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4-H on the rebound as youth return

GUELPH — The non-profit 4-H clubs have been a staple in the life of young rural Canadians for over a century. The youth organization boasts some 23,000 members across the country and is now recovering from huge memberships losses under COVID restrictions

The pandemic saw the end of 4-H Achievement Days as well as in-person events as Ontario 4-H members and volunteers dropped by more than 50 %, from 7,866 (5,906 youth members and 1,960 volunteers) to 3,876.

4-H Ontario manager of communications Laura Goulding says things are looking up for this year as youth memberships alone in June were at 3,497.  “4-H saw a decline in participation for 2020 and 2021, but the club has topped its goal of a 23% increase in memberships for 2022,” she said.

Goulding says about two-thirds of members are returning and 33% are new faces.

4-H also recently received a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to support participant recruitment.

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