The Ambassador Beat: Chris Deklein

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2014, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Chris Deklein, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Middlesex 4-H Association

Hello, my name is Chris Deklein and I had the amazing opportunity to apply and be selected to be a 2014 4-H Ontario Ambassador along with five other ambassadors. I am currently in my second year at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus in the Agricultural Diploma program. This experience with 4-H has helped me further develop leadership skills, communications and public relations which will benefit me as I would like a job in the dairy industry under the category of sales in the future.

I had the chance to participate in many provincial and regional events across the province this year. The events that I had the chance to go to are: Discovery Days Region 6 – Glencoe, Ignite leadership – Ganaraska Park, Careermania – University of Guelph, Region 1 and 5 Volunteer Symposiums – Sudbury and Rostock, Oxford 4-H Project Expo – Embro, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show – Woodstock, and The Royal Winter Fair – Toronto. All of these events were great to attend as an ambassador and would recommend them to any future ambassadors. Part of my goals as an ambassador was to attend an event from each region to meet members and volunteers from across the province which I did and was happy to travel up to the beautiful Northern Ontario to Sudbury with 4-H Ontario staff to meet volunteers and learn how 4-H is running up there.

Part of the ambassador program involves a community engagement project. Part of this project has been working with the Region 6 Volunteer Support Coordinator on offering 4-H to young adults attending post secondary. We have currently just finished the first part of the club at my school in Ridgetown. This club is meant to teach the students how to be a leader and show them how to plan when going to lead a club. Next semester we have groups that will be leading clubs for kids in Chatham-Kent 4-H. In doing this the member attending school gets two clubs, one for the learning to be a leader and the other for being a leader. This also gives the opportunity to members in Chatham-Kent 4-H to have new clubs offered to them.

Other opportunities as an ambassador include the awards and training weekend in February. This is a weekend where you are awarded as an ambassador with parents, 4-H Ontario Staff, previous ambassadors, and sponsors. Afterwards you stay the weekend for training and to get familiar with the other ambassadors. We also attended the Ambassador Sponsor Tour in June. During these two days you are familiarized with the sponsors and what they do. The last sponsor event is UPI Rendezvous in September. This event held at the White Oaks Resort, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a formal company event where the ambassadors are recognized by the company for who they support. We had the chance to each hold a flag in the open ceremonies. It was such an amazing event to meet people from UPI and talk to them about what 4-H has to offer to youth across the province.

Overall my ambassador experience has been amazing and I recommend it to anyone interested in meeting people, connecting with people, developing further goals, and leadership. I would like to personally thank our ambassador program sponsors: Growmark Inc. and UPI Energy LP. Your continued support is very valuable to an amazing program offered by 4-H Ontario.