From 4-H’r to RCMP Officer: A 4-H Alumni Story

This week, I’d like to take the time to share another 4-H Alumni story. With the hundredth anniversary right around the corner, now is a perfect time to revisit the roots of 4-H and see what 4-H has meant to its many past Members and Volunteers.

This story was submitted by Dwight Blok. A big thank you goes out to Dwight for taking the time to share his 4-H story. Read on to learn why 4-H was an important part of this RCMP Officer’s early years.


From 4-H’r to RCMP Officer: A 4-H Alumni Story
By Dwight Blok

Dwight BlokI joined 4-H in 1976, in the District of Cochrane South.  4-H in my area was centered around the Agricultural Society Office in Matheson, Ontario, and I recall there were only a few of clubs at the time.  The predominate one was the Beef Club, given the agricultural make up of the area.

There were some large and respected beef operators in those years whose families were committed 4-H supporters, including my own. In fact there were times when kids from town would join, but didn’t have a calf to show at the fall fair or other types of support from their families.  That was never an obstacle and we made sure that anyone who wanted to join could and did.

Looking back, 4-H gave us experiences and taught us in real and practical terms valuable life skills and lessons such as the importance of volunteerism, community spirit and support, as well as leadership.  In other words “Learn to do by doing”, as the 4-H motto goes!

These “Learn To Do By Doing” experiences were facilitated by 4-H role models and leaders. I remember these individuals very well, and the important role they played as role models, leaders, and supporters of 4-H.  To this day, they remain the ‘unsung’ heroes of the program. The time they gave to youth and the 4-H program had quite the significant impact, one that was beyond their years.

Reflecting on the experience, 4-H is an excellent organization that allowed me to undertake a range of leadership roles at a very early age.  There were many events that I attended and they were great learning adventures.  I ended my 4-H days in 1982 and went to university the following year.

From university, I decided to join the RCMP.  I was first posted to Northern Manitoba for the next five years in isolated and remote communities near Hudson Bay.  I was then transferred to different types of both uniform and plain clothes duties in and around Winnipeg for a number of years.  Ironically, Manitoba is where 4-H started in Canada in 1913, and little did I realize that the exact area where it started was about an hour away from where I lived!  That said, I found myself being transferred back to my “home” province of Ontario a few years ago, commissioned as an Inspector.

Throughout my career in the RCMP so much of what 4-H stands for and holds true came forth years later and played a central role in many activities and programs that I’ve participated in and lead.  Little did I realize then, but all those things that I experienced at a young age in 4-H became my foundation for a career that no one could have fully predicted in the 1970’s!  These skills included team collaboration, community involvement, independent learning, and mentorship, to name a few. 4-H, its “Learn To Do By Doing” motto, and the outstanding Leaders and role models that assisted with Clubs and 4-H events all played a role in who I am today.

Share Your 4-H Story4-H Ontario’s Alumni program is funded through a Promotional Partnership with Hyland Seeds, including the position of 4-H Ontario’s Coordinator, Alumni Services. Hyland Seeds is passionate about agriculture and believes in supporting the people who are deeply rooted in the agricultural industry; dedication to 4-H is proof of this commitment. Thank you Hyland Seeds!

A Turks and Caicos Dream Dinner Lottery Experience

The 4-H Ontario Dream Dinner Lottery (Lottery Licence #M644571 Licensee: Ontario 4-H Council) provides the opportunity to win a trip for two anywhere in the world. In 2011, the grand prize winner for the Dream Dinner Lottery (Lottery Licence #M644562 Licensee: Ontario 4-H Council) was Patricia Giles. Patricia purchased a ticket after her cousin Nadine suggested she do so. Because Nadine’s persuasion was instrumental in the purchase of Patricia’s winning ticket, she decided Nadine would be her +1 for the Dream Dinner. Read on to learn about Patricia and Nadine’s Dream Dinner experience!


Winning the Dream Dinner Lottery was a first for Patricia Giles. “I can win $5 on a scratch ticket but I’ve never won something like this!” she exclaimed. With the help of their travel agent, Judy Anger,  Patricia and her cousin, Nadine selected The Verandah resort in Turks and Caicos as their destination of choice. “We knew we wanted to go somewhere hot, and somewhere special,” explained Nadine. When Judy mentioned that the resort was on one of the top ten beaches in the world, and showed them pictures of this luxurious destination, the Dream Dinner Lottery winners knew this would be the special trip they were after. Nadine and Patricia used their winnings to extend their stay from the weekend to a one week trip.

