New Partnership With Beausoliel First Nations Community

4-H Ontario First Nations Outreach Summer Student Amber Bomberry (right) at the Six Nay Discovery Day event on Friday, August 12, 2016 assisting with feather decorating.

4-H Ontario is excited to be engaged in a new partnership with Beausoliel First Nations. Beausoliel First Nations is located on Christian Island on the southern tip of Georgian Bay.

In March 2016, Matt Hill, Coordinator, Volunteer Support Region 1 & First Nations Engagement with 4-H Ontario was approached by a Beausoliel First Nations Community member who, after viewing the 4-H Ontario website, recognized the value in what 4-H offers youth. This connection resulted in 4-H Ontario supporting a grant application to fund a program to engage Beausoliel First Nations youth in helping to transition to high school. The purpose of the funding application (Ontario Trillium Foundation) was to provide support in indigenizing 4-H resources for First Nations youth. The ultimate outcome of the program is to see higher high school graduation rates for First Nations youth.

The funding application was approved and Beausoliel First Nations moved forward in hiring a project coordinator. In early August, 2016, Hill along with fellow 4-H Ontario stafff member Evelyn Chambers, Senior Manager, Volunteer & Community Engagement, met with the Project Coordinator Sarah Sandy and Nancy Assance, Senior Council Staff to further discuss how to integrate 4-H resources into First Nations activities and youth program curriculum.

This initial meeting has further led to the recruitment of several community members to be 4-H volunteers. Matt Hill travelled to Beausoliel First Nations in October and conducted a 4-H Ontario New Volunteer Orientation session with several interested participants of which three followed up with applications and are working through the 4-H volunteer screening process.

The long-term goal is to implement 4-H into Professional Development Days, weekend activities and into other youth and health services offered through the Beausoliel First Nations Council. In doing so, the goal is to further continue to build success for First Nations youth.

The partnership between 4-H Ontario and Beausoleil First Nations will hopefully open doors for other First Nations communities across Ontario to realize the value of the 4-H program for their youth and communities.

 

The Ambassador Beat: Nicole French

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 Nicole French, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Peel 4-H Association

Over the past 8 years, 4-H has been a major part of my life. It has shaped me into the person I am today. Giving me skills I will be able to use for the rest of my life. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people from across the province and make many life long connections.

Through my years with 4-H, it has given me many opportunities to expand my skill set and learn new things. The opportunity to be a 4-H Ontario Ambassador will allow me to further expand my skills and share what the program has done for me and why I love it so much!

Something that is unique about the 4-H program is its motto “Learn To Do By Doing”. 4-H encourages members to learn new things by trying them. It pushes members out of their comfort zone and into a world of new possibilities.

I can honestly say without 4-H I would never have learned how to: sew, latch hook, embroider, make balloon animals, lead a cow, grow a giant vegetable, pull a tractor, make a barn quilt, build a seed mosaic, make maple syrup, public speak, bake a pie, judge hay and the list goes on.

4-H gives members a safe place to try new things and learn from their mistakes. The mistakes that I have made when trying to learn something new, have allowed me to develop skills in patience and problem solving. Something I have learned from my 4-H experience is that you don’t always succeed on your 1st attempt, and in the case of growing a giant vegetable the 5th attempted didn’t work either. But that’s the best part about 4-H, even though I haven’t been successful in growing anything larger than a golf ball, I still join that club every year in the hopes that I will learn something new and “maybe” this will be the year to grow a giant pumpkin.

4-H has also taught me that hard work does pay off. That if you try hard enough you will succeed. This lesson can be applied to almost every aspect of your life and that is the best thing about 4-H. The life lessons you learn when at 4-H you can apply to other aspects of your life and you can use them for the rest of your life.

