The Ambassador Beat: Devin Catt

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Devin Catt, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

The Opportunity of a Lifetime 

The path that a 4-H Ontario Ambassador walks is an interesting one. We have been given the chance to travel across the province and impact lives and at the same time we are young adults finding our way in the world and figuring out what is important to us.

Becoming a 4-H Ambassador for 2018 wasn’t something I had planned for myself. 4-H had stopped playing an important part in my life. In previous years I had been attempting to take all the clubs available to me in my county. I had attended many of the provincial opportunities that 4-H offers such as Provincial Leadership Camp, Go For The Gold and the TD Canadian Dairy Classic Show. I thought that 4-H had done what it could for me. I was happy to move on and start getting more involved in university life.

However, as I got more involved with clubs through the university, I found myself stepping back and becoming a member and less of a leader. I was struggling to find my place among my peers and how to use my leadership skills to help the groups I was now a part of. It was suggested to me that I should apply to become a 4-H Ambassador by one of my leaders. I found myself remembering the skills and the experiences that I had gained from 4-H. As I put those to use within my university clubs, I then rediscovered how important 4-H is to me.

It is because of 4-H that I have the ability to step forward and take chances that others might not be willing to. It is because of this, that I have had many amazing opportunities, and becoming a 4-H Ontario Ambassador has been one. But what makes being a 4-H Ambassador special, is that I am able to share how important 4-H is with the younger members. By explaining that even though we grow up and 4-H may lose its appeal, 4-H is a program built to help everyone from the young members learning new skills from the clubs to the senior members learning how to lead and share experiences, to the leaders learning about their members and helping to shape them into productive young members of society.

As one of the four ambassadors from Region 6 this year, I wanted to take this opportunity to see as much of Ontario as I could. I took the opportunity to travel to Region 1 and help facilitate the regional Discovery Day, as well as attend Leader Training days. While I was in Region 1, I met many new people, shared some amazing experiences with them and learned that we all face many of the same problems. We all struggle trying to explain that 4-H isn’t just about farming, all while trying to coordinate with members across the association. I was impressed by the solutions many counties came up with and was happy to share how my home association of Elgin tries to accomplish the same goals.

All in all, the trip I have already experienced and the trips that I am looking forward to will all come together to be an opportunity I will never forget.

Ken and Marie McNabb: Members, Volunteers, Business Owners & Mentors

By Ryan Métivier

Farming, agriculture and 4-H have all been key pillars in the McNabb family their whole lives. Both Marie and Ken grew up on farms and were both 4-H members as youth. Marie has spent time consulting with farmers during her time working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for 13 years. Today, she serves as a Director for Gay Lea Foods, while also doing the bookkeeping at the family farm.

That family farm began with the dairy farm Ken grew up on in Halton County. Ken

would go on to eventually purchase the farm from his parents and he and Marie would form a partnership when she stopped working full-time off-farm.

Today they call the more rural Waterloo County home, after shifting their herd from a tie stall barn into a milking parlour and free stall in 2005.

“We felt that dairy farming would be transitioning towards milking parlours and robots in the future,” says Ken. “In 2015 we built a new dairy barn with a couple of milking robots and have grown from there, now milking 75 cows.”

Overall they crop 271 acres providing all the roughages for their herd and selling IP soybeans and winter wheat.

Marie has seen many changes in the agriculture industry over the years saying things are becoming increasingly high-tech, with monitors, robots and automatic calf feeders. With new technology and science, farmers are learning to use their smart phones in the field and social media as a way to reach out to consumers.

“It [social media] can be a method of answering questions about everyday activities on the farm, connecting the dots and carrying out conversations with people who truly want to learn about all types of agriculture,” she says.

With the University of Guelph stating there are currently four jobs for every graduate, Marie would highly encourage youth to consider the industry that encompasses farming, the food industry and suppliers.

Both Marie and Ken would also strongly recommend youth being involved with 4-H. Marie was a member for seven years in Oxford County completing dairy, homemaking and garden projects, as well as attending the 15 Year Old Conference. Ken was an eight-year member in Halton County, enrolled in dairy, crop, tractor and judging clubs. He also attended the 15 Year Old Conference, Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp and was chosen to go to the American Youth Foundation Leadership Training Camp.

