Russel Dickout’s 4-H Story

There are many service clubs and organizations who generously support 4-H Ontario year after year. We often don’t hear about these amazing contributions so I was thrilled to read Russel Dickout’s story which mentioned the Ingersoll Kiwanis Club. This Club has been sponsoring the 4-H Calf Dairy Club since 1941; that’s an amazing 71 years of support! These local clubs and organizations make it possible to provide 4-H’rs with unique Club opportunities such as field trips or Club materials. Thank you to Russel for sharing his story. It’s wonderful to see first hand accounts of how the supporters of 4-H have influenced the 4-H experience. And, of course, it’s always fantastic to read each individual 4-H story.

A Never Ending Passion for 4-H
By Russel Dickout

My interest in 4-H started in 1937 when my older brother first became involved. I could not understand why I wasn’t allowed to join also. At that time, because of limited resources only one member from one family was allowed to participate. By the time I reach 12 years old, either the rules had been changed, or my father had enough influence to get me accepted, so, in 1941, I was on my way. At that time, the only Club in the area was a Dairy Calf Club, which was my interest. This Club was sponsored by the Ingersoll Kiwanis Club. After seventy years, this Club is still the sponsor of this Calf Club, an amazing record for a non farm organization consisting of urban people, store owners, industrialists, doctors and lawyers. Don Mackenzie, a recent graduate of O.A.C. and chemist at the local fertilizer plant, and Grant Small, an insurance agent, were the main organizers. The highlight of the 4-H year was the award banquet in November when we were entertained to a dinner and received our cash awards.

I spent eight years in the Club and never missed a meeting. I also served as President one year and was a high aggregate score winner my last two years.

I became involved in Ontario Junior Farmers, so for a few years I got away from 4-H but I took on the role of Assistant Club Leader in the late 1950′s and assisted the Kiwanians who were still leading the Club. I resigned in 1972 before our oldest daughter was old enough to join. I had seen some problems in other Clubs where the Leaders had children as Members of their Clubs, and by the I had three good young Alumni who could take over the Club and carry it into the future.

Our four children all spent eight years al Club Members and enjoyed the work and education the activity supplied. Our girls moved on in life but always cherished the experience. The girls took several homemaking Clubs as their mother had, and our son, in order to completed 24 Clubs, took some of the life skills Clubs. Our son was also treasurer of the Oxford County 4-H Association. While in this role, he instigated the Battery Blitz campaign which raised a considerable amount of money for Oxford County 4-H Association.

During this time, I did a considerable amount of judging both of 4-H and open shows around western Ontario. The young people who had graduated from the 4-H program excelled in the show ring.

A few years ago, my granddaughter who lived in the city had an opportunity to join the Bond’s Corner Dairy Calf Club and enjoyed the experience. I still try to take in as many shows as I can so my interest in showing and 4-H is very much still there.
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!

An Experience of a Lifetime

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors channel their energy and 4-H experiences into recruiting new Members and sharing the 4-H story. They attend 4-H events across the province, as well as other community events, to promote the 4-H program. The summer is a very busy time for 4-H Ambassadors. There is ample opportunity for them to attend events and continue to build skills that they are able to use now, and in their future.

4-H Ontario Ambassador, Samantha Klaver, was kind enough to take the time to share her experience as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador so far. Read on to see what a day in the life of a 4-H Ontario Ambassador is like.

Thank you to GROWMARK Inc., and UPI Energy LP for sponsoring the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program.
Summer 2012: An Experience of a Lifetime as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador
By Samantha Klaver, 4-H Ontario Ambassador

As a 4-H Ontario Ambassador hailing from Region 5, I am pretty central to a lot of places. This was perfect for a summer with so much potential. As the summer months approached and the Ambassador requests rolled in, I quickly became excited for the opportunities that I was fortunate enough to have the privilege to attend.

2012 4-H Ontario Ambassadors
Welcoming the 2012 Ambassadors at the Ambassador reception

The summer had some common themes-fun, friends, education, sightseeing, and excitement! It did not matter what event I attended, where I went, who (if anyone) I was with, when the event was; these common themes were very evident. This is certainly one of the benefits of being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador!

