The Ambassador Beat: Michaella Snyder

Stepping out of your comfort zone vs. anxiety. How Future Leaders In Action Camp helped me with both.

The deadline for Future Leaders In Action (FLIA) was coming up fast and I had pretty much made up my mind that I wasn’t going to sign up. I had been struggling with anxiety about going to any camp after I had a stressful experience at a non-4-H related camp two years prior. I remember having a panic attack the night before a non-4-H camp for no reason. I had just woken up and remembered that in the morning that I was going to camp, and I spiraled. So, I had decided that it was not worth the stress and it was too far out of my comfort zone.

That’s when one of my good friends started nagging me to sign up. She was persistent and guaranteed that it was worthwhile and that I would have a great time and I am so glad I decided to go to FLIA.

If you have never had the opportunity to attend a 4-H camp it is an experience like no other. The programs are designed to create a safe, encouraging environment where its participants can flourish. I remember standing outside with the other campers after we all got off the bus and looking around at the unfamiliar faces. Most of us were quiet and shy and no one was talking, but that didn’t last long. Our wonderful facilitators started that weekend off with so much energy and excitement that it was impossible not to follow along. I have never been to another camp where the facilitators are having just as much fun, if not more fun than the participants. We were kept so busy it was impossible to do anything other then live in the moment which helped me out a great deal. We were encouraged to step out of our comfort zones and to trust and support one another. Camp was a safe space away from the rest of the world and I can say with confidence that FLIA changed my life.

We gained leadership skills, but we also learned how to be good listeners. We challenged each other and lifted each other up when someone was feeling down. We climbed 20-foot towers and hoisted each other into the air during high ropes. We worked our way out of escape rooms and talked our facilitators into letting us dance for a few extra hours on the last night. By the end of that camp all 40 participants knew each other by name and I still talk to many of them today. Tears were shed as we climbed the bus to go home from camp and said good bye to one another.

After FLIA I was hooked. In the last three years I have had the privilege of attending Provincial 4-H  Leadership Camp (that runs alternating years with FLIA), Career Mania at the University of Guelph, The 4-H Global Networking Summit in Ottawa (that had participants from over 30 Countries!), 4-H Canada Citizenship Congress in Ottawa. All of these experiences have led me to becoming a 4-H Ambassador this year.

Doing something out of your comfort zone is never easy. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the “what ifs”. What if I fail? What if I don’t fit in? I can say with confidence that 4-H is a wonderful place to leave those “what if’s” behind. So, I challenge you to do something that forces you out of your comfort zone. If not camp, maybe you join a new club, try to get elected for a position in your club that you haven’t held before, talk to a new member and introduce yourself or volunteer to speak first when giving presentations or giving reasons. Whatever you do if you are stepping out of your comfort zone you have succeeded. If you learned something new or gained a new skill, there is no such thing as failing. The more that you put into 4-H, the more you will get out and there are so many opportunities to experience what 4-H has to offer Locally, Provincially, Nationally and Globally.

So, sign up for camp and drag a friend along! If you have already been to a 4-H camp before, encourage a friend to apply! Sometimes people just need a gentle push to get them going. Lastly, be sure not to judge the circumference of your comfort zone to other people’s comfort zones.

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. “

~ John Assaraf

 

Sudbury 4-H joins together to pledge their health to better living

Members of the Sudbury 4-H Club joined together to pledge their health to better living in their most recent hiking initiative. The group teamed up to explore the Junction Creek Waterway Park, a non-motorized trail system located in Greater Sudbury. The Junction Creek Waterway Park is home to five urban trails that serve to promote healthy active living and act as a gateway to the natural environment.

 

In the Fall of 2018, members, leaders and volunteers of Sudbury 4-H met every Thursday evening to explore the five urban trails and learn about the uniqueness of each one. The club also took the opportunity to learn about GPS training and survival skills, expertise that is imperative for anyone taking part in a healthy active lifestyle in the outdoors.

 

 

Sudbury 4-H took their pledge one step further and organized a full-day hike to Killarney Provincial Park where they climbed what is known as, “The Crack”. The six-kilometre journey involved steep terrain, but the hikers were rewarded with breathtaking views of the white hills of the La Cloche mountains. 

