Stormont 4-H Stitchers Club shows solidarity with Humboldt Broncos

Members of the Stormont County 4-H Stitchers Club pose with some of their handiwork. In front, from left: Olivia O'Connor, 10, Hailey Jamieson, 10 and Maddison Bilmer, 9. In back, from left: Leaders Julia Smith and Kenda tePlate, and stitchers Myla Bretzler, 9, Claire Stewart, 10, Adealia Bretzler, 10, Lillian Flegg, 14, and 4-Her Haleigh-Jo tePlate,16. Absent : another 4-Her, Aimee VanLoon and another 4-H leader, Fred Stewart. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

MONKLAND — Stormont County 4-H’s Stitchers Club recently showed solidarity with the Humboldt Broncos with their sewing needles and quilting skills — then donated the finished result to the people of that Saskatchewan community.

The group of 9- and 10-year-old girls — now officially 4-Hers after graduating from the “Cloverbud” level earlier this year — toiled Saturdays in the aftermath of the devastating April 6 bus crash that killed 16 people aboard the Broncos’ team bus. It was a tragedy that touched a nation, including the Stitchers, who have been learning their traditional craft inside the Monkland Community Centre this season.

“On that first Saturday, we put together at least 100 squares,” said one of the group’s leaders, Kenda tePlate, as the girls met June 11 to turn over their completed handiwork  to Monique Wilson of Apple Hill Quilting and Designs.

Older 4-Hers Aimee VanLoon and Haleigh-Jo tePlate helped with assembling the squares and the younger Stitchers took it from there, tePlate said, estimating that 20 hours went into the project.

They produced four tribute quilts, three of them being shipped to Humboldt via Wilson — “probably” destined for families connected with the deceased, according to the Stitchers’ leader.  A fourth quilt is set to be raffled off at the Stormont County Fair on Labour Day weekend.

“Mrs. Wilson was so inspired by what they had done,” noted tePlate. “We are so proud of you girls because this is what 4-H is all about.”

“We were happy to do it, but also sad,” said one of the girls.

Their leader also credited Giroux Sewing in Cornwall for donating all of the material, after a staff member heard about the girls’ plans.

The group next looks forward to their “achievement night” June 25, back at the Centre, where the Monkland Quilters Guild will help oversee the awards.

4-H is composed of various clubs focused on different specialties and skills. The Stitchers Club drew six first-time 4-Hers this season as one of the options they could pursue. tePlate said it was indicative of Stormont County 4-H’s general resurgence of the past decade. “We have many clubs and many new leaders,” she observed, adding that this season’s newest class of pre-4-H Cloverbuds — children ages 6 to 8 — stands at a whopping 27.



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