My 2016 4-H Project

Submitted by: Sandeep Sinha

I was not too keen, and my father was very determined to get us to the Glenburnie United Church on Feb 26, for the Frontenac 4-H Rally. I did not know what to expect and I was probably the only city kid in the Rally.

However, the 4-H folks were very friendly and we quickly got into presentations about the various clubs through which we could do our projects. I was pretty certain that I wanted to do Dairy, but I was a total novice and did not even know the difference between a Holstein and a Jersey.

I came out of the meeting with plenty of enrolment forms, information and was less anxious about what lay ahead. After the Rally, we had our first meeting of the Frontenac Dairy Club. At the meeting, our Dairy leaders explained how the competition season works, leading up to the Achievement Day and the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair. 

When we got home we got a follow-up call from Becky Lamendeau, our Dairy leader, explaining in more detail, the work that was expected out of the members and how much practice lead to achievement.

In April, we showed up for enrolment day, and I signed up for the Dairy Club. It was there that I met Natasha Abrams, my Dairy leader, on whose farm, Hickory Acres, I would spend the next six months practicing my showmanship skills with a newborn Jersey calf, named Vaida. I set up my once-a-week schedule with her for showmanship practice, for the next two months.

Once the school year got over, I entered my first competition at Shannonville. It was an eye-opener to see the amount of effort needed to prepare the calf for an event, and I got the judge’s critique, which was very helpful.

I decided to double my efforts to improve my skills, and since the summer vacations had started, I was able to go to Hickory Acres twice a week for the next two months. All that work must have helped, because when I entered my next competition at Lansdowne, I was placed in higher ranks.

That gave me a lot of confidence, and I was now in a better frame of mind approaching the Achievement Day at the Kingston Fall Fair. The Fair exceeded my expectations and I did very well, which then set me up for the Regional Fair at Metcalfe. At Metcalfe, the level of competition was higher and my calf was a bit temperamental, but I placed in the higher ranks.

So then, it was all set up for our leaders to identify which Dairy Club members would represent the best chance for Frontenac 4-H to place in the higher ranks at the Dairy Classic in Toronto. I got my call, and jumped at the chance. I was very grateful for the opportunity, because many members had put many hours into their projects, and to be selected to represent Frontenac was an honour.

So, then we went about approaching sponsors to help us pay for the expense in getting the team over to Toronto, which included hotel, meals, gear and supplies. The whole month of October was spent chasing down sponsorship and checks, as well as, getting last-minute practice.

We finally departed in a convoy for Toronto on the morning of Sunday, November 6. It was an uneventful ride and when we finally showed up at Exhibition Place, we had to do a drive-around to unload the supplies and assemble the stall, before the animals arrived on the second trailer, which was following us, a couple of hours behind.

The next two days were spent in getting the animals used to their new surroundings and keeping them well-rested, exercised, well-fed and watered. Finally, it was show-time, and I had to get into my whites to be ready to lead my calf for the Showmanship category. I was hoping that my calf would not get temperamental, and after I got into the Ring of Excellence, the next 30 minutes just went by, as we went through the presentation. The next day was similar, except this time it was the Conformation category. This time around, there were no butterflies in the stomach, since I knew what to expect, leading up to this moment. 

The next few hours after the competition were anti-climactic, but we were not done yet because our stalls had to be judged and we had to make an additional trip to the Ring for the Group of Three event. When we were done, finally, we came back to dismantle and pack the stall into our supply trailer and the animals in the second trailer. As we got on to the road to leave, I felt very sad and empty, and as the lights of downtown Toronto winked goodbye, I fell asleep.

The Ambassador Beat: Laura 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 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 you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Laura DeKlein, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Middlesex 4-H Association

4-H New Years Resolutions

Hi, my name is Laura DeKlein and this year I have achieved and participated in many events, activities, and conferences as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador and member. My goal for 2017 is to encourage all youth, volunteers, and participants to do the same. Need some ideas? Here are some ways I encourage you to get started:

1. Apply for Opportunities

The opportunities available are endless and extremely valuable. Opportunities vary on local, provincial and even international levels. Just rake the risk and apply! This includes clubs, camps, exchanges, competitions, scholarships and much more. Visit www.4-hontario.ca and start/continue your journey today!

