4-H At Work in the Community

Submitted by: Christine O’Reilly

While I have always credited 4-H for my personal development (specifically in public speaking and leadership skills), I never realized the impact 4-H has at a community level until my final year of university.

During the last meeting of the school year, the OAC Beef Science Club invited a lecturer from the veterinary college to talk about his involvement in the recently updated Beef Code of Practice. As he packed up his laptop and projector, we moved on to the business of electing a new executive to carry on the club’s activities the following school year. Part way through elections, just as he was about to leave, our guest speaker politely interrupted the proceedings.

“I just want to say that I’ve been the faculty advisor for a number of student clubs in the vet college, and I’ve never seen a group of students that knew how to run a meeting so well.”

As a group, we were momentarily stunned. But I looked around and realized that the majority of students sitting in the room had been (or still were) 4-H members or Junior Farmers. The beef club never thought they were doing something unusual because all of the Aggie clubs were run that way. Thanks to 4-H, an entire college community of students knows how to run meetings. It’s a small thing that helps makes that community strong.

The Ambassador Beat: Vicki Brisson

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 2016, 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 your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Vicki Brisson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Russell 4-H Association


During my first few months as an Ontario 4-H Ambassador, I have had the opportunity to attend different events, including volunteer symposiums, Discovery Days and golf tournaments, and meet many passionate and proud 4-H’ers and 4-H supporters. Through all these events, I have noticed how everyone who has been involved with 4-H at some point in their life is familiar with the 4-H pledge. At the beginning of any meeting or event, the pledge is recited, but how is it applicable to what we do in 4-H? 

I pledge,

1.     My HEAD to clearer thinking

4-H challenges members to broaden their horizons and develop their critical thinking. Most projects have a portion dedicated to judging. For the avid young judges, judging clubs and competitions are an amazing way to further judging skills. No matter what, we are always encouraged to learn new things, try new projects, and develop new talents.

2.     My HEART to greater loyalty

4-H creates lifelong friendships, whether it is friends from our association we meet in clubs, or from across the province we meet at opportunities such as leadership camps or conferences.

We also learn to work efficiently as a team, sharing and accepting other people’s ideas, and we become good team players. 

3.     My HANDS to larger service

4-H members become involved members of their community. We can do so by completing projects that are focused on helping the community, by thanking community members that support our club/association, or even by organizing and taking part in fundraisers.

4.      My HEALTH to better living

4-H promotes a healthy lifestyle, for instance, with cooking clubs we learn how to cook for yourself and eat better. We also learn to manage our time, develop organizational skills, and maintain a healthy balance between every aspect of our lives.

For my club, my community, and my country.



Durant mes premiers mois en tant qu’ambassadrice 4-H, j’ai eu la chance de prendre part à une multitude d’évènements, tant avec des volontaires, qu’avec des nouveaux membres et des commanditaires ; tous aussi fiers et passionnés du programme 4-H. Durant ma participation à ces évènements, j’ai pu remarquer à quel point la prière 4-H était connue de tous. Non seulement est-elle récitée au début de la majorité des évènements, elle représente tout à fait ce qu’est le 4-H.

Je permets d’employer,

1.     Ma TÊTE pour des idées hardies

4-H nous met au défi d’élargir nos horizons et de développer notre esprit critique. La plupart des projets ont une section dédiée au jugement, que ce soit le jugement d’animaux, de pâtisseries ou encore de décorations. Pour les passionnés du jugement, il est même possible de participer à un club de jugement et de participer à des compétitions. Nous sommes toujours encouragés à apprendre de nouvelles choses, essayer de nouveaux projets et développer de nouveaux talents.

2.     Mon COEUR pour être plus humain

4-H crée des amitiés pour la vie. Ces amis peuvent être des amis de notre comté que nous rencontrons en participant à un nouveau club ou encore des amis qui habitent à l’autre bout de la province que nous rencontrons en prenant part à des camps de leadership. Nous apprenons également à travailler efficacement en équipe, à partager nos idées et écouter celles des autres afin de devenir un leader exemplaire.

3.     Mes MAINS pour être plus habile

Les membres 4-H deviennent des individus impliqués dans leur communauté. Nous complétons des clubs qui ont pour objectif d’aider la communauté. Nous prenons le temps de remercier les membres de notre communauté qui nous supportent et qui permettent la réalisation de nos projets.

