The Ambassador Beat : Rose Danen

Following in My Mom’s Footsteps: Why I Want to be a 4-H Leader

I can’t believe what I’m about to say… I’m going to be 21 this year.

While most may see 21 as a pretty insignificant milestone, the thought of my 21st birthday breaks my heart because it means this is going to be my last year as a 4-H participant.

Over 10 years in 4-H?! Where did the time go?!

The last few weeks have been spent reminiscing about all the amazing memories and opportunities 4-H gave me – clubs completed, camps attended, friends made, skills developed. All this reminiscing made me sad because I didn’t want it to be over.

But then I began thinking about my mom, and how this all started because she encouraged 10-year-old me to join my first 4-H club. This is when I realized ‘Wait! This doesn’t have to be my last year of 4-H.’

 A 4-H Leader Just Like My Mom

My 4-H journey isn’t over… it’s just beginning. I can become a 4-H leader, just like my mom!

I came to this realization because my mom never gave up 4-H herself after she turned 21. She has actively continued to be involved in 4-H since she was a little girl. She started as a member, then a volunteer, and now she’s a leader.

In my eyes, my mom has always been a 4-H leader. It has become a part of her identity. She’s the one who taught me how to show cows, how to recite the 4-H pledge, how to be a leader.

Looking at my mom’s 4-H journey, I realized being a 4-H leader is a great way to stay involved in 4-H and follow in my mom’s footsteps.

Why I Want to Be a 4-H Leader

I think the biggest reason why I want to become a 4-H leader is because it allows me to pass on the torch.

If it wasn’t for my mom, I would have never joined 4-H and been given all these amazing opportunities and I want to give other youth that same opportunity my mom gave me. I want to spread the awesomeness that is 4-H to all corners of my community.

I also want to be a 4-H leader because it can be an awesome outlet for me to utilize the skills I learned as a 4-H member.

Through the clubs I have completed, I learned how to sew, how to bake, how to garden, how to lead a healthy lifestyle. How awesome would it be to take those skills and pass them on to the next generation of youth?

Also, the skill I would be utilizing the most – leadership – also happens to be the most prominent skill I developed through 4-H. Being an ambassador, going to Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp and Future Leaders in Action, completing the Youth Leader project… all of it will make me an amazing 4-H leader.

I also want to be a 4-H leader so that I can give back to an organization that has already given me so much. I want to donate my time and money and invest in youth of tomorrow. I want to take my passions and turn them into new clubs. I want 4-H to spread its reach into more urban communities.

Though, as long as I get to keep being a part of 4-H, I’m happy. 

A Message to My Fellow Senior 4-Hers

This realization isn’t just for me. It’s for all senior 4-H members who are trying to figure out how to say goodbye to 4-H as they grow too old to be a member.

Guess what? You don’t have to say goodbye either.

You too can become a 4-H leader and start giving back to your community. Being a 4-H leader is such an amazing opportunity for you to volunteer, to mentor youth, and be a part of something bigger than yourself.

I’m sure you have a 4-H leader like my mom. I’m sure that leader has had a significant impact on your life and who you are today. Can you imagine being able to have that same impact on the next generation of 4-H members?

Now that I have this idea in my head, I can’t wait until the time is right in my life to become a 4-H leader.

Thanks mom.

The Ambassador Beat: Christie Annett

The Bigger the Challenge, the Bigger the Opportunity

This year marks my graduating year from 4-H as a member.  I was 9 when I joined my first 4-H clubs: Horse, Field Crops and Sheep. I am now 21 and as I look back, I reflect on my commitment to 4-H throughout high school, college, jobs, schoolwork, sports, moving and a full-time job. We grow by overcoming challenges and I have definitely grown through all my 4-H experiences so much that I am now a 4-H Leader.

According to 4-H Ontario, the average tenure for a youth is 3.7 years (2018), yet I was in 4-H for 12 years. Why do some youth stay in 4-H and some move on from 4-H after only a very few years?  For lots of young people, there is pressure to get a job, combined with school work and other extracurricular activities. For me, my parents made sure 4-H was a priority.  My dad was my field crop leader and all my siblings were in the club. My mom always said this is our time in life to be 4-H member and take advantage of as many 4-H opportunities as possible! So, I went to Career Mania and that was when I knew that I wanted more. I LOVED 4-H camps and made new friends that I still have to this day.

So, how can we encourage members to stay in 4-H longer? I think it is important for both parents and youth to understand the long-term impact that is possible through 4-H. For some parents, becoming a volunteer in their Association is a great way to start. I think that we should take on this challenge and increase that 3.7 year tenure to 10 years and more!