Sarah Danen the 2019 Recipient of the Maryn Pardy Scholarship

Submitted by Laura Green

At the Southern Area Women’s Institute 105th Convention held in Keystone Complex, Shedden on Oct. 5th, the Maryn Pardy Scholarship for an active 4-H member in Southern Area Women’s Institute area was awarded to Sarah Danen. Sarah is enrolled in the first year of the Agricultural Business programme, University of Guelph. She is a very active 4-H member with Oxford 4-H clubs and has completed over 30 agriculture and life skills projects, attended Provincial camps and participated in one 4-H Canada exchange. She is a graduate from Waterloo Oxford Secondary School. Sarah was the 2018/19 Tavistock Fair Ambassador, is an active member of the Oxford County Junior Farmers, Step dances and works with her family on their dairy farm in the Tavistock area. Making the presentation to Sarah is Southern Area Scholarship chairperson Rie Van Steeg.

The Ambassador Beat: Christie Annett

4-H Helped Me Become Who I Am Today

By Christie Annett

My name is Christie Annett, I am 21 years old from the Lambton 4-H Association. This has been a pretty busy year for me with 4-H; I am a member, youth leader, leader and a 2019 4-H Ambassador. I have been in 4-H since 2007 and after 12 years I have been reflecting on my time as a 4-H’er. I am beginning to realize the impact that it has had on my life.  4-H has not only been a place for me to make friends with similar interests but it has given me the tools I needed to be successful in life.

I credit 4-H with being the place that started me down the path to finding my career in working with horses. I come from a beef and cash crop farming background but have always been far more interested in horses. My mom signed me up for the horse club my first year in 4-H. This was the first time that I touched a horse! It was an extremely memorable year for me, I showed my first horse, watched the RCMP musical ride, and learned something new and exciting every meeting! I won top member and top project that year, along with some other awards. For me, this was the beginning of an unforgettable journey.

After that first year in 4-H I took it further and started riding and competing on my own. I’ve tried out a few different disciplines to see what I liked best like: Western pleasure, dressage, jumping, before I decided that barrel racing and gaming was for me. After graduating from high school, I decided to take riding one step further and completed the University of Guelph’s Performance Horse Handler Program. I now work at Canada’s largest standardbred horse breeding facility. My favourite job is foaling out horses. Bringing an animal into the world is something truly special that I am honoured to have an opportunity to do. At work we keep the horses until they are a year old. During that first year, it is my job to break and train the babies. This was a learning curve for me when I first began because I had never dealt with horses that young and green before. I often wonder what I would be doing in my life now if I was never given the opportunity to find and explore my passion at such a young age.

Last year, I knew I had enough knowledge to resurrect the 4-H Horse Club in Lambton County (the same club started me out on my journey). I wanted to share all of the knowledge and enthusiasm for both 4H and horses, my goal was to help kids explore their interest in horses, and maybe even inspire someone with my story. I also started a club because I know how important 4-H was for me in finding out what I wanted to do with my life and how important it was for me in general. All of the clubs I have completed whether it be life skills or agriculture, have taught me something different about myself. I hope that my club gets kids excited to learn more about horses and find out what horses and the horse industry can do for them. If it’s only a club that they’re in for a year, I hope that they find that they learn something new about themselves and have fun participating.

4-H Ontario Ambassador speaks to hundreds about innovation in the future of ag

By Laura Goulding

Congratulations to 4-H Ontario Ambassador Michaella Snyder who was selected as one of the 2019 youth speakers at the Growmark Annual Meeting and Agribusiness Symposium in Chicago this August. At the “Ideas Grow Here” themed annual meeting, Michaella spoke to approximately 800 people about her experience with innovation in agriculture and the innovations she feel will move agriculture into the future.

“This was an amazing learning opportunity and I am so thankful that I was able to go and represent 4-H Ontario at such a large event,” says Michaella. She spoke about improvements that her and her family had made to the maple syrup production on their farm that improved their yield and decreased the physical labour associated with production.