 

Thank you, Paulette MacDonald of Sudbury 4-H, for submitting details and photos about this exciting club.   

What 4-H means to me

By: Morgan Desserre

Better, the one word that goes with everything when I think about 4-H. Better person, better friend, better leader, better choices, better prepared. Without 4-H I would not be the person I am today. It has given me the opportunities to build and grow more than anything and given me the most fun way to do it. Some of the best times in my life were at a 4-H opportunity and being able to have that fun while becoming a better person makes everything else feel a little easier.

At the district level being able to help the people of your community makes you feel like a better person by making a difference in these people’s lives in ways you don’t even realize. The look on the faces of some of the younger members makes you feel better because you just made a difference in someone’s life and maybe gave them the boost of confidence that they needed to do something they were scared to do before.

At the regional and provincial level you get some of the best experiences anybody could ever ask for. I have attended 4 different 4-H Ontario camps and each time I went they were better than the last, starting with NOOLA (Northern Ontario Outdoor Leadership Adventure). People from our region came together to camp and learn to be leaders through having fun in different activities. Then for me came YAC (Youth Adventure Camp). I attended YAC when I was 13 and met people from across the province. Many of the people I met I am still in contact with today. When I was 16 and 17 my March Break wasn’t spent like most kids out skiing or fishing with their families. Instead, I was across the province at PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp) and at FLIA (Future Leaders in Action). Both of these camps were focused on developing the leadership skills of the kids there. I left those camps with a lot more than just leadership skills though. I rekindled some friendships from YAC and made even more new friends that I know just as well as my friends at home. It was quite easy to see that all the members and facilitators at the camps were having a great time there. It would be very hard to find someone who could tell you without lying that they weren’t enjoying themselves or expanding their comfort zone. The scene when leaving those camps was one of the happiest and saddest places at the same time. The entire camp was truly something that cannot be properly described without experiencing it yourself.

Given the chance to do anything differently in my life I would never change anything I’ve done in 4-H. There is no way to replace the feeling I’ve gotten from all of the opportunities I’ve been given. I’ve become a better version of myself through 4-H from the simple things at home to a bunch of once strangers now friends seeing the potential in me and growing alongside them to all become better people.

The Ambassador Beat: Allison French

The Beginning of a Whirlwind Chapter in my 4-H Story…

            My name is Allison French and today I am going to take you on my journey to becoming a 2019 4-H Ontario Ambassador. It all started with the Peel 4-H Association in 2011 where I have completed over 75 projects to date, ranging from seed mosaic to garden tractor pulling, as well as dairy and clowning club. I am going to go through four quotes that I feel best tell the story of why I chose to become a 4-H Ontario Ambassador, and show how excited I am for this journey to begin.

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” -Dr. Seuss

I have learned to always be open to new opportunities even if they are outside of your comfort zone. If you had of asked me three years ago if I was going to be an Ambassador for 4-H Ontario I would have said, “That’s funny.” However, after seeing my two sisters complete terms through this amazing program, I decided why not. Julie was an Ambassador in 2016 and Nicole was an Ambassador in 2017 and 2018. Some would say I had to carry on the “French Tradition”. Although I was hesitant at first, I am happy that I opened my eyes to this incredible opportunity that will lead to an amazing year.

 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” -Dr. Seuss

In February the newly crowned 2019 team of 4-H Ontario Ambassadors had their training weekend full of impromptu speaking, icebreakers, ideas for captivating your audience and of course lots of fun. After our weekend full of laughs I am ready to take on the role of being an Ambassador of the 4-H program. The 4-H program has shaped who I am today as a leader and I am eager to give back to the program that has given me so much. I am steering myself to be an advocate for 4-H and to make a positive impact on the youth in our province.

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So get on your way!” -Dr. Seuss

            I am excited for this upcoming year as an Ambassador as I have seen first hand the impact it has had on both of my sisters’ lives. 4-H has so many opportunities that will push you out of your comfort zone and challenge you to become a stronger leader. Being an Ambassador is going to challenge me to become a stronger public speaker, leader and 4-H member.

“Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky” -Dr. Seuss

I am extremely lucky for the opportunity to become a 4-H Ontario Ambassador and can’t wait to see what this year has in store.