4.     Ma SANTÉ pour vivre en harmonie

4-H promouvoit de saines habitudes de vie. Par exemple, grâce aux clubs de cuisine, nous apprenons à cuisine pour nous-même et l’importance de bien manger. De plus, nous apprenons à gérer notre temps, développons des aptitudes d’organisation et d’autorégulation et réussissons à maintenir un bon équilibre entre tous les aspects de notre vie. 

Pour mon cercle, ma communauté, mon pays.




The Ambassador Beat: Laura 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 2016, 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 Laura DeKlein, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Middlesex 4-H Association

A Friendly 2016 Ambassador Hello

4-H is not only for me, but also for everyone! I am very excited to be chosen to participate in the Ambassador Program along side five other enthusiastic members. This program will give me the opportunity to connect with 4-H members, volunteers and communities. The four H’s – Head, Heart, Hands and Health are in fact some of the tools and attributes I will use on this journey. Within the next year, here are five top opportunities and things I look forward to attending, and recommend YOU to attend as well:


  1. Discovery Days- This may be a bit of a ‘throwback’, but back in the old days this was the day I looked forward to most in the summer! It is a great way to connect with youth within the community, learn new games/skills and mostly let loose and have fun! Every year a new theme is chosen, so it is never same old, same old. Be sure to check out your region’s date and register, you don’t want to miss out!
  2. YAC (Youth Adventure Camp) – A fun and collaborative opportunity, and a step up from Discovery Days! This is an overnight camp that involves lots of games, goal setting and leadership skills.
  3. PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp) – Hands down my favourite camp ever. This was the most life changing experience of my life in which I credit my leadership and communication skills to. I look forward to the delegates chosen to attend and I hope they take the risks I did and step out of their comfort zone!
  4. Sponsor Tours and Events – This Ambassador Program would not be possible without our generous sponsors; Growmark Inc., and UPI Energy LP. I look forward to attending the tours of their facilities and meeting those involved with the companies. This is a very exciting opportunity and all six of us are very thankful for their encouragement.
  5. 4-H Ontario Booths at Agricultural Events – The Outdoor Farm Show and Royal Agricultural Winter Fair are only two of many opportunities I look forward to helping and speak at on behalf of 4-H Ontario. I am vary involved within the agricultural sector, and hope to network, communicate and advocate the program to youth and volunteers within this ‘field’.

These are only five of many events and opportunities 4-H Ontario has to offer! Please take advantage of these opportunities that help you in various ways for lifelong lessons such as future employment skills, school presentation delivery and more.

I look forward to this upcoming year with everyone and stay tuned for more exciting blogs each month!

4-H Competitions Inspire Youth to Achieve

Written by: Ryan Métivier

Annually, 4-H sends a team of youth to compete in the 4-H and Youth National Judging Competition at the Canadian Western Agribition. In her third year of competing, Cassandra Gorrill set her sights on improving her results from years past and finishing in the top five of the competition. After two busy days of judging different classes and mingling with other teams and sponsors, Gorrill surpassed her goal by being named Grand Aggregate and gaining the opportunity to judge the First Lady Classic. 

Gorrill, of Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton 4-H Association, traveled to Regina for the competition with four other members and one chaperone to make up team Ontario. The competition is open to 4-H members and college and university students from across Canada. A member since 2006 when she could first join, Gorrill has been a member of numerous clubs as well as being a Youth Leader for Beef.

“I enjoy the people and skills the most in 4-H,” she says. “I love learning new things and teaching younger members all the skills I can pass along. I love the people involved with 4-H.”

On the third day of Agribition, winners were announced and Gorrill was thrilled to have placed in three classes:  Dairy Cows, Charolais Bull Calves and Barley Class. Then came the countdown of the top five spots and the realization she’d been named Grand Aggregate.

“When they announced my name as the Grand Aggregate I think I experienced shock,” says Gorrill. “I was happy and proud and couldn’t wait to call my mom, but as I walked up to receive my buckle and trophy, my hands began shaking and my tummy clenched with fear at the thought of judging the First Lady Classic.”

After getting over those initial nerves, she settled in and evaluated all the cattle the way she usually does, not worrying about how she would place them in relation to the more experienced judges. In the end she was right on point picking the champions of both the Futurity and the Bred Heifers categories.

“There was no greater honour than judging the First Lady Classic,” she says.

Gorrill says her time with 4-H directly prepared her for this opportunity by giving her the ability to have fun no matter what, the confidence to meet new people, to speak in public and the ability to judge different classes. Her county’s Evaluation Night and Peterborough Junior Day and Judge-It! Days exposed her to competitive judging and gave her the foundation for this competition.

