The True Spirit of 4-H: The Jenkins’ Story of Generosity

Submitted by: Maureen, Dave & Evan Jenkins

On January 25, 2017 we received a phone message from Mackenzie Wright of the Essex 4-H Dairy Calf Club, asking if we could attend the Kent-Essex Holstein Club Family night on February 18th in Woodslee. They had a donation that they wanted to give us for Childhood Cancer research. This call was “out of the blue”, totally unexpected and once we connected with Mackenzie and attended the event, was even more touching.

Each year, the leaders of the Essex 4-H Dairy Calf club have their members select a charity to receive half of the money that the club raises during the year. At a club meeting, one of the members happened to see our Haldrey Farms advertisement in the December 2016 Holstein Journal, where we mentioned that we work on a nation-wide program and campaign in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness, targeting all government legislators in Canada. This campaign is called “The Maggie Project”, in memory of our daughter, Maggie who was a keen Elgin dairy 4-H member. The Essex 4-H club felt that our campaign would be a perfect place for their donation.

We went to the Family night, and were able to talk to everyone about Childcan, which is an organization that assists families in Southwestern Ontario that have children undergoing cancer treatments. One of their new projects is the Novel Therapeutics program, which allows children to be part of new research trials based in London at Children’s Hospital (rather than in Toronto at Sick Kids). We asked if we could direct their donation to that cause, and everyone readily agreed.

But the 4-Hers also inspired others at the banquet. Their initial donation of $400 grew to $910 through a live auction of a 4-H sweatshirt and a few other items that the Holstein Club generously donated, plus personal donations from fellow Holstein breeders. And a week later, we received another donation from the Essex-Kent Milk Committee (many of whom would have been at the family night).

With the generosity of these 4-Hers and others, we were happy to report to Mackenzie that a full-time research assistant was funded by Childcan for the program. Maureen now sits on the Board of Directors for Childcan, and can attest to the power of each and every donation (no matter what size) to this organization. Unfortunately, the need grows as more children are diagnosed, and others who have undergone long and painful treatments now find their cancers have returned.

All of us involved in Ontario 4-H can be proud of members like the ones in the Essex 4-H Dairy Calf Club.

The Ambassador Beat: Sierra Stanley

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2017, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by FS. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Sierra Stanley, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Carleton 4-H Association

As my time in the ambassador program comes to an end I decided that I want to reflect upon the skills I have acquired throughout my year of adventures, memories and amazing experiences.

Throughout the ambassador program I have met so many fascinating people and learned so many things from them; the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been have taught me so many skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have improved my public speaking and my confidence through the various presentations I have given and the events I have attended. This benefits me in every aspect of my life including school, work and even in my sorority.

The confidence I have gained since February when I took on this role is amazing. I am now more confident in driving across the province, flying on my own, and showing up places without knowing anyone else in attendance. This program really helped me learn just how much you can accomplish when you’re confident, have a will to learn and want to help others succeed.

I have gained even more respect for the amount of commitment, time and effort volunteers have put into this program. These people clearly have a passion for this program and it really shows. Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers, this program could not run without all of you.

The ambassador program has also made me more passionate for my chosen career path in teaching; I’ve run activities and spoken with youth at events like Judging Days, Go For The Gold and various other events, and seeing the different youth participate and show genuine interest in what I was telling them was absolutely amazing. When I finish my schooling and eventually have my own classroom, I hope to inspire my students the way I have been able to inspire 4-Hers over the last ten months.

I am so thankful to our sponsors; Growmark and UPI Energy FS, for offering me this opportunity through their continuous support of the 4-H program.

Your Future in Agriculture – A pilot event for SHSM students

Written by: Sara Harper

On October 26, 4-H Ontario in partnership with AgScape, presented Your Future in Agriculture. It was a pilot event for 4-H Ontario’s Passport to Leadership Certificate and also hosted AgScape’s Career Competition. Three schools from South Simcoe County with approximately 110 students were gathered at Mount Forest Sports Complex to experience all that agriculture has to offer.

The Passport to Leadership Certificate was prepared by 4-H Ontario to meet the requirements of Ontario Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) students for certification. The certificate program embodies key elements of traditional 4-H programming while focusing on various areas of leadership styles such as goal setting and teamwork. The funds for this project were donated by William Seath. On May 30, 2017, William Seath generously made an in memorial gift to honour his late wife Rhea who was a 4-H Member. Sadly, William passed away on September 14, 2017 before the launch of the certificate. We will remember William and Rhea for their contribution to ensure leadership development makes a mark on today’s youth.

