By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Taber CornDawgs are a 4-H youth development club based in Taber.
“4-H clubs provide opportunities to learn leadership, communication, and technical skills. They also learn about community service and record keeping,” Naomi Wiebe, co-leader of the club, said. “The purpose of our club was to offer some options for youth living in town that did not have access or opportunities with an agricultural focus. Members who are interested in an agricultural project are still welcome to join, and our club can partner with another club in a joint project. Retlaw and the Corn Dawgs have had a joint small engine project for a few years.”
Wiebe says that the Taber CornDawgs are a multi-club, meaning they offer multiple project options and last year they offered canine, foods, small engine, STEM, Adopt-A-Grandparent, and Lego projects. The club, Wiebe says, was started in 2017. It was the idea of Clancy Holthe, and he was able to get other volunteers and parents interested.
“In 4-H, youth ages 9 to 20 run the show,” Wiebe said. “6 to 8 year olds are also welcome to join as well under the Cleaver program, which has some different requirements.”
Typically, Wiebe says, the club meets once a month for general meetings where the youth make decisions for the club and where they want it to go, and then also meet for project meetings based on what they have chosen. Every new 4-H year, Wiebe says that CornDawgs have a meeting in September/October to see what members are joining, the projects they are in interested in, and what adult volunteers are willing to lead projects.
“Where we meet is dependent on the purpose of the meeting,” Wiebe said. “Our general meetings are often held at the Taber Police Service building, or the Taber Agri-Plex. Project meetings will vary from place to place, based on their focus.”
Wiebe says that the next general meeting is on Thursday, October 26th at 6:00pm in the Dreaddy room in the basement of the Taber Police Station.
If anyone is interested in joining the Taber CornDawgs 4-H Club, Wiebe says, they can email email@example.com, reach out to one of our leaders (Naomi Wiebe or Amanda Malone), or just show up for the general meeting. Adults are welcome to join as leaders, Wiebe says, and the prerequisites are a criminal record check and watching some online training videos.
“It involves some commitment and hard work but if you speak to any adult who was a member, it’s been my experience that the overwhelming majority credit 4-H as a net positive, especially when it comes to things like public speaking,” Wiebe said. “As a parent, I like that it teaches and helps prepare our children for the future. Learning about budgets and expenses, parliamentary procedure, and community service can help expand their role in our community.”
More information about the Taber CornDawgs 4-H Club can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/TaberCornDawgs4H.
“It can be challenging for members and leaders and sometimes requires hard work and diligence,” Wiebe said. “They are rewarded, however, with technical abilities, life skills, and potential scholarships. We also see a great increase in self-confidence and ability for public speaking. This can really help for things like job interviews.”