The Ambassador Beat: Chris Deklein

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 2014, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Chris Deklein, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Middlesex 4-H Association

Hello, my name is Chris Deklein and I had the amazing opportunity to apply and be selected to be a 2014 4-H Ontario Ambassador along with five other ambassadors. I am currently in my second year at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus in the Agricultural Diploma program. This experience with 4-H has helped me further develop leadership skills, communications and public relations which will benefit me as I would like a job in the dairy industry under the category of sales in the future.

I had the chance to participate in many provincial and regional events across the province this year. The events that I had the chance to go to are: Discovery Days Region 6 – Glencoe, Ignite leadership – Ganaraska Park, Careermania – University of Guelph, Region 1 and 5 Volunteer Symposiums – Sudbury and Rostock, Oxford 4-H Project Expo – Embro, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show – Woodstock, and The Royal Winter Fair – Toronto. All of these events were great to attend as an ambassador and would recommend them to any future ambassadors. Part of my goals as an ambassador was to attend an event from each region to meet members and volunteers from across the province which I did and was happy to travel up to the beautiful Northern Ontario to Sudbury with 4-H Ontario staff to meet volunteers and learn how 4-H is running up there.

Part of the ambassador program involves a community engagement project. Part of this project has been working with the Region 6 Volunteer Support Coordinator on offering 4-H to young adults attending post secondary. We have currently just finished the first part of the club at my school in Ridgetown. This club is meant to teach the students how to be a leader and show them how to plan when going to lead a club. Next semester we have groups that will be leading clubs for kids in Chatham-Kent 4-H. In doing this the member attending school gets two clubs, one for the learning to be a leader and the other for being a leader. This also gives the opportunity to members in Chatham-Kent 4-H to have new clubs offered to them.

Other opportunities as an ambassador include the awards and training weekend in February. This is a weekend where you are awarded as an ambassador with parents, 4-H Ontario Staff, previous ambassadors, and sponsors. Afterwards you stay the weekend for training and to get familiar with the other ambassadors. We also attended the Ambassador Sponsor Tour in June. During these two days you are familiarized with the sponsors and what they do. The last sponsor event is UPI Rendezvous in September. This event held at the White Oaks Resort, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a formal company event where the ambassadors are recognized by the company for who they support. We had the chance to each hold a flag in the open ceremonies. It was such an amazing event to meet people from UPI and talk to them about what 4-H has to offer to youth across the province.

Overall my ambassador experience has been amazing and I recommend it to anyone interested in meeting people, connecting with people, developing further goals, and leadership. I would like to personally thank our ambassador program sponsors: Growmark Inc. and UPI Energy LP. Your continued support is very valuable to an amazing program offered by 4-H Ontario.

KLH Claims GFTG Supremacy

By Ryan Métivier

All across the province 4-H’ers have been competing amongst their Associations and regions all year for a chance to represent their region at the Provincial Go For The Gold (GFTG) Competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

The Go For The Gold competition is a great experience for 4-H members to increase their knowledge of 4-H project materials, agriculture, food, community, events and much more, all while doing so in a team atmosphere. There are 4-H Association level and 4-H Regional level competitions hosted by local 4-H volunteers.

This year’s championship took place on Saturday, November 8 during The Royal and was highlighted by a dominating showing from the team from Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton of Region 3 who claimed the title. The team of first-time competitors went 5-0 in round robin play and amassed a total of 990 points. After this impressive showing, they entered the final against the team from Halton and Region 4 in a rematch of the first round robin game. KLH was able to come out on top once again though with a 185-120 win.

From l-r: Diane Armstrong (Coach), Maggie-Jo Hickson, Sadie-Jane Hickson, Cassandra Gorril, Trevor Kennedy, Craig Kennedy (Coach)

“I was stressed about mid-terms at university and everything so it was kinda like a crash thing,” said KLH team member Cassandra Gorrill when asked about how the team prepared for the competition. “But Sadie and Maggie are super intense on drilling and that’s basically how I prepared for today. You just kinda learn as much as you can in a short period of time. It’s intense.”

