Adam Reid the 2018 Recipient of the Maryn Pardy Scholarship

Story and Photo By Laura Green, Public Relations for Southern Area

At the Southern Area Women’s Institute 104th Convention held in St. Paul’s Station on Oct. 20th, the Maryn Pardy Scholarship for an active 4-H member in Southern Area Women’s Institute area was awarded to Adam Reid. Adam is enrolled in the first year of the two-year Agriculture diploma program at University of Guelph – Ridgetown Campus. He is a very active 4-H member with Chatham-Kent and Essex 4-H Associations. In 2017 he received the 42 Project Provincial Seal. He volunteers for and is a member of many organizations in his community in Chatham-Kent. He has time to raise several Speckle-Park beef cattle and is a graduate from Ridgetown District High School.

Making the presentation to Adam are Southern Area President Michelle Loosemore, Kent District President Shirley Ashton and Scholarship chairperson Eleanor Williams.


The Cameron Family Legacy

Over the years 4-H has played a very important part in the lives of Susan and Doug Cameron. Both have been involved in 4-H, first as members and later as leaders and are still actively volunteering with Chatham-Kent 4-H Association. Susan has led cooking, gardening, sewing, canning, outdoors and woodworking clubs. She has also served on the county board of directors and led a 4-H provincial exchange. Doug was a 4-H member for many years and he became a leader of the woodworking club 12 years ago.

They have three children, all of whom spent many wonderful years in the 4-H program learning new skills and taking advantage of the many opportunities available through 4-H. 

Having been involved with 4-H through their children and as leaders, they have seen the youth become more confident, more helpful with younger members and proud of their accomplishments.

Susan and Doug would like to see the 4-H program continue so other young people, both urban and rural, can reap the benefits of 4-H. They know that by creating the Susan and Doug Cameron Endowment Fund held with the Ontario 4-H Foundation, they will help to make that possible. The fund will help support the programs and activities of 4-H throughout the province.



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

The Opportunity of a Lifetime 

The path that a 4-H Ontario Ambassador walks is an interesting one. We have been given the chance to travel across the province and impact lives and at the same time we are young adults finding our way in the world and figuring out what is important to us.

Becoming a 4-H Ambassador for 2018 wasn’t something I had planned for myself. 4-H had stopped playing an important part in my life. In previous years I had been attempting to take all the clubs available to me in my county. I had attended many of the provincial opportunities that 4-H offers such as Provincial Leadership Camp, Go For The Gold and the TD Canadian Dairy Classic Show. I thought that 4-H had done what it could for me. I was happy to move on and start getting more involved in university life.

However, as I got more involved with clubs through the university, I found myself stepping back and becoming a member and less of a leader. I was struggling to find my place among my peers and how to use my leadership skills to help the groups I was now a part of. It was suggested to me that I should apply to become a 4-H Ambassador by one of my leaders. I found myself remembering the skills and the experiences that I had gained from 4-H. As I put those to use within my university clubs, I then rediscovered how important 4-H is to me.

It is because of 4-H that I have the ability to step forward and take chances that others might not be willing to. It is because of this, that I have had many amazing opportunities, and becoming a 4-H Ontario Ambassador has been one. But what makes being a 4-H Ambassador special, is that I am able to share how important 4-H is with the younger members. By explaining that even though we grow up and 4-H may lose its appeal, 4-H is a program built to help everyone from the young members learning new skills from the clubs to the senior members learning how to lead and share experiences, to the leaders learning about their members and helping to shape them into productive young members of society.

As one of the four ambassadors from Region 6 this year, I wanted to take this opportunity to see as much of Ontario as I could. I took the opportunity to travel to Region 1 and help facilitate the regional Discovery Day, as well as attend Leader Training days. While I was in Region 1, I met many new people, shared some amazing experiences with them and learned that we all face many of the same problems. We all struggle trying to explain that 4-H isn’t just about farming, all while trying to coordinate with members across the association. I was impressed by the solutions many counties came up with and was happy to share how my home association of Elgin tries to accomplish the same goals.

