Adelle Ellis
Times Reporter


4-H members from across Wheatland County gathered on March 11 to deliver speeches and presentations at the Wheatland District 4-H speak-offs.
District speak-offs are an advanced opportunity for each 4-H club’s Top 2 speakers in each level (junior, intermediate and senior) to deliver their speeches or presentations to a whole new set of judges alongside other speakers who have advanced to the second speaking level.
“It’s amazing to see the kids speak when they’re nine years old compared to when they’re 17. Their confidence level grows. Even how they can write a speech, there is more to it than just standing in the front of a room and saying it, they have to do research and come up with something to speak on,” said Sherry Malmberg, one of the parents who helped organize the event.
4-H members are required to perform at least one communications activity every year, usually a formal speech or presentation. However, some seniors may also choose to emcee an event or host a workshop as their communications activity.
This year there were a variety of topics the audience and judges heard the youth speak about, from chickens to how to annoy your parents, farm safety to media misconceptions, and the price of intelligence to “green apples” (fentanyl).
Most audience members went away from the day having learned something they didn’t know before.
“Some of the presentations are teaching you a new skill. You always learn something from either the kids’ speeches or presentations. It’s interesting to see their personalities come out as well,” said Malmberg, who added that it’s interesting to see the children grow and their interests expand throughout the years they deliver speeches in 4-H.
Researching, writing and delivering a speech or presentation gives 4-H members valuable life skills that will benefit them in future, such as in job or school interviews, meetings or work presentations.
“This helps build their confidence. The more (you) speak the more confident a speaker (you) are. Just being able to stand in front of a group and not feeling nervous and having the confidence to stand up in front of a crowd and speak your mind pays for itself a million times over,” said Malmberg. She added that the impromptu portion of the speaking events are especially important as they help the children think on the spot and come up with reasonable answers, a great skill for job interviews or anytime in life when they may need to think on the spot of something to say.
“There are benefits throughout life. They are gaining good life skills and are becoming capable of confidently delivering a speech now,” she said.
Winners from this year’s district communications include:
Junior prepared speeches: 1st - Jamie Hilton; 2nd - Zanadraya Hunter; 3 - Rylee Walstra.
Intermediate prepared speeches: 1st - Jason Slemko; 2nd - Jayce Beekman; 3 - Jack Warrack.
Senior prepared speeches: 1st - Bailey Steiner; 2nd - Mya Ingraham; 3 - Katherine Fitzgerald.
Junior presentation: 1 – Josie Herriot; 2 – Abby van Edmond; 3 – Miranda Green.
Intermediate presentation: 1 – Megan McCreadie; 2 – Jonathan Fitzgerald; 3 – Aleri Swalwell.
The Top 2 winners from each level will present their speeches or presentations at regional speak-offs at the Strathmore Civic Centre on March 25.