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.

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.

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program would not be possible without the generous support of FS.

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.