OAS salutes long-standing partners
The Olds Agricultural Society saluted three long-standing partners on Saturday during its seventh annual Chautauqua.
Olds College, the Calgary Stampede and Alberta 4-H have all had long-standing partnerships with the OAS and will all be celebrating centennial anniversaries in the next year, with Olds College’s 100th birthday taking place next year, Canadian 4-H celebrating its 100th birthday next year and the Calgary Stampede celebrating 100 years this year.
“2012 offered the board a unique opportunity in recognizing its partners,” said Tracy Lundago, special events coordinator with the OAS.
Olds College has been at the forefront of enhancing the rural lifestyle and does that through continually keeping pace with trends in industry such as incorporating technology into their various programs.
In accepting the recognition for Olds College, president Tom Thompson said youth development is the main purpose of the partnership, which has served both organizations well.
“It was such an honour for the Olds Ag. Society to do something like this to honour that 100th anniversary and to honour our partnership was really exciting,” he said.
“It’s meant a lot, and it’s been a long-standing partnership. They work very hard in terms of helping youth development and rural development and of course … the promotion of agriculture and the agri-food industries,” he said.
Thompson said many of the students that attend Olds College to further their education are first exposed to the rural lifestyle as a result of many OAS-sponsored activities.
Amanda Whiteside, a leader with the Eagle Beef 4-H Club and district treasurer for 4-H, said the support that the OAS has given the 14 clubs throughout Mountain View County has been tremendous over the years. The OAS contributes over 112 days per year to either free or reduced-rate facilities for 4-H members to hold their events and show their skills.
“It means a lot, especially to the members of 4-H. They do a lot for us, supplying facilities, handling our shows and different events that we hold,” she said.
Whiteside said while 4-H concentrates on rural development, it is increasingly pulling in children from more urban areas and developing life skills for all its members. The Eagle Beef 4-H Club currently has 17 members and has been running for 54 years.
Bill Gray, vice-chair of the Calgary Stampede, said he was honoured, on behalf of the stampede, to accept the recognition, noting that the theme of this year’s event is “We’re Greatest Together.”
Gray said the partnership between the OAS and the Stampede on Summer Synergy has worked extremely well since running the inaugural event in 2010.
“That event has turned out to be a fabulous thing. We were quite frankly going to have trouble hosting that, but now we get the benefit of having the best of class come in and we get to showcase that … in our big top with a big crowd. It’s a great partnership,” he said.
Curtis Flewelling, president of the OAS, said the coincidence of three major OAS partners celebrating centennials in the next year was too big not to acknowledge.
“It just seems such a coincidence that the three organizations that we chose to honour this year share a lot of the values that we hold near and dear here at the ag. society, namely agriculture, youth and community. I think we’ve found that when we all work together that we can get so much farther than when we’re sharing the same goals working apart,” he said.