Here is Lachute 4-H Club reporter Amanda St-Denis’ report about a recent 4-H exchange!

The Lachute 4-H Club was one of 18 lucky clubs which were chosen to participate in the Canadian 4-H club-to-club exchange and we were twinned up with a club from Kerrobert, SK and surrounding areas. Participating members have been busy since the spring preparing for our exchange, planning activities and collecting donations to help cover costs.

Our Saskatchewan ‘twins’ arrived on Monday, July 24th and were here until Monday July 31st. They were welcomed to Lachute by our town mayor, who gave us a tour of the town hall. Some of our local landmarks that were visited were the famous Lachute Flea Market, the Hydro Quebec Carillon Dam, Patate Labelle (we treated our twins to a typical Quebec meal – POUTINE!!), we drove by the old Ayers wool factory, Cascades paper factory and Lachute Airport, to name a few sites. We also visited McOuat Poultry Farm, Godin’s dairy/beef farm, as well as did some community work in the MRC community garden. We made a trip to Ottawa where we toured the Parliament Buildings, saw the Rideau Canal, the Rideau locks and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the Byward Market, where we were able to tour around on our own. Before heading over to the Royal Canadian Mint for a tour, we treated everyone to the famous Beaver Tails! (Mmm … )

We rode the Metro in Montreal and enjoyed some free time to tour Old Montreal, the market and the Old Port. Our fellow 4-H members and families were welcomed to join us for a spaghetti supper, followed by some square-dancing. Although our twins were a little hesitant and nervous to learn, Lachute 4-H members taught our Saskatchewan friends how to square-dance. By the end of the evening, members from both provinces were on the dance-floor swinging their partners and having a great time!! We enjoyed our last day together as a group at the lake where we had fun playing volleyball and swimming in the lake. We gave gift bags to our twins with some local donations and of course some yummy maple syrup from Quebec!!!

On Thursday, August 10th it was our turn to visit Saskatchewan!! Our twins greeted us at the airport with huge smiles, warm hugs and welcoming signs. Reunited at last!! On our way home, we stopped by a trampoline park and had a ball! Our first evening we had a BBQ at one of the host family’s homes and were welcomed to Kerrobert by one of their town council members. We visited the Bodo archeological site and an oilfield battery, the Old Elk school where we were recited cowboy poetry by a local cowboy. We had a steak supper at the Redneck games in Major, SK and played a little volleyball. We were able to witness branding at one of the local farms where they tag, castrate, vaccinate and brand their calves. We were treated to a BBQ beef supper at one of our host families homes, along with bonfire and wiener roast, where we were given gift bags from our twins with some local gifts and our very own cowboy hat!! We headed to a small town rodeo and then to Drumheller, AB where we climbed the hoodoos and visited to dinosaur museum, and we visited the Smiley Hutterite Colony. Our community work/service was to help clean up the grounds where the Redneck Games were held, where we picked up garbage and put picnic tables away. Our host club held a 4-H social for friends and family later that evening and we played some silly games, had lots of laughs and most important, had a fun time with our friends! Since we taught them how to square-dance when they were in QC, they taught us how to line-dance and do a two-step. By the end of the evening, square-dances had been called and we had two-stepped around the hall! We visited a local grain farm where we toured their facilities and machinery and were treated to a wagon ride pulled by horses – what a fun way to spend time together! We also visited the great stone wall of Saskatchewan and had took a tour of the Richardson pioneer elevator.

Our trip came to an end on Thursday, August 17th when we boarded the plane to head back home.

What started out as strangers connecting over social media, ended up with some really close friendships and promises to see each other again. We were welcomed into the homes of strangers and treated like we were part of their family. We had fun, learned lots and made lifetime friendships! We did not say ‘goodbye’ to our Saskatchewan twins and families but simply ‘see you later’ or ‘until next time’.

Thank-you to 4-H Canada and Heritage Canada for making this exchange possible!!! Thanks to our chaperones, parents, 4-H community and last but not least all of our sponsors for their donations that help make it possible to be a part of such a great exchange! This has probably been the best experience of my life!! THANKS 4-H!!!