The Ambassador Beat: Olivia Bolender

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 2015, 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 Olivia Bolender, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from York 4-H Association

Hello, my name is Olivia Bolender and I am honoured to be representing 4-H Ontario as a 2015 Ambassador. I am proud to say that I am a York 4-H member and have been for 10 years. I live on a dairy farm in Stouffville with my parents and grandparents. I just recently graduated from Georgian College with my diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion. In September I will be heading to the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, where I will earn my associate diploma in Agriculture. Throughout my 10 years in 4-H I have completed over 40 clubs and have attended many regional and provincial events. I love being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador because I have the opportunity to promote 4-H to adults and youth across the province.

For a lot of my life I have watched the people around me volunteer, which led me to do the same. My first volunteer experience was being a committee member at my local fair. For me, volunteering was a very positive experience and it made me want to continue to volunteer. I learned leadership and teamwork skills and how to effectively communicate with others. Joining 4-H caused me to see more volunteers in action, which helped grow my passion for volunteering.

When I heard about the opportunity to volunteer at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, I knew it was something that I would love to do. I found out about the opportunity while at school and immediately applied. I went through the interview process and months later I was chosen to be a volunteer at the CIBC Stadium for Athletics. Working alongside athletes and other volunteers for the Pan Am Games made me proud to be a volunteer. It was brought to my attention during the closing ceremonies, while listening to a speech from the Vice President of the Pan Am Games, how much work has been put in to make the two-week event a success. It has taken a large number of volunteers to make the Pan Am Gams successful over the past two weeks. This volunteer experience has really made me appreciate 4-H Ontario and its volunteers that have been successful for 100 years.

I have come to realize that in 4-H there is a real sense of community and camaraderie among volunteers. Our 4-H volunteers are motivated by passion and not recognition, and have given me a real tangible sense of belonging within my 4-H community. Our volunteers practice small acts everyday that make 4-H and extraordinary organization to be a part of. As 4-H Ontario celebrates its 100th Anniversary, events are planned across the province so that members, leaders, volunteers and sponsors can celebrate this moment in history. I am honoured that I am able to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of 4-H Ontario and its volunteers.

 

The Ambassador Beat: Nic Willemsma

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 2015, 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 Nic Willemsma, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Chatham-Kent 4-H Association

Hello! my name is Nic Willemsma, and I have the honour of representing 4-H Ontario as a 2015 Ambassador. I live in Kingsville, one of the most southern towns in Canada, where I work on a neighbour’s dairy farm. I am currently taking the Social Media Program online through Algonquin College, and I plan on using what I learn from this program to promote agriculture and 4-H.

I have been a 4-H member for 10 years and  have been able to attend many 4-H camps and opportunities that 4-H has to offer including Career Mania, Provincial Exchange Trip, National 4-H Members’ Conference, PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp), and FLIA (Future Leaders In Action).  Without the help of volunteer facilitators 4-H would not be able to run these great opportunities. Earlier this month (June) I attended my first event as as a 4-H Ambassador and was able to help facilitate Discovery Days in Region 6 and see the other side of a 4-H camp.

Back in 2013 one of my 4-H leaders recommended that I go to this 4-H camp that took place over March break called PLC. I had never been to a 4-H camp before and little did I know that it was going to be one of the best weeks I have ever had. After returning home from PLC I started looking up what other 4-H opportunities I could go to. Later that year I attended Career Mania and last year I attended FLIA and the National 4-H Members’ Conference.

Through these opportunities I have been able to meet and network with 4-H leaders and 4-H’ers from across Ontario and Canada. I am looking forward to meeting more people and sharing with them the great opportunities 4-H has to offer for members and even non-members

 

The Ambassador Beat: Laura Scott

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 2015, 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 Scott, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Grenville County 4-H Association

My name is Laura Scott and I am proud to say that I am one of the 2015 4-H Ontario Ambassadors. Not only is this an honour to be an Ambassador, it’s an extra special year as we celebrate 100 years of 4-H in Ontario.

To start, I should probably introduce myself. I call the Grenville County Association home, and have my entire life. I am 18 years old and I am going in to my second year at the University of Guelph, majoring in Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics. I have completed over 35 clubs, ranging from beef, dairy, field crops, craft and cooking. I have been in 4-H for nine years, and have loved every single minute of it!