All in all, the trip I have already experienced and the trips that I am looking forward to will all come together to be an opportunity I will never forget.

Ken and Marie McNabb: Members, Volunteers, Business Owners & Mentors

By Ryan Métivier

Farming, agriculture and 4-H have all been key pillars in the McNabb family their whole lives. Both Marie and Ken grew up on farms and were both 4-H members as youth. Marie has spent time consulting with farmers during her time working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for 13 years. Today, she serves as a Director for Gay Lea Foods, while also doing the bookkeeping at the family farm.

That family farm began with the dairy farm Ken grew up on in Halton County. Ken

would go on to eventually purchase the farm from his parents and he and Marie would form a partnership when she stopped working full-time off-farm.

Today they call the more rural Waterloo County home, after shifting their herd from a tie stall barn into a milking parlour and free stall in 2005.

“We felt that dairy farming would be transitioning towards milking parlours and robots in the future,” says Ken. “In 2015 we built a new dairy barn with a couple of milking robots and have grown from there, now milking 75 cows.”

Overall they crop 271 acres providing all the roughages for their herd and selling IP soybeans and winter wheat.

Marie has seen many changes in the agriculture industry over the years saying things are becoming increasingly high-tech, with monitors, robots and automatic calf feeders. With new technology and science, farmers are learning to use their smart phones in the field and social media as a way to reach out to consumers.

“It [social media] can be a method of answering questions about everyday activities on the farm, connecting the dots and carrying out conversations with people who truly want to learn about all types of agriculture,” she says.

With the University of Guelph stating there are currently four jobs for every graduate, Marie would highly encourage youth to consider the industry that encompasses farming, the food industry and suppliers.

Both Marie and Ken would also strongly recommend youth being involved with 4-H. Marie was a member for seven years in Oxford County completing dairy, homemaking and garden projects, as well as attending the 15 Year Old Conference. Ken was an eight-year member in Halton County, enrolled in dairy, crop, tractor and judging clubs. He also attended the 15 Year Old Conference, Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp and was chosen to go to the American Youth Foundation Leadership Training Camp.

Among the many things they appreciate from their time in 4-H, are the great mentors they had the opportunity to learn from. Ken remembers fondly his Ag Rep Henry Stanley, as well as his neighbour and leader Jeff Nurse whom he later co-led with. Marie was able to learn through her mother and also Sharon Hart during her time in homemaking clubs.

Now, they are mentoring today’s 4-H members including Noah and Olivia Lichti who have participated in clubs lead by the McNabbs.

“Ken and Marie are very passionate about 4-H,” says Noah. “Ken has helped me a lot with judging and showing my dairy heifer.”

“They are very knowledgeable in what they do and their enthusiasm is contagious,” adds Olivia.

Both came from 4-H families and have decided to continue their 4-H careers as volunteers and leaders after their time as members.

“I think as a volunteer I’ve always enjoyed working with the younger kids and I’m trying to pass on some of the knowledge and skills that I learned through 4-H,” says Ken.

“My reward in volunteering is seeing a child develop, grow, take chances and want to try something new; watching the quiet person coming out of their shell from the beginning of a club to the end of the club,” adds Marie. “Many times I have heard it said that 4-H develops life-long friends. We try to enhance that.”

Another youth, Philip Cressman, has been a dairy member for three years and has shown a calf from the McNabb’s farm each year.

“They are helpful and give me lots of tips on how to prepare and show my calf at the Elora show and the New Hamburg Fair,” he says. “Ken and Marie are very passionate about 4-H. I look forward to going to 4-H meetings and learning about calves. They have welcomed me into the 4-H world with open arms.”

Mentoring and leading just seems to run in the family as each of their oldest and youngest sons, Colin and Liam began volunteering while only 18 and still members themselves.

