The Huxtable family has a long history in 4-H.
The organization, which is celebrating its centennial in 2013, has been a major part of the family’s life for the last four generations.
“When I turned nine it wasn’t actually a choice,” Kristine Huxtable, a third-generation 4-Her, said.
“My Dad said when you turn nine you go in 4-H, so that was it.”
But she wasn’t resentful about being directed into 4-H, Kristine said she had been looking forward to joining.
“All my cousins were in 4-H too so I couldn’t wait to get into it,” she said. “I really liked showing my animals.”
Now, Kristine’s three daughters are all involved in the program in some way.
Five-year-old Emelia is still two years away from 4-H’s feeder Cloverbud program but she did participate in the fair this year by showing a sheep. Miranda, 10, takes part in the 4-H beef, sheep, scrapbooking and leathercraft programs. The oldest, Becky, 11, is involved in beef, rabbit and leathercraft.
Becky has been a 4-H member for the last three years and was a Cloverbud for four years previous to that.
At this year’s fair, she showed a steer and rabbit, and helped Miranda show a sheep.
She also takes part in leathercraft but said her favourite is rabbits, “because they’re cute and fluffy.”
The program has many benefits, Kristine said. It teaches youth important life skills such as public speaking and builds a sense of responsibility in the club members.
“Just being in the ring and showing an animal is a huge confidence builder,” Kristine said.
“With selling, they also learn where their food comes from — this is a meat animal, it’s not just a pet and they also learn some marketing skills.”
From 4-H, Becky has even started her own rabbitry business, selling the animals as pets and for food.
“You get to show animals but it also teaches you about responsibility,” Becky said.