Among the many things they appreciate from their time in 4-H, are the great mentors they had the opportunity to learn from. Ken remembers fondly his Ag Rep Henry Stanley, as well as his neighbour and leader Jeff Nurse whom he later co-led with. Marie was able to learn through her mother and also Sharon Hart during her time in homemaking clubs.

Now, they are mentoring today’s 4-H members including Noah and Olivia Lichti who have participated in clubs lead by the McNabbs.

“Ken and Marie are very passionate about 4-H,” says Noah. “Ken has helped me a lot with judging and showing my dairy heifer.”

“They are very knowledgeable in what they do and their enthusiasm is contagious,” adds Olivia.

Both came from 4-H families and have decided to continue their 4-H careers as volunteers and leaders after their time as members.

“I think as a volunteer I’ve always enjoyed working with the younger kids and I’m trying to pass on some of the knowledge and skills that I learned through 4-H,” says Ken.

“My reward in volunteering is seeing a child develop, grow, take chances and want to try something new; watching the quiet person coming out of their shell from the beginning of a club to the end of the club,” adds Marie. “Many times I have heard it said that 4-H develops life-long friends. We try to enhance that.”

Another youth, Philip Cressman, has been a dairy member for three years and has shown a calf from the McNabb’s farm each year.

“They are helpful and give me lots of tips on how to prepare and show my calf at the Elora show and the New Hamburg Fair,” he says. “Ken and Marie are very passionate about 4-H. I look forward to going to 4-H meetings and learning about calves. They have welcomed me into the 4-H world with open arms.”

Mentoring and leading just seems to run in the family as each of their oldest and youngest sons, Colin and Liam began volunteering while only 18 and still members themselves.

Marie sees so many ways youth can benefit through the 4-H program. She lists judging, communication, public speaking, leadership, teamwork financial management and cooking—to name a few of the skills youth will develop.

“There is a certain amount of competition in 4-H. It doesn’t matter where young people will go in life they will compete; whether it’s for a job, a spot in a program at university or college or an apprenticeship,” says Ken. “The skills that members learn when judging in our clubs are teaching them to make decisions and by giving reasons they learn to defend their decision.”

Quilts for Humboldt

Stormont Stitchers use hands to help community

By Ryan Métivier

Decorative, colourful, warm—a quilt can have many adjectives and uses. For the families and survivors of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April, they could use some comfort in the aftermath of the incident.

When a Saskatchewan fabric shop, Haus of Stiches, put out the word they were looking for fabric and quilts to send to help out—the response was incredible. Not only did materials start flowing in from all around the world, but 4-H’ers were also quick to step up.

Kenda Teplate and Fred Stewart run the Stormont Stitchers Club and heard about the call for quilts. The club has been running for four years and with nine members this year ranging in age from nine to 18, they knew they would be able to lend a hand.

“I thought what a great opportunity for our girls to give back something that they love to do,” says Teplate. “They were thrilled, even though their beloved squares that they worked hours upon hours on were being given away it did not matter—as in true 4-H fashion the girls recited the pledge and used their hands to give back to the community and country.”

Through 15 hours of work the club stitched together three quilt tops. Materials for these quilt tops were donated by Giroux Sewing in Cornwall. Another $20 was given by a patron at the store towards fabric, a past 4-H’er who overheard the conversation to help out Humboldt. Additionally the hall for sewing was donated and the club’s three quilts were quilted by Mrs. Monique Wilson of Apple Hill Design for free. It took a team effort as members stitched the pieces together for the tops, Wilson quilted them together and Stewart finished the binding.

The quilts will be given to siblings who have lost their brother in this tragic accident.

“The part I liked about creating these quilts was that they were going to a good cause and it made me feel proud and happy to be able to help out,” says club member Maddison Bilmber. “I enjoy being in 4-H and the quilting club because I get to learn about things like ways to help others, loyalty and how to work safely.”

Fellow member Aimee Van Loon enjoyed the teamwork displayed by the club and being able to embrace the “Learn To Do By Doing” motto by helping younger members learn to quilt for the first time.