Marie sees so many ways youth can benefit through the 4-H program. She lists judging, communication, public speaking, leadership, teamwork financial management and cooking—to name a few of the skills youth will develop.

“There is a certain amount of competition in 4-H. It doesn’t matter where young people will go in life they will compete; whether it’s for a job, a spot in a program at university or college or an apprenticeship,” says Ken. “The skills that members learn when judging in our clubs are teaching them to make decisions and by giving reasons they learn to defend their decision.”

Quilts for Humboldt

Stormont Stitchers use hands to help community

By Ryan Métivier

Decorative, colourful, warm—a quilt can have many adjectives and uses. For the families and survivors of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April, they could use some comfort in the aftermath of the incident.

When a Saskatchewan fabric shop, Haus of Stiches, put out the word they were looking for fabric and quilts to send to help out—the response was incredible. Not only did materials start flowing in from all around the world, but 4-H’ers were also quick to step up.

Kenda Teplate and Fred Stewart run the Stormont Stitchers Club and heard about the call for quilts. The club has been running for four years and with nine members this year ranging in age from nine to 18, they knew they would be able to lend a hand.

“I thought what a great opportunity for our girls to give back something that they love to do,” says Teplate. “They were thrilled, even though their beloved squares that they worked hours upon hours on were being given away it did not matter—as in true 4-H fashion the girls recited the pledge and used their hands to give back to the community and country.”

Through 15 hours of work the club stitched together three quilt tops. Materials for these quilt tops were donated by Giroux Sewing in Cornwall. Another $20 was given by a patron at the store towards fabric, a past 4-H’er who overheard the conversation to help out Humboldt. Additionally the hall for sewing was donated and the club’s three quilts were quilted by Mrs. Monique Wilson of Apple Hill Design for free. It took a team effort as members stitched the pieces together for the tops, Wilson quilted them together and Stewart finished the binding.

The quilts will be given to siblings who have lost their brother in this tragic accident.

“The part I liked about creating these quilts was that they were going to a good cause and it made me feel proud and happy to be able to help out,” says club member Maddison Bilmber. “I enjoy being in 4-H and the quilting club because I get to learn about things like ways to help others, loyalty and how to work safely.”

Fellow member Aimee Van Loon enjoyed the teamwork displayed by the club and being able to embrace the “Learn To Do By Doing” motto by helping younger members learn to quilt for the first time.

“It feels great being able to give to people who need our support,” says Van Loon. “Quilts are priceless. For them to receive something made with love and care by 4-Her’s, hopefully brings them some comfort knowing that there are people who care and will support them through this tragedy.”

Van Loon has been in the club since the start four years ago and has now developed a passion for quilting having created 12 of them.

“4-H has taught me a lot about leadership and teamwork and I have learned to try new things because you will never know if you like something until you try it,” she says. “There are so many new skills to be learned when joining new clubs. That is why I try new things like the beef club and quilting club.”

“Fred and I could not be more proud of this group of very young girls,” says Teplate. “This truly was a project of love and support.”


The Ambassador Beat: Evan Jenkins

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 Evan Jenkins, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

Halfway Done but More to Do!

As August comes around, it marks the halfway point of the 4-H Ontario Ambassador term. In my mind, this is a perfect time for reflection. Through this first half of the term, I have met and spoke with many people, gone to numerous events and seen various parts of Ontario. With these thoughts in mind I figure I will share some of the highlights so far.

Being a 4-H Ambassador you must have good communication skills that can help in your travels and share your experience in 4-H. Some people I talk to are current 4-H members and volunteers that share their experiences with me as well. These experiences can range from talking about the different clubs they offer to talking about how excited they are for achievement day. The other people I talk to are members of the public who have questions about 4-H in their area or are 4-H alumni that share experiences from their days in 4-H. I have also had many people react surprisingly when they hear 4-H is still going!

Since many of the events aren’t local, driving is a key part of the position. Many events can be as far south as Essex County to as far east as Prescott County. Driving can be the worst part of going to an event, but you can use the time you have driving to think of an impromptu speech or to get mentally prepped to speak in front of an audience. The best part of driving is getting to an event and being mentally and physically prepared.