As a 4-H Ontario ambassador this is what I hope to achieve:

  • To inspire new member/leaders to join this amazing program.
  • To thank the volunteers and leader for all their hard work and time they have put into the program, because without them there would be no program.
  • To thank our generous sponsors for all their support and to hopefully inspire new sponsors to support 4-H.
  • To remind current 4-H members of why 4-H is an important part of their lives and that if they continue with the program it will give them a number of benefits and opportunities.
  • Lastly to inspire members to live the 4-H pledge, by continuing to learn new things, making friendships and staying loyal to them, giving back to the community whenever possible, leading a healthy life and doing this not only to better themselves but also other 4-H members, their community and hopefully the country.

The Ambassador Beat: Sadie-Jane Hickson

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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Sadie-Jane Hickson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Kawartha Lakes-Halliburton 4-H Association

Who knew February was so short!

Anyways…

February is the month of love, and what better way to celebrate than by reflecting on my love for 4-H?

At the end of this month, we, the six 2016 4-H Ontario Ambassadors, completed our year-long term as Ambassadors and welcomed in the new 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassadors. This experience has been amazing; I have met and been inspired by so many youth and volunteers and had opportunities to further develop my skills as a leader and a team player.

With each event I attended, I grew as a 4-H’er. I had the privilege to connect with people from across Ontario. I have been introduced to new opportunities through 4-H, and I have learned so much about myself and communities that 4-H has touched! 4-H truly is a youth empowerment program. Every time I am around 4-H’ers, I am reminded of how much I have learned and how much I will continue to learn. Each day is an opportunity to give back to your community and is a chance to help develop leadership skills in those that are younger than you.

All of the wonderful-ness of the 4-H program and all of the fantastic people you meet makes it hard to leave an event. After the Ambassador reception, I can say I was very sad to leave such a positive and friendly environment. Each event I attend seems to be harder to leave; saying goodbye to people you love to be around is hard!

But that’s part of the beauty of the 4-H program; it is never really goodbye to your friends, leaders and mentors. There is always another chance to see them again. With the technology today, it is easy to stay connected. We can stay involved in each others lives and organize a time to meet up. Know from experience that there are many 4-H group chats from camps, conferences and the Ambassador program each year! There are so many opportunities for 4-H’ers to attend and to see their friends, such as Judge-It days, Go For The Gold, The Royal and leadership camps such as Future Leaders In Action (FLIA), Provincial Leadership Camp and Career Mania.

For those that love the 4-H program so much that they have attended all of the leadership camps offered in Ontario, there are still ways to stay involved and meet people. I promise that national events are just as amazing as the provincial ones. In addition, volunteer at Discovery and Judge-It Days! One opportunity I have had the privilege of attending as a 4-H ambassador was Youth Adventure Camp as a youth facilitator. I had a fantastic time; I was able to attend the camp and meet amazing leaders, but I also had the opportunity to experience facilitation! I know that I have so many great memories from silly facilitators that helped me to grow as a leader, and hope that I will be a part of other 4-H’ers memories!

So to wrap this up a bit, once a 4-H’er, always a 4-H’er. Saying goodbye after a camp or a conference is hard, but it is not hard to use the tools made available to us so that we may stay connected. The camp goodbyes are not permanent, so cheer up. Meet as many people as you can, and prepare to see them at the next 4-H event. This is something that one of the greatest 4-H mentors, facilitators and friends said to me after FLIA last March Break, and I like to remember that at every 4-H event.

Being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador has been an unreal experience. I am so thankful that I had this opportunity. I have learned so much about myself, my peers, and 4-H in Ontario. Moving forward, I will take advantage of all the new opportunities I have learned about, and continue to be a proud 4-H’er. Another 4-H friend of mine told me, “just because the Ambassador term is over, it doesn’t mean you are done being an Ambassador”. I will always represent the 4-H program to the best of my ability. Thank you 4-H Ontario, UPI Energy and GROWMARK, Inc. None of these opportunities or connections would be possible without your investments in the futures of today’s youth.

 

My 2016 4-H Project

Submitted by: Sandeep Sinha

I was not too keen, and my father was very determined to get us to the Glenburnie United Church on Feb 26, for the Frontenac 4-H Rally. I did not know what to expect and I was probably the only city kid in the Rally.