“If I had to tell a youth who wasn’t yet involved in 4-H something, it would be that they were only a step away from making some of the best memories, building some of the best friendships and connections and experiencing the best opportunities that will impact you in the future,” says Gorrill. “4-H is great big family filled with people who want to help you explore your passions.”

Team 4-H Ontario at the Canadian Western Agribition. Caleigh Van Kampen, Dufferin Courtney Van Kampen, Dufferin Cassandra Gorrill, Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton Julie French, Peel Jessica Lasby, Wellington Also attending with the team as Chaperone: Dawn Van Kampen

The Ambassador Beat: Logan Emiry

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 2016, 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 Logan Emiry, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Sudbury 4-H Association

Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned at 4-H

4-H is full of life lessons. Lessons can be found everywhere in the 4-H program, not only from 4-H clubs like life skills clubs, sewing and cooking clubs. Some lessons come from 4-H camps or trips. Others come from leaders and fellow members. But most importantly every lesson is valuable and can be applied to life! Here are my favourites that I use every single day:

Enjoy everything and dance in the rain

4-H trips, exchanges and events can come with lots of ups and downs. 4-H has taught me that no matter what comes my way I can overcome it with a positive attitude! On my second 4-H exchange to Alberta learning to deal with tough situations and bad weather was key. Learning to dance in the rain made me lifelong friends and some great memories too!

Stepping out of your comfort zone leads to personal growth

4-H camp is one of the best places to try something new. My experience at Future Leaders in Action this year was proof of that. I spent my week stepping out of my comfort zone while encouraging others to do the same. With such a supportive group behind me it was easy to grow as a leader. I strive to step out of my comfort zone every single day and help others to do the same!

Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic!

One of my favourite 4-H lessons ever comes from Provincial Leadership Camp. 4-H camp was so much fun and the friends I made at camp was an awesome experience. PLC inspired me to be a happy and energetic person every single day! I attempt to make every 4-H club, event and activity day as fun as PLC with my enthusiasm! Just remember to act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic!

Try new things and meet new people

4-H has given me so many opportunities to try new things, travel new places and meet great people all along the way! Through these experiences I have learned the more you try the more you learn and the more fun you have! Meeting great people has given me connections across my province, country and across the world. Meeting people is my favourite part of 4-H and you get to hear all of their great experiences through 4-H. This year I am excited to continue my travels through 4-H travelling overseas to Ghana!

Always be prepared when going on bus trips

Going on 4-H exchanges or travelling to 4-H events means lots of bus trips. In my experience that has also meant lots of bus breakdowns unfortunately. On the bright side, I have learned from this poor luck and now am always prepared for bus trips. The best way to learn is by doing and I learnt quickly that having everything you need if your bus breaks down, blows a tire or can’t stop without restarting is very important!

Greet the world with a smile and it will smile back

Having a positive outlook on everything I do is part of who I am. That is largely thanks to 4-H which helps me

4-H friends are the best type of friends

4-H’ers are truly one of a kind people, and they are definitely my type of people. Just like me other 4-H members understand how to have fun and be enthusiastic. Plus there are 4-H members all around our world who share common interests, perspectives and experiences as you! I have made so many friends from the 4-H camps, exchanges and events I have been to and couldn’t ask for better friends! You don’t have to look far to find welcoming 4-H’ers who are awesome people!


The great motto of the greatest organization in the world is definitely a good one to live life by! There is no better way to learn how!

4-H Club Leaders Help Youth Gain Confidence

Written By: Ryan Métivier

4-H leaders know when youth need that little push to come out of their shells or a change in an activity to help a particular young person reach their potential.

Isabel Miller of Haldimand spent time as a 4-H member when she was a teenager, before making the move to volunteer in 1992, first as a parent volunteer and then as a leader and out of county chaperone. Even after her youngest child graduated as a member in 2006, Isabel has continued volunteering as a leader and a member of the executive committee of Haldimand 4-H Association.

“My belief in the program and the positive impact that it has on youth plays a big role in my involvement,” says Miller.  

Of the many clubs she currently leads, at the very first meeting of her Miniature Horse Club back in 2014, she noticed she had one very shy member in the group. This member hid her face in her mom’s coat sleeve and let her mother answer for her. She also was too shy to attend the judging event or any of the horse shows. She did though, wish to stay in the club and continue to visit Miller’s barn to care for and show one of her horses (as she did not have one of her own).

Miller thought about it and made some modifications, allowing this member to write a story about her 4-H experience rather than attending a judging event. Over the summer the member quietly worked away getting advice and teachings from her with the rest of the group. Slowly, she began to speak up and ask questions and make comments on her observations. By August, she had built enough confidence to participate in a practice show at Miller’s farm with other youth members and their families, with the only stranger being the judge.

