Last week I met with Cera, the Executive Director of 4-H Saskatchewan. This meeting came about after I published a poll on the SAVT Member Communication page on Facebook about 4-H. There were a lot of 4-H alum and many of their programs are geared towards those interested in animals. That got me to thinking ‘how can 4-H and the SAVT collaborate?’ How can we get more involved in each other’s worlds? How do we overlap and how can we get young folks down the path of becoming an RVT and interested in veterinary medicine? I didn’t have all those answers, but I figured I should ask around and Cera seemed like a great place to start.
When I sat down with Cera she told me about the 169 active 4-H clubs across Saskatchewan, the 3,000 4-H members working on over 5,000 projects, and the recent introduction of the Veterinary Project. Cera broke down those 5,000 projects for me into specific projects: 2,000 beef projects, 700 light horse projects, 84 canine projects, 65 sheep projects, 30 poultry projects, 25 small pet projects, 21 veterinary projects, 8 rabbit projects, and one swine project. She told me that they went from 2 poultry projects two years ago in the province to 30 last year, and the surprise when she saw that canine projects were up to 84, that Saskatchewan is the third highest enrollment of 4-H across Canada but per capita Saskatchewan is first!
I learned that they have only been offering the Veterinary project for 3 years and already they have 21 registered. The youngest of those registrants is 13 years old but primarily they are 15,16, and 17-year olds in that program. The Veterinary Project is the most terminology heavy and hardest projects that they offer. They brought it in from Ontario as a way to challenge their 4-Hers who have already made it though the four courses they offer that are directly related to animals. When I looked through their project book I was intimidated by what was included but excited that young adults had access to something like this – I also wanted to make sure that those who were completing this program new about RVTs and the rewarding futures they could have as an RVT – so going forward we are going to be including a one-page information piece on RVTs with each project package (how cool is that?!)
Cera then asked me if I thought RVTs throughout Saskatchewan would be willing to get involved with them. Would RVTs be willing to speak to clubs on nutrition/hoof care/husbandry/etc? Teach some minor first-aid for animals? Put on animal demonstrations? Host clinic tours? Judge public speaking? What about record books? But really – what about those speaking opportunities? I told her that we offer CE to RVTs who participate in these activities so absolutely there are interested RVTs are out there who not only like CE but also are passionate about 4-H and the future of veterinary medicine. That led to an arrangement for space in their printed newsletter about RVTs in exchange for information about 4-H in our conference program and information in our eBlasts.
This is all extremely exciting for both the SAVT and 4-H Saskatchewan. It’s also exciting for RVTs – do you want to work with a local 4-H group? Contact the SAVT office at email@example.com and let me know!
From the desk of Jasmin Carlton, SAVT Executive Director (and this is my desk/kitchen table tonight)