The Ambassador Beat : Caitlyn Kolb

My Club to Club Exchange to Alberta

In 2017 I was lucky enough to participate in a 4-H Club to Club Exchange to Consort, Alberta, and to this day that is one of my most memorable 4-H experiences…

Myself, along with eight other members from my association and two chaperones got to travel to Consort, Alberta. We started off our trip by meeting our host families and getting comfortable in our new homes for the week. Each of us were paired up with a “twin” who we lived with for the week. It was a neat experience for us from Ontario because our homes are all in town or on the outskirts of town where we have a quick drive to get groceries or don’t have to drive far to a city for a day trip. However, in Consort it was the norm to drive 2 hours just to get groceries! So, for us that really was the middle of nowhere!

During our time in Alberta, we visited the Drumheller dinosaur museum, went to Capt Ayr lake for a day, and even toured a honey and bison farm! Some of my favourite memories included going to a rodeo in Vermillion and spending a night in a cabin in Banff! There were endless opportunities to learn a little more about a new province and to interact with new people.

Two girls standing in front of tourist spot in Alberta

I think the most amazing part of this experience were the amazing friends and connections I made through this exchange. I still keep in contacts with many of the 4-H members from Consort and have even been back to visit them three more times! I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and for the friends it has given me.

Group of youth walking down rocky cliff in summer time             To any 4-H’ers considering participating in a Club-to-Club Exchange I would highly recommend going. It was an amazing opportunity that has benefited me in so many ways!


Making Ontario Proud

Sudbury’s Wayne Macdonald is 4-H Canada’s National Volunteer of the Year

By Ryan Métivier

Wayne Macdonald has spent years engaged in his  community. A soccer coach for over 15 years, 25-year member of the Knights of Columbus, associate member of the Legion of Canada and executive board member of the Westmount Playground Association – Wayne has enriched the lives of many youth and adults while volunteering.

However, he had never been a part of 4-H. A Cubs and Scouts member as a youth, it wasn’t until he married his wife Paulette in 1986 who was a 4-H alumna in Renfrew County, that he was first exposed to the program. In 1988 he helped her start a 4-H club in Arnprior and has never looked back.

Nearly 30 years later Wayne and Paulette have led clubs in almost every category of project available. That commitment to developing youth in 4-H was recently acknowledged at the 4-H Canada Annual General Meeting in June where Wayne was named National Volunteer Leader of the Year.

“Our philosophy is to offer projects each year that touch on certain key areas of 4-H in order to provide a well-rounded experience for the members,” he says.

Wayne is also the Vice-President of the Sudbury District 4-H Association, while also volunteering as the Awards Coordinator, Webmaster, Screening Committee member, for several years as the Region 1 President and throughout all levels of Go For The Gold.

Wayne feels the biggest takeaway youth get from 4-H is confidence and personal development.

“Since the hands-on lessons and experiential learning is so positive, the members can go out in life and use these skills immediately, no matter their age,” he says. “This strengthening of character is vital; after all, we are growing society’s future leaders.”

Wayne truly believes in the 4-H motto, ‘Learn To Do By Doing’ and enjoys sharing his life experiences with the youth in 4-H. By embodying the 4-H motto and living the 4-H values, he believes both he and Paulette help members to become more confident and better equipped to excel in their lives, while also being better and more compassionate citizens.

“The beauty of our ‘4-H relationship’ is that there is Wayne, there is me and there is ‘us’,” says Paulette. “This is why I have enjoyed volunteering over the years and still feel so passionate about my involvement. We give each other space to be ourselves yet we have a consistency and a style that is ‘us’! We learn, we grow, we enjoy and we receive so much from the members.”

Paulette believes Wayne’s authenticity and joyful demeanor allows members to feel safe, accepted and free to be themselves and grow.

These sentiments were on full display in Wayne’s nomination for the National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award. In her letter of nomination, 17-year-old Youth Leader Meaghan Ethier said Wayne makes the community a better place simply by being a part of it.

“He has an infectious positive attitude that encourages us as youth to be better people,” she says.

She continues to say Wayne is an amazing role model in Sudbury and has had a huge impact on all members of their club.