After reciting the 4-H motto of “Learn to do by Doing” for the last nine years, this year is when I believe that I am seeing that come into effect the most. While I’ve had to learn almost every skill I’ve gained from 4-H by actually doing it and practicing, I am noticing it so much more this year while I learn how my role as an Ambassador works.

Our year began with training and the reception, where we were first introduced and met our team for the year. After that, it was a pretty quiet spring for me. I went to an event here and an event there, but nothing steady. Let me tell you, that changed drastically when June rolled around. Even though this isn’t the busiest month we’re going to have as Ambassadors, it’s the first busy month for me. I’ve met so many new people and been so many places that it makes my head spin – in a good way, of course!

With the month kicking off with one of our major sponsors, UPI Energy, hosting their charity golf tournament, my month kicked off the learning to do by doing. I’d never been to a golf tournament before this one, and boy, was I ever glad that I had most of the Ambassador team with me as familiar faces that day! While we had a blast at the UPI Tournament, I found the 4-H Ontario Foundation Golf East Tournament even more fun! We had beautiful, warm weather, and I got to talk to so many people that are local to my area and who wanted to ask me about my time in 4-H, as well as my plans for after I’m finished university.

Of the three events that I attended in June, Region 2 Discovery Days was by far the biggest learning curve I’ve experienced as an Ambassador. I have younger siblings and I’ve helped young kids in my 4-H clubs whenever needed, but 40 kids in one room for six hours and they’re all between the ages of 9 and 12? The thing I learned the most from that day, was to roll with it. That and that kids come out with some of my favourite things. One member, when he got the wrong answer in a mock Go for the Gold Competition, snapped his fingers and said “Oh, barnacle nuggets!” This made me double over with laughter.

So all in all, I am learning so much from adults about my career options, but the kids are teaching me just as much, if not more. So far, my Ambassador experience is off to an amazing start, and I can only hope it keeps going this way for the rest of the year!

The Ambassador Beat: Ava Doner

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 2015, 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 Ava Doner, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Durham East 4-H Association

On a daily basis, I find myself feeling so grateful for my 4-H experiences and for the multitude of contributions this powerful program has made in my life. As a member of 4-H you are exposed to a wide range of activities, events and situations that help you grow as an individual. The 4-H program helps to develop skills that provide you with the necessities of life. As a result, I thought it would be appropriate to outline the top 10 reasons why I am proud to be a 4-H member.