However, the 4-H folks were very friendly and we quickly got into presentations about the various clubs through which we could do our projects. I was pretty certain that I wanted to do Dairy, but I was a total novice and did not even know the difference between a Holstein and a Jersey.

I came out of the meeting with plenty of enrolment forms, information and was less anxious about what lay ahead. After the Rally, we had our first meeting of the Frontenac Dairy Club. At the meeting, our Dairy leaders explained how the competition season works, leading up to the Achievement Day and the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair. 

When we got home we got a follow-up call from Becky Lamendeau, our Dairy leader, explaining in more detail, the work that was expected out of the members and how much practice lead to achievement.

In April, we showed up for enrolment day, and I signed up for the Dairy Club. It was there that I met Natasha Abrams, my Dairy leader, on whose farm, Hickory Acres, I would spend the next six months practicing my showmanship skills with a newborn Jersey calf, named Vaida. I set up my once-a-week schedule with her for showmanship practice, for the next two months.

Once the school year got over, I entered my first competition at Shannonville. It was an eye-opener to see the amount of effort needed to prepare the calf for an event, and I got the judge’s critique, which was very helpful.

I decided to double my efforts to improve my skills, and since the summer vacations had started, I was able to go to Hickory Acres twice a week for the next two months. All that work must have helped, because when I entered my next competition at Lansdowne, I was placed in higher ranks.

That gave me a lot of confidence, and I was now in a better frame of mind approaching the Achievement Day at the Kingston Fall Fair. The Fair exceeded my expectations and I did very well, which then set me up for the Regional Fair at Metcalfe. At Metcalfe, the level of competition was higher and my calf was a bit temperamental, but I placed in the higher ranks.

So then, it was all set up for our leaders to identify which Dairy Club members would represent the best chance for Frontenac 4-H to place in the higher ranks at the Dairy Classic in Toronto. I got my call, and jumped at the chance. I was very grateful for the opportunity, because many members had put many hours into their projects, and to be selected to represent Frontenac was an honour.

So, then we went about approaching sponsors to help us pay for the expense in getting the team over to Toronto, which included hotel, meals, gear and supplies. The whole month of October was spent chasing down sponsorship and checks, as well as, getting last-minute practice.

We finally departed in a convoy for Toronto on the morning of Sunday, November 6. It was an uneventful ride and when we finally showed up at Exhibition Place, we had to do a drive-around to unload the supplies and assemble the stall, before the animals arrived on the second trailer, which was following us, a couple of hours behind.

The next two days were spent in getting the animals used to their new surroundings and keeping them well-rested, exercised, well-fed and watered. Finally, it was show-time, and I had to get into my whites to be ready to lead my calf for the Showmanship category. I was hoping that my calf would not get temperamental, and after I got into the Ring of Excellence, the next 30 minutes just went by, as we went through the presentation. The next day was similar, except this time it was the Conformation category. This time around, there were no butterflies in the stomach, since I knew what to expect, leading up to this moment. 

The next few hours after the competition were anti-climactic, but we were not done yet because our stalls had to be judged and we had to make an additional trip to the Ring for the Group of Three event. When we were done, finally, we came back to dismantle and pack the stall into our supply trailer and the animals in the second trailer. As we got on to the road to leave, I felt very sad and empty, and as the lights of downtown Toronto winked goodbye, I fell asleep.

The Ambassador Beat: Laura DeKlein

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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Laura DeKlein, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Middlesex 4-H Association

4-H New Years Resolutions

Hi, my name is Laura DeKlein and this year I have achieved and participated in many events, activities, and conferences as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador and member. My goal for 2017 is to encourage all youth, volunteers, and participants to do the same. Need some ideas? Here are some ways I encourage you to get started:

1. Apply for Opportunities

The opportunities available are endless and extremely valuable. Opportunities vary on local, provincial and even international levels. Just rake the risk and apply! This includes clubs, camps, exchanges, competitions, scholarships and much more. Visit www.4-hontario.ca and start/continue your journey today!

