Note: This feature is in the Oct. TF 2019 issue
Members of the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association Farm Toy Club in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, are "learning by doing," by creating farm toy dioramas that realistically depict everything from a family farm to a tree farm.
"In 4-H, our motto is 'Learn to do by doing,' and I think our club, being such a hands-on club, is a ver good example of that," says 16-year-old Matthew Sterling, the youth leader for the Chatham-Kent 4-H Farm Toy Club. "Our immediate goal in the club is to create the dioramas, but our long-term goal is to share knowledge and enthusiasm for the farm toy hobby."
The 4-H club was launched in 2005 by Matthew's parents, Carl and Julie Sterling of Pain Court, Ontario, Canada, and Matthew's tow older brothers, Robert and Brian, who were teenagers at the time.
"In the beginning, it was focused on restoring and customizing 1/16 scale farm toys," Matthew describes. Three years ago, the club members switched their focus to creating scale dioramas with 1/64 scale farm toys.
Carl and Julie, along with Rob and his wife, Katrina, serve as adult leaders, with Matthew serving as the youth leader. They are all longtime farm toy collectors, as Carl and Julie started to collect farm toys shortly after they were married in 1984, with a special interest in replicas of tractors used on their farm, according to a Toy Farmer feature story in October 2007. Today, they continue to share their knowledge and interest in the hobby with area youth.
"There's just a passion for it," Matthew shares.