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.

The Ambassador Beat: Sarina Goodfellow

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 Sarina Goodfellow, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Lennox & Addington Association

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

 

It’s the beginning of November and everyone is preparing their calves, putting together projects and making sure all their school work is done. To me the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is one of the most exciting times of the year. The smell of cinnamon buns as you walk through the shops or the smell of cattle spray it all makes the Royal very exciting.

 

I have been attending the Royal since I was a child and I have grown to love it more and more each year I attend. The first year I ever showed an animal at the Royal it was my 4-H rabbit in 2009 and that was an amazing experience. I then began showing cows and my biggest goal was to make it to the Royal. In 2013 my second year in the dairy club my chance to go to the Royal had finally came. I came home every weekend from school to work with my calf to prepare for the show ring. The night before the Royal I was bathing my calf in the freezing cold but it was totally worth it. That weekend was one of the best experiences I have had the Royal. All of the hard work that is put in all summer and fall finally pays off when you walk into the Ricoh Coliseum with the bright lights and the judges standing in the middle of the ring. The feeling of achievement doesn’t even begin to describe that feeling after you come out of that ring and you have just done the best you have ever done showing no matter if you are first or last. I have met many people through 4-H and the Royal is always a great chance to see people I normally don’t get to see over the year.

 

This year I got the privilege to go to the Royal as a 4-H Ambassador. I attended the Royal for three days and out of those three days I got to be an Ambassador for two of them. For the first day I watched the opening ceremonies for the 4-H beef show and I also walked around and talked to lots of people. Later in the day I had a shift at the 4-H booth where I got to talk to 4-H leaders and members and the general public. I even saw famous people in Ben Mulroney and Amber Marshall from the CBC show Heartland. The next day I watched some of the TD Dairy Classic and I had another shift at the 4-H booth. I got to run a game for children where they picked an object out of a basket of corn then I would ask them a question about the object and then they got a prize of either a sticker or a pencil. Many school groups came and played the game that day and they all got to learn about agriculture.

 

Over the years I have had many great experiences at the Royal whether it’s making new friends, catching up with old ones, shopping or showing. In the future I look forward to showing again and meeting many new people. I encourage all 4-H members to take a hold of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and try to get involved as much as possible. I believe the Royal is a great place for all ages to learn about agriculture. I encourage everyone at some point to go and check it out you won’t regret it.

 

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.