The Prince Edward 4-H Association Tree Sale – A True Example of Learning To Do By Doing

By Laura Squires

All 4-H’ers, no matter if you are a member, volunteer or alumni, know the importance of ‘Learn To Do By Doing’. Because of this, it’s no surprise that when the Prince Edward 4-H Association hosted their second Tree Sale Fundraiser they were completely sold out in less then an hour!

With the help of a dozen 4-H members and volunteers, the Prince Edward 4-H Association sold 1375 trees and raised about $1,700 to support their association. The 4-H members hand out the seedlings and label the trees, so people know what they bought, and the volunteers help set up and organize the sale and clean up.

“We provide a service for the environment and it gives 4-H members and volunteers a chance to work together as a team,” says Lynn Ward, Prince Edward 4-H Association Board Member.  “Everyone learns about the seedlings and where they grow and because of this, become more concerned about the environment,” says Lynn.

The Prince Edward 4-H Association started doing the tree sale in 2018 after the Prince Edward Land Stewardship had difficulty recruiting volunteers for their committee and asked if 4-H would be interested in taking it over. Lynn took part in the 4-H Forestry Club as a member and had helped the Land Stewardship with the sale in 2017, so she thought it would be a great opportunity to not only raise funds for the Prince Edward 4-H Association, but to help the environment and provide 4-H youth with a chance to help their community.

In their first year, Prince Edward 4-H took two days to sell out of trees and after some review and evaluation, made changes to help the event become more successful. They changed some of the species of seedlings they sold, decreased the number of trees on their order, and promoted the fundraiser on social media and through the local newspaper. This year they sold even more trees in less time! Now that’s ‘learning to do by doing’ at its finest!

Prince Edward 4-H is looking forward to their next fundraiser. Mark your calendars, the 2020 Prince Edward 4-H Association Tree Sale will take place on Saturday May 2!

 

 

The Ambassador Beat: Rose Danen

 

Getting Schooled – Balancing 4-H and University

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Rose (that’s me giving you the thumbs up!) and I am one of the 2019 4-H Ontario Ambassadors. I’m also a university student and managing to be an ambassador at the same time.

I love being a part of 4-H, and last fall school got in the way of doing what I loved. With homework, assignments, and classes, I didn’t know how I was going to make time to complete any projects. I’m going to school in Ottawa which is an 8-hour train ride from my home 4-H Association and any 4-H clubs close to campus were about a two-hour drive away.

So, I made some difficult decisions. I didn’t do a single life skills club over the winter – something completely uncharacteristic of me. I chose to not participate in my local dairy club for the first time in ten years because I wouldn’t be able to train my calf as well as I’d like to, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get home for my achievement day. I was most upset that I wouldn’t have the chance to go to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Senior 4-H’ers can feel overwhelmed as they start their post-secondary education, and this can influence their involvement in 4-H. I remember wondering why there were no senior members in my clubs. I would talk to my 4-H friends and they would tell me that they were facing the same challenges as me. Moving away from home and taking on new responsibilities has proven to be a challenge for many of us.

So, what can we do? Do we give up our last eligible years as a 4-Her? I think not! While this really is challenging, I know that 4-H’ers are full of perseverance. We ‘learn to do by doing’! We learn how to organize our schedules and juggle our responsibilities. It may be difficult, but many of my friends are doing both school and 4-H, and now, so am I.

Making 4-H A Priority

At some point, I couldn’t take it anymore. I would sit at ringside watching my friends show their 4-H calves, itching to jump in there and wrap my hand around a leather halter and stare down the judge. My siblings would bring home decorated cakes and barn quilts from their meetings. It was hard to watch and not be involved.

So, I decided to come back to 4-H. I decided to only do one club so that I didn’t overwhelm myself. My leaders were really understanding and helped me along the way. They gave me opportunities to make up missed meetings and were considerate of my needs. I’m also heavily relying on the support of my family to get my club completed, most notably my sister and my mother who will be looking after my calf when I return to school in the fall. And thank goodness for that extra support, because I also decided to get involved with 4-H in another big way.

Becoming an Ambassador

Last winter, I received an email from one of my 4-H mentors. “Become a 4-H Ambassador,” it said, “You’ll be good at it,”. I had no idea how I would even manage such a huge responsibility! Would I have the time? How would I get to events? But it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I took the plunge.

