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
I 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.
4-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!