And what a mark it has already left. SHSM students were immersed in a self-reflection of their own leadership style, learned how all styles can work together and discussed their SMART goals. Mikaela Adams, a 4-H member from Bruce County, spoke at the beginning of the day about what it means to be a 4-H’er and how the program has helped shape who she is today. She also participated in the day’s activities.

“We learned how to become better leaders and I loved the setting goals part of the morning,” says Mikaela.

A teacher from Stayner Collegiate Institute shared that, “The material was really good for them to know. The whole concept is excellent.”

The afternoon is when AgScape took over the hall with their Career Competition. They delivered another SHSM component bringing real world, experiential opportunities to explore a variety of agri-food careers. Students were split into eight groups and then rotated to participate in four of the eight activity stations. They learned about various different aspects of agriculture careers in areas covering marketing, finance, robotics, pest identification, water management, genetics, soil science and food processing. AgScape staff member Jenny Mayer was on site to help facilitate the event.

“Students often get stuck in their school community bubble,” she says. “It is important to present them with engaging, interactive events like this where they can learn about real world opportunities in our innovative and growing agri-food industry.”

In the future, 4-H Ontario and AgScape hope to host similar events for other school boards. We would also like to thank our amazing sponsors who made this event possible. Thanks to, Agriculture in the Classroom, Agriculture More Than Ever, The Co-operators, EastGen, FS Partners, GayLea, Meridian, Monsanto, St. Clair Conservation, South Simcoe District School Board, ThinkAG and The Township of Wellington North. SHSM students of South Simcoe County School Board are now one step further in building their agricultural future.

Manitou 4-H Club participates in Manitowaning Fall Fair!

Submitted by: Matt Hill

Manitou 4-H Club is back again….just a generation later.

On Sept 9, 2017  members of the Manitou 4-H Club participated in a float for the Manitowaning Fall Fair.

Each brought something to decorate the float with , but it had to represent a project that  was available in 4-H, such as campfire for their winter wilderness project, or a drill to represent a woodworking project.

We also had several things to represent Canada 150 which was the theme of the parade. To add to that, the members would sing O’ Canada several times during the parade.

On the float was also a quilt that was given to one of the members grandmother when she was in 4-H about 50 years ago. It was made by her club members and signed by each member. What a treasure!

As a result of their efforts, the float won first prize which they were very excited about.

The Ambassador Beat: Nicole French

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2017, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by FS. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

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

A Backstage look at what its like to be a 4-H Ontario Ambassador.

Over the past nine months I have had the privilege to represent 4-H Ontario at many amazing events. At these events I had the opportunity to speak with sponsors, 4-H members, leaders and members of the public. This is what everyone already knows about the ambassador program so allow me to give you…… the story behind the pictures.

Where it all started… Training weekend

This photo was taken after we were all named the 2017 4-H Ontario ambassadors. It’s a fun picture, but what happened after the picture was even funnier. We dropped Robert, not on his head thankfully. He was like a cat and landed with grace. This would be a great start to great friendships we would all make, over the course of the weekend we became more comfortable with each other and got to learn more about one another. While to most, Sarah may seem like a quiet girl, once she gets to know you there is no stopping her joking with you. Even though she made me the butt of most of her jokes, I was totally fine with this because it led to the start of a great friendship of trading jokes between each other.

The Competition… the Durham Farm Connection

At this event Robert and I got to know each other better, I learned just how funny Robert was, I don’t think I have ever laughed more. Our job at this event was to talk to the parents and kids about 4-H and hopefully spark some interest in 4-H. I had brought some 4-H stickers with me, so Robert and I decided to attract the kids to our booth with stickers so we could talk to them and their parents about 4-H. We made it in to a competition trying to see who could get the most kids to take a sticker. Apparently, my approach to giving out stickers might have been a little “aggressive” (according to Robert). Let just say, Robert had more luck with the kids and won our little competition.