  1. Provides opportunities to try new experiences. 4-H is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. With a safe environment for all members to participate in, each individual has the potential to try something new. 4-H provides a wide range of activities that are available to all ages so everyone has the opportunity to ride a horse, bake a cake, or attend camp for the first time! Participating in real life experiences helps members to gain a new perspective on what the world has to offer!
  2. Helps you develop a deeper appreciation for individualism. The 4-H organization is comprised of a diverse group of individuals. Everyone in 4-H comes from different backgrounds and has different values and interests. In 4-H, you learn how to interact, understand and appreciate individuals that have different morals, hobbies and opinions than yourself.
  3. You learn decision making. Life is all about making decisions and sometimes you need to explain your reasons in regards to that decision. With judging and giving reasons in 4-H, members learn to be confident with the decisions that they make. This is a skill that carries with members throughout life when they are deciding what career they want to pursue, what job offer to take, and so much more.
  4. Develops public speaking skills. I still remember my first 4-H meeting where I was a shy, timid, young, ten-year-old. I was standing in a circle with a bunch of brand new faces that I had never seen before and when it was my time to answer the roll call, I quietly said “Skip me please.” If you met me today, you would quickly come to realize that I am anything but shy. I am convinced that my parents blame 4-H for making me a talker, but I am extremely thankful for it. 4-H provides members with the opportunity to be outspoken and to be confident while speaking to an audience.
  5. The events that you’re privileged to attend. The places that you travel and the things that you get to see are one of the greatest benefits that 4-H has to offer. Often, 4-H clubs do field trips to different farms, workplaces, and events. Additionally, the 4-H Ontario program offers many camps that members of all ages are able to attend across Ontario. Furthermore, 4-H provides exchanges to different provinces and countries where members are able to learn about different cultures and lifestyles. The opportunities presented through the 4-H program are unlike any other!
  6. The people that influence your life. The people that you meet through the 4-H program are some of the most influential and amazing individuals in the world.  You meet mentors and leaders in the industry that often inspire you. Whether you are involved in your home association or at a provincial level, the people that you interact with will teach you life lessons and impact your life forever.
  7. The leadership skills that you develop. The 4-H motto says it all…”Learn to do by doing”. By participating in 4-H, you learn teamwork, responsibility, communication skills, self-confidence and so much more. The leadership skills that you learn in 4-H will help you in all aspects of life in the future.
  8. Helps you become more independent. 4-H provides opportunities to make your own decisions and to take chances outside of your comfort zone. From becoming responsible enough to raise an animal on your own, confident enough to make new friends, or courageous enough to attend a fair for three days without your parents, 4-H gives members a feeling of accomplishment and a feeling of independence.
  9. Sense of inclusion. The members of a 4-H association are often referred to as one big family. The people that you meet and the connections that you make will last a lifetime. Furthermore, 4-H provides opportunities to travel and make friends around the world!
  10. 4-H prepares you for life. At every 4-H meeting, parliamentary procedure is followed and an agenda is used. This teaches members structure and a skill that they will forever use. Additionally, 4-H gives you real life experiences in areas that pertain to a wide range of careers. The events and activities that you partake in are extremely appealing to employers. Lastly, 4-H gives you the skills in order to succeed in a job, such as communication and networking skills.

This is only a short list on how 4-H has impacted my life and why I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization. Because of 4-H, I feel confident in the direction that I am heading towards in the future and gives me confidence to achieve things that I never felt possible before.

Now that I have outlined the top 10 reasons as to why I am honoured to be a 4-H member, I am interested to hear what you have to add. Why are you proud to be a 4-H member? How has 4-H influenced your life?

If you want to share your 4-H story be sure to check out our “5 Questions With…” feature here and tell us your story!

5 Questions With… Shelley Barfoot-O’Neill

Name: Shelley Barfoot-O’Neill
Status: Volunteer/Alumni
Years in 4-H: 10 (member), 21 and counting as leader

1. Why did you join 4-H?

As the kid of a 4-H family, there was never a doubt! My grandparents were leaders and my parents were both members and leaders. When I was 11 before the age changed, I was at the Regional Show in Owen Sound with my dad and the Wiarton Dairy Club, and I remember thinking…’next year that will be me in the ring with my calf!’ I was so excited. Our family is four generations of 4-H enthusiasts and just waiting on the fifth generation to become old enough to continue the tradition!

I am a bona-fide 4-H lifer, and so are all of the Barfoot and O’Neill families!

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

As a member I tried to attend every opportunity that was available to me and luckily my parents were very supportive; camps, conferences, and three exchanges to Niagara, Alberta and Saskatchewan. I was in as many livestock and homemaking clubs as I was allowed to take, completing almost 50 clubs. I never missed shows, representing Grey was an honour and I was able to do so at the Classic and Silver Dollar many times as I was also the Grey County 4-H Ambassador and President of the Grey County 4-H Members’ Association.

As a leader, my husband and I lead the Wiarton Dairy, fitting and Sheep Clubs. I also lead the Nashville North and Clavering Lifeskills clubs. I’ve been the chaperone for EastGen since it was Silver Dollar, am dairy and registrations chair for the Grey-Bruce Regional 4-H Show, committee member for the Royal Jr. Sheep Show and All-Ontario Jr. Sheep Show, and have assisted with the Grey County Team at the Classic for many years. Additionally I’m involved as the Livestock Contact for Grey, was President of the Grey County 4-H Leaders Association and countless other activities too numerous to mention.

