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!

Perth County Experiences B.C.

Written, in part, by 10 Perth County 4-H members: Phillip Koskamp, Sam Reidy, Sam Becker, Emma Francis, Natasha Klaver, Brianna Nichol, Natalie Nichol, Valarie Hamilton, Bethany Hamilton and Halle Horn.

In the summer of 2016, 10 members from Perth County, along with chaperones Marilyn Reidy and Jen Aikens were “twinned” with Deep Creek Dairy 4-H Club in Salmon Arm, B.C. as a part of the 4-H Canada Club to Club Exchange. Some of us had never flown before so this was very exciting. We stayed with our “twins” for 10 days learning about how they live, the history and culture of their region and we travelled together as a large group of 20 members and four leaders seeing and participating in some awesome activities.

Some of our highlights while we were in B.C. was the chance to enjoy a day on a houseboat on beautiful Mara Lake, riding the gondola’s at Mount Revelstoke and floating down a river in tubes near Enderby, B.C. As a part of our community service component of this exchange while we were there we worked on 250 metres of new hiking trails with the Shuswap Trail Alliance. It was great to see and learn how others live. The opportunity to see a different province was an incredible experience. Although it felt strange staying with a family we didn’t know at the beginning of our journey we can now say we have made new life-long 4-H friends. After 10 days of fun in B.C., we arrived home to rest up and prepare for the arrival of B.C. members to our great province.

We began our adventure with them doing our community service work with Habitat for Humanity in Listowel. It was hard work removing flooring, a deck and wiring out of a house that was being demolished but we now understand the great work that Habitat for Humanity does for communities around the world and the importance of volunteering in our communities. We did so many things with our “twins” to show the great area we live in. We toured a number of local dairy farms, a water buffalo farm, Bar-B-Dee elevators and we visited St. Jacobs (including a visit to an Amish farm), visited the Stratford-Perth Museum, the Costume Warehouse and the production of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe at the Festival Theatre. Other highlights included a trip to Toronto to the CN Tower, a visit to the Welland Canal and Niagara Falls, including a ride on the incredible jet boats there.

Jennie Nichol had both of her daughters, Natalie and Brianna attend the exchange and said it was a great experience for them to experience a different part of Canada and to fly for the first time, something that may not have been possible without 4-H.

“They were able to learn about a part of Canada that was quite different from where we live here in Ontario and meet other kids in 4-H and learn about their experiences,” she says. “As a parent, I am really pleased that my daughters were given this opportunity.”

We learned so much about ourselves, others and so much about the great country we live in. Canada Heritage is a big contributor to this 4-H Canada exchange. The goal is for members to learn more about other provinces as well as our own region. We’re very thankful for all the generous supporters of this 4-H exchange club, everyone who supported our fundraising projects, the time the leaders took to plan our trip and, of course, our families.

Mini Diagnostic Day Introduces Members to Agronomy

By: Sara Harper

Southwest Crop Diagnostic Day is a full day event in early July put on by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in cooperation with the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. It promotes “hands on learning” experiences for those in agribusiness. The skills emphasized are troubleshooting, evaluation and management strategies. Industry professionals facilitate workshops based on common issues found in Southern Ontario and new technology available to help fight the issues. Participants are able to customize their day with the available 11 rotational sessions.

In the early 2000’s, one of the Diagnostic Day planners, Anne Verhallen, received an inquiry from local 4-H Lambton Field Crops Club Leader, Don Lunn, which marked the start of this great event. He wanted to know if there was a discount available to 4-H clubs to attend. When asked why he wanted his club to attend, Don responded, “I was looking for an educational field trip for our club.” Since space was limited, arrangements were made to create a mini version in the evening. This also allowed for more intermediate and senior members to attend since many had summer jobs during the day. Three facilitators presented their sessions to give the youth a taste of what the full day offered. Clubs meet at the Vet Tech parking lot, say the 4-H pledge and then load onto wagons that take the members to the research field. There, they are split into three groups and rotate through the sessions.

Attendance at the Mini Diagnostics Day has ranged from 20-90 participants since its inception, with parents also enjoying the experience. In 2016, approximately 65 members attended from Chatham-Kent, Lambton and Middlesex 4-H Associations.

Sometimes sessions are modified so that they can be better understood by the youth, but most facilitators keep them the same.

“I can remember having Dr. Gary Ablett speak on soybean physiology and wondering how he might simplify things,” recalls Verhallen. “When I checked with a couple of young members they said he had not “dumbed it down.” The members were excited, had completely followed his explanation and could repeat it back to me.”

The evening ends with a pizza party in the parking lot before heading home.

