Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s celebrate with a 4-H Love Story

It’s Valentine’s Day and that means love is in the air.  The grocery stores are filled with pink and red candies and chocolates, card stores are bursting at the seams with quirky and sentimental cards, and 4-H Ontario is celebrating by sharing a 4-H Love Story.

Yup, you heard read that right, a 4-H Love Story. I will confess, ever since I started working for 4-H Ontario I’ve been waiting for the right moment to share a 4-H Hollywood like love story because there are so many of them! Call me a hopeless romantic but I just can’t help it. Nothing gets me going more than a real life romance.

Today I’m going to share the story of Beth and Scott Wilson. Beth was gracious enough to chat with me and share their 4-H story so thank you Beth. Their story warms my heart, and I hope it brings you a little 4-H joy as well. Happy Valentine’s Day from all the staff at 4-H Ontario!

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Beth and Scott met at 4-H Ontario’s Provincial Leadership Camp in March of 1987. At this time, there was a waiting list for Provincial Leadership Camp so they had to pass through an interview process to be chosen to attend. Lucky for the two of them, they were both selected. Because Beth was from Carleton West and Scott was from Durham West, their paths definitely wouldn’t have crossed otherwise.

Beth and Scott became great friends at Provincial Leadership Camp. “4-H was our common ground and it was the thing that brought us together,” Beth explained. Beth and Scott both made a bunch of other friends at camp that week and everyone promised to stay in touch after returning to their hometowns. And of course, that’s exactly what they did.

So Beth and Scott returned to their respective homes and they wrote letters back and forth to keep their friendship going. Scott would occasionally be in Beth’s hometown for work (he bought Heifers) and when he was, Beth’s family graciously gave him a place to stay. Their friendship grew stronger and they continued writing to one another, occasionally seeing each other, for five years! How cute is that?

Now, I would suspect from how the rest of this story unfolds that Scott had a secret crush on Beth. One day, after Beth recently broke up with her boyfriend, Scott asked her to accompany him to a cow auction in her area, Beth, happy to spend time with her friend, obliged. After spending a great day together, which included acquiring two Heifers, Scott turned to her on their drive home and asked her to go out with him.

“This totally caught me by surprise!” shared Beth. “Of course, I said no at first because we were good friends and I didn’t want to ruin our friendship.”

Scott, being the persistent fellow that he is, told Beth she had one week to think it over and he would ask her again at that point. This is where my secret crush theory comes in. His perfect timing and persistence totally leads one to think that he was pinning for her these past few years and was just waiting for the right moment.

Anyways, a week later Scott was back in Carleton and Beth, after thinking long and hard about this situation, made a bold move of asking him out to dinner. Fast forward ten months later, and they’re married! Beth and Scott will be married for 20 years this year and they have three amazing children together.

“We’re very thankful that 4-H was able to bring us together. I just can’t imagine being married to anyone else other than my best friend,” Beth said.

4-H’r Holly Brown shares her story

Love comes in various forms. There’s companionship, friendship, romantic love and family bonds. Of course, there’s also the love that comes with caring for and nurturing animals.

The relationships people form with animals are unique and special. Animal ownership is a sometimes difficult, but always rewarding task. For many, owning an animal allows for better self understanding, and the various experiences one goes through with their animal fuels personal growth and maturation. This was definitely the case for 4-H Member, Holly Brown.

Holly is the oldest Member in the Haldimand 4-H Minature Horse Club. Last year, Holly took on a challenging task to set a good example for younger Members and inspire them to challenge themselves in 4-H. Instead of using her well-trained miniature gelding for the Club’s practice horse show, Holly choose to work with her completely untrained two year old filly. Read on to hear Holly’s account of this experience.

Enjoy!

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August 6, 2011 was the day of our annual Haldimand 4-H Miniature Horse Club practice show. This year since I’m the oldest Member in the Club, and have the most experience, I decided to use a different horse as my project horse. The last few years I’ve used our very quiet, well trained miniature gelding. He knows what he’s doing, he does it all and he’s wonderful. I didn’t think it was for myself, the oldest Member with the most experience to use a horse like him, so I decided to use my 2-year-old filly who has never done anything before I bought her and is just learning how to do showmanship. Her attention span is short, she’s young, spirited, and doesn’t like to listen; she has a mind of her own. O no what did I get myself into is what I asked myself after our first training session, But I was determined; I worked with her and her young fiest attitude. There were times, too many times, when I almost went running back to my little well behaved gelding, or I though about picking another horse out of my herd, I do have 12 to pick from, why did I pick her? But for some reason I couldn’t actually bring myself to use a different horse, just thought about it. I had faith in her.