2. ACT Enthusiastic and you’ll BE enthusiastic

It is important when approaching any situation to act enthusiastic. It is important to influence those around you and be a team player despite potential lack of interest. This will open so many doors and opportunities for you and those around you. When you open the door, there are so many more ‘doors’ and opportunities. It all starts with you and the attitude you put forward not only in the first impression, but also for every time you approach something.

3. Take Risks

This may seem crazy but risk taking is key in order to diversify your life – appropriate and safe risks of course! By risks, I mean beating your negative conscience and saying I CAN or I WILL. Personally, I have achieved this through 4-H in 2015 and have been building on this since PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp). Be yourself – but apply for what you want, work for what you want and be who you want to be despite all else. 4-H provides so many opportunities for you to apply yourself to new risks and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to do so – learn to do by doing.

It is my pleasure to be able to write a New Years blog post as a 2016 4-H Ontario Ambassador. Thank-you to all of the 4-H Ontario staff and volunteers for the opportunity to advocate for this program, and to Growmark, Inc. and UPI Energy LP for such generous sponsorship. In closing, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities 4-H Ontario provides. I wish all a prosperous New Year.

The Ambassador Beat: Julie French

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 you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Julie French, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Peel 4-H Association

Once-in-a-Lifetime Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

As 4-H members we all work towards different goals with our 4-H projects. For some, they strive to improve their skills within their respective club. For others, they work towards that red ribbon at the local fairs. But for many, the goal is to exhibit their projects at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year’s Royal was unlike any other that I have ever attended for many reasons! It demonstrated to me the importance of teamwork, patience and hard work!

 

 

Go For The Gold
Teamwork

This year the Peel 4-H Association put together a Go For The Gold team for the first time in a few years. The team from Peel consisted of Allison French, Nicole French, Jamie Laidlaw, Robert Matson and myself. We met the deadline for entry on the last possible day, studied intensely for two weeks and then attended the Region 4 competition in Georgetown. To all of our surprise, we fared the competition and qualified for the provincial competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! After many hours of group studying (sometimes questionable whether we were actually studying or just hanging out together as a team), we took to Toronto for the provincial competition. The competition was fierce! In the end, all of the hard work our team put in paid off and we ended up winning the prestigious title. A special thanks to our leaders Tom and Heather French.

Artistic Display
Patience

Another first for the Peel 4-H Association this year was running a seed mosaic club (led by leaders Lindsay Bebbington, Brenda Bebbington and Darlene Downey). This club was one to remember, testing patience and creative ability. Each of the six members created a seed mosaic that we were determined to finish for the local fairs with the end goal of entering them in the competition at the Royal. After hours of work, some minor hiccups and individual sorting and placing seeds with tweezers, four boards made it to the Royal. Peel did amazingly well for the first time participating in this competition- finishing with a 1st (myself), 4th (Allison French), 5th (Nicole French) and 8th (Robert Matson) place. All exhibitors in this competition spent a HUGE amount of time on the creations, creating a beautiful display of a unique club in the 4-H program! A special thank you to SeCan for their support for this competition!

TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic
Hard Work

I have been showing in the dairy club for eight years, experiencing all the highs and lows that exhibiting livestock comes with. You invest so much time and energy into training your heifer and getting her ready for the shows in pursuit of success. A huge milestone of the year being qualifying to represent your association at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic in Toronto. This year’s Classic was very special for Peel as we changed our display thanks to a younger member’s initiative (a special thank you to Allison French) and placed 8th - a huge accomplishment for our association! Several of our members also ended up qualifying from their heat to the finals of their classes! I had the incredible experience of exhibiting the Grand Champion Calf- Quality Solomon Lust. An unbelievable experience that even writing about now seems surreal. I want to thank Quality Holsteins for letting me borrow their heifer as my 4-H project for the year. A special thank you to the amazing 4-H volunteers of Peel, the TD 4-H Canadian Dairy Classic Committee and the Sponsors, and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for their support of the Classic. Without the volunteers and sponsors, this once-in-a lifetime Royal experience wouldn’t have been possible.

I am so thankful to the members, volunteers and sponsors of the 4-H program. This year’s Royal was such a humbling experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It makes me truly realize the value of the 4-H program and all it has to offer! These were only three events at the Royal this year, with so many other opportunities for 4-H members to exhibit their projects. Hard work, patience and teamwork are all valuable lessons that 4-H teaches members.