To prepare for this event, Michaella worked with Growmark and a speech coach which she described as an amazing opportunity all on its own. Michaella also gave credit to the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program for helping her grow her confidence in public speaking since this past March. “I was surprised to find that before I spoke in Chicago I was not as scared as I thought I would be. I was nervous but I was also equally as excited about speaking. This was due to the wonderful support and resources that I got from Growmark and the support and experience that I had from 4-H,” says Michaella. “A huge thanks to Janice Johnson and Growmark for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

From left to right: Nic Webber, Michaella Snyder, Janice Johnson, John Johnson

While in Chicago, not only did Michaella have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers at the event and see the impact Growmark and FS has in agriculture, but she also had the chance to explore the city. Along with two other delegates from Ontario, Michaella went on an architectural tour on the river, saw the city from a ferris wheel on the pier, visited the Willis tower all the way up to the Skydeck, and ate all the deep dish pizza that she could – “a whopping two pieces.”

Michaella, you did an excellent job of representing yourself, your family, 4-H and Growmark professionally and with confidence. Congratulations from all of us at 4-H.

The Prince Edward 4-H Association Tree Sale – A True Example of Learning To Do By Doing

By Laura Squires

All 4-H’ers, no matter if you are a member, volunteer or alumni, know the importance of ‘Learn To Do By Doing’. Because of this, it’s no surprise that when the Prince Edward 4-H Association hosted their second Tree Sale Fundraiser they were completely sold out in less then an hour!

With the help of a dozen 4-H members and volunteers, the Prince Edward 4-H Association sold 1375 trees and raised about $1,700 to support their association. The 4-H members hand out the seedlings and label the trees, so people know what they bought, and the volunteers help set up and organize the sale and clean up.

“We provide a service for the environment and it gives 4-H members and volunteers a chance to work together as a team,” says Lynn Ward, Prince Edward 4-H Association Board Member.  “Everyone learns about the seedlings and where they grow and because of this, become more concerned about the environment,” says Lynn.

The Prince Edward 4-H Association started doing the tree sale in 2018 after the Prince Edward Land Stewardship had difficulty recruiting volunteers for their committee and asked if 4-H would be interested in taking it over. Lynn took part in the 4-H Forestry Club as a member and had helped the Land Stewardship with the sale in 2017, so she thought it would be a great opportunity to not only raise funds for the Prince Edward 4-H Association, but to help the environment and provide 4-H youth with a chance to help their community.

In their first year, Prince Edward 4-H took two days to sell out of trees and after some review and evaluation, made changes to help the event become more successful. They changed some of the species of seedlings they sold, decreased the number of trees on their order, and promoted the fundraiser on social media and through the local newspaper. This year they sold even more trees in less time! Now that’s ‘learning to do by doing’ at its finest!

Prince Edward 4-H is looking forward to their next fundraiser. Mark your calendars, the 2020 Prince Edward 4-H Association Tree Sale will take place on Saturday May 2!

 

 

The Ambassador Beat: Rose Danen

 

Getting Schooled – Balancing 4-H and University

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Rose (that’s me giving you the thumbs up!) and I am one of the 2019 4-H Ontario Ambassadors. I’m also a university student and managing to be an ambassador at the same time.

I love being a part of 4-H, and last fall school got in the way of doing what I loved. With homework, assignments, and classes, I didn’t know how I was going to make time to complete any projects. I’m going to school in Ottawa which is an 8-hour train ride from my home 4-H Association and any 4-H clubs close to campus were about a two-hour drive away.

So, I made some difficult decisions. I didn’t do a single life skills club over the winter – something completely uncharacteristic of me. I chose to not participate in my local dairy club for the first time in ten years because I wouldn’t be able to train my calf as well as I’d like to, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get home for my achievement day. I was most upset that I wouldn’t have the chance to go to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Senior 4-H’ers can feel overwhelmed as they start their post-secondary education, and this can influence their involvement in 4-H. I remember wondering why there were no senior members in my clubs. I would talk to my 4-H friends and they would tell me that they were facing the same challenges as me. Moving away from home and taking on new responsibilities has proven to be a challenge for many of us.

So, what can we do? Do we give up our last eligible years as a 4-Her? I think not! While this really is challenging, I know that 4-H’ers are full of perseverance. We ‘learn to do by doing’! We learn how to organize our schedules and juggle our responsibilities. It may be difficult, but many of my friends are doing both school and 4-H, and now, so am I.

Making 4-H A Priority

At some point, I couldn’t take it anymore. I would sit at ringside watching my friends show their 4-H calves, itching to jump in there and wrap my hand around a leather halter and stare down the judge. My siblings would bring home decorated cakes and barn quilts from their meetings. It was hard to watch and not be involved.