2. ACT Enthusiastic and you’ll BE enthusiastic

It is important when approaching any situation to act enthusiastic. It is important to influence those around you and be a team player despite potential lack of interest. This will open so many doors and opportunities for you and those around you. When you open the door, there are so many more ‘doors’ and opportunities. It all starts with you and the attitude you put forward not only in the first impression, but also for every time you approach something.

3. Take Risks

This may seem crazy but risk taking is key in order to diversify your life – appropriate and safe risks of course! By risks, I mean beating your negative conscience and saying I CAN or I WILL. Personally, I have achieved this through 4-H in 2015 and have been building on this since PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp). Be yourself – but apply for what you want, work for what you want and be who you want to be despite all else. 4-H provides so many opportunities for you to apply yourself to new risks and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to do so – learn to do by doing.

It is my pleasure to be able to write a New Years blog post as a 2016 4-H Ontario Ambassador. Thank-you to all of the 4-H Ontario staff and volunteers for the opportunity to advocate for this program, and to Growmark, Inc. and UPI Energy LP for such generous sponsorship. In closing, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities 4-H Ontario provides. I wish all a prosperous New Year.

The Ambassador Beat: Julie French

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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Julie French, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Peel 4-H Association

Once-in-a-Lifetime Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

As 4-H members we all work towards different goals with our 4-H projects. For some, they strive to improve their skills within their respective club. For others, they work towards that red ribbon at the local fairs. But for many, the goal is to exhibit their projects at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year’s Royal was unlike any other that I have ever attended for many reasons! It demonstrated to me the importance of teamwork, patience and hard work!

 

 

Go For The Gold
Teamwork

This year the Peel 4-H Association put together a Go For The Gold team for the first time in a few years. The team from Peel consisted of Allison French, Nicole French, Jamie Laidlaw, Robert Matson and myself. We met the deadline for entry on the last possible day, studied intensely for two weeks and then attended the Region 4 competition in Georgetown. To all of our surprise, we fared the competition and qualified for the provincial competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! After many hours of group studying (sometimes questionable whether we were actually studying or just hanging out together as a team), we took to Toronto for the provincial competition. The competition was fierce! In the end, all of the hard work our team put in paid off and we ended up winning the prestigious title. A special thanks to our leaders Tom and Heather French.

Artistic Display
Patience

Another first for the Peel 4-H Association this year was running a seed mosaic club (led by leaders Lindsay Bebbington, Brenda Bebbington and Darlene Downey). This club was one to remember, testing patience and creative ability. Each of the six members created a seed mosaic that we were determined to finish for the local fairs with the end goal of entering them in the competition at the Royal. After hours of work, some minor hiccups and individual sorting and placing seeds with tweezers, four boards made it to the Royal. Peel did amazingly well for the first time participating in this competition- finishing with a 1st (myself), 4th (Allison French), 5th (Nicole French) and 8th (Robert Matson) place. All exhibitors in this competition spent a HUGE amount of time on the creations, creating a beautiful display of a unique club in the 4-H program! A special thank you to SeCan for their support for this competition!

TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic
Hard Work

I have been showing in the dairy club for eight years, experiencing all the highs and lows that exhibiting livestock comes with. You invest so much time and energy into training your heifer and getting her ready for the shows in pursuit of success. A huge milestone of the year being qualifying to represent your association at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic in Toronto. This year’s Classic was very special for Peel as we changed our display thanks to a younger member’s initiative (a special thank you to Allison French) and placed 8th - a huge accomplishment for our association! Several of our members also ended up qualifying from their heat to the finals of their classes! I had the incredible experience of exhibiting the Grand Champion Calf- Quality Solomon Lust. An unbelievable experience that even writing about now seems surreal. I want to thank Quality Holsteins for letting me borrow their heifer as my 4-H project for the year. A special thank you to the amazing 4-H volunteers of Peel, the TD 4-H Canadian Dairy Classic Committee and the Sponsors, and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for their support of the Classic. Without the volunteers and sponsors, this once-in-a lifetime Royal experience wouldn’t have been possible.

