The Ambassador Beat: Lyndsay Dickson

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 2017, 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. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Lyndsay Dickson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Leeds 4-H Association

As I am sure many of you don’t know who I am, I think this is the perfect opportunity to introduce myself. Lyndsay Dickson is my name, and I have recently begun my sixth year in the 4-H program. I have completed 29 projects in the past 5 years, plus I am currently completing two projects as we speak.

I have completed over 20 projects in my home association of Leeds, but I have also had the opportunity to boarder hop to Grenville and Lanark associations to complete the remainder of my projects. I have done a wide variety of projects: including, but not limited to, photography, dairy, baking, cooking, maple syrup, veterinary, and curling. I have been given the opportunity to youth lead a number of the clubs I have participated in as well.

This year I chose to give back to the program that has given me so much. Being given the opportunity to be a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador has been a life changing experience for myself. I have had several opportunities to travel to new places that I have never been. I have met so many amazing new people: 4-H staff, 4-H volunteers, 4-H members, 4-H alumni, and general public that want to know more about the 4-H program. I am getting to share my story of why 4-H means so much to me.

A special thank you goes to the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program sponsors, GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy FS. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without you!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

4-H is a program that builds self-confidence, leadership and communication skills, essential life-skills, strong values, and life-long friendships.

As a 4-H’er will always tell you, “learn to do by doing.” Before entering the 4-H Program, I was a caterpillar in a cocoon. I was waiting for the chance to burst out of my shell and blossom into a butterfly. 4-H was that chance for me. 4-H taught me that being a leader begins with confidence. Without mentors and youth leaders, my life would be very different.

I credit my success as a young adult to the 4-H program. Throughout my years attending school; I was always very shy, unmotivated, and could not speak in front of my classmates. Once I began 4-H, I became a whole new person. I was confident. I could speak in front of large crowds of strangers. I became a more motivated individual.

The 4-H program has given me the opportunity to complete projects that I am passionate about, meet people who share common interests, learn valuable life skills, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Elwood Dunford Family Fund

Written by John & Marlene Dunford

We established the Elwood Dunford Family Fund to recognize and pay tribute to the contribution to 4-H by my dad who helped to start the Lakefield 4-H Beef Calf Club back in 1954. My sister Mauretta was in the club the first year. I went to the meetings but had to wait another year before I was old enough to join. The club later became the Douro 4-H Beef Club where dad was the leader up until his death in 1977 at the age of 69. Dad only had about a grade four school education so he struggled with reading and writing but was well respected as a leader.  4-H was a big part of my life as a teenager. I was in the beef club every year and field crop club for many years, as well as other clubs like farm safety. I was fortunate to be selected to attend interclub competitions and 4-H leadership conference at the University of Guelph. I was awarded Outstanding 4-H member for Peterborough County in 1960, competed in the Queens Guinea’s Steer Show at the Royal Winter Fair three times and competed in the Inter-County Judging Competition at the Royal in 1961 with the winning team It was probably my involvement in 4-H that lead me to attend the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). While there I competed in College Royal and was All-Round Showman in 1964. Showing an animal in the showring is a traditional showing experience but the first placings in eggs and honey is what gave me the points to win this trophy. I remember going through about 20 dozen eggs to get a uniform dozen. The secret on honey was pouring it warm into the jar without creating bubblies. Also at Guelph I won the A. D. Runions Memorial Award as the member of the OAC Dairy Cattle Judging Team with the highest aggregate score in the International Inter-Collegiate Judging competition. After graduating from UofG I worked with the Ministry of Agriculture as an Assistant Ag Rep and was heavily involved in the county 4-H program. It was during this time that I met Marlene, a town girl, at the Junior Farmers bowling club. In 1969 we purchased a dairy farm in my home neighbourhood and farmed for 33 years. I spent 19 years as a leader of the 4-H Dairy Club and our girls were each a part of 4-H for one year. They were also involved in figure skating and skated all year- round. They learned commitment, dedication, confidence and respect—all the qualities we try to instill in our 4-H members!

Perth County Experiences B.C.

Written, in part, by 10 Perth County 4-H members: Phillip Koskamp, Sam Reidy, Sam Becker, Emma Francis, Natasha Klaver, Brianna Nichol, Natalie Nichol, Valarie Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton and Halle Horn.

In the summer of 2016, 10 members from Perth County, along with chaperones Marilyn Reidy and Jen Aikens were “twinned” with Deep Creek Dairy 4-H Club in Salmon Arm, B.C. as a part of the 4-H Canada Club to Club Exchange. Some of us had never flown before so this was very exciting. We stayed with our “twins” for 10 days learning about how they live, the history and culture of their region and we travelled together as a large group of 20 members and four leaders seeing and participating in some awesome activities.

Some of our highlights while we were in B.C. was the chance to enjoy a day on a houseboat on beautiful Mara Lake, riding the gondola’s at Mount Revelstoke and floating down a river in tubes near Enderby, B.C. As a part of our community service component of this exchange while we were there we worked on 250 metres of new hiking trails with the Shuswap Trail Alliance. It was great to see and learn how others live. The opportunity to see a different province was an incredible experience. Although it felt strange staying with a family we didn’t know at the beginning of our journey we can now say we have made new life-long 4-H friends. After 10 days of fun in B.C., we arrived home to rest up and prepare for the arrival of B.C. members to our great province.

We began our adventure with them doing our community service work with Habitat for Humanity in Listowel. It was hard work removing flooring, a deck and wiring out of a house that was being demolished but we now understand the great work that Habitat for Humanity does for communities around the world and the importance of volunteering in our communities. We did so many things with our “twins” to show the great area we live in. We toured a number of local dairy farms, a water buffalo farm, Bar-B-Dee elevators and we visited St. Jacobs (including a visit to an Amish farm), visited the Stratford-Perth Museum, the Costume Warehouse and the production of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe at the Festival Theatre. Other highlights included a trip to Toronto to the CN Tower, a visit to the Welland Canal and Niagara Falls, including a ride on the incredible jet boats there.

Jennie Nichol had both of her daughters, Natalie and Brianna attend the exchange and said it was a great experience for them to experience a different part of Canada and to fly for the first time, something that may not have been possible without 4-H.

“They were able to learn about a part of Canada that was quite different from where we live here in Ontario and meet other kids in 4-H and learn about their experiences,” she says. “As a parent, I am really pleased that my daughters were given this opportunity.”

We learned so much about ourselves, others and so much about the great country we live in. Canada Heritage is a big contributor to this 4-H Canada exchange. The goal is for members to learn more about other provinces as well as our own region. We’re very thankful for all the generous supporters of this 4-H exchange club, everyone who supported our fundraising projects, the time the leaders took to plan our trip and, of course, our families.