Oops, did I forget to tell you?… 4-H West Golf tournament

This is probably my favourite picture taken this past year and one of my favourite events. Even though because of the rain, we were unable to golf that day, we made the best of it. Our job was to go around to different tables and ask the sponsors trivia questions. This lead to many laughs as you can see in this photo. Our questions lead to many debates at the table and some pretty interesting answers. For example, the question: “how many litres of water does a cow drink to produce 1 litre of milk” the Scotiabank guy answered 100,000 litres. This lead to that guy being roasted for the rest of day and many jokes being traded. While that is what happened in this photo what happened later that day would become one of my favourite ambassador memories.

Robert and I were to sing the 4-H grace at dinner, I knew the grace so I wrote it down for Robert to learn. I guess I forgot to mention to Robert that the 4-H grace is sung. So, when we were called up to give the grace Robert began to speak it while I sang it, thankfully John Drummond was there to save that day and started sing as well. It was probably the funniest and most awkward experience; good thing Robert has a good sense of humour about it.

The Tradition… East-central junior show

This is a picture of my two sisters and I. While there is no particularly funny story behind this photo, there is a story. As many of you may know, my older sister Julie was a 2016 4-H Ontario Ambassador, and as an ambassador John Drummond requested her to come hand out ribbons at the Junior Show. John then asked me and my younger sisters to be Poop Ninjas (my lifelong dream… no joke). When we arrived however John found a more prestigious job for us, or at least that is how he phrased it. We become the ring marshals. One year later John would be requesting me to be the ambassador to come and hand out ribbons at the show, he then bribed my sisters with hamburgers to be the ring marshals. At the end of the show John informed my younger sister Allison that she would need to become a 2018 4-H Ontario Ambassador so we could keep this tradition going.

The Opportunity… Growmark AGM

This is the part of my post is where I would like to thank our wonderful sponsor, UPI Energy FS and GROWMARK. Without them this program would not be possible, especially this photo. I was the 4-H Ontario Ambassador chosen to attend the Growmark AGM in Chicago. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had! I got to meet so many amazing people, from Growmark executives to Future Farmers of America. The connections I made were incredible. I also had the chance to learn a lot not only about Growmark but also some valuable life skills. There were speakers at the AGM talking about a variety of topics from living life fearlessly to using big data, and my personal favourite was Doug Flipp. We as young leaders had the chance to take a behind the scenes tour of the Chicago Hilton. This was amazing. Our role as young leaders at the AGM was to be flag bearer. It was an honour to have been able to carry the Ontario flag into the opening ceremony. Janice Johnson the Ontario young leaders chaperone (for lack of a better word) was amazing. She treated us like her kids and made sure we got the complete Chicago experience; from going to the top of the Willis Tower, to eating my weight in deep dish pizza. We also went on an architecture boat tour of the city where we learned about Chicago’s rich history. We also had the chance to go to Navy Pier and ride the Ferris wheel and eat at Bubba Gumps. Last and certainly my favourite, we got to see the Bean!  On our final day, which is when this picture was taken, I had the honour to give the invocation at breakfast before the closing ceremonies.

This was such an amazing trip and there are no words to descried how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to go and represent 4-H Ontario.

Oh the places we’ve gone and the destinations ahead.

As our ambassadorship is drawing to a close I have taken the time to look at all the amazing events we have been able to attend as ambassadors, the people we have been able to speak to and the impact we have made. This program has not only allowed me to further develop many of the life skills that 4-H has taught me, I have also had the chance to make life long connections. As my ambassador time comes to an end and I say goodbye to these five amazing people, I will be left with the many incredible memories of our time together. I would like to thank our sponsors UPI Energy FS and GROWMARK for making this experience possible, without you I would not have become great friends with these amazing individuals. I know after our reign as ambassadors is over, we will all go on to do amazing things and continue to live the 4-H motto, by learning to do by doing.

One final special thanks to Marianne and Lindsay for keeping this ship running smoothly. Without you two there would be no program. Thank you for all that you have done for me and the ambassador program. You ladies are my role models. Thank you for being amazing!








Congratulations KLH 4-H!

Submitted by: Evelyn Chambers

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Canada 150 Community awards hosted by Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Brock MP Jamie Schmale. In recognition of Canada’s 150 Celebrations each MP was given the opportunity to recognize and honour outstanding individuals and organizations for their work in the community. There were 15 award categories ranging from Arts, Entrepreneurship, Good Neighbours, First Responders, Older Adults, Natural Resources and including Youth services.

