Written by: Sara Harper
On October 26, 4-H Ontario in partnership with AgScape, presented Your Future in Agriculture. It was a pilot event for 4-H Ontario’s Passport to Leadership Certificate and also hosted AgScape’s Career Competition. Three schools from South Simcoe County with approximately 110 students were gathered at Mount Forest Sports Complex to experience all that agriculture has to offer.
The Passport to Leadership Certificate was prepared by 4-H Ontario to meet the requirements of Ontario Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) students for certification. The certificate program embodies key elements of traditional 4-H programming while focusing on various areas of leadership styles such as goal setting and teamwork. The funds for this project were donated by William Seath. On May 30, 2017, William Seath generously made an in memorial gift to honour his late wife Rhea who was a 4-H Member. Sadly, William passed away on September 14, 2017 before the launch of the certificate. We will remember William and Rhea for their contribution to ensure leadership development makes a mark on today’s youth.
And what a mark it has already left. SHSM students were immersed in a self-reflection of their own leadership style, learned how all styles can work together and discussed their SMART goals. Mikaela Adams, a 4-H member from Bruce County, spoke at the beginning of the day about what it means to be a 4-H’er and how the program has helped shape who she is today. She also participated in the day’s activities.
“We learned how to become better leaders and I loved the setting goals part of the morning,” says Mikaela.
A teacher from Stayner Collegiate Institute shared that, “The material was really good for them to know. The whole concept is excellent.”
The afternoon is when AgScape took over the hall with their Career Competition. They delivered another SHSM component bringing real world, experiential opportunities to explore a variety of agri-food careers. Students were split into eight groups and then rotated to participate in four of the eight activity stations. They learned about various different aspects of agriculture careers in areas covering marketing, finance, robotics, pest identification, water management, genetics, soil science and food processing. AgScape staff member Jenny Mayer was on site to help facilitate the event.
“Students often get stuck in their school community bubble,” she says. “It is important to present them with engaging, interactive events like this where they can learn about real world opportunities in our innovative and growing agri-food industry.”
In the future, 4-H Ontario and AgScape hope to host similar events for other school boards. We would also like to thank our amazing sponsors who made this event possible. Thanks to AgCareeres.com, Agriculture in the Classroom, Agriculture More Than Ever, The Co-operators, EastGen, FS Partners, GayLea, Meridian, Monsanto, St. Clair Conservation, South Simcoe District School Board, ThinkAG and The Township of Wellington North. SHSM students of South Simcoe County School Board are now one step further in building their agricultural future.