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Ponoka Silver Valley 4H Riders visit Nova Scotia

Local 4-H club enjoys the second leg of their club to club exchange

By Amara LaForge

From July 21 to 28 our group from the Silver Valley 4H Riders visited Pictou, Nova Scotia to complete the second leg of our exchange and visit the kids that were here in the beginning of July.

We arrived on the 21st and were greeted at the airport in Halifax by our host families. They greeted us with big smiles and homemade signs, it was great to see them all again. Our host families then took us to their homes in Pictou, Nova Scotia, about an hour and a half from Halifax. Some of us were treated to Pictou pizza and lobster when we arrived home on our first night. After a long day of travel we all settled in for some sleep as we had a busy week ahead of us.

On July 22, we were treated to a french toast breakfast on the veranda in River John that was served by the Sunrise Trail 4H club members as part of the River John Days activities. We then attended their 4H achievement day at the exhibition grounds in Pictou. Their 4H achievement day was very different from ours. We go to Regionals in Red Deer for the weekend and compete in different activities with our horses and other 4H clubs.

They showed all different kinds of animals, ranging from cows, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits and horses to name a few. They show their animals then everyone gets a first place ribbon for the completion of the 4H year. They also displayed a wide variety of products including woodworking, crafting, small engines and photography that are also judged. After the achievement day, we were fed dinner and cake at their exhibition grounds then we headed to “The Tony,” a great beach nearby. We found lots of hermit crabs and even a few large crabs. Some of us got to hold a jellyfish, it was the season where jellyfish lost their stingers, so it was safe. Everybody explored and played in the water until well past dark. We enjoyed a bonfire on the beach and some smores before calling it a night and heading home.

On July 23, we rode on the ferry to Prince Edward Island. We were able to get off the boat and explore the harbour a little bit before we reboarded, then we had lunch on the ferry and some famous Cows Ice Cream. We also got to go up to the bridge to see how they drive the ferry, with a small joystick! It was fun to be on the boat and see the red sands of PEI. Later that afternoon, we went swimming, the pool had a very high diving board and we all had fun. That evening ,we went to a campground where we had a mussel boil. The mussels were delicious. We played a bunch of outdoor games including basketball and we’re sadly introduced to a very annoying song that was repeatedly played throughout the rest of the exchange.

July 24 was our community service day. We built benches and planted flowers at the local seniors lodge. The benches turned out great and it was fun to work with the seniors planting and delivering the flowers. After our service day, we went to the exhibition grounds for practice with the T.O.W. (Tug of War) team. We got a few tips then were able to compete against our exchange twins in a pull. It was fun but hard and very intense. They take their tug of wars very seriously and it was very hard, most of our group was glad we don’t have a T.O.W. team in our 4H club.

July 25 was spent at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park where we saw a lot of interesting, local animals in different outdoor exhibits. We even got to see a Sable Island Pony. It was fun seeing the different animals and feeding grain to a variety of them. Later we went to Truro to visit Victoria Park. The park was really pretty, they had a variety of paths, boardwalks and stairs that led you to beautiful areas and incredible waterfalls that a bunch of the 4H members got to swim in, that was really cool! We spent all afternoon there exploring then were treated to a Boston Pizza supper before the bus ride home.

On July 26, we had a great day exploring history and agriculture around Pictou County. We started at the Northumberland Fisheries Museum where we got to see and learn a whole lot about lobsters. We then toured Ship Hector and learned more about the story of how Scottish settlers first arrived in Pictou. There was a recreation of the ship there that we toured and got to see the living quarters and feel like we were a part of the voyage. We then visited the Seafoam Lavender farm where the owner, Dave, told us all about the different lavender plants, how their harvested and what they make from them. We were treated to lavender lemonade after the tour. We then headed to the Lismore Sheep farm where we toured the farm and store. It was really great to see all the products they made from the sheep. We concluded our farm tours at the McDonald Dairy farm where they showed us their automated milking system and state of the art “open” barn. After the farm tours we were treated to some famous Pictou pizza that is made with a brown sauce that is quite different from the pizza we have here. The Sunrise Trail group also cooked us some lobster so we were able to try it. Several of the kids took the opportunity and most enjoyed it. We then headed back to “The Tony” beach where we swam, explored and enjoyed some fireworks on the beach.

On July 27, we went to the River John Festival days in River John. Several of the kids in our group and our exchange twins ran the lobster crate race. This is where they set up a course of lobster crates across the river and people take turns running across them and try to complete the course the fastest. Nobody from our group completed the course but they sure had fun trying and hitting the water in that heat felt great. After the races we were lucky enough to go out for a ride on a lobster boat. The boat toured us around and stopped so we could jump off and swim in the ocean, it was a lot of fun. The lobster boat ride was definitely a highlight to many on the trip. After the boat ride, we were treated to some famous Mae’s Chinese food then went to a different beach to swim and explore before ending the evening on the River John Bridge to watch the festival fireworks.

After exchanging many hugs and shedding many, many tears, we departed for home early in the morning on July 28th. This exchange was absolutely fantastic for everybody involved. We all got to see and experience different parts of this great country we share and we made wonderful memories and friendships that will indeed last a lifetime. A big thank you to everyone that helped make this amazing opportunity a reality, it was an incredible trip that will not be forgotten.

Silver Valley 4H Riders exchange members would like to extend a thank you to the Ponoka Ag Society that generously donated to our exchange and were inadvertently missed in the first article.