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Communications Night For Oakburn 4-H Achievers

Junior to senior members of the Oakburn 4-H Achievers shared the 4-H motto “Learn To Do By Doing” – the basis of the 4-H communications program – to fellow club members, family and a panel of judges. Through participating in public speaking and visual presentations, members actively learn how to communicate ideas and information with confidence.

Last month at the former Oakburn School, 16 of the 18 members presented speeches with themes touching on a variety of subjects from a hilarious to a serious nature. Senior member, Brittany Gapka, borrowed the 4-H motto for her speech title, taking a look back on 10 years of involvement in the organization that develops innovative community leadership in youth. Along with expressing joys that have come with experiences gained since joining in Rapid City, the Grade 12 student touched on projects such as “Getting A Jump On Life” that have taught valuable life skills. As part of her speech, she stressed to the junior members, “I’m proud to add 4-H to my resume! It may seem like extra work, but you will be glad you did it.”

While Oakburn is a home economics club, a number of the boys and girls involved share farm life with their parents. From a provincial standpoint, more than half of Manitoba’s 3,500-plus 4-H members live on farms, and the top five projects are Beef, Equine Adventures, Food, Create-a-Project and Woodworking.

And with farming playing a significant role in the area, it too was a speech topic by a number of members including 10-year-old Reegan Woychyshyn, who shared his personal enjoyment of riding in the tractor cab with kind and caring adult farm neighbours.


Varying in lengths from two to seven minutes depending on the age classification, speaking skills were evaluated by a panel of four judges, who felt all speeches were of excellent quality and very interesting. Positive feedback plays a key role in encouraging and motivating members to develop their communication skills as they continue their involvement with the 4-H movement.

With the purpose of most speeches being to teach, entertain or inform, speech components are based on a total score of 100 points broken down into Topic (10), Structure (30), Presentation (30), Language (10), and Results (20).

Instead of choosing winners at the club level, Oakburn allowed any members to attend the Zone competition, which took in an additional eight area clubs, on their own accord. Sadie Yanyk, who serves as the Oakburn club reporter, was among the 15 youth to compete in Kenton. From Zone the next step is the Area Council Communications event with the boundary of competing clubs further expanding, leading up to the Manitoba 4-H Communications Extravaganza in Portage la Prairie.


4-H in Canada all started here in Manitoba! Roland is recognized as the birthplace of 4-H in Canada as it was the community in which the first organizational meeting for a Boys and Girls Club was held in 1913.

In that year there were also seven other communities in Manitoba that formed Boys and Girls clubs – Oak Lake, Neepawa, Darlingford, Manitou, Starbuck, Stonewall and Warren.

Eight years after 4-H was born in the province and the country, with the guidance of adult volunteer leaders, the program was introduced to Oakburn and over the course of 89 years the lives of many youth and young adults have benefited from club and community activities.

Two leaders in particular have invested a substantial number of years to the club. Janet Zemianski, who has been a leader for 35 years, says it’s the enjoyment of the kids that keeps drawing her back to the club. Olga Woychyshyn has also been dedicated to the program and its values from a head leader role for the past 32 years.

Enjoying the thrills while developing the skills, the Oakburn 4-H Achievers are among the 200 clubs across the province who are gaining valuable experience in many areas, including communication that will follow them through both their professional and personal lives.

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