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

4-H gave me the opportunity to meet my husband of 28 years. As many others have we met through the program and been involved in 4-H together ever since. That is the most important! Aside from that, I was a shy only child and through 4-H members always being at my farm when I was little to being a member and now leader it has given me the self-confidence to do things way outside my comfort zone! While I am still nervous and a little anxious to do new things, I don’t let that stop me. I cannot forget to mention the countless friends and contacts I have made not only as a member and leader but also as a 4-H mom. These wonderful people who have come into our lives through 4-H will always hold a special place in our lives. I love to connect with 4-H’ers from all over at the various activities. We generally are their “Udder Parents” and we are quite happy to be considered that. Learning the importance of community involvement and volunteering from my family and my 4-H Leaders has been a great opportunity and I hope to honour the work they did by being the best I can be.

If 4-H members get half as much out of the program as we do as Leaders then we are doing our jobs. I tell people if the Leaders aren’t learning and developing right alongside their members they aren’t doing something right.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

I have so many. In my own time as a member, it truly was an honour to participate in the first ever Classic, and to place second with my calf, Kenarbara Dominion Fobes, was extra special. Every time I represented Grey I cherished the opportunity. As a 4-H mom, seeing my sons achieve and excel not only in the showring but outside as well, and to develop into great young men is amazing. A couple of special memories would be Adam winning the dairy member of the year for Grey and Champion Showman at Lucknow and Shea winning Reserve Champion showman at the Classic and the same year also Reserve Showman at the Jr. Sheep show. I don’t think that has been done before or since. The next year he followed it up by winning EastGen Overall Champion. As a 4-H Leader, last year two of our sheep members were named Grand and Reserve Grand Showmen at the Jr. Sheep Show at the Royal. Watching Zac being presented with the grand ribbon then watching Delaney also being presented with her reserve ribbon was amazing! But what made it extra special was to see the pride on Zac’s face when Delaney was named reserve. He was as happy for his club mate as he was for himself and that is what 4-H is all about. Our sheep club is 95% non-farm kids with no 4-H history, and to hear their families talk about how the kids have grown and developed throughout the club is very fulfilling!

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

Since I am a bona fide 4-H addict, most of our lives revolve around 4-H. I have worked at the Real Estate Institute of Canada for the past 13 years. We are a not-for-profit organization and I find working in that field helps me to better understand how others such as 4-H works. I have just taken on the part-time role of Livestock Coordinator with 4-H Ontario—my dream job! Even if it is a little hectic at the moment, I love it. Brian and I own a couple of holsteins and love to show, so if there is a show you will probably find us either at ring side or in the barns, depending on our work schedules. I am also active helping the boys with their purebred sheep flock and their showing. I am Logistics Manager and Public Relations for Shad and Goodacre Livestock during the sheep show at the Royal. Brian and I are blessed with two amazing sons, Adam and Shea, a great daughter-in-law Liz and three grandsons Riley, Hunter and Grayson and any day number four will be making their appearance. They are the light of our lives and sure keep us busy.

Liked Shelley’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!

5 Questions With… Kathryn Ringelberg

Name: Kathryn Ringelberg
Status: Alumni
Years in 4-H: 12

1. Why did you join 4-H?

It seems like just the other day that I was beginning my career as a 4-H member. I still remember going to that first 4-H rally without even knowing what 4-H was truly all about. My mom brought me to sign-up night because she was a 4-H member when she was younger. I signed up for almost every club that year because they all seemed so interesting. I think I was gone every night of the week to a 4-H meeting. My parents became the ultimate chauffeurs, allowing for me to dive head first into the program that they too had gained so much from when they themselves were members. After that first sign up night I never looked back. 4-H had become a part of who I was and I already miss being a member within this amazing program.

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

4-H soon became what I did in my down time and what I did to de-stress from my schooling. Although I completed over 65 clubs as I grew older my focus in the 4-H program became the dairy and dairy judging clubs. Over the last number of years I attended a 4-H dairy show every weekend from mid-July to Thanksgiving weekend in October. While most of my friends were walking their dog down the street, I was walking my heifer around the field on our family farm in Troy. My Friday nights were spent washing and clipping my heifer and packing the truck and trailer so we could get to the fair on time the following day. This summer I can honestly say I do not know what I am going to do on all those weekends!