As always, attending a 4-H Ontario Ambassador event, I know it is safe to say on behalf of my fellow Ambassadors, that there was never a shortage of learning on our adventures. From my perspective, attending events hosted by our program sponsors, GROWMARK Inc. and UPI Energy LP were likely the events that I learned the most information. Although we have had numerous chances to learn about our program sponsors, there is nothing like going out and experiencing their businesses first hand. I found the sponsors very interesting and could relate to them, as I work in the agribusiness industry. Even though I currently work in that industry, my fellow Ambassadors, really appreciated the tours and events because it allowed them to see what working in the agribusiness industry is like, which in the end, can help them decide if they would ultimately like to work in the agriculture field. I also gained a new appreciation for GROWMARK Inc. and UPI Energy LP, as they are so large, yet are strong supporters of the 4-H Ambassador program.

Ambassador Tour
4-H Ontario Ambassadors on the Ambassador Sponsor Tour

The most important characteristic to remember to always take with you on your adventures is an open mind. It is important to go to events with the willingness to do whatever, and always follow, “Never let any opportunity pass you by.” This enhances your experiences, provides more opportunities, allows you to venture to ideas and areas only imaginable! Not only that, it makes your time spent at that event, area or region so much more enjoyable. It also takes you to new heights, taking you that much farther down your journey as a 4-H Ambassador and a person in general. It is also important to take the characteristic of being “easy going” with you as well. There are times when things happen beyond your control and your contact person’s control, and it is important to not get worked up, be understanding and “go with the flow.” No matter how much training and preparation 4-H Ontario completed with you, there will always be that small element of unknown in your role, and these qualities and characteristics will help you be so much more successful.

Some of the greatest gifts for being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador are those that are not tangible. They are often overlooked, yet are so important in today’s society. Sometimes, these skills can be taken for granted. Figure out what I am describing? Some of the most valuable gifts you receive as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador are the development of your public speaking skills, confidence and ability to network and draw connections. These skills and qualities may sound a little scary, and not as exciting as touring across the province, but they enhance you as a person. They assist you in standing out above the rest when it comes to job interviews and any role you partake in. These skills and qualities are crucial in our ever so fast, changing society. After a year as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador, these gifts will be evident to everyone around you, and something to be cherished for a lifetime.

Golf Tournament
(l-r) Samantha Klaver and Victoria Kyle at the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf West Tournament

During the summer months, I attended events in a variety of areas. I started my summer off with attending the Sponsor Tour. I was very excited for this event and enjoyed it very much! I appreciated visiting GROWMARK Inc., UPI Energy LP and FS Partner locations, while catching up with my fellow Ambassadors and learning about the GROWMARK Interns summer experiences.

I also attended some local events. I assisted and spoke at the Perth County Judging Competition. This was the perfect opportunity to speak to members of all ages about the Ambassador program. A few weeks later, I attended the Perth County Go For The Gold competition. At this event, I adjudicated games for the preliminary rounds. Not long after that, I travelled to Region 4, where I was one of the score keepers for the Go For The Gold Competition. The summer kept rolling as I attended the Mitchell Agricultural Society’s Fall Fair opening ceremonies. I spoke about how I got to be an Ambassador, and my experiences so far. These were the events I partook in the summer months, but have also had the honour of attending the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf Tournament in Guelph, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus’ Spring Expo, Discover 4-H Fun in Region 4, UPI Rendezvous and Chatham-Kent 4-H Achievement Day. Some of these events I attended with all or some of the other Ambassadors, and the remainder, I attended alone. So far, it has been the perfect amount of variation.

Local Event
Samantha attending a local event

As you can see, each of the events I have attended are all very different, and unique in their own way to say the least. With this being said, it is hard to pick a favourite memory because I can name at least one thing that I enjoyed or remember from each of the events I have attended. Whether it is meeting Emerson Drive at the UPI Rendezvous, learning how to show a rabbit at the Chatham-Kent 4-H Achievement Day, being super excited to share my experiences as an Ambassador at the Mitchell Fair, raising money for 4-H at the Golf Tournament’s Putting Contest, learning that Haldimand County 4-H has two Go For The Gold competitions, one for junior and senior 4-H members or learning that FS Partners in Ayr has over 1,000 customers. These are just some of the keys experiences or facts I have gained from being a 4-H Ambassador. I have had a fantastic summer and look forward to what the fall has to offer as I know there are so many more exciting things to discover beyond the horizon!

Samantha Klaver is a 4-H Ontario Member, as well a 4-H Ontario Ambassador.  Starting her 4-H career ten years ago, Samantha has been a very active Member, completing more than 60 club projects and attending 4-H opportunities such as Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp, Careermania and Go For The Gold to name a few. Samantha is very active within her home community of Seaforth as she is a director on the Seaforth Agricultural Society and a Provincial Director for Huron County Junior Farmers.