“It feels great being able to give to people who need our support,” says Van Loon. “Quilts are priceless. For them to receive something made with love and care by 4-Her’s, hopefully brings them some comfort knowing that there are people who care and will support them through this tragedy.”

Van Loon has been in the club since the start four years ago and has now developed a passion for quilting having created 12 of them.

“4-H has taught me a lot about leadership and teamwork and I have learned to try new things because you will never know if you like something until you try it,” she says. “There are so many new skills to be learned when joining new clubs. That is why I try new things like the beef club and quilting club.”

“Fred and I could not be more proud of this group of very young girls,” says Teplate. “This truly was a project of love and support.”


 

The Ambassador Beat: Evan Jenkins

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Evan Jenkins, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

Halfway Done but More to Do!

As August comes around, it marks the halfway point of the 4-H Ontario Ambassador term. In my mind, this is a perfect time for reflection. Through this first half of the term, I have met and spoke with many people, gone to numerous events and seen various parts of Ontario. With these thoughts in mind I figure I will share some of the highlights so far.

Being a 4-H Ambassador you must have good communication skills that can help in your travels and share your experience in 4-H. Some people I talk to are current 4-H members and volunteers that share their experiences with me as well. These experiences can range from talking about the different clubs they offer to talking about how excited they are for achievement day. The other people I talk to are members of the public who have questions about 4-H in their area or are 4-H alumni that share experiences from their days in 4-H. I have also had many people react surprisingly when they hear 4-H is still going!

Since many of the events aren’t local, driving is a key part of the position. Many events can be as far south as Essex County to as far east as Prescott County. Driving can be the worst part of going to an event, but you can use the time you have driving to think of an impromptu speech or to get mentally prepped to speak in front of an audience. The best part of driving is getting to an event and being mentally and physically prepared.

Now, I had thought I had seen all of Ontario, but I have proven myself wrong through this first half of my term. I had only seen what had interested me like the big cities, landmarks and notable towns. I have now broadened my view to see the different cultures like eastern Ontario where French is the primary language – which was a difficult time for me since I gave up learning French in Grade 9. It has also made me recognize that every small town feels like home! Staying with fellow Ambassador Mélissa Brisson’s family in Embrun while attending Golf-East had me feeling like I never left Belmont!

After reading through this I see that there have been many memories made, many miles driven and many small towns I want to go see again. Most people say that you make lots of friends in 4-H, but I tend to say that I don’t make friends in 4-H, I make new family members for my 4-H family!

The Ambassador Beat: Nicole French

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Nicole French, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Peel 4-H Association

I Pledge, My Hands to Larger Service….

This summer I will be taking part in the Hands To Larger Service program set out by 4-H Canada as a way to inspire youth to give back to their community. Twenty-four Youth Service leaders were chosen to create, plan and execute community service projects for the Club to Club exchanges taking place this summer. Back in May, I attended a training weekend where I gained valuable skills and heard from guest speakers, who inspired me to make a difference.

I have been paired with Sue West 4-H Association in Nova Scotia and will be travelling there during the first week in August. I am working with the club to plan our project. We are looking at building a structure for picnic benches to go under at the local Exhibition Grounds in Barrington. This is the 4-H association’s way of giving back to their community.

So far this has been an amazing experience. With this being my first national opportunity with 4-H, I would like to encourage all 4-Her’s to take part in national opportunities and next year to apply to be a Youth Service Leader. I have already made lasting friendships with people across our great country and gained many more skills that I am immediately able to put into practice.

The Hands To Larger service program partners with McDonald’s Canada and the Government of Canada.

The Ambassador Beat: Kyle Nussey

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The
4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Kyle Nussey, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Oxford 4-H Association

The Start of Something Great

Every day I grow more and more excited about what is to come as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. Every day a new opportunity or chance to reach out into the 4-H community is presented to me. It gives me the opportunity to expand on what I know and teach what I know. This year has barely started but I realize it will become one of the most memorable and impactful years of my life.

My path to become an Ambassador wasn’t one that I predicted at the start of 2018. I have spent a lot of time in leadership roles and expanding my knowledge but becoming an Ambassador was a decision I wasn’t completely sure about but now I never want to look back.

