Submitted By Ann Heinmiller (Uhler)
I grew up on a farm in Huron County, and hearing the stories of 4-H from my dad, couldn’t wait to turn 12 to be able to start my first club.
I still remember my first meeting, Adventures in the Great Outdoors. I was hooked from day one. In all, I took 19 different clubs ranging from cooking, to knitting, and etiquette to vet club. But for me, it wasn’t just the clubs, it was the extra opportunities that 4-H had to offer me.
At 15 I attended Member’s Conference, which at that time was held at Centralia. There I got to meet people from other counties, some of who I recognized from high school, but didn’t know until camp. The last night there was the first all-nighter that I pulled! I was exhausted by the time I got home, but knew I wanted to keep participating in 4-H.
As soon as I was old enough, I went to the the Provincial 4-H Camp. It rained the first couple of days, but it didn’t dampen my spirits. The people I met were people like me, from a farm background, and anxious to try new things and meet new people. We did so much that week it went by in a blur, but I remember how much fun I had, and not being able to stop talking about.
As I got older, other opportunities through 4-H became available to me. I participated in Go For The Gold at the local level and I went to Future Talk weekend, where we worked on presentation skills that would help us in our future endeavours. This was also the weekend that made me want to go the University of Guelph. As Future Talk was meant for senior members, the majority of the delegates were either at U of G, or planning to go. I knew then that was the school I was going to, which I did.
From Future Talk, I was invited to Selections Weekend. Throughout the weekend we had to do a presentation about our county, impromptu speaking, a quiz and an interview, all skills that have benefitted me in my adult life. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend the National 4-H Conference in Ottawa in the spring of 1995 and what a unique opportunity it was to be able to meet top 4-Her’s from across Canada.
Lucky for me, my 4-H career didn’t end there. In the summer of 1998, I was a summer intern for 4-H. I spent the summer working at the OMAFRA office in Guelph where I updated 4-H manuals and got to attend a 4-H Member’s Conference as a leader. I felt it was my way to give back to a program that had given me so much.
Today when I look back at my years at 4-H, I could never of imagined the skills and opportunities it gave me. 4-H gave me the confidence to try new things and meet new people. It allowed me to practice my presentation skills and interview skills, which as a teacher has been invaluable to me. Thank you 4-H for all you have given me.