“The second we won Regionals is when we started preparing for this,” said Trevor Kennedy. “I think another thing that went into the preparation for today was reciting lots of acronyms and symptoms of diseases and things like that that came into play today.”

Despite the undefeated record, the team from KLH admitted there were many challenges throughout the day.

“The hardest part was definitely not second guessing yourself,” said Sadie-Jane Hickson. “Knowing that you know the answer and you know your team knows the answer, but sometimes you’re just not quick enough on the buzzer.”

“I think one of the hardest parts was just staring down the other team and just having to face them, especially when you know people on the other team,” added Kennedy.

Getting involved with GFTG was a way for the team’s whole county to come together.

“It’s a county thing, so our whole county is involved,” said Maggie-Jo Hickson. “Some clubs count it as a meeting and everyone in our county has such a great time at that night, we just want to continue on with it.”

The team was quick to thank many people for their contributions leading up to and throughout the competition including their parents, friends and supporters and everyone who was involved at the county, regional and provincial levels. They also thanked their coaches Diane Armstrong and Craig Kennedy.

“They’ve put a lot of hard work into it and they should really be proud of themselves,” said Armstrong. “They knew a lot of answers to questions that I had no idea on. They did a great job and the day was excellent.”

Other teams that competed in this year’s provincial competition included: Temiskaming – Region 1, Russell – Region 2, Huron – Region 5 and Elgin – Region 6.

For more photos from this year’s Provincial GFTG Competition click here.

Go For The Gold is made possible through the generous support Ontario Mutuals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Back To Today’s Youth

By: Ryan Métivier

The TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic is a longstanding event at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, with many enthusiastic participants competing each year. Interestingly, this event came to fruition in part because of the efforts of 4-H alumnus John Mayes.

In the mid-1970s, Mayes agreed to initially fund the project, while supporting Bertram Stewart and Bill Edelstein to get the initiative going. The show originated as the Hays 4-H Classic.

“I thought that it was a great opportunity for dairy
4-H members from across the country to interact on our most important dairy cattle show stage in Canada,” says Mayes.

Being able to see his son participate in the event in the 1990s made the event even that much more special.

Mayes is a big proponent of involving youth in meaningful activities where they can interact constructively and strive to achieve through their own efforts, so it came quite naturally for him to have a hand in setting up the Classic.

“It has been a lifelong passion of mine to help young people in agriculture or business to set goals and achieve them. Whether it’s training a calf to lead or starting your own business, important life lessons are created,” he says.

Mayes was a member in 4-H in the late 1950s and early 1960s in South Simcoe County, completing his clubs in Cookstown. His clubs spanned a wide range of interests including 15 clubs in beef, swine, grain and displays (demonstrations). He also attended 4-H Leadership Camp to represent South Simcoe.

Though Mayes’ 4-H club participation was interrupted when he went to the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) for two years, he was quickly back with 4-H as a Summer Assistant Agricultural Representative with OMAF, where he was responsible for coordinating the 4-H programs in Norfolk County and South Simcoe during the summer. His responsibilities included supporting club leaders in meetings, conducting project visits and assisting with the County Judging Competition and Achievement Days.

Upon completing his Masters in Business, Mayes joined CIBC in 1972 as the first Agricultural Specialist for the bank in Ontario. He was tasked with assessing farming businesses on site and providing advice to the bank and his clients.

Throughout his 38-year career with CIBC, Mayes developed the Bank’s Professional Edge program for dentists and doctors. He managed a group of 30 branches with nearly 500 employees on the western side of Toronto. At the time of his retirement he was responsible for building an automated credit scoring model that complied with Basel Accord on risk management.