“Wayne is a lot more than my 4-H leader. He is an example of the kind of person that I want to become.”

To receive the award was quite the honour for Wayne and something he was shocked to find out, as he was unaware of the nomination.

“Being honoured for what you do in life is amazing,” he says. “Being honoured for volunteering your time and skills is amazing. Being honoured by the youth you share the 4-H program with is a gift of a lifetime.”

2011 W. Garfield Weston Foundation 4-H International Exchange

The following post comes from 4-H alumnus Gordon Alblas. In 2011, Gordon was selected as the Garfield Weston 4-H International Exchange recipient from Ontario. The W. Garfield Weston Foundation 4-H International Exchange is a unique opportunity to learn more about agriculture and resources around the world, represent 4-H in Canada, and gain new friendships and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Funded by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the exchange sends 4-H delegates to various locations around the world, such as the United Kingdom, Korea and Taiwan, where they participate in a reciprocal host-family exchange for up to eight weeks in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thanks to Gordon for sharing his exchange story!

An Opportunity of a Lifetime
By Gordon Alblas 

Gordon Alblas
Gordon hard at work in the Wales country side

Thirty eight days and 2500 pictures my United Kingdom exchange was truly amazing. In the summer of 2011 W. Garfield Weston Foundation exchange had six delegates from all across Canada participating. I was honoured to be Ontario’s delegate to the UK; what a true experience of a lifetime.

At the start of the trip of the Canadian delegates met in Toronto for an orientation meeting and to give us an opportunity to meet with the Weston foundation, our sponsor. After a jam packed day of introductions and then touring in Toronto it was time to be UK bound for the three of us. Our plane left at 6:30pm our time and landed 6:30am their time so we missed a night of sleep and we still had three hours of waiting and then four hours on a bus to get to our final destination. Needless to say we where all a little tired by the time we were picked up at the bus station in Coventry.

In Coventry we got to meet some other exchangees from Europe. We spent two days together before we were sent off to our first hosts. During the two days together we had the opportunity to tour the Warwick Castel, it is truly amazing the history in this country and the Warwick Castel is no exception to that. It was a great opportunity to see how people lived hundreds of years ago.

After the Young Farmers’ national meeting we were all “delivered” to our first hosts. The rest of the stay in the UK was all with different hosts individually. The longest that I stayed with one host family was one week, and the shortest time was one day. This gave a great opportunity to see a lot of the country in the best way possible, experiencing life through the lives of the people themselves. There is no better way to see a country then by the people that live there. The hosts that I stayed with were great, they all worked very hard to get me around to see all sorts of agriculture activities happening in their area. Almost every day of the 38 days that I was in the UK I was touring a different farm or helping out on a farm. I found this to be the best part of the trip, being able to interact with the UK farmers and learn all I could about farming in the UK. From all of the tours I had, each one taught me new things that I can take back to my farm at home to improve my farm at home.

The best part of the trip was that the hosts planned out the stay while I was with them. Most of the time I did not know what I was doing the next day or sometimes not even the day of, but to just go with the flow and not get too concerned made the trip a great success. I worked on farms one day, toured sites like Cambridge College the next, and was taking in amazing views of the Wales country side on another.

The Young Farmers in the UK is similar to both 4-H and Junior Farmers here in Canada. This was a great way to meet young people starting out farming in the UK and to learn about the challenges and opportunities that they face. I also found that there are a lot more young farmers with their own operations there then there is here in Ontario. This was a great encouragement for me being a young farmer starting out in Ontario because they have many of the same challenges to face as I do here starting out.

Last but certainly not least, are the many friends I made in the UK . Thanks to modern technology, it is possible to keep in contact with far away friends and to exchange different farming ideas. I am new to the sheep industry so the knowledge and pointers that some of the sheep farmers gave me are an invaluable resource.

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation exchange was truly an opportunity of a lifetime. I had an amazing time and learned a lot about the way of life in another culture. I was able to see and experience many new things during my stay in the UK. This was a great way to broaden my horizons not only in agriculture but also in the history of the land.