I am so thankful to the members, volunteers and sponsors of the 4-H program. This year’s Royal was such a humbling experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It makes me truly realize the value of the 4-H program and all it has to offer! These were only three events at the Royal this year, with so many other opportunities for 4-H members to exhibit their projects. Hard work, patience and teamwork are all valuable lessons that 4-H teaches members.

 

5 Questions With… Linda Humphrey

First Name:  Linda
Last Name:  Humphrey
4-H Association or Region:  Oxford
Years In 4-H: 34

Member, Volunteer, Alumni (Indicate all that apply):

Member, Volunteer

Currently Oxford 4-H Communications Coordinator – membership, awards, newsletter  (Paid position), an extra body if needed at meetings and an “expert” for sewing projects.

Questions:

  1. Why did you join 4-H?

My mother insisted with dad’s support. Didn’t really like it much but determined to stay in till I had completed 6 projects; Then decided that I could do 12.  Pretty sure I was a trial for the leaders. But I matured, saw the value of the program and became an Assistant Leader and continued as a member – you could do that then. Received County (6) Provincial (12) and Advanced (18) Honours which was as far as you could go. My biggest regret is that I never took a dairy club – my dad had a calf he encouraged me to show but I would have none of it.

  1. What clubs, camps, opportunities etc have you participated or volunteered in?

Became a volunteer with Princess Elizabeth (homemaking) then started a club in Bright.  At present I have volunteered for 63 projects. Have done some minor volunteer duties for 4-H at the local fair and attend every Volunteer Symposium I can manage.

  1. How has 4-H changed your life?

I kept all my project manuals and member projects and have referred to them often.  Now most of the information is available online but I learned it first from 4-H. There was a time when you learned the best way to do something in 4-H and you were expected to improve through the clubs. The program has changed over the years but that I miss the most.

  1. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

Presenting my first 24 project award for my club member and to my daughter. But I think the best will be at our Awards Night this year. A member who took a lot of her projects with my club is to be the featured speaker. I love seeing the members grow through the years, changing from shy kids into confident speakers and workers. I also like working with my Youth Leaders and have never been disappointed in the way they come through for their projects and duties. Also thrilled that my granddaughter loved Cloverbuds and is looking forward to “real” 4-H!

  1. What do you do outside of 4-H? (hobbies, school, career, etc)

I was a stay at home mom for 23 years, worked as an Administrative Assistant then as a buyer for a manufacturer. Currently as I said above I am the Communications Coordinator for my county 4-H association handling the duties of membership, awards and newsletters – plus just ask and if I don’t know I will find out. But the most surprising thing I do now is as a lay worship leader for my church. Me, standing up in front of people delivering a sermon I’ve written when during all my career as a 4-H member I managed to avoid speaking at all. Eventually 4-H gets you trained. It took a lot of years for me. I am also an avid quilter (making lots of donation quilts while I perfect my skills), seamstress (so far around 20 Western shirts plus many other things) and also knit and crochet. I’m also teaching my granddaughter to sew and knit and am a devoted grammy to my grandkids.

 

Liked Linda’s story? Want to share your own 4-H story? Check out our 5 Questions With Feature here!

The Ambassador Beat: Elaine Jeffs

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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Elaine Jeffs, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Northumberland 4-H Association

4 Ways To Show Your 4-H Spirit

Bring friends to 4-H events - 4-H achievement days, camps and other opportunities are some of the most exciting experiences for 4-H members, so what better way to show your friends what 4-H is all about than inviting them to come with you! Discovery Days, Youth Adventure Camp and Dairy Sen$e® are just a handful of the awesome events that are open to both 4-H members and non 4-H members. Getting new people involved in 4-H, expands the demographic that the program can reach, lets new people have the opportunity to learn to do by doing and makes it easier for you to make new friends that will last a lifetime! So next time you are excited about attending a 4-H event, see if you can invite a friend and show them what 4-H is all about!

