The Ambassador Beat: Elaine Jeffs

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 2016, 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 your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Elaine Jeffs, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Northumberland 4-H Association

4 Ways To Show Your 4-H Spirit

Bring friends to 4-H events - 4-H achievement days, camps and other opportunities are some of the most exciting experiences for 4-H members, so what better way to show your friends what 4-H is all about than inviting them to come with you! Discovery Days, Youth Adventure Camp and Dairy Sen$e® are just a handful of the awesome events that are open to both 4-H members and non 4-H members. Getting new people involved in 4-H, expands the demographic that the program can reach, lets new people have the opportunity to learn to do by doing and makes it easier for you to make new friends that will last a lifetime! So next time you are excited about attending a 4-H event, see if you can invite a friend and show them what 4-H is all about!

Social Media- With technology constantly advancing, there are so many ways to share what’s going on in our lives with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have opened up windows of opportunity for members, leaders, volunteers and alumni to show their 4-H spirit to the world! The hashtag #4His4me has been a great way to connect people and share the 4-H spirit across the nation. You can share your 4-H stories, pictures, memories and updates with people who love 4-H too! If you are at a conference or even a 4-H event of your own, creating hashtags is a great way to connect with the people in attendance and share your thoughts, opinions and pictures from the day with everyone. So the next time that you are at a super cool 4-H meeting or event, remember that you can share the highlights for others to see and enjoy too!

4-H swag – Are you wondering what to wear today? Why not put on a 4-H shirt or hat? I think that it is safe to say that we all feel awesome when we are decked out in 4-H gear, wearing the logo with pride! Stay tuned to the 4-H Canada website for the newly updated 4-H mall which is opening soon. But wait!!! Wouldn’t it be great to show your 4-H spirit on the same day as other members across Canada? Well now you can! On Wednesday, November 2, 2016 it is Show Your 4-H Colours Day! This is the day where 4-H clubs, alumni, volunteer leaders, friends and supporters get to show off your green gear while giving back and doing good work in your community! Using hashtag #ShowYour4HColours you can see how others are making a difference and showing spirit too! For more information visit

Spread the word- One of the best ways to show your 4-H spirit is to spread the word! Tell your friends about the different clubs that you are taking, what you are learning about, the trips that you are going on, the competitions that you are competing in and the amazing people you are meeting! It is your time to shine when you meet someone who has never heard of 4-H before. You can tell them what it is all about, answer questions and debunk any myths that you hear about the 4-H program. 4-H is for everyone so it’s time for you to show your spirit! Tell the world why you love this amazing program and maybe they will get to find out why there is no better way to discover the world than learning to do by doing!

The Ambassador Beat: Vicki Brisson

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 2016, 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 your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Vicki Brisson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Russell 4-H Association

4-H – My Club, my Community, my Country

4-H is an incredibly unique organization providing youth with all the necessary tools, skills and abilities to become successful individuals that thrive in their personal and professional lives. As I attended a variety of 4-H events across the province this summer, I had the opportunity to experience first hand the importance of everyone supporting the 4-H program in any way, shape, or form; once again showing how the 4-H pledge is applicable to any 4-H events.

My club

4-H offers over 75 different club projects, with topics ranging from livestock, to scrapbooking, to paintball. However, these clubs rely entirely on volunteer leaders that offer their time, knowledge and passion. Furthermore, they act as role models for their members, who then become mentors to younger members themselves.

My community

4-H creates a tight-knit community, whether it be local businesses sponsoring 4-H in their community or 4-H clubs running events such as food drives or seasonal clean-ups. 4-H also relies on the generosity of their community to find facilities willing to host them, whether it be farms opening their doors to livestock clubs, or churches lending their kitchen to cooking clubs.

My country

4-H offers many opportunities for youth outside their county, at the regional, provincial, national, or even international levels. To name only a few: Discovery Days, Provincial Leadership Camp, 4-H Ontario Ambassador program, 4-H TD Classic and youth exchanges. All these events give members an opportunity to travel and discover their country in a unique way while making lifelong friends and memories and work on new skills. These events also have in common one thing: very generous sponsors. As a 4-H ambassador, I can truly say that without the help of Growmark and UPI, all we have accomplished throughout the year would not have been possible.

As the 4-H year is coming to an end, I would like to encourage every one of you my fellow 4-H’ers to join me and show appreciation by saying thank you to all your volunteers, sponsors, family members who help you along the way. We often forget these very important people along the way, but as National 4-H day is coming up on November 2nd, show your 4-H colours and show the world how proud you are to be a 4-H’er. That is the best Thank You Possible!

 4-H, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays

4-H est un organisme pour les jeunes qui vise à développer les aptitudes et connaissances nécessaires permettant aux jeunes de 9  à 21 ans de s’épanouir, autant dans leurs vies personnelles que professionnelles. J’ai pris part à une variété d’évenements à travers la province cet été, et j’ai pu constater à quel point le support des partenaires supportant le programme 4-H, de quelque façon que ce soit, est important. Laissez-moi vous présenter pourquoi les bénévoles et commanditaires sont essentiels au succès du programme, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays.

