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Familiar woes to plague 4-H annual meeting

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At Friday’s annual meeting, members of the Rainy River District 4-H Association will be discussing the same problem that’s plagued it for the past several years--finding new leaders.

Local 4-H president Ellen Chojko-Bolec said the association only had 18 active leaders last year.

"We’re really low," she stressed.

"We really desperately need new leaders," echoed 4-H member Kim Jo Calder, who said the same people are running the clubs every year.

"The leaders we have are getting tired," she said. "[New leaders] are our big goal for the new year."

Finding people with spare time could be a challenge, Chojko-Bolec admitted. With the number of youth activities increasing over the years, the volunteer pool has been heavily hit.

"It takes volunteers to run these many different things," she said. "I do know everyone’s got a busy schedule."

But Chojko-Bolec said there will be some relief. Five people who showed interest last year have passed their mandatory screening by the OPP and will be able to lead a 4-H club this year.

Meanwhile, the number of kids going into 4-H clubs also was down a bit last year. But Calder believed solving the numbers problem for the leaders would, in turn, solve the rest.

"We can’t have more kids until we get more leaders," she noted.

The new 4-H executive also will be voted in at Friday night’s meeting, which is slated for 7 p.m. in the clubhouse at Kitchen Creek golf course.

Chojko-Bolec, who has just completed her first term as president, said she would be willing to let her name stand for re-election.

"But my vice-president will have to help out because I’m going on the Ontario [4-H] council at the end of February," she said.

Chojko-Bolec will act as the regional rep on the council, and will have to go to Toronto several times throughout the year to attend to 4-H business.

In other news, 4-H members face an increase in membership fees this year.

Last year, anyone wanting to join the 4-H association had to pay a $10 annual fee. It has jumped to $15.

"The Ontario council passed that," Chojko-Bolec said, stressing the decision was not a local one. "We have to go along with the Ontario council."

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