The Ambassador Beat: Shannon Desjardins

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 Shannon Desjardins, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Prince Edward 4-H Association

I think this is the perfect opportunity to introduce myself, as I don’t think many of you know who I am. My name is Shannon Desjardins, and I am currently in my 12th year, last year, in the 4-H program. I have completed just over 112 clubs, and am currently completing two clubs as we speak.

I have completed almost all of my clubs in my home association, Prince Edward, with boarder hopping next door to Hastings for two club projects. I have explored multiple clubs in my home association including, milk makes it better, beef, woodworking, goat, scrapbooking, sheep, maple syrup, baking, pet, curling and more. I have had the opportunity to sit on my home association directors’ board as a Youth Director and I have been a youth leader in various clubs I have participated in as well.

The 4-H program has given so much to me that I felt this year, 2017, I wanted to give back to 4-H. Being given the opportunity to represent 4-H Ontario as one of the six 4-H Ontario Ambassadors for 2017 has been a life changing experience. I have had the chance to attend several events already, traveling throughout Ontario. I have met so many wonderful new people; 4-H leaders, 4-H members, 4-H staff, volunteers, 4-H alumni and community members who want to learn more about the 4-H program. This has given me the opportunity to share what 4-H has done for me, my 4-H story, with so many groups and individuals.

I would not be here talking to you as a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador if it wasn’t for our two amazing sponsors, GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy FS. Thank you for allowing me to represent 4-H Ontario this year. It is a real honor.

“Learn to do by doing” never goes a miss in your daily activities if you are a current or past 4-H member. I entered the 4-H program as a very shy individual who didn’t want to take risks or try something new. 4-H was what I needed to come out of my shell and start trying new things. 4-H taught me to be a strong leader and gave me communication skills. 4-H taught me to learn from my mistakes and to keep moving forward. Without all the fantastic 4-H leaders, volunteers and senior members who took me under their wing, I would not be the person who I have become today.

4-H as a member has allowed me to try new things and not be ashamed if something goes wrong. Instead, I learned that out of any bad situation, there is always a bright side and sometimes you can just change what you were doing at the start to make it work. 4-H has also helped me follow my dream and attend post-secondary education through scholarships and grants. Without 4-H, I would not be in the position I am today as an Agronomist.

The 4-H program has given me so many opportunities to meet lifetime friends who have similar interests to myself, try new club projects, learn valuable life skills that I will use in my everyday adult life and to always “Learn to do by Doing.”


Wellington Farmers Market Welcomes Royals

Written By: Sara Harper 

On June 30th the Wellington Farmers Market of Prince Edward County had a couple of very special guests attend, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall. The visit was arranged because Prince Charles is huge supporter of sustainable agriculture. The market is located at the parking lot of Wellington United Church. The local 4-H club was approached by the market developer, Louise McFaul, to bring their milkshake booth to offer samples during the visit. The club had some troubles getting their booth to the market so they improvised by making them inside the church and then bringing them to the booth space. Premier Kathleen Wynne was the official hostess for the Royals. Many other politicians were in attendance bringing congratulations of celebrating Canada 150 and the role of First Nations in developing Canada. Other leaders included: Mohawk Chief R. Donald, MP Neil Ellis, Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal with many other local and regional politicians. Each booth had a dignitary to welcome the Royals. Lou Rinaldi, MPP for Northumberland-Quinte West, and his wife were stationed at the 4-H booth.

During their visit, the Royals were served cake, ice cream and berries while talking with representatives from the church and community members. Afterwards, the Royals split up in order to be able to speak with all of the vendors. The Duchess ended up speaking with the 4-H’ers where she asked them about their projects and was interested in learning about the Cloverbud program. 4-H Leader, Lynn Ward, offered the Duchess a 4-H pin which she accepted. Other 4-H representatives present were Lynn’s husband Don, 4-H Council President Brad Found and 4-H staff member Megan Burnside. Despite the extra security of the Ontario Provincial Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Royalty and Specialist Protection, it was a very relaxed and fun environment.