 

Nicole French Announced as 2019 Director-Youth on the Ontario 4-H Council Board of Directors


By Laura Squires

4-H Ontario is excited to announce Nicole French as the new 2019 Director-Youth on the Ontario 4-H Council Board of Directors. The Director-Youth is responsible for bringing the views and issues of the 4-H members to the Ontario 4-H Council discussions and assisting with the development of the 4-H Ontario program.

Since the age of 11, Nicole has been an active member of the Peel 4-H Association where she has completed over 85 clubs and participated in several 4-H Ontario opportunities including Youth Adventure Camp and Go For The Gold. She was also a 4-H Ontario Ambassador in both 2017 and 2018 and a Youth Service Leader with 4-H Canada’s Hands to Larger Service leader program this past year.

“It is an honour to have been selected for this position and it means that I will be able to help shape the future of the 4-H program that has benefited me in so many ways,” says Nicole.

As the new Director-Youth, Nicole is looking forward to sharing her ideas with the board while experiencing another side of 4-H through this unique opportunity.

 

 

Kim DeKlein wins 2018 Provincial Volunteer Leader of the Year Award

By Laura Squires

Congratulations are in order for Kim DeKlein who is the winner of the 2018 Ontario Provincial Volunteer Leader of the Year award! Each year, 4-H Canada recognizes a volunteer from each Province for their support and dedication to giving 4-H members experiences and skills that help them become responsible, caring and contributing individuals.

Kim began her 4-H journey at the age of 12 where she was part of the Peterborough Dairy Club. Until she was 21, she participated in all 4-H opportunities and was part of the ‘Classic’ team for many years.

After university, her first job was at 4-H where she helped organize Youth Adventure Camp and Provincial Leadership Camp, in addition to many newsletters, awards nights and fall fair achievement programs. She also sat on the 4-H Ontario Council Board of Directors for three years.

Once her son was old enough to join 4-H, Kim became a leader with the Dorchester Dairy Club in Middlesex and led several other life skills clubs in addition to a regional judging club, tractor and farm safety and field crops clubs. She has been part of the Middlesex 4-H Association as a director for the past seven years and she will be completing her year as president very soon.

Over the past 10 years, Kim has enjoyed seeing the growth of the 4-H members in her clubs where some have overcome a fear of public speaking, some have taken on a new challenge or accomplished a goal and others have even become 4-H volunteers themselves.

“I truly love the 4-H program and want to give back to a program that gave so much to me. The award means that I have achieved that for someone else,” stated Kim when asked about winning the Provincial Volunteer Leader of the Year Award.

Kim encourages all parents of 4-H members to become volunteers and help out in any way they can. Everyone brings new skills, new ideas and a different way of doing things to the table that lightens the load for everyone and creates a fun environment that is diverse among all clubs. Her best advice for new volunteers is to, “Ask questions, start small and dream big.”

Thank you, Kim, for all of your continued efforts and dedication to this organization and your contributions to positive youth development and leadership in your community. We are grateful and proud to have you as a member of our 4-H family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ambassador Beat: Devin Catt

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. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Devin Catt, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

Year in Review 

As the air once again cools down and students are back in school, I have had a bit of time to reflect on my summer as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. I have the opportunity to use my voice to represent 4-H and I am proud to do so.

One experience I remember well was attending an event with fellow Ambassador Andrea Dohner to talk to kids that had not heard about 4-H. It was great to chat with these youth and as I stepped aside and allowed Andrea to take the lead for a minute, it was amazing to watch how when she talked about her personal experience with 4-H that their engagement really began to increase. It is this kind of engagement we need to strive for in all the Associations of our 4-H family as we continue to grow as an organization.

As our members head to school I see this as an opportunity to encourage them to share the experiences they have had in 4-H with the other students in their classroom. As 4-H is still very heavily involved in the agriculture sector, trying to involve members from different walks of life will only help to strengthen our community.

The opportunity to get more members involved is right now when the homework load hasn’t peaked and students will be looking to fill their extra time. Now is the time to share your 4-H stories and promote the organization in your communities. There is also an opportunity to engage youth with fall clubs to show new members the extent of 4-H’s reach, such as Achievement Days and events beyond the local level that happen in the latter half of the year.

