Ralph Clark led the Burlington Workers 4-H Club for more than 20 years, and his loss had a big impact on the membership.
But Corin Hagmann and Carrie Lake have taken up the torch to carry on the local 4-H club’s work as co-leaders.
“4-H is a huge asset to any community and any member,” Hagmann said. “It teaches them leadership, it teaches them all kinds of things from the ground up.”
During the club’s achievement day on July 6, Hagmann said that she wanted to make sure the 28 members knew they had a club to come back to.
Melanie Ross, a member for 14 years, is now a co-leader for the beef section, helping to train the younger members.
“Ralph was a huge part of my life personally,” Ross said.
“He was the general leader for all of my years with 4-H, so he was a big part of my club. But I think (Hagmann and Lake) have done an amazing job of keeping the club together,” she said.
“Ralph would have loved that it was still going on here today,” she added.
Before the cattle demonstrations began, members held a moment of silence for Clark.
Afterwards members showed off their projects, demonstrating the work they’ve done all year.
It’s the stepping stone to showing at the Hants County Exhibition, where they’ll be competing in September directly against other 4-H members.
But it's not just livestock projects that members have been concentrating on. Other categories include such things as woodworking, welding, cake decorating, and photography. These projects were also on display inside the Upper Burlington Community Hall during the summer event.
Haylee Rafuse, 15, who’s been with 4-H for most of her life, said losing Clark has had a big impact on her as well.
“Last year was going to be my final year, but with the switch in leaders when our last leader passed away, which is really unfortunate, the new general leaders asked me to stay on,” Rafuse said after showing a heifer. “They’re new to this too and I think they’re doing a great job at figuring this out in such short notice.”
Rafuse made it all the way to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in 2016 and she’s hoping to return this year.
Rafuse said being part of 4-H has boosted her confidence and is glad the club is continuing.