Mon club

4-H a développé et offre plus de 75 différents projets, sur des sujets aussi variés que bovins laitiers, scrapbooking et paintball. Cependant, ces clubs dépendent entièrement des bénévoles, qui offrent leur temps, leur savoir ainsi que leur passion. De plus, ils sont des modèles pour leurs membres, qui à leur tour deviennent mentors pour les membres juniors. C’est au niveau du club que la passion pour le 4-H est éveillée.  C’est là que tout commence. 

Ma communauté

4-H crée une communauté tissée-serrée. Que ce soit les entreprises locales commanditant les 4-H dans leur communauté ou les clubs 4-H organisant des évènements tels que des collectes de denrées non-périssables ou encore des corvées de nettoyage saisonnier dans les endroits publics, il y a de l’entraide.  Les compétences de leadership se développent par l’implication des jeunes dans l’organisation de ces activités communautaires.  Les clubs 4-H dépendent aussi sur la générosité de leur communauté afin de trouver des locaux désirant les accueillir, que ce soit une ferme qui ouvre ses portes à un club de bovins laitiers ou une église qui prête sa cuisine pour les clubs de cuisine.

Mon pays

4-H offre de nombreuses opportunités au niveau régional, provincial, national ou même international. Pour n’en nommer que quelque unes : les Discovery Days, le Provincial Leadership Camp, le programme d’ambassadeurs 4-H, la Classique TD et les échanges. Tous ces évènements offrent aux membres l’opportunité de voyager et de découvrir leur pays d’une façon unique tout en créant des amitiés et des souvenirs pour la vie. Ces évènements ont aussi toute une chose en commun : de très généreux commanditaires. En tant qu’ambassadrice, je peux réellement dire que sans l’aide de Growmark et UPI, tout ce que nous avons accompli durant l’été n’aurait pas été possible. 

Alors que l’année 4-H tire à sa fin, j’aimerais encourager les membres 4-H à démontrer leur appréciation, en remerciant tous leurs bénévoles, leurs commanditaires et les membres de leur famille qui les supportent. Il est souvent facile d’oublier ces personnes très importantes, mais lors de la journée nationale du 4-H qui approche, le 2 novembre prochain, démontrez vos couleurs 4-H, partagez avec le monde votre fierté d’être un membre 4-H. C’est souvent de simples petits gestes qui sont la meilleure façon de démontrer votre gratitude et reconnaissance. 


A 4-H Icon – Bert Stewart

By Ryan Métivier

When you’re talking about someone who epitomizes everything that 4-H stands for, the name Bertram (Bert) Stewart quickly comes to mind. Bert and his family have been a part of every level of 4-H and the agricultural community throughout their lives.

Stewart is a world-renowned judge and pioneer in preparing and exhibiting dairy cattle, a mentor and coach to countless youth and tireless supporter of all things 4-H.

Stewart is the seventh of eight children born to Ernie and Jennie Stewart who owned a family farm in Peel County. Over the years each of the children, as well as their kids and grandkids have been avid 4-H members and supporters. Bert now has a five-year-old great grandson who may soon start another generation of 4-H’ers in the family. All told the family has been involved as members or leaders in Peel, Halton, Waterloo, Wellington, Bruce, Middlesex and Kent 4-H Associations, as well as in Portage la Prairie and Steinbach in Manitoba.

After graduating as a 4-H member, Bert quickly transitioned into a volunteer in Peel County before later moving to Halton County. Bert became heavily involved in dairy and judging clubs and was instrumental in starting what is now the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Ontario 4-H Inter-Club Dairy Judging Competition.

Bert has taken a team to Madison, Wisconsin for the US National 4-H Judging Competition at the World Dairy Expo every year and says at least half a dozen of the team members have gone on to become official judges, something Bert always takes great joy in watching.

His judging experiences haven’t been limited to 4-H and North America though, as he’s had the opportunity to judge in 17 other countries around the world, with Brazil being his most frequent destination, somewhere he’s visited what he estimates was around 85 times.

“It was like a second home,” he says, of the house he once stayed in four to five times a year, where you could lie awake at night and hear the waterfalls come down the creek from 15 feet away.

He spent a lot of time down there judging and purchasing cattle and always made sure to bring a youth who had a keen interest in the industry with him to shows in Brazil.

To list all of Bert’s accomplishments throughout his career could likely fill many pages in this magazine, but he has amassed numerous awards and recognitions in the agriculture industry including receiving the Centennial Award in 1988 for outstanding service to the industry from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). In 2002, he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his continued years of community service and in 2010 he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. In 2012, Bert was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by 4-H Canada. This award commemorates Canadians who have positively impacted their community and distinguished themselves as leaders.

Today, Bert has dedicated 46 years to being a 4-H volunteer and in 2006 he was awarded with 4-H Ontario’s most prestigious award, the Syngenta 4-H Ontario Arbor Award for his efforts. The nomination came from a 4-H member from one of the judging teams.

His induction into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame is one memory he cherishes dearly. “It means everything,” says Bert when asked about how it feels to receive that sort of acknowledgement. “The best thing about being in the Hall of Fame was that my wife (Hazel) was still with me. 4-H had a lot to do with me being put in the Hall of Fame.”