Gordon Alblas is a current 4-H alumnus. Gordon was a 4-H member for 12 years completely 63 projects including dairy, farm machinery and field crops. Gordon was also a youth leader for the Hamilton Wentworth Dairy Club.

Share Your 4-H Story4-H Ontario’s Alumni program is funded through a Promotional Partnership with Hyland Seeds, including the position of 4-H Ontario’s Coordinator, Alumni Services. Hyland Seeds is passionate about agriculture and believes in supporting the people who are deeply rooted in the agricultural industry; dedication to 4-H is proof of this commitment. Thank you Hyland Seeds!

Youth Exchanges Canada

This summer, the Essex 4-H Exchange Club had a fantastic opportunity to participate in the Youth Exchanges Canada trip. The 4-H Youth Exchanges Canada program is a reciprocal exchange between 4-H groups across Canada and is administered by 4-H Canada. Four Ontario groups were selected to participate this year, the Essex group being one of them. The exchange provides delegates with the opportunity to travel to other parts of Canada, and in doing so, experience the culture, geography, history, and economy of the regions they visit.

Essex 4-H Exchange Club
By Alexandra Lockley

In July Essex 4-H Exchange Club left Windsor Airport to travel to Canwood, SK. After a long travel day we arrived at Saskatoon Airport where we were welcomed by our host group and met our twins. We travelled about 2 hours by bus to our groups homes. Our first morning we all met at the Aiken Family’s home for brunch and than travelled to a nearby Bison farm for a tour, than we had some friendly games of 5 pin bowling, bench ball and a BBQ and finished the evening with a baseball game.

Sasketchewan View
Amazing views in Saskatchewan

We had a family day to spend with our host family and everyone went to different lakes for the day and enjoyed the hot summer weather they were having. Our next day we travelled to Blue Mountain for “Fear Factor” which was being harnessed in and climbing a 30 foot telephone pole and standing on a small platform and jumping off trying to hang on a trapeze, than if you made it you hung upside down from your feet and let go! After most people in the group braved the jump we went zip lining, we ended then went for a swim in the lake. Our next stop was the Crooked Trees, the trees in this area grow crooked and can not be explained, the trees across the driveway are straight.

Ziplining adventures

Our next day we went to a bronze foundry and it was very interesting how the bronze was melted and designed into all different kinds of artwork. The local John Deere dealer was having a “Hay Day” and we went to check out some new tractors and balers, and had a great lunch. At the Aiken home we had a dough bake by the campfire, it was something new for us and enjoyed by all. Then we were off to a Branding, this was an awesome experience that most felt was the highlight of the trip! We watched and than helped with rounding up the young beef cattle and made sure they were vaccinated, branded and sent back to their mothers. Some of the group was even able to ride horseback to push the herd of cattle out to a different pasture as the sun was setting. We then went down to a river and had a bonfire and dinner and tried some new things bison and elk stacks and a few tried the prairie oysters, we all felt like real cowboys and cowgirls!

Wismer Clydesdales
Exchange group shot

The week went by too quickly and our last day we went we went the Doukhobor settlement where we learned how this group of Russian immigrants made homes dugout in the sides of the hills and saw the largest tree in Saskatchewan. Next we headed into Saskatoon to visit a wave pool for some fun than it was dinner at the Taste of Saskatchewan and opening night of Hamlet on the river.

Many friendships have been made and wonderful memories of a beautiful province.
In August we were able to host our new friends from Saskatchewan. When they arrived our first stop was the Roots to Boots festival in Amherstburg, we were able to show them the tall ship, a cannon being fired on the Detroit River by people in period costumes, we were hosted for dinner by the O’Connor Family.

Our next day was a family day and many travelled to stay overnight in Niagara. Tuesday was spent in Niagara Falls where we went on the Maid of the Mist and enjoyed the indoor water park. Our next day start with donuts and peach juice at Colasanti’s followed by goofy golf, a tour by Mr. Joe Colasanti and than buffet for lunch. We then challenged the twins to a game of 10 pin bowling at Empire lanes. On our way to Point Pelee we stopped for pictures by the Big Tomato in Leamington, and a drive by Heinz. We braved the black flies and made it to the tip for a picture, we also made a stop at the board walk, and nature centre.