My journey to become an Ambassador started back in grade 10 when it was suggested to me to take a grade 11 leadership course next year. I took the plunge and loved the course and everything I learned. Next year, I took the grade 12 leadership course, attended Provincial Leadership Camp, coached a couple of soccer teams, and ran a school-wide talent show. 2018 has just begun but already I have attended Future Leaders In Action, become a youth leader, attended the Global Student Leadership Summit in London, Ontario and most importantly, became a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. I look forward to many other new ways that I can expand my leadership abilities.

In 2015, I took a year away from 4-H as I didn’t believe 4-H could offer me much personal growth. After some convincing from my mother, I rejoined 4-H the following year for the sole purpose of attending Provincial Leadership Camp. Looking back now, I can truthfully say that rejoining 4-H has been a positive life-changing decision for me and I have no idea where I would be today without it. This year I look forward to spreading the message of 4-H and reaching out to youth who may be in a similar place as I was a few years ago.

I’m extremely thankful to everyone that has made my adventure to becoming an Ambassador a memorable one. I’m especially grateful to those that have pushed me even farther to become the best that I can be. I look forward to this great year with everything that I hope to accomplish and the people I will meet along the way.

Serving Hands: Linda Debney

Written by: Sara Harper

The 4-H Ontario Serving Hands feature is designed to celebrate the dedication of our amazing volunteers. We hope that these stories inspire you to share your 4-H story.

The Provincial winner for Ontario in 4-H Canada’s 2017 National Volunteer of the Year Award is Linda Debney. She began her 4-H journey as a member in Rainy River where she proudly participated in her favourite club Beef. Outside of her projects, Linda says, “My favourite part about 4-H when I was a member would have to be two things. Firstly, the sense of community 4-H gave me was second to none. Being surrounded by other members who share similar interests gave me a sense of belonging. Secondly, the travel opportunities that 4-H provided for me. I was able to participate in an exchange with a club from Alberta, competed in [Go For the Gold] at the Royal as well as CareerMania and of course [Provincial Leadership Camp]. At the age of 21, Linda took a job in Kenora and finished out her membership with the Kenora 4-H Association where she is now a volunteer.

For Linda, becoming a volunteer wasn’t a difficult decision it “just seemed to be the next natural step. [She] wanted to be a part of something that had such a huge role in [her] youth. Linda primarily leads  Beef and Cloverbud projects but she has also led Senior Member Club, Poultry, Pizza, Chocolate, Photography, and a K-9 project where members showed Golden Retrievers.

Watching her members grow into active members of the community and seeing them take the knowledge they have learned and putting it to use is what Linda finds the most rewarding. When asked about the importance of 4-H, Linda replied “It teaches members skills and information that they cannot get anywhere else. Where else can they learn to run a meeting, to write cheques and balance club bank records? We are teaching them to become stewards of the land and how to respect animals. It gives members a sense of belonging and teaches them to be active members of the community that they live.” She is also able to instill the same lessons in her 4-H kids that her leaders taught her. “The leaders I grew up with expected a lot from us members and I now understand why. It’s not because they wanted to make my life hard, they only wanted us to put our best foot forward, they wanted us to excel. As a leader I get that now. We have an amazing group of members, I want them to see the potential that I see in them” says Linda.

Linda is an Assistant at the Hillcrest Animal Clinic in Dryden. She has held the position of Secretary/ Treasurer for the Kenora District Cattleman’s Association for last 3 years and volunteers with the Oxdrift Women’s Institute.

 

The Ambassador Beat: Andrea Dohner

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Andrea Dohner, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

And So It Begins

Excited. Nervous. Proud. Thankful. These are just some of the emotions running through me as I think about the training weekend we just attended, and the year to come as 2018 4-H Ontario Ambassadors.

As an Ambassador, I am Excited to be able to travel the province advocating for the program I have come to love. I am excited to share my 4-H story to everyone I meet, whether they are current members/leaders, alumni, or corporations, and especially to people who aren’t familiar with the 4-H program. However, as an Ambassador, I am also Nervous to put myself out there, and embark on this journey to share my story and inspire others to join.