Among the individuals and groups honoured (which also included a 10 member band whose members’ age is 90 years and the oldest is 103,) MP Jamie Schmale selected Kawartha Lakes Haliburton 4-H Association as one of the award recipients citing the community involvement and education and the opportunity for youth to learn valuable lifelong skills. It was a proud moment for me to see 4-H honoured and recognized in this way and among so many other honorees from across the constituent.

For those of who attended the Global Summit and heard keynote speaker Krista Scaldwell speak about ‘applesauce moments’ – those times, when you are sitting in your rocking chair eating applesauce, that you will remember. Suffice to say, last night was one of those moments for me.

While certainly proud of my local 4-H Association and all the volunteers involved in making the KLH 4-H program sustainable and successful, I am equally proud to be part of the bigger organization of 4-H Ontario as we continue to build the 4-H program provincially.

The Ambassador Beat: Shannon Desjardins

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2017, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Shannon Desjardins, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Prince Edward 4-H Association

I think this is the perfect opportunity to introduce myself, as I don’t think many of you know who I am. My name is Shannon Desjardins, and I am currently in my 12th year, last year, in the 4-H program. I have completed just over 112 clubs, and am currently completing two clubs as we speak.

I have completed almost all of my clubs in my home association, Prince Edward, with boarder hopping next door to Hastings for two club projects. I have explored multiple clubs in my home association including, milk makes it better, beef, woodworking, goat, scrapbooking, sheep, maple syrup, baking, pet, curling and more. I have had the opportunity to sit on my home association directors’ board as a Youth Director and I have been a youth leader in various clubs I have participated in as well.

The 4-H program has given so much to me that I felt this year, 2017, I wanted to give back to 4-H. Being given the opportunity to represent 4-H Ontario as one of the six 4-H Ontario Ambassadors for 2017 has been a life changing experience. I have had the chance to attend several events already, traveling throughout Ontario. I have met so many wonderful new people; 4-H leaders, 4-H members, 4-H staff, volunteers, 4-H alumni and community members who want to learn more about the 4-H program. This has given me the opportunity to share what 4-H has done for me, my 4-H story, with so many groups and individuals.

I would not be here talking to you as a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador if it wasn’t for our two amazing sponsors, GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy FS. Thank you for allowing me to represent 4-H Ontario this year. It is a real honor.

“Learn to do by doing” never goes a miss in your daily activities if you are a current or past 4-H member. I entered the 4-H program as a very shy individual who didn’t want to take risks or try something new. 4-H was what I needed to come out of my shell and start trying new things. 4-H taught me to be a strong leader and gave me communication skills. 4-H taught me to learn from my mistakes and to keep moving forward. Without all the fantastic 4-H leaders, volunteers and senior members who took me under their wing, I would not be the person who I have become today.

4-H as a member has allowed me to try new things and not be ashamed if something goes wrong. Instead, I learned that out of any bad situation, there is always a bright side and sometimes you can just change what you were doing at the start to make it work. 4-H has also helped me follow my dream and attend post-secondary education through scholarships and grants. Without 4-H, I would not be in the position I am today as an Agronomist.

The 4-H program has given me so many opportunities to meet lifetime friends who have similar interests to myself, try new club projects, learn valuable life skills that I will use in my everyday adult life and to always “Learn to do by Doing.”


Wellington Farmers Market Welcomes Royals

Written By: Sara Harper 

On June 30th the Wellington Farmers Market of Prince Edward County had a couple of very special guests attend, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall. The visit was arranged because Prince Charles is huge supporter of sustainable agriculture. The market is located at the parking lot of Wellington United Church. The local 4-H club was approached by the market developer, Louise McFaul, to bring their milkshake booth to offer samples during the visit. The club had some troubles getting their booth to the market so they improvised by making them inside the church and then bringing them to the booth space. Premier Kathleen Wynne was the official hostess for the Royals. Many other politicians were in attendance bringing congratulations of celebrating Canada 150 and the role of First Nations in developing Canada. Other leaders included: Mohawk Chief R. Donald, MP Neil Ellis, Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal with many other local and regional politicians. Each booth had a dignitary to welcome the Royals. Lou Rinaldi, MPP for Northumberland-Quinte West, and his wife were stationed at the 4-H booth.

