5 Questions With… Kathryn Ringelberg

Name: Kathryn Ringelberg
Status: Alumni
Years in 4-H: 12

1. Why did you join 4-H?

It seems like just the other day that I was beginning my career as a 4-H member. I still remember going to that first 4-H rally without even knowing what 4-H was truly all about. My mom brought me to sign-up night because she was a 4-H member when she was younger. I signed up for almost every club that year because they all seemed so interesting. I think I was gone every night of the week to a 4-H meeting. My parents became the ultimate chauffeurs, allowing for me to dive head first into the program that they too had gained so much from when they themselves were members. After that first sign up night I never looked back. 4-H had become a part of who I was and I already miss being a member within this amazing program.

2. What clubs, camps, opportunities, etc have you participated or volunteered in?

4-H soon became what I did in my down time and what I did to de-stress from my schooling. Although I completed over 65 clubs as I grew older my focus in the 4-H program became the dairy and dairy judging clubs. Over the last number of years I attended a 4-H dairy show every weekend from mid-July to Thanksgiving weekend in October. While most of my friends were walking their dog down the street, I was walking my heifer around the field on our family farm in Troy. My Friday nights were spent washing and clipping my heifer and packing the truck and trailer so we could get to the fair on time the following day. This summer I can honestly say I do not know what I am going to do on all those weekends!

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

In 12 short years many different leaders taught me how to fix tractors, fit my heifer, bake the best bread, sew pajamas, judge a class of hay, and give a correct set of reasons. These leaders taught me life skills that I use every day at work. I learned how to run meetings, take notes and organize community events. I was taught about teamwork, decision-making and public speaking. 4-H gave me multiple opportunities to compete on a local, provincial and national stage; connecting me with other members from coast to coast. I went to fall fairs, Go for the Gold competitions and provincial camps. I made life-long friends and had leaders that I looked up to. I had some of the best times, and some of the worst times; but the trials I faced only made me stronger. I “Learned to do by Doing” and with each club came a new challenge. For 12 years 4-H has been a huge part of my life, it was a very bittersweet moment in December when I officially graduated from this amazing program.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

There is no single memory that I can name as my favourite. I was lucky enough to travel to many different fall fairs with my 4-H heifer, compete at a national stage at the Royal Winter Fair, make friends from all over Ontario and Canada from coast to coast. All of these memories are special to me and there are so many memories that I will never forget!

5. What do you do outside of 4-H? (hobbies, school, career, etc).

I graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in the spring of 2014 from the Honours Sociology program while also completing a Business Certificate from Mohawk College. I strive to be an active member within my community as I co-chair two committees at the Rockton Worlds Fair and also represent South Wentworth as Queen of the Furrow for my third consecutive year. I enjoy public speaking and compete at the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair every year. For the past two years I have been one of the top six contestants in Canada. None of those accomplishments would have been possible without the 4-H program equipping me with the skills I need to succeed. I am ever thankful for this amazing program and I encourage everyone I know who is of the right age to join!

Liked Kathryn’s story? Want to share your own 4-H story? Click here and tell us what 4-H has meant to you in our 5 Questions With… feature!

The Ambassador Beat: Ava Doner

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 2015, 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 Ava Doner, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Durham East 4-H Association

Hello! My name is Ava Doner and I am a proud member of the Durham East 4-H Association. I am honoured to be given the opportunity this year to represent 4-H Ontario as a 2015 Ambassador. I started 4-H when I was 10 years old and from the beginning I knew that it was an organization that I wanted to be a part of for many years to come.  However, at this time, I did not know how much 4-H was going to influence me and allow me to develop as a person.

I specifically remember when I attended my first 4-H dairy meeting in 2007 where I was shy, timid and nervous to attend. I was a 10-year-old child who knew almost nothing about agriculture or dairy cattle, and I was about to stand in a circle with 21-year-olds who mostly grew up on a dairy farm their whole life. For the first couple meetings, the only thing I would say was my name and the answer to that evening’s roll call. After great encouragement and continuous support from fellow 4-H’ers and leaders, I started to begin realizing that everyone is welcome in 4-H and there was no reason to be shy.

It’s amazing how much those few members and leaders back in 2007 have influenced my life. They demonstrated true 4-H spirit and allowed me to get more involved within the 4-H program. I have taken the steps to make the most of my 4-H experience by attending Provincial Leadership Camp, Future Leaders In Action, the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Inter-County Judging competitions, and the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin, USA on the 4-H Ontario Judging team. From every meeting and opportunity that I have been engaged with, I have developed leadership, enthusiasm, communication and public relations skills that I will carry with me throughout life. For these reasons, I wanted to find a way that I could give back to all that 4-H has given me and encourage members and leaders to take advantage of all that 4-H has to offer. I couldn’t think of a better way to do this than applying to be an Ambassador.

I have embarked on the Ambassador journey with five others as we travel across Ontario to network with youth, parents, volunteers and sponsors. In just a few short months, I have had the opportunity to attend a wide range of functions, such as, different 4-H clubs, symposiums and open houses. It is extremely rewarding to travel across Ontario and see how 4-H impacts so many people and how the values promoted throughout 4-H are so common throughout the province.

This year, 4-H Ontario celebrates 100 years as a non-profit organization. Attending different events has truly opened up my eyes to see that the real reason 4-H is 100 years old is because of the dedicated members, volunteers, sponsors and staff who are proud to wave their 4-H flag wherever they go. Thank you to everyone who has had a vision of giving back to this influential organization. Happy Birthday, 4-H Ontario!