So, I decided to come back to 4-H. I decided to only do one club so that I didn’t overwhelm myself. My leaders were really understanding and helped me along the way. They gave me opportunities to make up missed meetings and were considerate of my needs. I’m also heavily relying on the support of my family to get my club completed, most notably my sister and my mother who will be looking after my calf when I return to school in the fall. And thank goodness for that extra support, because I also decided to get involved with 4-H in another big way.

Becoming an Ambassador

Last winter, I received an email from one of my 4-H mentors. “Become a 4-H Ambassador,” it said, “You’ll be good at it,”. I had no idea how I would even manage such a huge responsibility! Would I have the time? How would I get to events? But it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I took the plunge.

I put in my application, and a month later I was sitting in front of a computer screen in Ottawa, doing an interview over video chat. The rest is history. Since then I went to the ambassador training my reading week and my summer has been packed full of events. I’m even going for a two-hour bus ride from campus to the Metcalfe Fair in the fall!

I am so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you to everyone who has pushed me to make time to be an ambassador and to FS for their sponsorship that makes the ambassador program possible. The program has already taught me so much and I’m sure there are many more lessons to come. I’ve already learned that time management is key and that you’re never too busy for the things you care about, and I care about 4-H a lot!

The Takeaway

Yes, balancing school and 4-H can be difficult, but not impossible! If you persevere and manage your time well, you can continue to be involved in 4-H. Some days it may be overwhelming, and on those days look to your community to support you. At the end of the day all that matters is that you continue to ‘learn to do by doing’ and that you love what you do!

 

From seed to sugar, Chatham-Kent 4-H celebrates the Sugarbeet!

By Stephanie Campbell

Chatham-Kent’s Sugarbeet Production Club sure knows a thing or two about a “Sweet” 4-H Club! From seed to sugar, this club learns about the process of growing sugarbeets, diseases their crop might encounter, preparing a sugarbeet sample, cooking with sugar, and more! Rob and Maureen McKerrall took it upon themselves to reintroduce the Sugarbeet Club to Chatham-Kent following its initial start in 1930 as the “Better Sugar Beet Club” where boys learned how to grow better sugar beets.

A trip to the Michigan Sugar Company processing plant in Croswell, Michigan to see the process of how beets are transformed into sugar, has been a highlight of this club! Members will wrap up their year by participating in the Highgate Fair by submitting a sugarbeet sample, consisting of three (3) hand picked “prized” beets! To compete, members dig the beets out of the ground, they are washed, clipped and mounted on a coat hanger for presentation at the fair.

The local sugarbeet seed sales representatives: the Dover sugarbeet piling station, agronomists and Michigan Sugar Company have assisted in the development of this club in the Chatham-Kent area. The Chatham-Kent Sugarbeet Club is the only Canadian Club to participate in Michigan Sugar Company’s Youth Project.

Whether these members are returning to their farms to push the sugar content of their beets, increase poundage or cook new recipes with sugar, this club has brought them together to celebrate a locally grown product that we all enjoy!

For the Browns, PLC is more than just a camp but the beginning of a lifetime of happiness

By Laura Squires

Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp (PLC) is a family tradition in many households and holds fond memories for all. For Brianne and Chris Brown, it is a moment that is held dearly in their hearts and marks the beginning of a lifetime of love.   

Brianne grew up in Dufferin County and was a very active 4-H member. “There’s not much that 4-H offers that I haven’t done” says Brianne. In her first year of 4-H she won the most outstanding first year member award after completing eight projects. Needless to say, she was hooked. Brianne participated in various clubs from Dairy, Sheep, Fitness and many others until the time she was 21. Chris lived in Bruce County and was also heavily involved in 4-H. He took part in several clubs including Dairy, Beef and various home making clubs with his sisters, up until the time he was also 21.

In the winter of 1998, Brianne was in her final year of high school and had planned to go to Florida with one of her friends for March Break. She had never travelled outside of the country before and she was really looking forward to spending a week relaxing on the beach. However fate had other ideas; her Mom had received a phone call from a 4-H Volunteer asking if Brianne would be interested in attending PLC that March Break and without consulting Brianne her Mom immediately signed her up.

On the first day of PLC, Brianne and Chris met and on that same day, both received acceptance letters to the University of Guelph for the same program and found out they would be spending the next four years of their lives together. Over the course of the camp, Brianne and Chris had the opportunity to spend some time together but it wasn’t until the final evening that they really had the chance to connect and the rest is history.

