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4-H turns 100 years old in B.C.

There are eight 4-H clubs in the Abbotsford region
4H member Kurtis Severinski trims a cow's head in advance of the cow clipping competition at this weekend's Abbotsford Agrifair.

The 4-H program is celebrating its centennial in British Columbia this year.

There are 142 clubs throughout the province – including eight in the Abbotsford region – with 2,240 members and 638 leaders, according to Gina Haambuckers, communications and marketing co-ordinator for B.C. 4-H.The Fraser Valley clubs hosted a 100th anniversary event last weekend at the Maple Ridge Country Fest, and a provincial celebration is planned for later this year.

What started as agricultural-based clubs expanded to activities such as photography, small engine repair, gardening and more in the 1970s and ’80s to appeal to a wider range of children, said Haambuckers.

In the Abbotsford region, the eight clubs are primarily focused on dairy, beef, horse, and other animals. But there are some clubs, such as the Fraser Valley Footprints, which work on honey bees, leadership and photography.

Haambuckers said the clubs continue to expand across the province and have seen membership increases of five per cent each year for the past three.

The 4-H movement started in B.C. in 1914, and drew more than 200 young people between the ages of 10 and 18. Originally known as Boys and Girls clubs, they were renamed 4-H clubs in 1952 to more clearly represent the four Hs – head, heart, hands and health.

Members from around the region will be out in full force today and this weekend at the 2014 Agrifair and Rodeo,  showcasing their skills during demonstrations and competitions at Exhibition Park on Haida Drive.