I put in my application, and a month later I was sitting in front of a computer screen in Ottawa, doing an interview over video chat. The rest is history. Since then I went to the ambassador training my reading week and my summer has been packed full of events. I’m even going for a two-hour bus ride from campus to the Metcalfe Fair in the fall!

I am so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you to everyone who has pushed me to make time to be an ambassador and to FS for their sponsorship that makes the ambassador program possible. The program has already taught me so much and I’m sure there are many more lessons to come. I’ve already learned that time management is key and that you’re never too busy for the things you care about, and I care about 4-H a lot!

The Takeaway

Yes, balancing school and 4-H can be difficult, but not impossible! If you persevere and manage your time well, you can continue to be involved in 4-H. Some days it may be overwhelming, and on those days look to your community to support you. At the end of the day all that matters is that you continue to ‘learn to do by doing’ and that you love what you do!

 

From seed to sugar, Chatham-Kent 4-H celebrates the Sugarbeet!

By Stephanie Campbell

Chatham-Kent’s Sugarbeet Production Club sure knows a thing or two about a “Sweet” 4-H Club! From seed to sugar, this club learns about the process of growing sugarbeets, diseases their crop might encounter, preparing a sugarbeet sample, cooking with sugar, and more! Rob and Maureen McKerrall took it upon themselves to reintroduce the Sugarbeet Club to Chatham-Kent following its initial start in 1930 as the “Better Sugar Beet Club” where boys learned how to grow better sugar beets.

A trip to the Michigan Sugar Company processing plant in Croswell, Michigan to see the process of how beets are transformed into sugar, has been a highlight of this club! Members will wrap up their year by participating in the Highgate Fair by submitting a sugarbeet sample, consisting of three (3) hand picked “prized” beets! To compete, members dig the beets out of the ground, they are washed, clipped and mounted on a coat hanger for presentation at the fair.

The local sugarbeet seed sales representatives: the Dover sugarbeet piling station, agronomists and Michigan Sugar Company have assisted in the development of this club in the Chatham-Kent area. The Chatham-Kent Sugarbeet Club is the only Canadian Club to participate in Michigan Sugar Company’s Youth Project.

Whether these members are returning to their farms to push the sugar content of their beets, increase poundage or cook new recipes with sugar, this club has brought them together to celebrate a locally grown product that we all enjoy!

For the Browns, PLC is more than just a camp but the beginning of a lifetime of happiness

By Laura Squires

Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp (PLC) is a family tradition in many households and holds fond memories for all. For Brianne and Chris Brown, it is a moment that is held dearly in their hearts and marks the beginning of a lifetime of love.   

Brianne grew up in Dufferin County and was a very active 4-H member. “There’s not much that 4-H offers that I haven’t done” says Brianne. In her first year of 4-H she won the most outstanding first year member award after completing eight projects. Needless to say, she was hooked. Brianne participated in various clubs from Dairy, Sheep, Fitness and many others until the time she was 21. Chris lived in Bruce County and was also heavily involved in 4-H. He took part in several clubs including Dairy, Beef and various home making clubs with his sisters, up until the time he was also 21.

In the winter of 1998, Brianne was in her final year of high school and had planned to go to Florida with one of her friends for March Break. She had never travelled outside of the country before and she was really looking forward to spending a week relaxing on the beach. However fate had other ideas; her Mom had received a phone call from a 4-H Volunteer asking if Brianne would be interested in attending PLC that March Break and without consulting Brianne her Mom immediately signed her up.

On the first day of PLC, Brianne and Chris met and on that same day, both received acceptance letters to the University of Guelph for the same program and found out they would be spending the next four years of their lives together. Over the course of the camp, Brianne and Chris had the opportunity to spend some time together but it wasn’t until the final evening that they really had the chance to connect and the rest is history.

Since then, Brianne and Chris have shared many small and big moments alongside one another. They began dating shortly after PLC, went to Prom with one another, began their post-secondary careers together and five years later were engaged. They wed one month after their university graduation and soon started a family. Brianne and Chris have five children: Carter, 14, Payten, 13, Cohen, 11, Griffin, 9 and Chase, 7.

Today, Brianne and Chris own a dairy farm in Yarker, ON and are a part of the Frontenac 4-H Association where they are volunteers and almost all their children are members. They are actively involved in the Dairy club and have seven 4-H calves on their farm this year.