The memory was further enhanced when his nephew Lyndon Stewart brought a bunch of 4-H kids Bert knew to the ceremony as a surprise.

In her speech at the presentation, his daughter Kelly spoke about what 4-H meant to her father and said 4-H has had a tremendous impact on their entire family and that his 4-H training prepared him for a truly great and exciting life.

Always looking to be more involved in the program, he represented 4-H as the Canadian 4-H Council President from 2005-2006, as a member of the Council thereafter and also as a Trustee on the Ontario 4-H Foundation.

“I was asked to do it, so I got involved that’s all,” he says. “And if I was involved, I was involved. I could’ve done other things, but 4-H was good to me, and I owed it to them. I’m happy I did what I did and I’ll probably still go to quite a few 4-H events in the future.”

When he says 4-H was good to him, sure he could be speaking of the countless doors and opportunities it’s opened to he and his family, or how he met his wife Hazel at a dance at the Junior Farmer’s building, but he’s also speaking of the great coaches and mentors he had as a youth when he learned from the Agricultural Representatives in his region.

Sit down and chat with Bert and you can see those are some of the things he still holds dear and wants to share with today’s youth. One of the many ways he does this is with the award he established with his late wife Hazel in 2010 for 4-H Dairy Club members in grade 9, 10 or 11. The Bertram and Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Youth Education Award & Bursary honours their deep commitment and passion toward agriculture, education and 4-H. The $1,000 award and bursary is presented by the Stewart family at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic during the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as a Living Legacy gift, which Bert is able to see the impact of each year. Part of their hope for this bursary was to encourage youth in the 11-14 age bracket to continue to stay connected to the program, an age group where he says 4-H’ers often get involved with other interests.

Whether he’s talking about his days as a member himself, a dinner he recently took a past judging team member to, letters he receives from youth, events and people he’s looking forward to attending and seeing, sleeping by waterfalls in Brazil or how he once purchased a calf for $4,500 and sold her last son, a six-year-old bull for $600,000, Bert is a fountain of stories, ideas, experiences and full of passion for all things 4-H.

Making Ontario Proud

Sudbury’s Wayne Macdonald is 4-H Canada’s National Volunteer of the Year

By Ryan Métivier

Wayne Macdonald has spent years engaged in his  community. A soccer coach for over 15 years, 25-year member of the Knights of Columbus, associate member of the Legion of Canada and executive board member of the Westmount Playground Association – Wayne has enriched the lives of many youth and adults while volunteering.

However, he had never been a part of 4-H. A Cubs and Scouts member as a youth, it wasn’t until he married his wife Paulette in 1986 who was a 4-H alumna in Renfrew County, that he was first exposed to the program. In 1988 he helped her start a 4-H club in Arnprior and has never looked back.

Nearly 30 years later Wayne and Paulette have led clubs in almost every category of project available. That commitment to developing youth in 4-H was recently acknowledged at the 4-H Canada Annual General Meeting in June where Wayne was named National Volunteer Leader of the Year.

“Our philosophy is to offer projects each year that touch on certain key areas of 4-H in order to provide a well-rounded experience for the members,” he says.

Wayne is also the Vice-President of the Sudbury District 4-H Association, while also volunteering as the Awards Coordinator, Webmaster, Screening Committee member, for several years as the Region 1 President and throughout all levels of Go For The Gold.

Wayne feels the biggest takeaway youth get from 4-H is confidence and personal development.

“Since the hands-on lessons and experiential learning is so positive, the members can go out in life and use these skills immediately, no matter their age,” he says. “This strengthening of character is vital; after all, we are growing society’s future leaders.”

Wayne truly believes in the 4-H motto, ‘Learn To Do By Doing’ and enjoys sharing his life experiences with the youth in 4-H. By embodying the 4-H motto and living the 4-H values, he believes both he and Paulette help members to become more confident and better equipped to excel in their lives, while also being better and more compassionate citizens.

“The beauty of our ‘4-H relationship’ is that there is Wayne, there is me and there is ‘us’,” says Paulette. “This is why I have enjoyed volunteering over the years and still feel so passionate about my involvement. We give each other space to be ourselves yet we have a consistency and a style that is ‘us’! We learn, we grow, we enjoy and we receive so much from the members.”

Paulette believes Wayne’s authenticity and joyful demeanor allows members to feel safe, accepted and free to be themselves and grow.

These sentiments were on full display in Wayne’s nomination for the National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award. In her letter of nomination, 17-year-old Youth Leader Meaghan Ethier said Wayne makes the community a better place simply by being a part of it.

“He has an infectious positive attitude that encourages us as youth to be better people,” she says.

She continues to say Wayne is an amazing role model in Sudbury and has had a huge impact on all members of their club.

“Wayne is a lot more than my 4-H leader. He is an example of the kind of person that I want to become.”

To receive the award was quite the honour for Wayne and something he was shocked to find out, as he was unaware of the nomination.

“Being honoured for what you do in life is amazing,” he says. “Being honoured for volunteering your time and skills is amazing. Being honoured by the youth you share the 4-H program with is a gift of a lifetime.”