Since then, Brianne and Chris have shared many small and big moments alongside one another. They began dating shortly after PLC, went to Prom with one another, began their post-secondary careers together and five years later were engaged. They wed one month after their university graduation and soon started a family. Brianne and Chris have five children: Carter, 14, Payten, 13, Cohen, 11, Griffin, 9 and Chase, 7.

Today, Brianne and Chris own a dairy farm in Yarker, ON and are a part of the Frontenac 4-H Association where they are volunteers and almost all their children are members. They are actively involved in the Dairy club and have seven 4-H calves on their farm this year.

On July 19, 2019, Brianne and Chris are celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary. Please join us in congratulating this wonderful couple and celebrating their love of each other and connection to 4-H!

 

Haldimand 4-H Association members put their skills to the test at annual judging competition

By: Kendra Saxton 

Each year, the Ontario Mutuals Insurance Association gives each 4-H Association the opportunity to apply for a $250 grant to support a local project or program. The Ontario Mutuals Grant Application Program is opened to 4-H Associations in the hopes that the financial support will assist in new project innovations or strengthen and develop an existing program.

One association particularly looking forward to this opportunity is the Haldimand 4-H Association. The association holds an annual judging competition for all of its members, and this year’s event was exceptionally successful. On Monday, June 10, 2019, the Haldimand 4-H Association welcomed its members to the competition, held at the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association in Jarvis, Ontario.

This year, over 150 members and 30 screened volunteers, along with additional volunteers and parents practiced their judging techniques and had a blast doing so. The evening began with a pizza dinner accompanied by fresh veggies and chocolate milk, allowing everyone to mingle before the competition started. After dinner, the members judged multiple different categories of objects including classes of lawnmowers, school lunches, sunscreen and bacon, and were asked to give thoughtful reasoning behind their decisions. To ensure that the members could make decisions amongst their peers, they were divided into four groups: novice, junior, intermediate and senior. Everyone had a fun-filled evening despite the weather being a little dreary.

At the conclusion of the judging competition, the members were given well-deserved ice cream treats as they awaited the official placing results. The results were then sent to all the screened volunteers in order to share their success with the rest of their members. The winners of each of the four groups have another event to look forward to in January 2020 in Fisherville, Ontario, as they will be presented with their awards at the Annual Banquet and yearend wrap up. The members of the Haldimand 4-H Association came together for a group photo with the OMIA logo, and received a nod of recognition as the photo was featured in their local newspaper, The Haldimand Press.

The Haldimand 4-H Association sees immense value in this event because it helps their members develop their public speaking and decision-making skills, and provides them with the ability and confidence to explain their reasoning. Hopefully the dedication and passion that the Haldimand 4-H Association shows towards their event will inspire other Associations to consider submitting a project of their own!

 

4-H Club extends their hands to larger service at 2019 Relay for Life

By: Kendra Saxton 

According to statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society “Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.” Chances are, each and every Canadian has been touched by cancer in some way, whether that means living with the disease yourself or knowing friends or family who have been affected. For most people, the fact that half of Canadians may be faced with the life-altering news that they or someone they love has cancer is devastating. For the Oxford Community 4-H Club, these numbers gave them the motivation to show that we are all bigger than cancer.

On Friday, June 14, 2019, the Oxford Community 4-H Club participated in the 2019 Relay for Life event in Woodstock, Ontario. Relay for Life is a special fundraising initiative started by the Canadian Cancer Society and has been changing the future of cancer for more than 20 years. During the 6-12 hour event, participants take turns walking around a track in support of those living with cancer and to remember those who have lost their lives. At least one person from each team is asked to be on the track at all times and walk in support of those currently living with cancer, representing that nobody is alone in their journey. While off the track, participants have the chance to enjoy other activities and entertainment and even design a luminary to honour the loved ones they have lost.

This is the 13th year this Community 4-H Club has taken part in the Woodstock Relay for Life, the first event dating back to 2007. In 2006, many of the Oxford 4-H Exchange members became very good friends, resulting in Shonna Ward, a member of the Club making the decision to participate in this initiative shortly after. One of the members of the Oxford 4-H Exchange, Katrina Hart, had called Ward and asked her if she would consider being a chaperone for the Relay for Life team. Hart’s mother, who had been the chaperone for the exchange, promised she would participate if Ward would. That was all the persuasion Ward needed to join forces with Hart’s mother, partnering as chaperones for the Community 4-H Club team. Many of the team members were from across Oxford County and this resulted in the creation of the team name “Community 4-H Club.” Several siblings from the original team still participate in Relay for Life along with all the new members.