In keeping with Mayes’ love of supporting youth, he is proud to have been a part of supporting the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE). With chapters at university campuses across Canada, they encouraged young people to start their own businesses while still in school. Mayes would go on to be a director with ACE for a number of years.

Mayes’ time in 4-H taught him the importance of self-reliance and hard work and are attributes he firmly believes helped him in his career.

“Working cooperatively with others and public speaking were important skills I developed working on 4-H display projects and at Leadership Camp,” he says. “Some of the friendships I developed during 4-H have lasted a lifetime.”

Now retired, Mayes has kept busy by becoming a mentor for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, helping young people to start their own businesses. These efforts were recognized in 2012 with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.

The Ambassador Beat: Chris Deklein

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 2014, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Chris Deklein, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Middlesex 4-H Association

Hello, my name is Chris Deklein. I am from Dorchester, Ontario and live on a 150 acre hobby farm. I have three sisters that are all younger than me. My drive towards the dairy industry came when I was little going to the Royal with my mom. She would take me around the whole building and the coolest part of the whole experience for me was going to the 4-H Canadian Classic Jr. Dairy Show and the International Holstein Show. Being six years old at the time made me think ‘Wow I really would like to do this someday’.

When I was 10 I started in the local 4-H Club in Dorchester in Middlesex County. My first two years were a learning curve and being in 4-H the motto is “Learn To Do By Doing”. In my third year I was able to do really well as a junior member. From this I was able to make the Middlesex Classic Team. At this point I did not know what I was getting myself into. I had to get sponsorship; I had to make sure everything was in top shape for when we left Saturday morning. Fortunately in my first year we had a lot of senior members on our team. When we went I did a lot of listening and did what I was told being a junior member on the team. On Sunday night for preliminary showmanship I was so nervous. I could not eat anything. By the time I left the pack to go to the ring I was shaking so much I didn’t know what to do. By the time I got into the ring 45 minutes later I was feeling a little calmer. I went into the ring with a heat of at least 40 junior members from all over the country. Luckily I was pulled in and made my heat for the first year attending this event. Going on the next day I did not know what to expect. I made my heat but now I had to go into the finals with 30 more people. Going in with high expectations does not always go so well. I was 28th that day but putting it into perspective, being 28th in junior across the country was not so bad. Later on going into senior showmanship we had a senior that made her heat the night before and was in senior showmanship finals. Looking at the TV screen in the barn I saw that she was in second place, which is really good but it was her last year and it would have been nice to see her win. All of a sudden, in the senior showmanship final lineup the first place showman’s calf would not stop moving in the lineup and the judge switched them. All of a sudden everyone from our team was cheering and were so happy for her.

I am now 19 and this will be my sixth year attending the Classic. I am very excited yet again to meet and interact with the general public and other dairy youth across the country.

The Faces Of 4-H Ontario

Senior Members Enjoy Their Roles as Ambassadors

By: Ryan Métivier

Another year of the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is well under way, and these energetic young individuals have been busy promoting the 4-H program and values across the province. In 2015, the program will reach the milestone of turning 10 years old.

Left to Right: Sarina, Chris, Tamara, Kate, Brooke, Paul

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. They attend 4-H Ontario events across the province, as well as representing the organization at community events to promote the program.

“I have embarked on this journey with five others as we travel across Ontario to network with sponsors, volunteers, and youth,” Tamara Hamilton of Russell County 4-H Association says. “Doing this has opened us up to see how much 4-H has impacted others and how much it has brought communities together to share the common values that 4-H promotes with our head, heart, health and hands.”

This journey has allowed the Ambassadors to meet other like-minded 4-H’rs in the program.

“I believe the Ambassador Program has enabled me to expand my leadership and communication skills and create lifelong friendships,” says Sarina Goodfellow of Lennox & Addington.

“I became an Ambassador because I am very passionate about the 4-H program because it has molded me into the person I am today,” says Paul Knoops of Oxford County. “I am enjoying meeting the volunteers and members across Ontario and hearing their story. I love to hear what clubs people have done, looking for ideas for my local clubs.”