I hope that we, as a 4-H community, can share our personal experiences now and in the future, not only within our community but beyond to help to expand this great organization.

The Ambassador Beat: Kyle Nussey

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 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The
4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Kyle Nussey, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Oxford 4-H Association


Where Have I Gone, Where Will I Go?

This year has been one to remember and something that has taken me down a path that I never imagined being a part of. 4-H has done a lot for me and I will continue to grow with 4-H and take whatever opportunities that I can to better myself and become the person that I want to be. This year as an ambassador I have attended a variety of events that have helped to improve my leadership abilities and understand the value and work that goes into developing 4-H programs. My favourite events to attend out of the numerous I went to were Career Mania and the National Members Forum.

At Career Mania I had the opportunity to facilitate a provincial 4-H camp and help shape tomorrows youth. This opportunity to make a difference on upcoming 4-H members was important to me and helped me to realize the passion I have for leadership and continuing to be involved with 4-H. In the future I would love to keep giving my time to 4-H and participating in the facilitation of these camps. They have changed who I am as a person and impacted the things that I do today so that I may continue doing great things for myself and others.

 National Members Forum was my first national opportunity and opened my eyes to how interconnected we all are and the impact we have on each other. 4-H is different all-around Canada and it makes me proud to be a 4-H Ontario member. 4-H Ontario has provided me with so many great camps and conferences that have made a difference in my life and allowed me to continue participating in these great opportunities. As I continue my journey with 4-H in this upcoming year, I hope to apply to Citizenship Congress and gain a deeper understanding of governance and public policy.

Reflecting back on my year as an ambassador I see the ways that I’ve improved and how I can continue improving myself. My public speaking and ability to answer questions and be comfortable in unfamiliar situations has improved dramatically over the last year and will continue to grow. As a 4-H member this year I am stepping down from my ambassador position and carrying on to new adventures with 4-H. I have applied to the Hands to Larger Service program and for the 4-H Ontario Youth Director position. While I haven’t been chosen for either of these opportunities, I know that the best people for these positions will be selected.

4-H has done a lot for me and I am forever grateful for the positive impact it has had on my life. I have come a long way from being the kid that took a year off from 4-H when I was 16, but now I understand what 4-H can do for others and how I want to keep spreading the wonderful message that is 4-H.

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. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

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

A Year In Review

As 2018 comes to a close I look back at all the amazing opportunities and adventures I had this past year. This year has flown by and I am glad that I got to make some amazing memories and meet some incredible people.

My year started off by being chosen to represent 4-H Ontario as one of the 2018 4-H Ambassadors. This was the start of an adventure with five other incredible individuals that I had the chance to watch this amazing program shape into the leaders they are today.

In March I applied to become a Youth Service Leader with 4-H Canada’s new program – Hands to Larger Service. I am truly grateful to have been selected as one of 24 YSL from across the country, because this program gave me a summer that I won’t forget.

In May, I attended a training weekend for this new program – Hands to Larger Service. Over this weekend I got the opportunity to meet 4-H members from across the country. I can now say I know people from every province in Canada! Over this weekend we learned a lot about what it takes to organize a community service project. We also had the chance to go to the Canadian McDonald’s headquarters and meet the CEO of McDonald’s Canada, John Betts.  This weekend was an amazing learning experience and inspired me to look for ways to give back in my community.

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of August I had a unique experience. The Canada Service Corps put on a conference for all their partners to attend. I was chosen as one of three YSLs to attend this conference. This was an awesome networking opportunity because there were people there from 13 youth organizations, government officials, and also people from around the world that work to help youth serve their community. The goal of the conference was to brainstorm ideas as to how to change the culture of service in Canada, how to get more youth involved and how to keep them involved. It was a very unique experience to be apart of. I came home from the conference inspired and with connections to people across the country and around the world.

The Service project I led in Nova Scotia as well as the Service project Morgan Passmore ran in Manitoba were also chosen to be a part of a video for 4-H Canada. The video shows what the Hands to Larger Service program is all about. You can watch the video here.