On July 19, 2019, Brianne and Chris are celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary. Please join us in congratulating this wonderful couple and celebrating their love of each other and connection to 4-H!

 

Haldimand 4-H Association members put their skills to the test at annual judging competition

By: Kendra Saxton 

Each year, the Ontario Mutuals Insurance Association gives each 4-H Association the opportunity to apply for a $250 grant to support a local project or program. The Ontario Mutuals Grant Application Program is opened to 4-H Associations in the hopes that the financial support will assist in new project innovations or strengthen and develop an existing program.

One association particularly looking forward to this opportunity is the Haldimand 4-H Association. The association holds an annual judging competition for all of its members, and this year’s event was exceptionally successful. On Monday, June 10, 2019, the Haldimand 4-H Association welcomed its members to the competition, held at the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association in Jarvis, Ontario.

This year, over 150 members and 30 screened volunteers, along with additional volunteers and parents practiced their judging techniques and had a blast doing so. The evening began with a pizza dinner accompanied by fresh veggies and chocolate milk, allowing everyone to mingle before the competition started. After dinner, the members judged multiple different categories of objects including classes of lawnmowers, school lunches, sunscreen and bacon, and were asked to give thoughtful reasoning behind their decisions. To ensure that the members could make decisions amongst their peers, they were divided into four groups: novice, junior, intermediate and senior. Everyone had a fun-filled evening despite the weather being a little dreary.

At the conclusion of the judging competition, the members were given well-deserved ice cream treats as they awaited the official placing results. The results were then sent to all the screened volunteers in order to share their success with the rest of their members. The winners of each of the four groups have another event to look forward to in January 2020 in Fisherville, Ontario, as they will be presented with their awards at the Annual Banquet and yearend wrap up. The members of the Haldimand 4-H Association came together for a group photo with the OMIA logo, and received a nod of recognition as the photo was featured in their local newspaper, The Haldimand Press.

The Haldimand 4-H Association sees immense value in this event because it helps their members develop their public speaking and decision-making skills, and provides them with the ability and confidence to explain their reasoning. Hopefully the dedication and passion that the Haldimand 4-H Association shows towards their event will inspire other Associations to consider submitting a project of their own!

 

4-H Club extends their hands to larger service at 2019 Relay for Life

By: Kendra Saxton 

According to statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society “Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.” Chances are, each and every Canadian has been touched by cancer in some way, whether that means living with the disease yourself or knowing friends or family who have been affected. For most people, the fact that half of Canadians may be faced with the life-altering news that they or someone they love has cancer is devastating. For the Oxford Community 4-H Club, these numbers gave them the motivation to show that we are all bigger than cancer.

On Friday, June 14, 2019, the Oxford Community 4-H Club participated in the 2019 Relay for Life event in Woodstock, Ontario. Relay for Life is a special fundraising initiative started by the Canadian Cancer Society and has been changing the future of cancer for more than 20 years. During the 6-12 hour event, participants take turns walking around a track in support of those living with cancer and to remember those who have lost their lives. At least one person from each team is asked to be on the track at all times and walk in support of those currently living with cancer, representing that nobody is alone in their journey. While off the track, participants have the chance to enjoy other activities and entertainment and even design a luminary to honour the loved ones they have lost.

This is the 13th year this Community 4-H Club has taken part in the Woodstock Relay for Life, the first event dating back to 2007. In 2006, many of the Oxford 4-H Exchange members became very good friends, resulting in Shonna Ward, a member of the Club making the decision to participate in this initiative shortly after. One of the members of the Oxford 4-H Exchange, Katrina Hart, had called Ward and asked her if she would consider being a chaperone for the Relay for Life team. Hart’s mother, who had been the chaperone for the exchange, promised she would participate if Ward would. That was all the persuasion Ward needed to join forces with Hart’s mother, partnering as chaperones for the Community 4-H Club team. Many of the team members were from across Oxford County and this resulted in the creation of the team name “Community 4-H Club.” Several siblings from the original team still participate in Relay for Life along with all the new members.

The Community 4-H Club team is truly special because all of its members have been affected by cancer and are committed to making a difference and continuing to be good community citizens.

