Alberta 4-H leader stands out in a very big crowd

This photo captures two of the 11 projects offered by the Golden Prairie 4-H Club — busking and photography. In this busking performance at a local church last year, club members use glow Hula Hoops for a poi performance. (Poi is an art form created by the Maori people of New Zealand and involves making rhythmical and geometric patterns by swinging tethered weights). The performance was captured by members of the club’s photography project.
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There are nearly 7,400 volunteers working to support 4-H clubs across the country — and so standing out isn’t easy.

But that’s just what Caroline Boddy of the Golden Prairie 4-H Club has managed to do.

The Forestburg resident was recently chosen as the 2016 National Volunteer Leader of the Year. The award recognizes the pivotal role volunteer leaders play in the 4-H program, and nominations come from members who want to share the positive impact their leaders have had on them and their communities.

“Winning this award is the highest compliment because I have been championing the 4-H program my whole life,” said Boddy. “4-H Canada is the best youth program in the world. You may start out thinking you are giving a helping hand, but that sentiment will boomerang right back at you and you will find yourself benefiting far more than you give.”

Among the activities of the Golden Prairie club is a team busking project in which members learn skills such as unicycling, juggling, stilt walking, feather balancing, making balloon animals, and poi.

“The true magic of this project” is that it teaches members how to learn, Boddy said in a recent 4-H Alberta Magazine article.

“When they want to learn something, we make it happen,” she said. “When they want to get better, it is possible. They are only limited by their imagination.”

The Golden Prairie was the second-largest 4-H club in the country (with 52 members in 2015) until its rodeo pro-ject formed its own club. This year, there are 42 members and 11 projects, Boddy said.

She receives a prize package which includes a cash prize and a trip to Ottawa in mid-July for 4-H Canada’s AGM and the Global 4-H Network Summit.

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