This year’s 62nd 4-H Annual Show and Sale in Williams Lake is missing a key ingredient — the youth.
“Not having the kids here is our biggest challenge,” said Kim Sepkowski, vice-president of the Williams Lake and District 4-H as he prepared for the auction, which will get underway at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening.
Normally the BC Livestock Producers Co-Op building and grounds on Cattle Drive would be filled with camping families and children bustling around preparing for the show and sale over several days.
Instead, adult leaders will be bringing the animals and projects into the arena for the auction with a maximum of 50 buyers attending in person and the rest watching and bidding online or by phone.
Community support has always been phenomenal, Sepkowski said.
“We are still hopeful and optimistic. We have in excess of 100 buyers in between the people that are coming to the auction in person and those who have registered online.”
Numbers of animals for sale are similar to other years and Sepkowski said he’s hopeful because with the novel coronavirus many people are realizing the value of local products, whether that’s vegetables or meat, and the challenge of getting those.
“There’s a whole bunch here right at home,” he said. “All they have to do is buy it and we arrange to take it to the butcher where it will be cut and wrapped.”
Sepkowski has been involved with 4-H for about 15 years. His own children were club members.
“I find a ton of value in the program,” he said. “For me it’s super rewarding to see these kids when they come in as an eight or nine year old and it’s the first time they are hanging onto a lamb or chasing a pig, then you watch them grow into successful young adults.”
Playing a piece in the puzzle is always rewarding, he said of the 4-H program’s value.
Moms Amy Carson and Abby Shoults said it’s been a different type of year for 4-H youth because of the pandemic.
“I think the kids learned what they were capable of without a lot of club interaction,” Carson said.
Shoults said she’s noticed the children have spent more time with their animals and have made the best of it.
“They really do miss all the other gatherings so we tried to do some things like the cow camp and it showed how much they missed all the other gatherings because they were so excited to be there,” Shoults said.
Without a show component this year, Carson and Shoults said all the clubs tried to make achievement day the best it could be.
It is at the annual show and sale each year that all the members from the different clubs make connections, Carson added.
To watch the auction online or sign up to bid, go to www.DLMS.ca website.