“This experience exposes members to current issues such as crop diseases, weed identification, and various bugs—both beneficial and destructive,” says past 4-H member and attendee Matt Smyth. “It also gives an introduction to proper sprayer set-up and boom height to reduce drift and improve application and safety of pesticides.”

Smyth’s favourite part of the Mini Diagnostic Day was being able to learn some leading edge things about agriculture. He feels that this event is a great way to spark interest in agronomy with 4-Her’s and helps them understand the basics of agronomy which is relevant in many aspects of agriculture. It also provides the opportunity to see the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus, where many agribusiness personnel attend post-secondary studies.

The Ambassador Beat: Sarah Mutton

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 Sarah Mutton, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from East Parry Sound 4-H Association

My name is Sarah Mutton and I am a 4-H Ontario Ambassador for 2017. I have been a 4-H member for eight years now and have participated in a wide range of clubs, my favourites being Dairy Club, Karaoke Club, and Lego Robotics Club. Throughout 4-H I have had many opportunities to learn and strengthen my leadership skills, including many camps and junior leading our Lego Robotics club. This year I wanted to give back to the program that has taught me so much by becoming the East Parry Sound 4-H Association’s first 4-H Ontario Ambassador.

As an Ambassador, I have been able to take part in two events so far; College Royal at the University of Guelph, and Youth Forum Beef Show. I had an amazing time at both of these events and it has been a pleasure to see more of what 4-H offers youth across the province. I would like to thank our generous sponsors UPI Energy and GROWMARK, Inc. I am very excited to continue my journey as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador and see what the rest of this amazing opportunity has in store for our Ambassador team.

Another 4-H opportunity I had the pleasure of attending in May was the Dairy Sen$e® conference, which is co-managed by 4-H Ontario and Ontario Holsteins. This conference provided 45 attendees with the opportunity to come together and learn from many very knowledgeable experts in the dairy industry.

As soon as we arrived we were given jackets, binders and bags containing a wealth of information and some gifts from the generous sponsors of the event. These included the Managing Partners 4-H Ontario and Ontario Holsteins, Presenting sponsor Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), as well as EastGen, John Deere Canada ULC, Holstein Canada, Animal Pro Products, Select Sires GenerVations, CIBC, DeLaval Inc. – Canada, Ontario Dairy Youth Trust Fund and Collins Barrow. The Project is also funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Throughout the conference we were given the opportunity to hear from many speakers on a variety of different topics such as social media in agriculture, purchasing an ongoing operation, financial statements, succession planning, current developments from DFO and much more.

On the second day of the conference we had the opportunity to spend most of our day touring two farms, where we were able to ask the farmers questions as well as hear presentations from other guests who met with us at the farms. First we visited Bridon Farms Inc., where we had a tour and then information sessions about feeding a robotic herd, calf nutrition development and reproduction. Then we visited Larenwood Farms Ltd. where we were given another tour and had information sessions on the cost of expansion, buying or leasing equipment and proAction animal care cattle assessments.

One of the highlights of the conference was the preparation and presentation of case studies. Each day groups were given time to study and assess their assigned farm, perform a SWOT analysis and prepare a recommendation for their farm which would be presented on the final morning of the conference. This was definitely challenging, but it was also an incredible way to immediately put our new knowledge to work along with what we already knew. After the presentations, one group was awarded first place for having the best recommendation for their given farm and were invited on a trip to the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dairy Sen$e was a great opportunity and I strongly recommend you attend if you are interested in the agriculture industry and aged 18-25.

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

My name is Sierra Stanley, and I have been a part of the 4-H family for eight years now participating in many clubs ranging from the Beef Club, to Square Dancing, to Cooking. I have had the chance to hold multiple positions, which has led to me being a stronger leader in 4-H and in other parts of my life. This year I chose to give back to the program that I love by participating in the Ambassador Program as Carleton 4-H Association’s first ambassador. Through this program I have the opportunity to speak with so many different individuals who come from all different walks of life.

This past weekend I had an amazing opportunity to represent 4-H Ontario in the North at an event called Food Frenzy, and by speaking to the volunteers of Thunder Bay, Kenora and Rainy River 4-H Associations.

I started off my tour of the North at Food Frenzy, an event put on by the City of Thunder Bay to educate youth about food and different programs in their community. Ontario Nature was there teaching everyone about uses of different wild plants and Roots to Harvest was there with their blender-bike. Food Frenzy was a great educational opportunity for the youth of Thunder Bay and I was so happy to have been included in the event.