To date, the Ambassadors have been traveling across the province helping at events such as regional 4-H Ontario Discovery Days, Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf Tournaments, the UPI Energy Golf Tournament, Career Mania, Colborne Lions Family Day, the LINC Family Festival in Stratford and the Oxford 4-H Tractor Club Meeting. At many events, Ambassadors lend a helping hand while also acting as a friendly face of 4-H.

In June the Ambassadors came together at the annual Ambassador Program Sponsor Tour at UPI Energy LP and GROWMARK Inc facilities, for a chance to hear from the program’s sponsors and tour various facilities.

Kate Higgins of Huron 4-H says the opportunity has allowed her to see how 4-H is run across the province, something she’s been able to do by attending both the Region 4 and 5 Discovery Days.

“I became an Ambassador to have the opportunity to become more involved with 4-H not just locally, but also provincially,” says Higgins. “I am always curious to see how other communities run things and I have experienced many new methods. So far I have learned how to better think on my toes and to be as creative as possible when working with kids.”

Each year, senior members are invited to apply to become Ambassadors for the following year. To be chosen for the 12-month term prospective Ambassadors must submit a formal application, take part in a panel interview and commit to a training weekend. Further training sessions may be offered to ensure Ambassadors are equipped for their roles and gain the most knowledge and experience from their terms.

Becoming more involved with the organization and expanding her 4-H knowledge is what York County’s Ambassador Brooke Thompson says made her apply for the program.

“I have really enjoyed going to my various events meeting new people and learning new things. Each event has been unique and I have been encouraged to try new things and follow the 4-H motto ‘Learn To Do By Doing’.

Be sure to keep an eye out for these friendly faces at events and in your community over the coming year.

To book a 4-H Ontario Ambassador for your event complete our request form online at www.4-hontario.ca/ambassadors

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. 

This Couple Is Completely Fore 4-H

Written By: Ryan Métivier

If you’ve ever attended one of the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf-East tournaments, you’ve most likely seen and had the pleasure of speaking with a couple of friendly 4-H faces in Gib and Elsie Patterson.

As owners of Anderson Links Golf and Country Club, the Pattersons have hosted the tournament in Ottawa for the past eight years — right from its beginning.

The couple both partook in 4-H as members, and credit 4-H for bringing them together into what has turned into 52 years of marriage.

Elsie, who is originally from Tweed, Ontario says her sisters and her whole family were involved in 4-H when she was young. Her mother was a leader as well.

“We’re country people and a farm family. 4-H was a family and it was an outing for us from the farm,” Elsie explains.

Growing up, Gib’s farm was not too far from where Anderson Links sits now, close to the Ottawa airport. When his older brother turned 16 and got his driver’s license, they began attending 4-H meetings.

“4-H was one of the best clubs or organizations for young farm people at the time,” he says. “I think it
still is.”

So after joining 4-H in 1954, the following year the brothers were lucky enough to win a trip to National 4-H Club Week, where they represented Ontario in judging potatoes for 4-H competitions.

“We went to the Royal Winter Fair and we were very happy to come out as the winners. We even beat the team from Prince Edward Island. We were happy about that.”

Elsie adds a few more memories about the many trips and exchanges she took part in as a youth, and also about the friendships she made, some of which have been lifelong. “It was meeting the people — meeting young people our age from all over Ontario — that  I remember most.”

Elsie reflects on a friend her brother met from England, which her family got to know very well.

“All these years my mother had kept in contact with him and we still go back and forth with him,” she says. “He’s 84 now and his son is in Manitoba. Every spring or fall he comes to see his family and he always makes the trip to Belleville to check in on my family. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

But despite the many memories they both share of their time as 4-H members, Gib concedes that meeting Elsie was definitely his biggest takeaway.