During their visit, the Royals were served cake, ice cream and berries while talking with representatives from the church and community members. Afterwards, the Royals split up in order to be able to speak with all of the vendors. The Duchess ended up speaking with the 4-H’ers where she asked them about their projects and was interested in learning about the Cloverbud program. 4-H Leader, Lynn Ward, offered the Duchess a 4-H pin which she accepted. Other 4-H representatives present were Lynn’s husband Don, 4-H Council President Brad Found and 4-H staff member Megan Burnside. Despite the extra security of the Ontario Provincial Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Royalty and Specialist Protection, it was a very relaxed and fun environment.

The Ambassador Beat: Lyndsay Dickson

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2017, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Lyndsay Dickson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Leeds 4-H Association

As I am sure many of you don’t know who I am, I think this is the perfect opportunity to introduce myself. Lyndsay Dickson is my name, and I have recently begun my sixth year in the 4-H program. I have completed 29 projects in the past 5 years, plus I am currently completing two projects as we speak.

I have completed over 20 projects in my home association of Leeds, but I have also had the opportunity to boarder hop to Grenville and Lanark associations to complete the remainder of my projects. I have done a wide variety of projects: including, but not limited to, photography, dairy, baking, cooking, maple syrup, veterinary, and curling. I have been given the opportunity to youth lead a number of the clubs I have participated in as well.

This year I chose to give back to the program that has given me so much. Being given the opportunity to be a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador has been a life changing experience for myself. I have had several opportunities to travel to new places that I have never been. I have met so many amazing new people: 4-H staff, 4-H volunteers, 4-H members, 4-H alumni, and general public that want to know more about the 4-H program. I am getting to share my story of why 4-H means so much to me.

A special thank you goes to the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program sponsors, GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy FS. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without you!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

4-H is a program that builds self-confidence, leadership and communication skills, essential life-skills, strong values, and life-long friendships.

As a 4-H’er will always tell you, “learn to do by doing.” Before entering the 4-H Program, I was a caterpillar in a cocoon. I was waiting for the chance to burst out of my shell and blossom into a butterfly. 4-H was that chance for me. 4-H taught me that being a leader begins with confidence. Without mentors and youth leaders, my life would be very different.

I credit my success as a young adult to the 4-H program. Throughout my years attending school; I was always very shy, unmotivated, and could not speak in front of my classmates. Once I began 4-H, I became a whole new person. I was confident. I could speak in front of large crowds of strangers. I became a more motivated individual.

The 4-H program has given me the opportunity to complete projects that I am passionate about, meet people who share common interests, learn valuable life skills, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Elwood Dunford Family Fund

Written by John & Marlene Dunford

We established the Elwood Dunford Family Fund to recognize and pay tribute to the contribution to 4-H by my dad who helped to start the Lakefield 4-H Beef Calf Club back in 1954. My sister Mauretta was in the club the first year. I went to the meetings but had to wait another year before I was old enough to join. The club later became the Douro 4-H Beef Club where dad was the leader up until his death in 1977 at the age of 69. Dad only had about a grade four school education so he struggled with reading and writing but was well respected as a leader.  4-H was a big part of my life as a teenager. I was in the beef club every year and field crop club for many years, as well as other clubs like farm safety. I was fortunate to be selected to attend interclub competitions and 4-H leadership conference at the University of Guelph. I was awarded Outstanding 4-H member for Peterborough County in 1960, competed in the Queens Guinea’s Steer Show at the Royal Winter Fair three times and competed in the Inter-County Judging Competition at the Royal in 1961 with the winning team It was probably my involvement in 4-H that lead me to attend the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). While there I competed in College Royal and was All-Round Showman in 1964. Showing an animal in the showring is a traditional showing experience but the first placings in eggs and honey is what gave me the points to win this trophy. I remember going through about 20 dozen eggs to get a uniform dozen. The secret on honey was pouring it warm into the jar without creating bubblies. Also at Guelph I won the A. D. Runions Memorial Award as the member of the OAC Dairy Cattle Judging Team with the highest aggregate score in the International Inter-Collegiate Judging competition. After graduating from UofG I worked with the Ministry of Agriculture as an Assistant Ag Rep and was heavily involved in the county 4-H program. It was during this time that I met Marlene, a town girl, at the Junior Farmers bowling club. In 1969 we purchased a dairy farm in my home neighbourhood and farmed for 33 years. I spent 19 years as a leader of the 4-H Dairy Club and our girls were each a part of 4-H for one year. They were also involved in figure skating and skated all year- round. They learned commitment, dedication, confidence and respect—all the qualities we try to instill in our 4-H members!