Proud. As a previously very shy girl, I am very proud to have come this far and to have taken this next step out of my comfort zone. In 2011, my parents signed me up for my first club, the Dairy Club, not knowing how I would react to 4-H. Little did they, nor I, know that I would soon fall in love with 4-H and everything it has to offer. In 2016, I attended my first provincial opportunity; Future Leaders in Action (FLIA). FLIA was easily the best week of my life because it was the week of change and new experiences. There I met some of the most wonderful people, learned how to facilitate my own events, and most importantly I learned how to be confident in myself and my ideas. When I went to FLIA I was still the shy girl, but when I left FLIA I was a more confident young woman who strived to push herself out of her comfort zone every chance she could and to be the best version of herself.

Thankful. I am so thankful to my parents for pushing me to join 4-H and for believing in me even when I didn’t. I am thankful to the Elgin County 4-H Association, my home, for supporting me in all of my adventures and opportunities. To my leaders for pushing me at every meeting, even when I begged them not to. To my friends at FLIA for making my first camp so rewarding, life changing, and memorable. To my friends at 4-H Ontario for running every event and doing everything you do, you are amazing! To all of the sponsors – nothing would be possible without you, you change people’s lives daily. To FS, the sponsor of the ambassador program, thank you for your unconditional support as we embark on this journey. And finally, to my Ambassador team, thank you for making training weekend so wonderful and for making me excited for the year we have ahead of us! Here’s to an amazing year with new opportunities, new friends, and new connections.

Serving Hands: Shelley Barfoot-O’Neill

Written by: Sara Harper

The 4-H Ontario Serving Hands feature is designed to celebrate the dedication of our amazing volunteers. We hope that these stories inspire you to share your 4-H story.

Shelley Barfoot O’Neill has been volunteering with 4-H Ontario for 25 years in Grey County. Her passion for 4-H stemmed from her participation as a member. She greatly enjoyed working with her calves, the friends she made across the province and country as well as the friendly rivalries that came about at shows. Her favourite club was Dairy for the simple joys of training, showing and the meetings. This joy continued when she became a volunteer as she now leads Dairy, Dairy Fitting, Dairy Judging, Sheep and Wiarton 150 Clubs. When asked why she chose to become a volunteer, Shelly said, “It was natural to want to do so as a third-generation volunteer, but to be honest I absolutely love it and can’t imagine not being a 4-H volunteer.”

For Shelley the most rewarding parts about being a 4-H Leader are, “… the warm feelings when I see shy quiet members blossom in the club, Brian [my husband] and I encourage and yes even push our members out of their comfort zone and it is so rewarding to see them blossom. Taking that one step further when they take a lead role in mentoring their club mates and then becoming volunteers themselves, it is an amazing feeling of pride.”

There are many reasons that Shelley feels that 4-H is important. The primary reason though is the life lessons that members (and volunteers alike) are able to develop to help them become better people, sometimes without even realizing it. Skills such as public speaking, meeting procedures and working with conflicting personalities (animals don’t always do what we want them to), being a good loser and a humble winner as well as team work are all skills that help them succeed in the real world. 4-H has made Shelley who she is today. She has learned “hard work, determination, [and] team work as a member. As a volunteer [she] learned how to get the best out of people, patience and compassion.” But what Shelley says is the greatest gift she has received from the 4-H program is her husband, Brian, of 31 years.

When Shelley isn’t rocking it as a 4-H Club Leader, she is a volunteer with the Wiarton Agricultural Society, the Wiarton Rotary Club and sits on committees for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Junior Sheep Show and TD Dairy Classic. Because of all her dedication to volunteerism, Shelley was awarded the BMO Woman of Excellence in Agriculture Award sponsored by Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario and BMO, which she received this past November as the Royal. She is also a 2010 Arbor Award recipient. Outside of her volunteer endeavours, she is the Senior Coordinator of Membership for the Real Estate Institute of Canada, a not-for-profit organization for real estate professionals.

“4-H truly is a blessing for so many members and leaders, but as with anything you get out of it what you put in and I encourage everyone to take every opportunity 4-H has to offer! Our 4-H dairy and sheep clubs are made up of mostly non-farm kids and to see them embrace agriculture and livestock and competition and teamwork and have a blast doing it is amazing. I am a lucky leader”

The Ambassador Beat: Robert McKinlay

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Robert McKinlay, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Grey 4-H Association

Being a 4-H ambassador for the past year has given me so many opportunities to view 4-H in different communities across the province. The variety of communities I have been exposed to has expanded my understanding of the 4-H brand. From Northern Ontario to Ridgetown, Ontario the diversity of projects and members has been huge, but the commitment to the 4-H motto of “learn to do by doing” remained the same.

