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Horseless 4-H horse clubs a “virtual” reality!December 2009

Grand River Agricultural Society supports new partnership between 4-H Ontario and Equine Guelph to help create an online horse learning community

Cheque presentation ceremony image

4-H Ontario and Equine Guelph recently announced a new partnership that will see the creation of a 4-H online horse learning community placed within the successful online learning environment developed by Equine Guelph. The Grand River Agricultural Society has generously provided $10,000 as initial funding.

The 4-H horse curriculum and new horse industry resources will be combined in a featured virtual Learning Environment. Rural and urban youth will be able to access 4-H learning modules to pursue their equine interests and develop their knowledge and experience on the horse, the industry, and leadership. 4-H club leaders will have the resource materials they need to support club meetings.

The Grand River Agricultural Society is taking a leadership role in bringing the project to life with its financial commitment - a point that resonates with Paul Walker, President of the 2009 Board of Directors for the Society, in noting their commitment to youth, volunteers, the industry, and communities. “The Grand River Agricultural Society is pleased to provide opportunities for people to be involved in their community by facilitating activities, volunteer opportunities, and support for individuals or organizations that aspire to enhance agricultural, environmental and rural initiatives.”

By expanding the reach of resources in a virtual setting for a learning community, the scene is set for increased participation and new ways of learning, including by those without access to a horse. Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph notes that the project will allow youth to better understand the horse and start a lifelong learning pathway, meshing with Equine Guelph’s own learning programs.

4-H through its volunteers and members has a unique privilege and opportunity to embrace new, innovative and creative ideas in all areas including on-line learning. The greater the reach, the greater the impact will be to all members and volunteers.

“Our choice to embrace these new quality, innovative and sustainable programs will lead to an incredible future. We certainly thank the Grand River Agricultural Society for their support and Equine Guelph for providing such a wonderful learning platform. We look forward to sharing further news as the program grows and evolves,” noted Lyndon Stewart, 4-H Ontario Executive Director of 4-H Ontario.

The partnership between 4-H Ontario and Equine Guelph creates a continuum of learning opportunities, starting at 6-10 years old with EquiMania!, 10-21 years old with 4-H, and 18 and over with Equine Guelph and the Equine Studies option at the University of Guelph. The equine industry is growing at a rapid pace in Ontario. This partnership addresses the current and future needs of the industry.

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and caregivers’ Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicenter for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole.

4-H is an organization of leaders building leaders. Over 6000 youth 10-21 years of age, and a grass roots network of 1600 trained, screened volunteers pledge their Head, Heart, Hands and Health as members of community-based clubs. With projects encompassing agriculture, food, health and the environment, 4-H Ontario's ”Learn To Do By Doing” clubs, camps and conferences have a successful 94 year history in developing competence, confidence, connection, character and caring within rural and urban youth.

4-H logo imageFor more information contact:
Tammy Oswick-Kearney
4-H Ontario Communications Coordinator