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

In 12 short years many different leaders taught me how to fix tractors, fit my heifer, bake the best bread, sew pajamas, judge a class of hay, and give a correct set of reasons. These leaders taught me life skills that I use every day at work. I learned how to run meetings, take notes and organize community events. I was taught about teamwork, decision-making and public speaking. 4-H gave me multiple opportunities to compete on a local, provincial and national stage; connecting me with other members from coast to coast. I went to fall fairs, Go for the Gold competitions and provincial camps. I made life-long friends and had leaders that I looked up to. I had some of the best times, and some of the worst times; but the trials I faced only made me stronger. I “Learned to do by Doing” and with each club came a new challenge. For 12 years 4-H has been a huge part of my life, it was a very bittersweet moment in December when I officially graduated from this amazing program.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

There is no single memory that I can name as my favourite. I was lucky enough to travel to many different fall fairs with my 4-H heifer, compete at a national stage at the Royal Winter Fair, make friends from all over Ontario and Canada from coast to coast. All of these memories are special to me and there are so many memories that I will never forget!

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

I graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in the spring of 2014 from the Honours Sociology program while also completing a Business Certificate from Mohawk College. I strive to be an active member within my community as I co-chair two committees at the Rockton Worlds Fair and also represent South Wentworth as Queen of the Furrow for my third consecutive year. I enjoy public speaking and compete at the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair every year. For the past two years I have been one of the top six contestants in Canada. None of those accomplishments would have been possible without the 4-H program equipping me with the skills I need to succeed. I am ever thankful for this amazing program and I encourage everyone I know who is of the right age to join!

Liked Kathryn’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!

The Ambassador Beat: Ava Doner

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 2015, 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 Ava Doner, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Durham East 4-H Association

Hello! My name is Ava Doner and I am a proud member of the Durham East 4-H Association. I am honoured to be given the opportunity this year to represent 4-H Ontario as a 2015 Ambassador. I started 4-H when I was 10 years old and from the beginning I knew that it was an organization that I wanted to be a part of for many years to come.  However, at this time, I did not know how much 4-H was going to influence me and allow me to develop as a person.

I specifically remember when I attended my first 4-H dairy meeting in 2007 where I was shy, timid and nervous to attend. I was a 10-year-old child who knew almost nothing about agriculture or dairy cattle, and I was about to stand in a circle with 21-year-olds who mostly grew up on a dairy farm their whole life. For the first couple meetings, the only thing I would say was my name and the answer to that evening’s roll call. After great encouragement and continuous support from fellow 4-H’ers and leaders, I started to begin realizing that everyone is welcome in 4-H and there was no reason to be shy.

It’s amazing how much those few members and leaders back in 2007 have influenced my life. They demonstrated true 4-H spirit and allowed me to get more involved within the 4-H program. I have taken the steps to make the most of my 4-H experience by attending Provincial Leadership Camp, Future Leaders In Action, the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Inter-County Judging competitions, and the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin, USA on the 4-H Ontario Judging team. From every meeting and opportunity that I have been engaged with, I have developed leadership, enthusiasm, communication and public relations skills that I will carry with me throughout life. For these reasons, I wanted to find a way that I could give back to all that 4-H has given me and encourage members and leaders to take advantage of all that 4-H has to offer. I couldn’t think of a better way to do this than applying to be an Ambassador.

I have embarked on the Ambassador journey with five others as we travel across Ontario to network with youth, parents, volunteers and sponsors. In just a few short months, I have had the opportunity to attend a wide range of functions, such as, different 4-H clubs, symposiums and open houses. It is extremely rewarding to travel across Ontario and see how 4-H impacts so many people and how the values promoted throughout 4-H are so common throughout the province.

This year, 4-H Ontario celebrates 100 years as a non-profit organization. Attending different events has truly opened up my eyes to see that the real reason 4-H is 100 years old is because of the dedicated members, volunteers, sponsors and staff who are proud to wave their 4-H flag wherever they go. Thank you to everyone who has had a vision of giving back to this influential organization. Happy Birthday, 4-H Ontario!

 

The Ambassador Beat: Cailen Bromley

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 2015, 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 Cailen Bromley, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Renfrew 4-H Association
Hi, I am Cailen Bromley and I was privileged to be selected as one of the six 2015 Ambassadors. I live In Renfrew County on a small jersey farm with my parents and two siblings. Next year I am heading to university for environmental engineering.