Over the next two months I worked with my club in Barrington, Nova Scotia to plan their community engagement project. The Hands to Larger Service project works in partnership with the Club To Club Exchange. My partnered club exchanged with Oakville, Manitoba’s 4-H club. I had the opportunity to travel to Oakville, Manitoba and help my fellow YSL run her community service project at the end of July. I was put up by an amazing family that took Morgan (the other YSL) and I around site seeing in Winnipeg. The community service project that we ran in Manitoba was a community fun day for local youth and new comers to Canada, where they had the chance to learn about 4-H. This was a wonderful experience because I got to see the difference we were making in the lives of these youth who all left with smiles on their faces.

After I came back from Manitoba, I worked to put the finishing touches on the community service project I would be running that would be taking place at the start of August. When in Nova Scotia, Morgan and I were put up by another amazing 4-H family. (this experience has reminded me the 4-H community is filled with some of the most kind and generous people). My time in Nova Scotia was awesome, we had a beach lobster boil and beach clean up on the first day when we arrived. Our community service project was to build a pavilion at the local exhibition grounds, we also built animal pens for sheep and goats and painted the horse ring and cleaned up the barns. It was amazing to see the all the 4-H members working together to help this community with something they needed.

I had two other firsts this year, with 4-H. As an Ambassador I had the opportunity to be a facilitator at Youth Adventure Camp. As someone who attended YAC four times, this was an eye-opening experience to see the other side of YAC. You get to truly appreciate how much effort and energy the facilitators put into the camp to make it the best week of your summer. At the end of the week I was dead tired but so thankful to have been a part of a 4-H opportunity that gave me as a camper the chance to learn and grow. One thing I loved about this opportunity was watching the campers come out of there comfort zone, try new things, make new friends and learn. In the picture below is one of my favourite moments from camp, a camper who would not talk to other campers at the beginning of the week, taking charge of this team-building activity and leading the group with confidence. This is what YAC is all about and I am proud to have been apart of it.

The second opportunity that was a first for me was attending the TD Classic as a participant. This was another eye-opening experience of how little sleep you can get and still be a functioning person. This was also an opportunity to reconnect with 4-H members I had met in the past at camps and conferences. Those few days were filled with laughs and memories made. I am thankful to have been a part of this amazing opportunity.

 

 

 

 

I am so thankful for everything 4-H has done for me this past year and over the last nine years. I am proud to call myself a 4-H member and will continue to encourage youth to get involved in this one of kind program even after my time as Ambassador is finished. I am excited to see what 2019 will hold for me, but am also sad that my time representing 4-H Ontario is coming to a close. These past two years have truly been fantastic and I wish the incoming Ambassadors all the best!

 

 

The Ambassador Beat: Andrea Dohner

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. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Andrea Dohner, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

A Year In Review

As the new year arrives, it is time to think and reflect on the past year, and look forward to the new year. Looking back on my year as an Ambassador, many amazing thoughts and memories come to mind. Memories like working at College Royal, going on FS Sponsorship tours with my fellow Ambassadors, travelling to Eastern Ontario for the Avonmore Fair, and the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference, to name a few.

Being a part of the Ambassador Program has made me appreciate 4-H more than I could have ever imagined. Being able to attend events all over Ontario gave me the chance to see how different associations run their events and to connect with so many different people to share our love and connection to 4-H. I remember being nervous about travelling to new places with unknown people, but I always kept in mind that I was meeting with 4-H’ers, people that I share a mutual love for the organization with so I didn’t have anything to worry about.

One of my main goals as an Ambassador this year was to introduce people to 4-H. I wanted to meet people who had never heard of 4-H so that I could share my story and encourage them to join, I was able to do just that at my first event. My first event was College Royal at the University of Guelph and it also happened to be one of my favourite events. At College Royal I had the pleasure of connecting to many different people and was able to introduce many of them to 4-H and what it stands for. I was also able to meet many people who shared stories from when they were younger and we got to compare it to today’s 4-H. I found out that a lot has changed, but some of the most important things like the values and mottos of 4-H have still stayed the same even after all these years.

Overall, my year as an Ambassador was rewarding in so many ways. I was able to meet so many people, connect to them and introduce new people to 4-H. If I could encourage every 4-H’er ages 18-21 to participate in the Ambassador program, I would; you never know who you could meet and how many people’s lives you could positively impact simply by sharing your passion and 4-H story.