This was a huge success and the young girl agreed to sign up for the smallest show of the season afterwards.

“I told her I would register her and if she got there and didn’t feel comfortable showing, that was alright but she could still help and be part of it,” says Miller.

Once again loving the experience, the member was eager to chat about it afterwards and went on to show at her Achievement Day and read her story about her 4-H experience in front of her peers at the club’s final meeting. 

In 2015, now more confident, she returned to Miller’s barn, attended every show she could and participated in the judging event. 2016 will now be her third year as a 4-H participant.

“The saying goes that you only get out of something what you put into it and in this case, being willing to spend that extra bit of time and think a bit outside the box, continues to make this member’s 4-H experience a very positive thing that will help her throughout her life.”

4-H Family Leaves a Legacy for Future Generations

Written by: Ryan Métivier

Everyone has their reasons for wanting to give back to their community. For the Knapp family, supporting youth has been deeply engrained in their family’s culture since as far back as 1915. The year is significant as it’s the year Stanley Knapp, recognized as the “father” of 4-H in Ontario, formed the first recorded Boys and Girls Club in Waterloo. These short courses gave rise to the Junior Farmers’ Associations in Waterloo County. 

“He always seemed to be happiest when he was surrounded by children and young people and was a real believer in youth and their potential,” says David Knapp, Stanley Knapp’s grandson.

Knapp remembers fondly, his grandfather speaking passionately about giving youth a chance to learn for themselves and implement what they had learned to help future generations.  The Knapp family has been tied to the 4-H program uninterrupted for 100 years now. All four generations have been involved as members, leaders, coaches or supporters in one form or another, with a fifth generation on the horizon in the not too distant future.

David Knapp and his sister Beth Pearson accepted a Certificate of Appreciation to the Knapp Family for founding the first 4-H club in Ontario in 1915.

With Stanley’s induction into the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2006, the family felt it was a fitting time to establish a fund in his honour to give back to the organization which he started and that has helped to shape their family’s lives. The Stanley Knapp Resource Development Endowment Fund was created this same year and supports project resource development. Most recently, funds were used to create the Judging Handbook in 2015. 

“His vision started it, but countless people have worked diligently over the years to ensure the 4-H program’s success and modify it for the next generations,” says Knapp.

In September 2015 at the 100th Anniversary Gala in Cornwall, David and his sister Beth Pearson accepted a Certificate of Appreciation to the Knapp Family for founding the first 4-H club in Ontario in 1915.

“It was obviously a pretty proud moment for my sister and I to represent the family,” says Knapp. “There’s not too many things that endure 100 years and to see the enthusiasm that is still there for 4-H and to have him recognized for having an idea way back then, was a very humbling and proud moment.”

If your family would be interested in creating a legacy by establishing a Family Named Endowment Fund, please contact a Trustee within the Ontario 4-H Foundation or Katherine Smart, Manager, Corporate Giving & Philanthropy with 4-H Ontario by calling 519.856.0992 x461 or by email at giving@4-hontario.ca.

Haldimand leaders ensure all are included

Written By: Ryan Métivier

In the Haldimand Girl’s Night Out Club members partake in activities based around topics such as skin and hair care, self-esteem, bullying, exercise and fashion. They also enjoy guest speakers on these topics and have a chance to learn how to make homemade body scrubs and face masks and participate in a Zumba class.

Last year, while recovering in the hospital following an accident, one member, Charlotte Huitema, was unable to participate in some of the club’s meetings. Rather than be forced to miss out, the club’s leaders made the extra effort to alter some of the activities and include her from the hospital.

The club is run by leaders Stephanie Huitema and Kaitlynn Young. Huitema was a 4-H member from 2006‑2012 and began volunteering once completing the program and Young began volunteering in 2013.

Kate Young, Stephanie Huitema, Charlotte Huitema

“I decided to become a leader because I loved my time as a member and was so appreciative to all the leaders that I had, that I wanted to be the same type of role model and community volunteer as well,” says Huitema.

“I got involved with 4-H because I felt I could help teach kids and to be able to learn something new from the clubs myself too,” adds Young.

In order to accommodate Charlotte, with internet access and a laptop she was able to follow the PowerPoints and group discussions from her hospital bed, which worked out great so she could sign off when she needed rest. As a senior member, she was able to help define various topics during discussions to the many first-time members and explain to them the structure of 4-H and how different roles work.