I really enjoyed my first two months as being an Ambassador and as I watch my calendar fill for the rest of the year I am getting even more excited. The training weekend in Guelph was an awesome experience and I learned lots of communications skills and feel much more comfortable speaking in public. It was great to meet the sponsors, UPI Energy LP and GROWMARK Inc. who allow this wonderful program to run.

The first event I attended as an Ambassador was Region 2’s Volunteer Symposium, in Kemptville at the offices of our generous sponsors Grenville Mutual’s. I got to attend the workshops on “Being Creative in Your 4-H Clubs” and “Using Social Media in your Clubs”. I then spoke to the group about the Ambassador Program and my experiences in 4-H. I then lead some ice breakers and team building activities that the leaders could bring back to their clubs. It was a good start to my year.

I am really looking forward to going to Region 1, and meeting the volunteers in Thunder Bay, Kenora Region and Rainy River. I will also be visiting Sudbury later in June and helping with their Discovery Day. It will be a great experience to see how they run 4-H in the north and reconnect with people I have met at different camps.

The Ambassador Beat: Gina Posthumus

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 2015, 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 Gina Posthumus, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Hastings 4-H Association

March Madness

Hello, my name is Gina Posthumus and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a 4-H Ontario Ambassador in 2015. I proudly come from the Hastings County 4-H Association in which I have been a member for seven years. I live outside a little village called Stirling-Rawdon with my parents and older sister. I am currently in Grade 12 at Bayside Secondary in Belleville, Ontario and will be attending the University of Guelph in the fall for Criminal Justice and Public Policy. I am truly looking forward to this year as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador!

March was a crazy busy month filled with lots of exciting new experiences! To start the month off, all of the incoming 2015 Ambassadors took part in a training weekend held at the 4-H Ontario office in Rockwood. We kicked off the weekend by having a team bonding night on the Friday night at our hotel so we could all get to know each other a little better. On Saturday, we got down to business. We headed over to the 4-H Ontario office bright and early to begin training. We spent all day together in the board room engaged in activities that helped us exercise our communication, team building and other leadership skills that would help us be the best Ambassadors we can be. Saturday evening, a banquet was held at the Holiday Inn to celebrate 10 years of the Ambassador program and congratulate the 2014 Ambassadors on a great year while welcoming the 2015 Ambassadors to the program. It was a very successful evening filled with fellow 4-H friends, family, and great food. The Ambassador team wrapped up the weekend Sunday afternoon after another fun-filled day of training. Overall, it was a fantastic weekend made possible with help from the wonderful sponsors of the ambassador program, UPI Energy LP and Growmark, Inc.

Next on my very full calendar in March was to attend Provincial Leadership Camp (PLC). This camp took place during March break in Port Sydney, up north in the beautiful Muskoka’s at Ontario Pioneer Camp. 69 delegates and eleven facilitators took part in this five-day getaway which focused on building upon leadership skills and developing strong friendships. Starting off the week, I was unsure what to expect. I had been to a provincial 4-H camp before (Future Leaders in Action), however I had been told that PLC was unlike anything I had ever experienced; and that statement turned out to be 100% true. I am sure all of the other participants would agree with me when I say it is very difficult to explain to someone what PLC is like. To sum it up in a phrase, PLC is life-changing. This camp allows people to make friends with people from all across the province and strengthen several leadership skills all while having the time of their life. This experience was unforgettable and I encourage any 4-H members ages 15-21 to take the opportunity and attend this amazing camp sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

Hastings County 4-H Association’s Annual General Meeting was held during the month of March as well. Myself and two other PLC delegates from Hastings County were asked to speak about our time at PLC. We heard stories from other members of the Hasting’s County 4-H Association who were past delegates of PLC. It was very interesting to hear how things have changed over the years!

March was jam-packed with many new and enjoyable experiences. I had the opportunity to make new friends from all over the province. I am so honoured to have the opportunity to spend the rest of the year travelling the province and talking about how proud I am to be a part of this great youth leadership organization. I am so excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for me as I continue to ‘Learn to Do by Doing’.

 

 

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.