The Ambassador Beat : Mel Karpenko

Without 4-H, it’s a dream. With 4-H, it’s an experience.  

By: Mel Karpenko

I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and MY WORLD.  

Who would have guessed that what seems to many as a small-town club for farm kids, would offer youth the chance to travel 8,513km out of their comfort zone? For me, it was an incredible opportunity I was fortunate to experience through 4-H.

Imagine – You fill out the application and dream of being selected for a life changing experience. All you can do is answer the questions to the best of your ability, hit send and cross your fingers and toes.  

Skip ahead and you receive a confirmation that you have been offered the chance to interview for the 4-H Canada Going Global Exchanges program! Suddenly this is becoming very real. You are aware that there is tough competition for this opportunity and that many of the applicants are just as deserving of the position. So, you prepare and make sure to do your best. 

Suddenly, it’s the end of March, you’ve just arrived home from school and you receive an email from 4-H Canada! You hold your breath as you click on the email and you re-read each word making sure you understand it correctly. After a moment it sinks in, all your preparation has paid off. You did it, you have been selected to travel to Argentina! 

The day finally arrives to board the plane and start your adventure. (Don’t forget to check the weather before you pack! Just because it’s south doesn’t mean it’s always hot!)  When you get off the plane and are welcomed by open arms, warm houses and grateful hearts. All that’s left to do is enjoy and absorb the experience.  

Being in an unfamiliar country with an unfamiliar language leads to strong relationships being built very quickly. Anyone who has been a part of a 4-H opportunity knows that relationships developed through 4-H are unlike any other.   

There are many opportunities available to 4-H’ers through both 4-H Ontario and 4-H Canada. Each opportunity offers new experiences to learn, grow and build relationships. Sometimes the hardest part is submitting the application.  

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