Working in the summer of 1959 as a summer assistant in Frontenac County with a gentleman who had actually been his 4-H Ag Rep when Gib was a 4-H’er, Gib was able to use the connection to land the Assistant
Ag Rep position for Hastings County after he graduated college.

Hastings includes the Tweed area, where Elsie was the secretary in the agricultural office. Decades later, the couple have four kids who have all been through 4-H, plus 12 grandkids, of whom two are also involved in the 4-H program.

Gib led several clubs such as golf, plowing and forestry clubs, but outside of 4-H, he says he loves to teach and was a teacher for nine years in high school. He has an interest in young people and likes learning and staying curious. It is this that he tries to teach to the staff at the golf course.

“I teach them to be curious. To keep your head on a swivel and keep moving. See what’s happening and try and understand why things are happening. I call it the game of life. You never have to work when you play the game of life.”

That curious nature is likely what helped to get the ball rolling on starting up the Golf-East Tournament.

During a Queen Of The Furrow competition in Peterborough County where Gib was judging, Lyndon Stewart, a former 4-H Ontario Executive Director, was also the emcee. “That night they were in our little cabin and Lyndon and Gib talked half the night and Gib said if you can have a tournament in Guelph, then why can’t you come east?” explains Elsie.

Anderson Links is the Patterson’s third golf course. Gib opened his first golf business in 1971 on the farm they bought from his father, which his grandfather originally bought in 1901. Their first golf course, Emerald Links of Manotick, opened in 1990. This was followed by Cloverdale Links in Winchester in 1996, and then Anderson Links in 2007.

The Pattersons also own a driving range and mini putt facility in Orléans. Gib has his broker’s license and is a developer in real estate, although he’s since passed the torch of building homes onto their son, who built the very clubhouse 4-H golfers meet in at Anderson Links. The family has also built three subdivisions around their Emerald Links course.

Eight years into the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf-East Tournament the Pattersons are happy to see the 4-H system still carrying on each year when they host the tournament. If you’re ever in the Ottawa area and looking to hit the links, be sure to keep an eye out for Gib and Elsie, who are always happy to share 4-H stories and memories.

4-H’ers create the Calf Canopy

Written by Ryan Métivier

4-H alumni Sarah and Kevin Wolters are the proud creators of the Calf Canopy, an idea that was inspired while they were doing chores at Sarah’s family farm, Huffmandale Holsteins. The two were both born and raised in the Quinte area and have been married since the fall of 2013. Originally designing the Calf Canopy as a project to help them group-house their pre-weaned calves without taking the risk of building a new facility, they eventually realized they had a marketable product.

While working at their current work place, The Machining Center, Sarah and Kevin began working on a system to develop the product. They had the advantage of having all of the tools necessary for fabrication at their disposal. While nearing completion of their first canopy, their boss (also Kevin’s father), saw they were onto something and enlisted the company team to help in the development of the product.

“The Calf Canopy is a product that tied our two families together,” says Sarah. “The Huffman family helped inspire the idea and establish the functions required of the canopy. The Wolters family assisted us in making the canopy functional and marketable.”

Two prototypes were built (one that was compatible with three regular hutches and one that holds one super hutch), and were brought to the Hastings County Plowing Match. After some amazing feedback, they’ve also had a display at the Quinte Exhibition and Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.

Sarah and Kevin have decided to take their ideas a step further and have started their own company, S+K Agro Solutions, to sell their product line. The company is now a division of The Machining Center.

Long before they were business partners, Sarah was a 4-H’er. A member since the age of 10 in Hastings County, she’s participated in numerous clubs and attended Leadership Camp and Judge-It Day. She’s also still a leader in the Hastings County Horse Club.

4-H can also be credited for bringing the two together, as they met at a mutual friend’s party – a friend Sarah knew through 4-H, whom Kevin knew through school. From there, Kevin also became a 4-H member when he was 20 and participated in the Hastings County Plowing and Dairy Management clubs. Today he still helps with the milkshake booth and any clubs and events Sarah is involved in.

