She is also on the Yellowhead West Regional 4-H Council since 2013. The Southside 4-H club was established by her in 2013.