August 6 came too fast; I was worried that we weren’t ready. All these young Members were watching me, looking up to me; they knew that they could learn fro me, what if I made a complete fool of myself? First class was mine, the senior showmanship class; all the young Members were at the sidelines watching. And then something clicked in my little filly and everything I had tried to teach her she actually did learn! She was wonderful, we did our pattern perfectly. Not one mistake, the best I had ever done with any horse. We did it, all my hard work had paid off. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. We received first place and the judge had wonderful comments for me. I’m so proud of my hard work with my feisty filly.

The above excerpt was written by Holly Brown. Holly is a senior 4-H Member in the Haldimand Association. She has been in 4-H for seven years and has completed 15 projects. Holly’s project interests are horses and rabbits.

4-H Ontario Alumni Profile: Right Time, Right Place

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with 4-H Ontario Alumnus Brian Carscadden. Brian is a Sire Analyst for Semex and he’s actively involved in about a million different judging opportunities. Ok, maybe a million is a bit of an exaggeration but you catch my drift.

Brian is one of those warm and amazing people who you feel instantly comfortable with. Over the course of our conversation the one thing that stuck with me the most was the story he told about his favourite 4-H memory, which was a trip to the Hays Contact Classic in 1983. Check out the article below to read about Brian’s favourite 4-H memory (it’s a good one, I promise) and learn his 4-H story.

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At the young age of 14, Brian Carscadden travelled with his Ayrshire calf to a competition for 4-H dairy Club Members called the Hays Contact Classic in Markham, Ontario. This spur of the moment trip was quite nerve wracking for this young 4-H’r. “I was the lone representative from Russell County,” Brian shares, “I was incredibly scared, nervous and shy.” Now, Brian looks back on this experience as a pivotal moment in his life. It was on this day that Brian met one of his mentors, Lowell Lindsay and to top it all off, this rookie took home first place in Junior Showmanship with Lowell as the judge. “I hardly remember yesterday but I remember that,” Brian says.

1983 Hays Contact Classic

Brian, second from the right, at the Hays Contact Classic in 1983. His mentor, Lowell Lindsay, is on the far left

This 4-H Alumnus now works for Semex, a world-renowned bovine genetics company, as a Sire Analyst. He developed an interest in judging, analysis and sire acquisitions after being exposed to the industry through 4-H, his work on his parent’s farm and industry role models, including Lowell. Brian was interviewed and hired for United Breeders Inc. and eventually Semex by Lowell immediately after he graduated from the University of Guelph’s Animal Science program.

Brian has had tremendous success as a Sire Analyst and dairy cattle judge. His expertise is in high demand and his judging assignments have taken him to over 20 international destinations. This 4-H Alumnus is extremely well respected globally for his outstanding judging skills and he attributes a great deal of his success to 4-H.

“To be successful in my field you have to have a good knowledge of the industry, good knowledge of what a good cow should look like, as well as strong communication and people skills,” Brian explains. “Early on in my 4-H career we had to do demonstrations. My brother and I were taken under the wing of an older 4-H’r and we were very successful with it [demonstrations]. That early experience of having to stand in front of people and speak really shaped who I am today and I truly believe that.” Brian’s involvement in 4-H dairy clubs also taught him skills in judging, showmanship and communication, which are all imperative in his field.

Brian recognizes the importance of strong mentors and leaders in youth development. Even with his busy schedule Brian still volunteers his time to help groom the next generation of agriculture leaders. For the last two years he’s helped prepare young Wellington dairy 4-H’rs for showmanship competitions at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “I feel like I have something to offer and I want to be a positive influence,” Brian says. Brian also helps youth improve their showmanship skills during competitions; he’s well known within the 4-H dairy community for taking extra time and care with each competitor to provide constructive feedback.

Between international judging assignments, a flourishing career, and spending time with his family, he hopes to find time to lead a 4-H Club in the future.  For now, 4-H’rs can continue to benefit from his superb judging skills and helpful feedback. Good thing Brian worked up the courage to travel to the Hays Contact Classic.

Carscadden Family Photo

Brian with his wife Linda and their three children

Welcome!

Hello everyone and welcome to 4-H Folklore! 4-H Folklore is a place to tell your 4-H story. This blog is dedicated to sharing each 4-H’rs unique experience. From camps and conferences to favourite memories, this blog will reveal the happy, sad, challenging and hilarious stories that make 4-H, 4-H. Devour these pages to read stories from Members, Volunteers, Leaders, Alumni, Council, Foundation and 4-H Ontario Staff. Get to know the amazing people that have shaped 4-H Ontario into the organization it is today.

If you would like more information on 4-H Folklore, including the Code of Conduct and details for how you can get involved in this unique online space, please click on the “About” tab at the top of this page and have a glance at its content.

Nikki and I look forward to blogging with you!