Social Media- With technology constantly advancing, there are so many ways to share what’s going on in our lives with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have opened up windows of opportunity for members, leaders, volunteers and alumni to show their 4-H spirit to the world! The hashtag #4His4me has been a great way to connect people and share the 4-H spirit across the nation. You can share your 4-H stories, pictures, memories and updates with people who love 4-H too! If you are at a conference or even a 4-H event of your own, creating hashtags is a great way to connect with the people in attendance and share your thoughts, opinions and pictures from the day with everyone. So the next time that you are at a super cool 4-H meeting or event, remember that you can share the highlights for others to see and enjoy too!

4-H swag – Are you wondering what to wear today? Why not put on a 4-H shirt or hat? I think that it is safe to say that we all feel awesome when we are decked out in 4-H gear, wearing the logo with pride! Stay tuned to the 4-H Canada website for the newly updated 4-H mall which is opening soon. But wait!!! Wouldn’t it be great to show your 4-H spirit on the same day as other members across Canada? Well now you can! On Wednesday, November 2, 2016 it is Show Your 4-H Colours Day! This is the day where 4-H clubs, alumni, volunteer leaders, friends and supporters get to show off your green gear while giving back and doing good work in your community! Using hashtag #ShowYour4HColours you can see how others are making a difference and showing spirit too! For more information visit www.4-h-canada.ca/showyour4hcolours

Spread the word- One of the best ways to show your 4-H spirit is to spread the word! Tell your friends about the different clubs that you are taking, what you are learning about, the trips that you are going on, the competitions that you are competing in and the amazing people you are meeting! It is your time to shine when you meet someone who has never heard of 4-H before. You can tell them what it is all about, answer questions and debunk any myths that you hear about the 4-H program. 4-H is for everyone so it’s time for you to show your spirit! Tell the world why you love this amazing program and maybe they will get to find out why there is no better way to discover the world than learning to do by doing!

The Ambassador Beat: Vicki Brisson

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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Vicki Brisson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Russell 4-H Association

4-H – My Club, my Community, my Country

4-H is an incredibly unique organization providing youth with all the necessary tools, skills and abilities to become successful individuals that thrive in their personal and professional lives. As I attended a variety of 4-H events across the province this summer, I had the opportunity to experience first hand the importance of everyone supporting the 4-H program in any way, shape, or form; once again showing how the 4-H pledge is applicable to any 4-H events.

My club

4-H offers over 75 different club projects, with topics ranging from livestock, to scrapbooking, to paintball. However, these clubs rely entirely on volunteer leaders that offer their time, knowledge and passion. Furthermore, they act as role models for their members, who then become mentors to younger members themselves.

My community

4-H creates a tight-knit community, whether it be local businesses sponsoring 4-H in their community or 4-H clubs running events such as food drives or seasonal clean-ups. 4-H also relies on the generosity of their community to find facilities willing to host them, whether it be farms opening their doors to livestock clubs, or churches lending their kitchen to cooking clubs.

My country

4-H offers many opportunities for youth outside their county, at the regional, provincial, national, or even international levels. To name only a few: Discovery Days, Provincial Leadership Camp, 4-H Ontario Ambassador program, 4-H TD Classic and youth exchanges. All these events give members an opportunity to travel and discover their country in a unique way while making lifelong friends and memories and work on new skills. These events also have in common one thing: very generous sponsors. As a 4-H ambassador, I can truly say that without the help of Growmark and UPI, all we have accomplished throughout the year would not have been possible.

As the 4-H year is coming to an end, I would like to encourage every one of you my fellow 4-H’ers to join me and show appreciation by saying thank you to all your volunteers, sponsors, family members who help you along the way. We often forget these very important people along the way, but as National 4-H day is coming up on November 2nd, show your 4-H colours and show the world how proud you are to be a 4-H’er. That is the best Thank You Possible!