The amount of support and dedication the Community 4-H Club gave to the cause this year was exceptional. In this year’s relay, eleven members aged 10-21 and three volunteers participated in their event from 6pm to 12am, all with the purpose of raising money for cancer research that will help find a cure and supporting those affected by cancer. The team committed to buying 100 luminaries to light and line the track with as well as walking 180km in total as a team. The Community 4-H Club accomplished just that and made the outstanding achievement of raising a team total of $14,200 for the 2019 Relay for Life, crushing their target goal of $11,000! Over the past seven years, the team has raised over $10,000 annually through hard work and vast fundraising efforts. Over 13 years of participating in The Relay for Life, the Community 4-H Club has raised a grand total of $129,000!

The team would not have been able to raise these funds if it weren’t for their tireless work within their community. In addition to Relay for Life, the team raises funds year-round and has been fundraising since July 2018. Ward believes that the key learning members take away from their club is how working with local organizations can create real change towards a larger goal.

The team has assisted in roadside cleanups with Hickson Lions Club and Tavistock Men’s Club, and helped Oxford Junior Farmers with a cleanup at Roth Park. They also collect electronic scrap, used pop cans and other recyclable materials and send it to local recycling programs to be cashed in. Additional work included helping at the Oxford 4-H pancake fundraiser and selling pop and water, and assisting with set up at the Embro Truck & Tractor Pull. Instead of just asking for pledges, the members work hard to receive a donation, they find the community work proves to be equally as rewarding.

While the 2019 event was an incredible success, the fight does not stop here. Today, we must all continue to celebrate cancer survivors, support those who live with cancer, and also honour the legacy of our loved ones, friends and family, who we have lost. We will continue to relay off the track, stand together and support each other so that no one feels alone in the face of cancer. Today and every day, we will work together as a community and change the future of cancer, through growing awareness, raising money for cancer research, and ultimately finding a cure. The Community 4-H Club yet again proves that the bond of communities can be an unstoppable and powerful force.

Country Music, Racecars, Prizes and More at KubotaFEST 2019

By: Kendra Saxton 

May 29 was not a typical Wednesday at Kubota Canada Ltd. as they were gearing up for a special event. Food trucks claimed their space early in the morning as vendors and Kubota sponsored partners followed closely behind. The booming of the speakers for sound checks filled the air as the final touches of the stage set-up came to a close. A few special guests were set to make their appearances, hoping to catch the surprise of the audience, and have a lot of fun too. 

Since announcing a new partnership with Kubota Canada Ltd. last year, 4-H Ontario has continued to positively grow their corporate relationship and was given the exciting opportunity to attend KubotaFEST Canada in Markham, Ontario.

Rob Allison, National Brand Manager for Kubota Canada Ltd. wanted to host this event to bring together all of their corporate sponsorship partners to meet, greet and celebrate. 4-H Ontario’s Manager, Corporate Giving and Philanthropy, Katherine Smart attended the event with Carrie Purcell, York 4-H Association Representative and 4-H Ontario Council Board Member, and proudly represented 4-H at their very own booth. They were able to speak with other sponsors and share information about 4-H and further spread the 4-H message.

Alongside 4-H Ontario, multiple other Kubota Canada partners including Olympic Gold Medalist Brad Gushue and country singer Gord Bamford attended the event and held autograph sessions and performances throughout the day. An important fundraising effort was also made as Kubota Canada Ltd. sold raffle tickets during the day to raise money for the Gord Bamford Foundation – a not for profit organization that specializes in supporting youth across the country. Kubota Canada Ltd. selflessly agreed to match all the money raised at the event and encouraged all partners and vendors to make a donation. 

There were many activities offered at the event such as axe throwing and the chance for kids to sit in a real racecar. People vied for exciting prizes and giveaways and enjoyed one (or two) beavertails while they watched a performance by Gord Bamford. A special shout-out goes to George Bailey of Kubota who won the 4-H Prize at the event!

Katherine Smart happily recalls that her highlight of the day was watching Rob Allison get up on stage and play on Gord Bamford’s guitar as they performed together.

The KubotaFEST gave each sponsorship partner a sign of appreciation and thanks, but most importantly created many long-lasting memorable moments. Special thanks to Kubota Canada Ltd. for inviting 4-H Ontario to KubotaFEST, being wonderful hosts and for being our amazing Corporate Partner!

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

 

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is made possible by the generous support of FS.

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.