The next day I met up with Matt Hill, Volunteer Support Region 1, and Andy McTaggart, Volunteer Support Coordinator, Region 5 & 6, to start our travels through the North. Our first stop was to meet the volunteers of Thunder Bay, which also doubled as their Cookie Club Achievement Day. The youth made all sorts of different goodies and performed a play on how to make the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies. It was a lot of fun speaking with the youth and volunteers of Thunder Bay.

The next day the three of us headed to Dryden to meet the volunteers from Kenora 4-H Association. After a few hours in the car we checked into our hotel then headed out to meet them. It was a small group but I learned so much about the way different 4-H clubs are working in their Association compared to here in Carleton and about their various farming operations. The next day we traveled up to visit one of the volunteers’ beef farms and were given a tour of their operation.

Our Saturday adventure started with spending a little while at the farm with the entire Debney family, then we headed off towards Emo. After a few hours in the car listening to Matt’s music, and Andy and I trying our hardest to see a moose, we arrived at our hotel to check in. Then we headed off to meet our final group of volunteers. All the volunteers I met over the course of this trip were so amazing in their own way and this group was no exception. I learned so much from them and they were able to keep me on my toes with their questions. After meeting with them, Kim, one of the Rainy River volunteers, took us to see one of the world’s smallest chapels, which is located in Emo!

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, GROWMARK, Inc, and UPI Energy, I had the most amazing experience visiting a part of Ontario that I never thought I would be able to see. I was able to meet up with a Provincial Leadership Camp friend I hadn’t seen since camp, I saw the main campus of my university and I met so many fantastic 4-H volunteers. I had such a great time on my first adventure as a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring for myself and my fellow ambassadors.

4-H Impact Felt In Peel

By Ryan Métivier

4-H was on full display throughout Peel Region in 2016, including the many barn quilts that 4-H members created that made their way all over the region. The Barn Quilt project was new to Peel 4-H Association in 2016. A barn quilt is an eight-foot square (and larger) painted replica of fabric quilt blocks installed on barns. Barn quilts draw attention to Canada’s rural landscapes, timber frame and family farms.

These barn quilts were created by 17 members (who made two each) between the ages of 10 and 20 years old and were on display at Caledon Town Hall, fall fairs, the Caledon library, the Alton Mill Art Gallery, at the Farm Conference at Palgrave Equestrian Park, along a main road in Brampton creating a Barn Quilt Trail and also to be included at the Canada 150 exhibit at the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives in 2017. The club was run again in the summer and remaining boards were offered to senior members. Achievement programs were held in both April and September where members explained what their quilts represented in their life.

After deciding to run this project, leader Carol Williams came across the opportunity to apply for a grant through proceeds from the Caledon Councillor’s Community Golf Tournament. Priority was given to organizations that would present a unique opportunity to showcase the Town of Caledon. Peel 4-H Association received funding at the completion of the project for the full amount of their proposed budget.

“Our members loved this project and many are eager to do it again,” says Williams. “Once again members gained self-confidence in themselves using new equipment and techniques and participating in the Achievement Program.”

The project gained praise in the community with responses including, “I didn’t know there was a youth group with so many members in our community,” to “what a great way to celebrate our heritage.” Peel 4-H Association inspired other community groups to apply for the Canada 150 grant so more barn quilts can be painted and the Ontario Barn Quilt Trail has also contacted Peel 4-H about their project.

One of the brightest lights in Peel 4-H Association shone on Julie French during 2016. One of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors for the past year, Julie represented Peel and the 4-H program across the province. The year saw her attend Discovery Days in Regions 1, 2, and 4, the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf-West Tournament, Ambassador Sponsor Tour and UPI Charity Golf Tournament. Julie’s biggest highlight though likely came at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair where she attended the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic. After showing in the dairy club for eight years, she qualified to represent her association in Toronto. While there, Julie had the honour of exhibiting the Grand Champion Calf – Quality Solomon Lust; an experience she said still seems surreal.

“This year’s Royal was such a humbling experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” she says. “It makes me truly realize the value of the 4-H program and all it has to offer. Hard work, patience and teamwork are all valuable lessons that 4-H teaches members.”

Success at The Royal didn’t end there though, as Peel’s team consisting of Julie, Jamie Laidlaw, Allison French, Robert Matson, Nicole French, as well as coaches Tom and Heather French claimed first place in the Provincial Go For The Gold Competition.


Painting the 4-H Picture

June [Thomson] Switzer became involved with the 4-H program at the age of 12. Growing up on a farm outside of Rockwood, she was actively involved in agriculture and life skills clubs, while completing over 45 projects. Among her many long lasting memories, she still remembers fondly her first meeting learning to make tea biscuits in a small farm kitchen, sewing and wearing her first 4-H dress, showing her calf and winning red, winning the Silver Dollar Competition (precursor to the Gencor Challenge and today’s version), the many bus trips, meeting other clubs and much more. Her (late) husband Craig and children, Kris and Brooke are all graduates of the 4-H program as well.