From start to finish Patricia and Nadine’s trip was nothing short of luxurious. “The entire trip was just extraordinary for us,” Nadine explained. They started off their Dream Dinner experience by flying first class. “Flying first class was a real treat!” said Nadine. “There was real silverware and china, and anything we wanted to drink. It was wonderful! We had never done that before.”

Once they arrived at The Verandah, their extraordinary experience continued. “When they took us to our room it just blew our minds!” shared Nadine. “We were in awe of the room we had. Everything was marble, stainless steel and oak. It was furnished so beautifully it was unbelievable.”

Once settled in to their suite, Patricia and Nadine spent their week at The Verandah lounging by the pool, swimming in the ocean, and eating fabulous meals. They were lucky to have a pool not more then 10 feet away from their room. “The pool was often empty so we mostly had it to ourselves. It was absolutely amazing, we could not believe it,” shared Nadine.

Patricia and Nadine
Patricia, left, and Nadine, right, enjoying dinner at The Verandah

The beach also lived up to it’s reputation. “The beach was just pristine and gorgeous. The sand was very deep and white. The ocean was a beautiful turquoise. It was post card picture perfect,” said Nadine.

Their entire Dream Dinner Lottery experience was one they will never forget. When asked what their most memorable moment was Nadine said that it was a tie between flying first class and that initial jaw dropping moment when they saw their room. “This trip was very special, and it was something we wouldn’t have been able to do without winning the Dream Dinner Lottery. This place really was just extraordinary,” Nadine said. Thank you Patricia and Nadine for sharing your Dream Dinner Lottery story .

Tickets for the 2012 Dream Dinner Lottery are on sale now. More information about the lottery, and terms and conditions can be found here >

Anne Arksey’s 4-H Story

As part of the development of our new 4-H Ontario Alumni Program, which is funded through a Promotional Partnership with Hyland Seeds, including the position of 4-H Ontario’s Coordinator, Alumni Services, we’ve been asking 4-H Alumni across the province to share their 4-H story.

Share Your 4-H Story

Today I’d like to share Anne Arksey’s 4-H story. Anne was both a 4-H Member and Volunteer during her tenure with 4-H. Like many 4-H’rs across Ontario, the program had a big impact on Anne’s life. Thank you Anne for taking the time to share your story.

Remember, whether you are a Member, Volunteer or Alumni, we would love to hear your 4-H story. Don’t be shy, give us a call or email and tell us what 4-H means to you.


“Learn To Do By Doing”
By Anne Arksey

My first 4-H project was sewing my own dress when I was twelve years old.  I had looked forward to my first 4-H Club with excitement since 12 was the magic age when you could join a club back in 1968 .  I attended the Minesing Club which was led by Mrs. Isabel Downey, and all of the girls were older than me.  After that first club, my mother, Mrs. Dorothy C. Giffen, and her friend, Mrs. Mabel Maw, started a club in Edenvale. Mrs. Wendy Ploeg later joined as a leader.  My sister and I went faithfully to all of the clubs, and were thrilled with the silver spoons we received at the end of each unit.  Our goal was to reach 21 units when we would receive a silver pie server (which I continue to use today!)

4-H developed a sense of responsibility, and commitment.  The expectations were high for our behavior and our attention to detail in everything we did – from our record books, conducting meetings, to our completed project.  We always looked forward to 4-H evenings – especially the ones where we learned to cook or bake and we got to sample the food!  I found that I used many of the lessons I learned in 4-H later on for raising my own family.  My sister and I both became 4-H Leaders when our own daughters were old enough to join 4-H.  I was pleased that I was able to share this with my daughter.  One highlight was when our Calf 4-H club toured ranches in Michigan and we also visited Michigan State University.

Showing my calf at the Royal Winter Fair in the Queen’s Guineas is a memory I will never forget since my white charolais calf backed in a glass door, breaking the door into many fragments, while cutting my calf’s tail.  Kind Albertan’s sewed up my calf’s tail and helped calm my nerves.

Anne Arksey

Anne with one of her 4-H calves

Taking part in the 4-H Leadership Courses was also valuable and I met people from throughout the province of Ontario.  I gained lots of friendships and experiences while in 4-H.  What a fabulous pledge to live by –  I pledge:  My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger Service, My Health to better living – for my club, my community, and my country.