 

I had an amazing opportunity to participate in the Massey Jamboree where I was able to meet and talk with members and leaders from the surrounding area. I was able to further my understanding of what 4-H meant to them and how the 4-H program had changed them. The sense of community I encountered in Massey was astounding to say the least and gave me a better understanding of life in Northern Ontario.

The Massey Jamboree was a great place to represent the ambassador program as I got to wear many different hats. I was involved with a 4-H meeting the day before where I helped with a Beef Calf Club. This was extremely fun for me as the majority of the animals were young Holstein- Belgium Blue cross calves. This meant they had a whole lot of attitude and energy but didn’t have a lot of size. This allowed a great learning experience for the members because they could train the calves with a lot less danger of being hurt. It also meant that the calves could have some fun with the members too. The next day we traveled to Massey where I was involved in the setup of the activities and the welcoming of the kids as they arrived. As the event got underway I was involved both as a leader and as a participant. I was able to be involved in events like square dancing and the Amazing Race Massey. The Amazing Race Massey was a true show of the community of the area. During the race we used the community’s involvement to collect clues and complete tasks to ultimately complete the challenge. Finally at the end of the day I was involved in the cleanup of the event and in discussions of how the event could be improved for next year. To me this event was a true show case of the ambassador experience as I was involved with every level of the 4-H program and was able to truly make a difference in some 4-H members’ lives.

 

Another interesting opportunity I had was to help at a Discovery Day in Ridgetown, Ontario where I helped run games and activities for members. It was a great opportunity to view their community and their interests in the 4-H program. In their region 4-H was made up primarily of urban members as opposed to the membership I had witnessed in Massey. In this experience I was able to interact with members one on one and was able to learn what 4-H meant to them.

 

I have also had a great opportunity to view the 4-H program back stage and see all the planning and preparation that goes into the events. The incredible volunteers and leaders involved in the 4-H program are simply inspiring to talk to and hear the reasons they have for being involved. Working alongside them I learned about the amount of work it takes to put on a 4-H event. The amount of planning and preparation that goes into an event like a discover day or a judging event is immense.

 

This year for my Ambassador project I organized “The Spirit of 4-H” trophy that recognized a person or family in my area that has gone above and beyond in the 4-H program both succeeding within the program but also takes the values of 4-H and applies them to their everyday life. I was pleased when the club presented the award to the Visser family this year to highlight all the work and commitment they have done within our club and in the 4-H program.

(Photo of Visser Family and Spirit of 4-H Award )

 

This program would not be possible without our amazing sponsor, FS. Their sense of community is never more evident than in their charity golf tournaments and their Rendezvous where the appreciation to their customers and associates was displayed for everyone to see. Talking with individuals in the company I have learned about the extent of their business and the commitment to quality and customer service. This is truly a case of leaders helping leaders as they help inspire the next generation of leadership.

This program is truly amazing and I want to personally thank all the parents that drive members to meetings, judging competitions, calf training nights and achievement days. All the leaders that go out of their way to create clubs that are educational and engaging. All the 4-H staff that process thousands of forms and do all the hard work that allows us to create such a fantastic program.  All the supporters of 4-H both financially and physically that help us run such a great program. And finally my fellow Ambassadors that have travelled the province working with members and sponsors to ensure this program never shifts from the quality we have come to expect.

(Both pictures unfortunately missing Shannon Desjardins)

 

My experiences as a 4-H ambassador have taught me so much about the 4-H program and about being an ambassador. The depth of this program, along with the amazing people it encompasses is overwhelming and I feel honored to have been able to be a representative for this program. The energy and enthusiasm of the members to learn and succeed is inspiring and I believe the world needs as many young leaders, like our members, as it can get. When I was younger I always looked up to the ambassadors, but now as an ambassador I look up to the kids as they are the future of the program and will be the leaders of our future.