Now, I had thought I had seen all of Ontario, but I have proven myself wrong through this first half of my term. I had only seen what had interested me like the big cities, landmarks and notable towns. I have now broadened my view to see the different cultures like eastern Ontario where French is the primary language – which was a difficult time for me since I gave up learning French in Grade 9. It has also made me recognize that every small town feels like home! Staying with fellow Ambassador Mélissa Brisson’s family in Embrun while attending Golf-East had me feeling like I never left Belmont!

After reading through this I see that there have been many memories made, many miles driven and many small towns I want to go see again. Most people say that you make lots of friends in 4-H, but I tend to say that I don’t make friends in 4-H, I make new family members for my 4-H family!

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

I Pledge, My Hands to Larger Service….

This summer I will be taking part in the Hands To Larger Service program set out by 4-H Canada as a way to inspire youth to give back to their community. Twenty-four Youth Service leaders were chosen to create, plan and execute community service projects for the Club to Club exchanges taking place this summer. Back in May, I attended a training weekend where I gained valuable skills and heard from guest speakers, who inspired me to make a difference.

I have been paired with Sue West 4-H Association in Nova Scotia and will be travelling there during the first week in August. I am working with the club to plan our project. We are looking at building a structure for picnic benches to go under at the local Exhibition Grounds in Barrington. This is the 4-H association’s way of giving back to their community.

So far this has been an amazing experience. With this being my first national opportunity with 4-H, I would like to encourage all 4-Her’s to take part in national opportunities and next year to apply to be a Youth Service Leader. I have already made lasting friendships with people across our great country and gained many more skills that I am immediately able to put into practice.

The Hands To Larger service program partners with McDonald’s Canada and the Government of Canada.

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

The Start of Something Great

Every day I grow more and more excited about what is to come as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. Every day a new opportunity or chance to reach out into the 4-H community is presented to me. It gives me the opportunity to expand on what I know and teach what I know. This year has barely started but I realize it will become one of the most memorable and impactful years of my life.

My path to become an Ambassador wasn’t one that I predicted at the start of 2018. I have spent a lot of time in leadership roles and expanding my knowledge but becoming an Ambassador was a decision I wasn’t completely sure about but now I never want to look back.

My journey to become an Ambassador started back in grade 10 when it was suggested to me to take a grade 11 leadership course next year. I took the plunge and loved the course and everything I learned. Next year, I took the grade 12 leadership course, attended Provincial Leadership Camp, coached a couple of soccer teams, and ran a school-wide talent show. 2018 has just begun but already I have attended Future Leaders In Action, become a youth leader, attended the Global Student Leadership Summit in London, Ontario and most importantly, became a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. I look forward to many other new ways that I can expand my leadership abilities.

In 2015, I took a year away from 4-H as I didn’t believe 4-H could offer me much personal growth. After some convincing from my mother, I rejoined 4-H the following year for the sole purpose of attending Provincial Leadership Camp. Looking back now, I can truthfully say that rejoining 4-H has been a positive life-changing decision for me and I have no idea where I would be today without it. This year I look forward to spreading the message of 4-H and reaching out to youth who may be in a similar place as I was a few years ago.

I’m extremely thankful to everyone that has made my adventure to becoming an Ambassador a memorable one. I’m especially grateful to those that have pushed me even farther to become the best that I can be. I look forward to this great year with everything that I hope to accomplish and the people I will meet along the way.

Serving Hands: Linda Debney

Written by: Sara Harper

The 4-H Ontario Serving Hands feature is designed to celebrate the dedication of our amazing volunteers. We hope that these stories inspire you to share your 4-H story.