The Community 4-H Club team is truly special because all of its members have been affected by cancer and are committed to making a difference and continuing to be good community citizens.

The amount of support and dedication the Community 4-H Club gave to the cause this year was exceptional. In this year’s relay, eleven members aged 10-21 and three volunteers participated in their event from 6pm to 12am, all with the purpose of raising money for cancer research that will help find a cure and supporting those affected by cancer. The team committed to buying 100 luminaries to light and line the track with as well as walking 180km in total as a team. The Community 4-H Club accomplished just that and made the outstanding achievement of raising a team total of $14,200 for the 2019 Relay for Life, crushing their target goal of $11,000! Over the past seven years, the team has raised over $10,000 annually through hard work and vast fundraising efforts. Over 13 years of participating in The Relay for Life, the Community 4-H Club has raised a grand total of $129,000!

The team would not have been able to raise these funds if it weren’t for their tireless work within their community. In addition to Relay for Life, the team raises funds year-round and has been fundraising since July 2018. Ward believes that the key learning members take away from their club is how working with local organizations can create real change towards a larger goal.

The team has assisted in roadside cleanups with Hickson Lions Club and Tavistock Men’s Club, and helped Oxford Junior Farmers with a cleanup at Roth Park. They also collect electronic scrap, used pop cans and other recyclable materials and send it to local recycling programs to be cashed in. Additional work included helping at the Oxford 4-H pancake fundraiser and selling pop and water, and assisting with set up at the Embro Truck & Tractor Pull. Instead of just asking for pledges, the members work hard to receive a donation, they find the community work proves to be equally as rewarding.

While the 2019 event was an incredible success, the fight does not stop here. Today, we must all continue to celebrate cancer survivors, support those who live with cancer, and also honour the legacy of our loved ones, friends and family, who we have lost. We will continue to relay off the track, stand together and support each other so that no one feels alone in the face of cancer. Today and every day, we will work together as a community and change the future of cancer, through growing awareness, raising money for cancer research, and ultimately finding a cure. The Community 4-H Club yet again proves that the bond of communities can be an unstoppable and powerful force.

Country Music, Racecars, Prizes and More at KubotaFEST 2019

By: Kendra Saxton 

May 29 was not a typical Wednesday at Kubota Canada Ltd. as they were gearing up for a special event. Food trucks claimed their space early in the morning as vendors and Kubota sponsored partners followed closely behind. The booming of the speakers for sound checks filled the air as the final touches of the stage set-up came to a close. A few special guests were set to make their appearances, hoping to catch the surprise of the audience, and have a lot of fun too. 

Since announcing a new partnership with Kubota Canada Ltd. last year, 4-H Ontario has continued to positively grow their corporate relationship and was given the exciting opportunity to attend KubotaFEST Canada in Markham, Ontario.

Rob Allison, National Brand Manager for Kubota Canada Ltd. wanted to host this event to bring together all of their corporate sponsorship partners to meet, greet and celebrate. 4-H Ontario’s Manager, Corporate Giving and Philanthropy, Katherine Smart attended the event with Carrie Purcell, York 4-H Association Representative and 4-H Ontario Council Board Member, and proudly represented 4-H at their very own booth. They were able to speak with other sponsors and share information about 4-H and further spread the 4-H message.

Alongside 4-H Ontario, multiple other Kubota Canada partners including Olympic Gold Medalist Brad Gushue and country singer Gord Bamford attended the event and held autograph sessions and performances throughout the day. An important fundraising effort was also made as Kubota Canada Ltd. sold raffle tickets during the day to raise money for the Gord Bamford Foundation – a not for profit organization that specializes in supporting youth across the country. Kubota Canada Ltd. selflessly agreed to match all the money raised at the event and encouraged all partners and vendors to make a donation. 

There were many activities offered at the event such as axe throwing and the chance for kids to sit in a real racecar. People vied for exciting prizes and giveaways and enjoyed one (or two) beavertails while they watched a performance by Gord Bamford. A special shout-out goes to George Bailey of Kubota who won the 4-H Prize at the event!

Katherine Smart happily recalls that her highlight of the day was watching Rob Allison get up on stage and play on Gord Bamford’s guitar as they performed together.

The KubotaFEST gave each sponsorship partner a sign of appreciation and thanks, but most importantly created many long-lasting memorable moments. Special thanks to Kubota Canada Ltd. for inviting 4-H Ontario to KubotaFEST, being wonderful hosts and for being our amazing Corporate Partner!