4-H youth back from Montreal

Members of the Rainy River District 4-H club have returned, excited, from a trip to meet fellow 4-Hers in Quebec.
The 11 4-H members have been back for two weeks and are preparing to host their Quebecois counter-parts in early August.
The group flew out of Winnipeg on July 9 for Quebec to meet their exchange partners for the first time. Each member was assigned an exchange partner with who they would stay for the following ten days.
“Some were feeling a little nervous,” reported local 4-H member Susan Mercure. “However, all worries disappeared when the group met the wonderful group of people eagerly waiting for them in the Montreal airport.”
All the Rainy River District 4-H members wrote reports of their trip to Quebec which included visits to the Louis St. Laurent Museum, Parc Safari, a gorge hike and a camping trip.
“This exchange program allowed the 4-H members and chaperones to learn how fellow 4-H members live in other areas of Canada,” noted 4-H member Paula Sletmoen.
For most of the exchange the local 4-H members stayed at the homes of their partners and their families in Quebec.
The exchange, funded by the federal government’s Department of Heritage through 4-H Connections Canada gave the youth opportunity to experience the lives of others in the farming industry in another part of the country.
“I thought they would be a lot more French than they were,” said Rebecca Cornell. “I didn’t think they would know any English at all.”
“We soon learned that our language differences would make the trip 100 times more fun,” she wrote.
“Where we stayed all of the farmers grew corn or dairy farmed,” noted Jason Empey. “[And] I noticed that all of the trees were stunted and all of the power lines were new because of the ice storm.”
Besides getting to know their host families most of the 4-H members had rave reviews about the Parc Safari where they were able to get up close and personal with a number of exotic animals.
“[That] was the best day,” noted Nathalie Donaldson. “We went on a safari and could feed the animals corn right out of the van doors.”
The group, including Paula Sletmoen, Karen Mercure, Susan Mercure, Nathalie Donaldson, Rebecca Cornell, Kerry Hyatt, Jeff Hyatt, J.J. Hunsperger, Jason Empey, Matt Neilson and Laura Darby were chaperoned by leaders Denise Donaldson and Joanne Neilson.
The groups hosts in Quebec will be visiting the Rainy River District August 6 and the Rainy River 4-H members have an itinerary of activities scheduled for their visit including a tour of the Abitibi paper mill, a camp-out at Rushing River Provincial Park and a tour of the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre.
“We all look forward to the remaining part of the exchange and the upcoming fun we’ll surely have,” noted Karen Mercure who added that the group not only made new friends on their visit but learned about Quebec, improved their French and found a love for poutine.
“This was a great experience and I’d love to do it again,” added Laura Darby. “Thanks to everyone who set this up.”