“4-H helped me connect with other farmers and gave us a lot of valuable resources and contacts to help us get a good start,” says Kevin.

“4-H had a huge influence on me because I grew up involved in it and it helped me establish relationships within my community and all over Canada,” adds Sarah.

She also lists several skills she’s taken away from 4-H including: team building, speaking with self-confidence, leading, putting herself out there, participating in meetings and documenting key ideas.

Looking forward, Sarah and Kevin hope to continue to improve their product and develop new concepts.

“For now S+K Agro Solutions is known as the developers of the Calf Canopy, but If another neat idea comes our way, we will look into developing that idea into a product,” she says.

With a goal of being a company that comes up with ideas that are innovative, functional and adaptable, they encourage producers to come forward with ideas or custom needs that they need completed on their farms.

For more information on S+K Agro Solutions and the Calf Canopy, visit: www.themachiningcenter.com/sandkagrosolutions

The Ambassador Beat: Kate Higgins

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 2014, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Kate Higgins, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Huron 4-H Association

The World of Dairy Through Ambassador Eyes

Take it from me that it isn’t just in 4-H clubs that you are “learning to do by doing” but also in the extra 4-H experiences you endeavour such as my Ambassador events. I continue my Ambassador journey this month by learning about a different world of showing cattle. During the month of August and end of July I was granted the privilege of going to two dairy related events.

On July 31st I attended the Inter-County Dairy Judging Competition in Ancaster and on August 22nd I was the lucky Ambassador that got to go to the West-Central Junior Show.

At the judging competition I got to mark quizzes, input scores, and retrieve scores during the day where I quickly learned some important parts of a dairy cow. Some important words I continuously heard were size of withers and width of hips among other lingo! I also saw how seriously this judging competition is taken when participants had to change outfits two to three times to be dressed for the certain activity. This formal atmosphere is enforced by the experienced Bert Stewart who has taken the winning top four participants to the prestigious World Dairy Expo in Madison Wisconsin to compete as team Ontario as an exhibitor. The good efforts are all paid off when winners are given beautiful crystal bowls as prizes from sponsors and Ontario Holsteins.

At the Junior Show I got to hand out ribbons and prize envelopes to the show participants. As I watched the multiple heats and classes I picked up some tricks of the dairy showing trade and general rules. The showman always wears white (although by the end of the day not everyone is still entirely white!) to symbolize the old milk man and the size of the heifer should match the size of the showman. There is no show stick like in beef showing but the showman pushes on the front shoulder of the calf to adjust it accordingly to have the feet square under the calf while the hair on the spine of the calf is spiked and after the heifer does a number one or two the showman pushes on the spine to straighten it out and pulls down the tail. From listening to Stephanie Murphy, a former Ambassador and World Dairy Expo Exhibitor, give reasons for her placing I learned it is important to hold the head of the heifer high but to give some space between you and the calf.

These two events were a wonderful experience! I would like to thank Jason French for inviting me and being my contact for both of the events along with the other welcoming Ontario Holstein staff. Also thank you to John Drummond for being a friendly face at both events and introducing me to many of the volunteers at these events. I look forward to continuing my learning on my Ambassador journey this fall!

 

The Ambassador Beat: Paul Knoops

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 2014, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Paul Knoops, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Oxford 4-H Association 

My 4-H Ambassador Experience

I have been lucky enough to be selected as one of the 2014 4-H Ontario Ambassadors and I am having a great time as one. I have had the opportunity to meet some great people through 4-H, whether it is 4-H Ontario staff, volunteer leaders, members, or sponsors of different 4-H programs. All these people were met through different events I have been lucky enough to attend and help out at. I am so happy I took the risk in applying for this position and have loved every second as an Ambassador since.