“It was really nice to be included in the meetings and being able to participate when the club started,” says Charlotte Huitema. “This gave me the opportunity to ease back into 4-H and not lose a club that I was interested in. The leaders were very supportive in allowing this option for me to participate.”

Both leaders were thrilled to be able to help this member stay a part of the club, have some socialization and assist in her recovery.

Interested in finding out more about 4-H Ontario, or becoming a member or volunteer yourself? Visit our website here to find out more about signing up! 

5 Questions With… Meg Siegel

Meg Siegel may have been a part of 4-H in Novia Scotia, but 4-H is still 4-H and she has some great memories to share and took the time to submit her 4-H story. So in this feature, we look at an out-of-province 4-H alumni, who nows lives in Toronto.

Name: Meg Siegel

Status: Alumni

Years in 4-H: 12

1. Why did you join 4-H?

I’m from rural Nova Scotia and when I was a kid you either joined Air Cadets, 4-H or hung around town doing not much of anything. My parents had enrolled me in Cloverbuds from the age of six and when it came time to join a big kid group, 4-H was a natural fit. I was able to pick some projects that were relevant to my interests and some that were new to me, but things I always wanted to learn.

2. What clubs, camps, opportunities, etc. have you participated or volunteered in?

I was in the Shelburne County 4-H Club in Nova Scotia. I was the treasurer and president of the club for a short while. I went to many pro-shows, did an interprovincial exchange and went to Chat-a-rama a few times.

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

Aside from teaching me basic life skills like orienteering, cooking, sewing and just being generally handy, I think I have 4-H to thank for my success in my career. I now work in advertising in Toronto and use skills that I learned in 4-H on a day-to-day basis. From presentation skills and public speaking to judging (aka giving feedback), when I think about it, these were the skills I have been working on since I was a kid.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

In 4-H I won an exchange trip and went to Alberta for 10 days to stay with another 4-H member (who in turn came to Nova Scotia). It was my first time travelling solo and it gave me such a great sense of independence. It still has been my only time out West and I plan to change that and perhaps to get in touch with the family I visited when I was 16.

5. What do you do outside of 4-H? (hobbies, school, career, etc).

Now I’m pretty busy working in advertising on clients like Nike. But outside of work I’m big into cycling and I love getting away from the city for the weekend to go camping when time permits. I also love bringing new Toronto friends back home to the farm in Nova Scotia.

Liked Megan’s story? Want to share your own 4-H story? Click here and tell us what 4-H has meant to you in our 5 Questions With… feature!

Win a Luxury Travel Package in the Stay or Play Lottery like 2015′s winner Wanda Chilton

If you haven’t purchased your tickets for the 2016 4-H Ontario Stay or Play Lottery yet, what are you waiting for?

Among many great prizes, is the Grand Prize Luxury Travel Package valued at $7,000! This prize lets you travel wherever you want, with anyone you choose, for a trip of your dreams.

Last year’s winner Wanda Chilton, used the prize as an opportunity to take a family trip to Sol Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba.

Below is a short testimony from Wanda’s experience.

I thought I’d start with thanking 4-H Ontario for what I would describe as a trip of a lifetime!

Growing up in a rural area, I was familiar with 4-H and knew of the good work they do.

The grand prize being a $7,000 trip anywhere in the world, didn’t dampen my view of parting with $75 either.   

I received a call sometime in May last year and it was a voicemail from 4-H that I had won the grand prize!

Our family is a blended family with five kids, ranging in age from 25 to 34. We’ve never managed to take a vacation together, and with one son married, one daughter about to be married, two in school, and two school teachers, I knew if we didn’t do it now – we would never do it.

We all decided THIS would be our Christmas present to each other and it was the BEST family trip.

We spent seven days playing, sunning and swimming together. Some of us took separate excursions (a fishing trip was enjoyed by six) and we all enjoyed a day on a catamaran where we just enjoyed the sun, sand, and sea spray. It was wonderful. Cubans are joyful people and treated us like royalty on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day, Santa managed to find us and left stockings by our lounges at the pool.

It was a vacation I will long remember, and I know my children will also remember long after the bug bites heal, and the sand disappears from our suitcases. And the best part? We are ALL still speaking!

Thank you again, to all who had a part in the 4H Ontario Stay and Play Lottery!  You can bet I’ve already purchased my ticket for 2016!

For more information on this year’s fantastic prizes and to purchase your tickets in the 2016 4-H Ontario Stay or Play Lottery visit our website here. 

Net lottery proceeds support Youth Programming with supplies, conference & camp travel and transportation resources for 4-H members.