The Provincial winner for Ontario in 4-H Canada’s 2017 National Volunteer of the Year Award is Linda Debney. She began her 4-H journey as a member in Rainy River where she proudly participated in her favourite club Beef. Outside of her projects, Linda says, “My favourite part about 4-H when I was a member would have to be two things. Firstly, the sense of community 4-H gave me was second to none. Being surrounded by other members who share similar interests gave me a sense of belonging. Secondly, the travel opportunities that 4-H provided for me. I was able to participate in an exchange with a club from Alberta, competed in [Go For the Gold] at the Royal as well as CareerMania and of course [Provincial Leadership Camp]. At the age of 21, Linda took a job in Kenora and finished out her membership with the Kenora 4-H Association where she is now a volunteer.

For Linda, becoming a volunteer wasn’t a difficult decision it “just seemed to be the next natural step. [She] wanted to be a part of something that had such a huge role in [her] youth. Linda primarily leads  Beef and Cloverbud projects but she has also led Senior Member Club, Poultry, Pizza, Chocolate, Photography, and a K-9 project where members showed Golden Retrievers.

Watching her members grow into active members of the community and seeing them take the knowledge they have learned and putting it to use is what Linda finds the most rewarding. When asked about the importance of 4-H, Linda replied “It teaches members skills and information that they cannot get anywhere else. Where else can they learn to run a meeting, to write cheques and balance club bank records? We are teaching them to become stewards of the land and how to respect animals. It gives members a sense of belonging and teaches them to be active members of the community that they live.” She is also able to instill the same lessons in her 4-H kids that her leaders taught her. “The leaders I grew up with expected a lot from us members and I now understand why. It’s not because they wanted to make my life hard, they only wanted us to put our best foot forward, they wanted us to excel. As a leader I get that now. We have an amazing group of members, I want them to see the potential that I see in them” says Linda.

Linda is an Assistant at the Hillcrest Animal Clinic in Dryden. She has held the position of Secretary/ Treasurer for the Kenora District Cattleman’s Association for last 3 years and volunteers with the Oxdrift Women’s Institute.


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. Throughout 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

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

And So It Begins

Excited. Nervous. Proud. Thankful. These are just some of the emotions running through me as I think about the training weekend we just attended, and the year to come as 2018 4-H Ontario Ambassadors.

As an Ambassador, I am Excited to be able to travel the province advocating for the program I have come to love. I am excited to share my 4-H story to everyone I meet, whether they are current members/leaders, alumni, or corporations, and especially to people who aren’t familiar with the 4-H program. However, as an Ambassador, I am also Nervous to put myself out there, and embark on this journey to share my story and inspire others to join.

Proud. As a previously very shy girl, I am very proud to have come this far and to have taken this next step out of my comfort zone. In 2011, my parents signed me up for my first club, the Dairy Club, not knowing how I would react to 4-H. Little did they, nor I, know that I would soon fall in love with 4-H and everything it has to offer. In 2016, I attended my first provincial opportunity; Future Leaders in Action (FLIA). FLIA was easily the best week of my life because it was the week of change and new experiences. There I met some of the most wonderful people, learned how to facilitate my own events, and most importantly I learned how to be confident in myself and my ideas. When I went to FLIA I was still the shy girl, but when I left FLIA I was a more confident young woman who strived to push herself out of her comfort zone every chance she could and to be the best version of herself.

Thankful. I am so thankful to my parents for pushing me to join 4-H and for believing in me even when I didn’t. I am thankful to the Elgin County 4-H Association, my home, for supporting me in all of my adventures and opportunities. To my leaders for pushing me at every meeting, even when I begged them not to. To my friends at FLIA for making my first camp so rewarding, life changing, and memorable. To my friends at 4-H Ontario for running every event and doing everything you do, you are amazing! To all of the sponsors – nothing would be possible without you, you change people’s lives daily. To FS, the sponsor of the ambassador program, thank you for your unconditional support as we embark on this journey. And finally, to my Ambassador team, thank you for making training weekend so wonderful and for making me excited for the year we have ahead of us! Here’s to an amazing year with new opportunities, new friends, and new connections.