I have been a member of 4-H for over 10 years completing approximately 45 life skills projects in that time. I have held many positions at the club level, gone through Go For The Gold many times, and took part in many provincial camps and opportunities. After all of that, I felt being an Ambassador would only further my experience with 4-H. I also see this program as a way for me to give back to the organization that has helped me so much through the years and has been a lot of fun as a member.

As an ambassador I have had the chance to travel Ontario and take part in many events and opportunities throughout 4-H. I even had the chance to return to some of the opportunities I went to as a younger member and could reflect on my experiences there. I went to my first 4-H opportunity about 10 years ago, going to Discovery Days for Region 6 and I had the chance to return to the same arena and be a volunteer for the event. It was a lot of fun seeing the other side of the event and watching the kids through the day open up and make new friends along the way. I can attribute getting this far in 4-H and becoming an Ambassador to opportunities like Discovery Days keeping me involved and excited to go to other 4-H events.

Another event from my youth I went to was Youth Adventure Camp (YAC), and this summer I got to return as a facilitator. It was a great week where I got to not only meet some great members from across Ontario, but also the chance to bond with members of 4-H Ontario staff and excited and enthusiastic volunteers. I had an amazing week and am truly impressed by the younger generation of members coming through 4-H and was happy to see how respectful and enthusiastic the group was. The experience was so great I hope to be able to help at more camps like that in the future.

One of my favourite parts about 4H is the Go For The Gold competition. This opportunity is a lot of fun and I have been participating in it for years. I recall my first few years, hardly knowing what 4-H was but playing anyway, and losing mostly every game. However I went back every year because I had so much fun playing, and eventually got to represent my region at the provincial level twice. This year I got to help at my local Go For The Gold as a scorekeeper and judge. I enjoyed being on the other side of the table as much as I liked playing. Being one of my favourite parts of 4-H, it was nice to be able to continue to be a part of the great opportunity. I hope to be at the Royal for the provincial championships this year and continue being a part of Go For The Gold.

It has been a lot of fun these past months and I look forward to my upcoming events the rest of the year. If the next half of being an Ambassador is as great as the first, it should be an interesting and entertaining year.

The Ambassador Beat: Tamara Hamilton

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 2014, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Tamara Hamilton, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Russell 4-H Association 

My Ambassador Journey

My name is Tamara Hamilton and I have been given the opportunity this year to represent 4-H Ontario as an Ambassador. From the start of my 4-H career I knew that this was an organization that I wanted to be a part of for many years to come! From showing cows to scrapbooking or even baking, 4-H offers so much to anyone including building our teamwork ability, social skills, and leadership. Over the eight years now that I have been a part of 4-H, it has given me so much. But these things haven’t just been handed out to me. That is the power of 4-H.

You see 4-H has built on to my personality and has actually opened me up more to becoming who I feel I was intended to be. I have developed leadership, enthusiasm, communication, and teamwork skills from not just every meeting I participate in, but also every camp I have attended where I have met friends all over Ontario that I am happy to say that I will have for life! Throughout these years I have wanted to give back to all that 4-H has given me and I wanted to show more people what this organization is all about and what better way to do that then to apply to be an Ambassador.

As an Ambassador, you get to travel across the area to promote 4-H to youth, volunteers, and even adults! At first I didn’t think I would get the position as I was up against many older members, but arriving at Guelph for the interview I just took a deep breath and presented to the best of my ability and the judges loved it! Now six months later I find myself attending many events all over the place! I have been able to attend county meetings, volunteer symposiums, and recently got to go to a event at Anderson Links where many different sponsors came out for a good day at the golf course. I was able to meet up with many people from all around our district and see how they contribute to making 4-H great!

Being an Ambassador has given me the ability to realize that 4-H is run off the community as it is a non-profit organization. It’s the people that wish to do the same as I do – give back, that keep each and every event running. I still remember the first meeting I ever went to and how much excitement it brought and I can only wish for any individual of any age to see how they do can get involved as at any age the value of Head, Heart , Hands, and Health for the better for our club, community and even country are always important.