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 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.





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


It is hard to believe that 2018 is here already. Where did 2017 go?!

2017 was a year of growth for me. A year that taught me to say “yes” to new adventures, taught me how rewarding experiences can be and taught me how to navigate on my own.


January 2017 – I was selected as a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador, an experience that has changed my life!

February 2017 – We celebrated success, as we were officially welcomed as ambassadors at the 2017 Ambassador Reception.

Shannon, Sierra, Nicole, Robert, Sarah, and I gathered with family and friends by our sides in Guelph as we were welcomed as the 4-H Ontario Ambassadors for 2017.

March 2017 – I began a social media feed to share my year as an Ambassador.

You can find my adventures as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador on Twitter, under the handle @dicksonlyndsay.

April 2017 – I attended the 2017 National Holstein Convention in Richmond Hill, Ontario as part of the Young Leaders Program.

May 2017 – I moved out!

After nearly 20 years of living under my parents’ roof, I found a place to call my own and moved out to start a new adventure of life on my own.

June 2017 – My first event as an Ambassador!

My first event as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador was the UPI Energy Invitational Golf Tournament.

July 2017 – My first 4-H dairy show of the season was a success!

My first 4-H dairy show of the season was the EastGen Showcase held in Spencerville. I was lucky enough to walk away with 6th Senior Heifer and Top Quiz.

August 2017 – I found out that the first heifer I owned is pregnant and due in March 2018!

I have my own prefix with Holstein Canada, Experience Holsteins. I own one heifer, Rockaberry Mogul Experience. I found out that she is expecting her first calf, which is also the first calf to carry the Experience Holsteins name in March 2018!

September 2017 – I had the pleasure of visiting Niagara Falls for the first time.

Fellow ambassador Sierra Stanley and I visited the beautiful Niagara Falls together following the UPI Energy FS Launch Party.

October 2017 – I celebrated my 21st birthday!

As all senior 4-H’ers will know; what your 21st birthday really means, is it’s almost the end of their 4-H career! 2018 will mark my final year as a 4-H member.

November 2017 – I attended my 5th consecutive TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic as an exhibitor.

I had the pleasure of representing the Leeds 4-H Association at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, held in Toronto every November, at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic. 2017 was my 5th consecutive year being a member of the Leeds team.

December 2017 – I celebrated the holidays with family and friends.

I am forever grateful for the amazing opportunity representing 4-H Ontario as an Ambassador for 2017. Thank you FS for this opportunity!

Once an Ambassador, Always an Ambassador.


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 2018, 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 Shannon Desjardins, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Prince Edward 4-H Association

I would like to take a moment to reflect on this past year as one of six 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassadors.

I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of you this year, my name is Shannon Desjardins and I am from Prince Edward Association in Region 3. I am now a graduated 4-H member after the most amazing 12 years. I completed 126 clubs from the best program you will ever have the chance to participate in!

Over the past year I have had so many opportunities come my way from the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program. I have traveled across Ontario, meeting so many wonderful and enthusiastic 4-H members, siblings, parents, volunteers and alumni. From fairs, to livestock shows, plowing matches to awards nights, Discovery Days to Judge It Day – these are just a few of the activities I have participated in as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador.

Being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador isn’t just about traveling around Ontario representing 4-H at different local and regional events; it’s about the relationships, friendships, influences, contacts and skills you gain from the program as well.

At each and every event you attend as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador you grow as a member, a mentor and person. Each association has so many outstanding volunteers that give you new and exciting ideas to bring home to your local association. The members you meet along your journey share with you why they love 4-H, what clubs they have participated in and why they are excited to join next year making you more and more excited to be a part of this program. The parents (and potentially alumni) are so thrilled to speak with you about what opportunities are out there for their child and why the 4-H Ontario Ambassadors program is one opportunity they will never want to miss out on.

The 4-H pledge talks about Head, Heart, Hands and Health with our club, community and country, but what does the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program say? Well, an Ambassador to me stands for;












Those are just 10 words that describe the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program and why it is so amazing to have had the opportunity given to me by 4-H Ontario and our sponsor FS. When you are 18 years of age, I strongly encourage you to fill out the 4-H Ontario Ambassadors application form and apply! This is an opportunity that you will fondly look back on and never regret!

The True Spirit of 4-H: Rinske van der Steege’s Story

Submitted by: Rinske van der Steege, member of Norfolk 4-H

Rinke’s story reminds us of how 4-H can help you with any journey you may be on, personal, educational or career, our program can help you achieve your dreams.

Hi! My name is Rinske, and I am a first year student at the University of Guelph in the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture program. 4-H has been one of the best experiences of my life. It has given me the opportunities to build and develop my leadership skills, as well as creating ever-lasting friendships. 4-H has contributed to my education inside and outside of school. This year I was able to completely pay my first year of university through scholarships because of 4-H. From 4-H Canada, I won the Weston Family scholarship, and within Ontario, I won the Angelo and Frank Argo Undergraduate scholarship. I also won a few leadership scholarships such as the OAC’ 51 Leadership Scholarship and the local Federation of Agriculture and Crop & Soil Improvement Association scholarships. Within school I am on the class of 2021 executive team. Currently, more than half the team (of 14) are 4-Hers, from Ontario, New Brunswick and British Columbia. We work well together to organize events and represent our year.  My favourite part about being a 4-H’er is that you never know what you are getting yourself into. When I first joined 4-H to show dairy, I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to show at the Royal Winter Fair, attend awesome leadership camps or youth lead the dairy club. Thank you 4-H for shaping me the way I am today!

The True Spirit of 4-H: Rhiannah Gallagher’s Story

Written by: Rhiannah Gallagher, Carleton 4-H Member


There are not enough words to describe the feeling you get when you step into the sale ring. The feeling of all the preparation boiling up to this one point. Knowing that behind you stands your parents, your leaders, your fellow 4-H members, and so many more people, and the fact that you get to see your hard work pay off is indescribable. And when finally, you reach it: you step into that sale ring and you know without a doubt that you accomplished everything you set out to do and so much more, you can finally breathe. Whether it be your first, 7th, or last time you feel that same pride swell up as the auctioneers start singing.


As I was sitting ringside at the sale on Saturday night I felt that pride in every one of those 4-H members attending. That pride stirred up in me a desire to donate 50% of my profits to the Ruiter family in support of a recent fire destroying their barns. The Ruiter family lost 100 Holsteins in the fire. The whole family has been active in 4-H and advocates of agriculture.


Since that night I’ve been asked why I donated half of my profits and I didn’t have an answer. But as the fair has now come to a close I believe I do finally have an answer to that question.


4-H represents the future of Agriculture to the general public with hope that they will learn how important this field is to the world and our country’s economy. This is a difficult task but we try our best to accomplish it at each and every event we attend as 4-H members. The Ruiters do this every day. They represent agriculture to so many people that as a 4-H’er I believe that I need to help and support them in any way I can. So if you asked me now why I did what I did, I could tell you that I did it for the Ruiters, 4-H and what they represent to the people around them.


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.