The Ambassador Beat: Christie Annett

The Bigger the Challenge, the Bigger the Opportunity

This year marks my graduating year from 4-H as a member.  I was 9 when I joined my first 4-H clubs: Horse, Field Crops and Sheep. I am now 21 and as I look back, I reflect on my commitment to 4-H throughout high school, college, jobs, schoolwork, sports, moving and a full-time job. We grow by overcoming challenges and I have definitely grown through all my 4-H experiences so much that I am now a 4-H Leader.

According to 4-H Ontario, the average tenure for a youth is 3.7 years (2018), yet I was in 4-H for 12 years. Why do some youth stay in 4-H and some move on from 4-H after only a very few years?  For lots of young people, there is pressure to get a job, combined with school work and other extracurricular activities. For me, my parents made sure 4-H was a priority.  My dad was my field crop leader and all my siblings were in the club. My mom always said this is our time in life to be 4-H member and take advantage of as many 4-H opportunities as possible! So, I went to Career Mania and that was when I knew that I wanted more. I LOVED 4-H camps and made new friends that I still have to this day.

So, how can we encourage members to stay in 4-H longer? I think it is important for both parents and youth to understand the long-term impact that is possible through 4-H. For some parents, becoming a volunteer in their Association is a great way to start. I think that we should take on this challenge and increase that 3.7 year tenure to 10 years and more!

The Ambassador Beat: Rebecca Stockdale

The 4-H Pledge and my 4-H story

By: Rebecca Stockdale

I have been in this wonderful program for over a decade and am now starting my 11th year in 4-H. Every year I look back and reflect on all the memories I have made, the relationships I’ve built and all of the lessons I have learned.  

From cold 2 a.m. mornings at the wash rack at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair with my club, to the summer nights playing games at cooking meetings, nothing will compare to the experiences that 4-H has blessed me with. The skills we learn in 4-H shape us into well-rounded people.

Throughout the years in 4-H, I have often found myself relating to the pledge, especially now that I am a new volunteer.

I pledge my head to clearer thinking:

  • I have learned to problem solve and think on my feet. For example, at one of my clubs I had to save a recipe when my group added a tablespoon of cinnamon instead of a teaspoon.
  • Social skills and public speaking techniques are skills I’ve gained doing 4-H activities through learning to judge, leading activities and giving instructions in clubs.

I pledge my heart to greater loyalty:

  • In livestock clubs, the main lesson you learn is how to care for animals. Because you spend so much time with them, becoming attached to your 4-H project is inevitable, which teaches empathy and responsibility.
  • Through working with different age groups, we have a chance to help younger members, and encourage them to try new things.
  • One of the best parts of 4-H is building relationships and making lifelong friends. Thanks to this program I have friends from one end of the province to the other.

I pledge my hands to larger service:

  • Giving what you can to help others and accepting help yourself is a big part of the program. I have been to many cattle shows and achievement days, and everyone is always willing to help each other prepare for the day.
  • In my 4-H family we often help boost each other up and give strength to other members. Supporting your friends are a huge part of 4-H.

I pledge my health to better living:

  • I have learned how to be a better person and value my health. Most clubs get me outside and give me the chance to exercise. Physically when we’re playing games and working with animals, or mentally, when brainstorming.

This pledge is not only for my club my community, my country and my world, but for my schooling, my career, and my future.

The Ambassador Beat : Mel Karpenko

Without 4-H, it’s a dream. With 4-H, it’s an experience.  

By: Mel Karpenko

I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and MY WORLD.  

Who would have guessed that what seems to many as a small-town club for farm kids, would offer youth the chance to travel 8,513km out of their comfort zone? For me, it was an incredible opportunity I was fortunate to experience through 4-H.

Imagine – You fill out the application and dream of being selected for a life changing experience. All you can do is answer the questions to the best of your ability, hit send and cross your fingers and toes.  

Skip ahead and you receive a confirmation that you have been offered the chance to interview for the 4-H Canada Going Global Exchanges program! Suddenly this is becoming very real. You are aware that there is tough competition for this opportunity and that many of the applicants are just as deserving of the position. So, you prepare and make sure to do your best. 

Suddenly, it’s the end of March, you’ve just arrived home from school and you receive an email from 4-H Canada! You hold your breath as you click on the email and you re-read each word making sure you understand it correctly. After a moment it sinks in, all your preparation has paid off. You did it, you have been selected to travel to Argentina! 

The day finally arrives to board the plane and start your adventure. (Don’t forget to check the weather before you pack! Just because it’s south doesn’t mean it’s always hot!)  When you get off the plane and are welcomed by open arms, warm houses and grateful hearts. All that’s left to do is enjoy and absorb the experience.  

Being in an unfamiliar country with an unfamiliar language leads to strong relationships being built very quickly. Anyone who has been a part of a 4-H opportunity knows that relationships developed through 4-H are unlike any other.   

There are many opportunities available to 4-H’ers through both 4-H Ontario and 4-H Canada. Each opportunity offers new experiences to learn, grow and build relationships. Sometimes the hardest part is submitting the application.  

The Ambassador Beat: Allison French

Five Reasons Why YOU Should Attend Provincial Opportunities

            Are you on the edge about whether to attend provincial opportunities that are offered through 4-H? Nervous? Scared? Or do not know what to expect? These are all perfectly normal feelings and by the end of this article I hope those nervous vibes have changed into the feelings of excitement for the next provincial opportunity you can attend.

Reason #1 Meeting people from across the province. Once you arrive at either a camp, conference or provincial competition, everyone is in the same boat. It’s like the first day of school again; new faces and new people to get to know. People come from across the province to attend these opportunities giving you the chance to have friends from Windsor to Ottawa and even all the way up to Rainy River. Over the next few days these new people will become part of your 4-H family and more importantly, your friends. Bringing us to reason number two.

Reason # 2 FriendshipsAt these opportunities, you will make new friends and in turn, find friendly faces at other events and programs. The more people you meet at provincial opportunities, the more connections you will make for the future whether it be post-secondary or other provincial events.

Reason #3 Making lifelong memories. With your new 4-H family, you will share experiences that only you can relate to and look back and laugh at. These memories are what make camps, conferences and competitions so special.

Reason #4 Building everyday skills while having fun! At these provincial events you will have the opportunity to build upon your basic skills like teamwork, communication, leadership and goal setting through fun, hands-on activities. By working as a team, you will grow stronger friendships while building your own skills. As well as everyday skills, you will be given the chance to improve your public speaking. Leading us into the number five reason to attend provincial opportunities.

Reason #5 Gain confidence when speaking. Without even realizing it, you will be speaking in front of a small group of people at these opportunities that will give you practice in a positive and encouraging environment.

For all these reasons and more, you should attend all provincial opportunities that are available to you!

Did I mention that there is always great food there?