 4-H, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays

4-H est un organisme pour les jeunes qui vise à développer les aptitudes et connaissances nécessaires permettant aux jeunes de 9  à 21 ans de s’épanouir, autant dans leurs vies personnelles que professionnelles. J’ai pris part à une variété d’évenements à travers la province cet été, et j’ai pu constater à quel point le support des partenaires supportant le programme 4-H, de quelque façon que ce soit, est important. Laissez-moi vous présenter pourquoi les bénévoles et commanditaires sont essentiels au succès du programme, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays.

Mon club

4-H a développé et offre plus de 75 différents projets, sur des sujets aussi variés que bovins laitiers, scrapbooking et paintball. Cependant, ces clubs dépendent entièrement des bénévoles, qui offrent leur temps, leur savoir ainsi que leur passion. De plus, ils sont des modèles pour leurs membres, qui à leur tour deviennent mentors pour les membres juniors. C’est au niveau du club que la passion pour le 4-H est éveillée.  C’est là que tout commence. 

Ma communauté

4-H crée une communauté tissée-serrée. Que ce soit les entreprises locales commanditant les 4-H dans leur communauté ou les clubs 4-H organisant des évènements tels que des collectes de denrées non-périssables ou encore des corvées de nettoyage saisonnier dans les endroits publics, il y a de l’entraide.  Les compétences de leadership se développent par l’implication des jeunes dans l’organisation de ces activités communautaires.  Les clubs 4-H dépendent aussi sur la générosité de leur communauté afin de trouver des locaux désirant les accueillir, que ce soit une ferme qui ouvre ses portes à un club de bovins laitiers ou une église qui prête sa cuisine pour les clubs de cuisine.

Mon pays

4-H offre de nombreuses opportunités au niveau régional, provincial, national ou même international. Pour n’en nommer que quelque unes : les Discovery Days, le Provincial Leadership Camp, le programme d’ambassadeurs 4-H, la Classique TD et les échanges. Tous ces évènements offrent aux membres l’opportunité de voyager et de découvrir leur pays d’une façon unique tout en créant des amitiés et des souvenirs pour la vie. Ces évènements ont aussi toute une chose en commun : de très généreux commanditaires. En tant qu’ambassadrice, je peux réellement dire que sans l’aide de Growmark et UPI, tout ce que nous avons accompli durant l’été n’aurait pas été possible. 

Alors que l’année 4-H tire à sa fin, j’aimerais encourager les membres 4-H à démontrer leur appréciation, en remerciant tous leurs bénévoles, leurs commanditaires et les membres de leur famille qui les supportent. Il est souvent facile d’oublier ces personnes très importantes, mais lors de la journée nationale du 4-H qui approche, le 2 novembre prochain, démontrez vos couleurs 4-H, partagez avec le monde votre fierté d’être un membre 4-H. C’est souvent de simples petits gestes qui sont la meilleure façon de démontrer votre gratitude et reconnaissance. 

 

A 4-H Icon – Bert Stewart

By Ryan Métivier

When you’re talking about someone who epitomizes everything that 4-H stands for, the name Bertram (Bert) Stewart quickly comes to mind. Bert and his family have been a part of every level of 4-H and the agricultural community throughout their lives.

Stewart is a world-renowned judge and pioneer in preparing and exhibiting dairy cattle, a mentor and coach to countless youth and tireless supporter of all things 4-H.

Stewart is the seventh of eight children born to Ernie and Jennie Stewart who owned a family farm in Peel County. Over the years each of the children, as well as their kids and grandkids have been avid 4-H members and supporters. Bert now has a five-year-old great grandson who may soon start another generation of 4-H’ers in the family. All told the family has been involved as members or leaders in Peel, Halton, Waterloo, Wellington, Bruce, Middlesex and Kent 4-H Associations, as well as in Portage la Prairie and Steinbach in Manitoba.