After graduation from the 4-H program, Switzer remained involved as an active volunteer. She continues today as a volunteer with Mimosa Life Skills and Poultry Clubs including the Mimosa 4-H Art Club. As a volunteer she has many memories as well such as watching a shy 10-year-old blossom over five years into a confident leader.

“Then the ultimate volunteer delight; to have a member graduate from 4-H and continue as an independent leader,” she adds.

Switzer says 4-H has allowed her to grow right along with the members. 

“I gained so much confidence and so many life skills as a member it seems only right to give back to the next generations,” she says. “When I see the members’ enthusiasm for things that I too enjoy, it is a real energizing uplift. I go home with a smile from every meeting.”

One of those things that Switzer has always enjoyed has been art and painting and creating artwork which reflects farm life. This year, she put those talents towards creating the artwork used for the 4-H Ontario Outstanding New Leader Award.

“I have loved art since elementary school when we had it last period on Friday afternoons,” she says. 

Though she enjoyed it, it was often hard to find the time between raising children, leading 4-H, attending church and agricultural society work, as well as farming and working as a full-time teacher. Switzer taught for 34 years at Erin District High School and Erin Public School. But upon retirement, she decided it was time to “play” again.

“I am delighted and honoured to think that new volunteers to 4-H will be looking at my work and just as in the painting, thinking about which projects they’ll plan for their new year.”

The painting for the 4-H Ontario Outstanding New Leader Award is titled Waiting For Spring and is described below.

The summer and fall months are filled with 4-H achievements, local fairs, as well as award ceremonies. During the winter months, volunteers are able to reflect on the past year and preparing for the highly anticipated year ahead. The “Volunteer Lives Here” signifies that a 4-H volunteer’s duty is never complete. Our volunteers work tirelessly year round and make the 4-H program happen.

L-R: June Switzer, Katelyn Donaldson (one of the 2016 award winners), Marie McNabb, Executive Member, Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.

The 4-H Ontario Outstanding New Leader Award is Sponsored by Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.

A co-operative owned by over 1,300 farmers, representing approximately 35% of Ontario’s dairy farmers, Gay Lea has been providing a wide range of dairy products to consumers for over 55 years. 

About the 4-H Ontario Outstanding New Leader Award

These awards recognize volunteers who are new to 4-H, but doing great things for youth members in their clubs. This award celebrates those volunteers who have been leaders with 4-H Ontario for less than three years.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2017 awards until May 15, 2017. Find out more about this award and make your nominations here.

The Ambassador Beat: Robert McKinlay

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 Robert McKinlay, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Grey 4-H Association

My name is Robert McKinlay and I am a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador. 4-H has been a huge part of my upbringing with both my parents having completed the program and strongly encouraging me to take advantage of all the opportunities it has to offer. My family calves out 200 cows on our family farm near Ravenna, Ontario, raising purebred Red Angus cattle along purebred Simmental cattle and crossbreds.

4-H Calf Club has been one of the most rewarding clubs I have taken part in because I am able to both share my knowledge of the beef industry but also learn other people’s stories and gain knowledge from them. I have completed 33 4-H projects to date and can’t wait to continue my 4-H journey by taking part in both the Ambassador Program but also in being a Youth Leader with my local 4-H Calf Club.

Other clubs that I have been involved in are 4-H Sheep Club, 4-H Fall Fair Club, 4-H Ploughing Club and 4-H Mechanics Club. I have been able to take part in both livestock and life skills clubs allowing me to take advantage of many 4-H opportunities. My favourite event run by 4-H in my area is the Grey Bruce Judging Competition in Walkerton, Ontario. This event allows for members to practice their judging skills as well as having the opportunity to network with other members of the 4-H community.

Outside of 4-H I am very involved with the farm working alongside my dad and our other employees. I have been accepted to the University of Guelph for Honors in Agriculture and hope to return from school with more skills and ideas to add to the farm to help it evolve with the markets.

As an Ambassador I have been able to take part in two events; College Royal at the University of Guelph and the Durham Farm Connections Open House. At both events I have had a great time meeting with the members of the community and engaging them in conversations about what 4-H has been in the past and what 4-H will be in the future. While at these events I have also had a great opportunity to get to know some of my fellow Ambassadors. They are all truly outstanding individuals both in their 4-H careers and in their lives outside of the program. I am honoured that I get to be a part of such an amazing team of individuals and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for us.