After graduating as a 4-H member, Bert quickly transitioned into a volunteer in Peel County before later moving to Halton County. Bert became heavily involved in dairy and judging clubs and was instrumental in starting what is now the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Ontario 4-H Inter-Club Dairy Judging Competition.

Bert has taken a team to Madison, Wisconsin for the US National 4-H Judging Competition at the World Dairy Expo every year and says at least half a dozen of the team members have gone on to become official judges, something Bert always takes great joy in watching.

His judging experiences haven’t been limited to 4-H and North America though, as he’s had the opportunity to judge in 17 other countries around the world, with Brazil being his most frequent destination, somewhere he’s visited what he estimates was around 85 times.

“It was like a second home,” he says, of the house he once stayed in four to five times a year, where you could lie awake at night and hear the waterfalls come down the creek from 15 feet away.

He spent a lot of time down there judging and purchasing cattle and always made sure to bring a youth who had a keen interest in the industry with him to shows in Brazil.

To list all of Bert’s accomplishments throughout his career could likely fill many pages in this magazine, but he has amassed numerous awards and recognitions in the agriculture industry including receiving the Centennial Award in 1988 for outstanding service to the industry from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). In 2002, he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his continued years of community service and in 2010 he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. In 2012, Bert was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by 4-H Canada. This award commemorates Canadians who have positively impacted their community and distinguished themselves as leaders.

Today, Bert has dedicated 46 years to being a 4-H volunteer and in 2006 he was awarded with 4-H Ontario’s most prestigious award, the Syngenta 4-H Ontario Arbor Award for his efforts. The nomination came from a 4-H member from one of the judging teams.

His induction into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame is one memory he cherishes dearly. “It means everything,” says Bert when asked about how it feels to receive that sort of acknowledgement. “The best thing about being in the Hall of Fame was that my wife (Hazel) was still with me. 4-H had a lot to do with me being put in the Hall of Fame.”

The memory was further enhanced when his nephew Lyndon Stewart brought a bunch of 4-H kids Bert knew to the ceremony as a surprise.

In her speech at the presentation, his daughter Kelly spoke about what 4-H meant to her father and said 4-H has had a tremendous impact on their entire family and that his 4-H training prepared him for a truly great and exciting life.

Always looking to be more involved in the program, he represented 4-H as the Canadian 4-H Council President from 2005-2006, as a member of the Council thereafter and also as a Trustee on the Ontario 4-H Foundation.

“I was asked to do it, so I got involved that’s all,” he says. “And if I was involved, I was involved. I could’ve done other things, but 4-H was good to me, and I owed it to them. I’m happy I did what I did and I’ll probably still go to quite a few 4-H events in the future.”

When he says 4-H was good to him, sure he could be speaking of the countless doors and opportunities it’s opened to he and his family, or how he met his wife Hazel at a dance at the Junior Farmer’s building, but he’s also speaking of the great coaches and mentors he had as a youth when he learned from the Agricultural Representatives in his region.

Sit down and chat with Bert and you can see those are some of the things he still holds dear and wants to share with today’s youth. One of the many ways he does this is with the award he established with his late wife Hazel in 2010 for 4-H Dairy Club members in grade 9, 10 or 11. The Bertram and Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Youth Education Award & Bursary honours their deep commitment and passion toward agriculture, education and 4-H. The $1,000 award and bursary is presented by the Stewart family at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic during the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as a Living Legacy gift, which Bert is able to see the impact of each year. Part of their hope for this bursary was to encourage youth in the 11-14 age bracket to continue to stay connected to the program, an age group where he says 4-H’ers often get involved with other interests.

Whether he’s talking about his days as a member himself, a dinner he recently took a past judging team member to, letters he receives from youth, events and people he’s looking forward to attending and seeing, sleeping by waterfalls in Brazil or how he once purchased a calf for $4,500 and sold her last son, a six-year-old bull for $600,000, Bert is a fountain of stories, ideas, experiences and full of passion for all things 4-H.