Maid of the Mist
Maid of the Mist expedition in Niagara Falls

Thursday we headed to Windsor for a tour of the Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant to see how minivans are made. After our interesting tour, Local 444 hosted us for a pizza lunch from Franco’s. Even though the weather was cool and raining we than headed to the river for a tour on the Windsor River Boat. We went to Coventry Garden for a walk by Peace Fountain Park and had ice cream from Cooleez! This evening we had a fun night back at the Kiwanis Camp near Kingsville. Taras Natyshak joined us to welcome our friends from Saskatchewan, and we also had an exchange student staying with a 4-H Family from the LABO program and she was also welcomed. Everyone was given pins and certificates. We than had some fun with a hay bale toss, ride that pony dance, and lifesaver pass games, followed by smores and a dough bake.

Friday morning we had to pack up the camp and headed to Amherstburg once again, we had a tour of Wismer Clydsdales farm, lunch in the park and a tour and tinsmithing at the Park House. We than went to the annual Steam and Gas Show in McGregor to see a thrashing demonstration and had dinner hosted by the Stratichuk family. This was our last night together and everyone spent it with their twins.

Alexandra Lockley is a 4-H’r from Essex 4-H. Alexandra has completed 12 project including Walk on the Wild Side, Fitness 4 Health, and Drama.

Canadian 4-H Annual General Meeting in St. John’s

Valerie Stone is the 2012/2013 Canadian 4-H Council Youth Advisory Committee – Ontario Representative. In this position, Valeria brings the views and issues of Ontario 4-H youth to the Canadian 4-H Council Youth Advisory Committee discussions. As part of her role, this year Valerie attended the Canadian 4-H Annual General Meeting (AGM) in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Valerie had a fantastic time at the AGM and connecting with 4-H’rs and 4-H supporters from across the country. Read on for Valerie’s experience at the AGM.

Canadian 4-H Annual General Meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland
By Valerie Stone

Calling all passengers to board Air Canada flight 654 to St. John’s, Newfoundland! We’re off to the Canadian 4-H Council Annual General Meeting (AGM). As the incoming 4-H Canada Youth Advisory Committee member from Ontario, this was my first 4-H Canada AGM.  The most welcoming thing when you get off the plane is the 4-H Volunteers with smiling faces holding that familiar logo above their heads. Instantly they greeted us, assisted us with picking up our bags, and loaded us into the van. While it was grey skies outside, inside was filled with warmth and excitement with our nation’s 4-H Annual General Meeting about to commence.

Back row: Breanne Durle (Alberta), Michael Melnychuk (Manitoba), Savannah Cheney (Saskatchewan), Kim Hooey (Ontario-Outgoing), Charles Gascon (Quebec), Kirsten Bevandick ( British Columbia), Jacob Works ( Nova Scotia) Front row: Sonya Loder (Newfoundland and Labrador), Heidi Pickard ( New Brunswick), Valerie Stone (Ontario-Incoming), Gary Skogberg (The Co-operators), and Matthew Tweedy (Prince Edward Island)

It started off by meeting each province`s Youth Advisory Committee member and getting to know one another.  Being able to put a face to a name, and voice you have heard on teleconferences, was just the start of people I met throughout the AGM. The next morning 4-H Canada held a welcome orientation breakfast for all delegates who had never attended a 4-H Canada AGM. By 7 a.m. the networking had begun. Mike Nowosad, CEO of 4-H Canada, and Rob Black, President of the Canadian 4-H Council, had sponsors, YAC members, and provincial representatives all acquainted. By the end of the networking sessions anyone attending the AGM knew you by your face and not your name tag.

During the Canadian 4-H Council AGM the Youth Advisory Committee did a presentation on a topic that has resulted in a fair amount of discussion over the past few months: Future Leaders. We, the Youth Advisory Committee, took a position about how the Future Leaders program could work and created and delivered a presentation that covered the following areas: (1) a purpose to standardize age range, (2) engage senior Members, (3) develop member skills, (4) increase membership and keep Members involved in 4-H.  Our presentation allowed the other delegates attending the AGM to hear about how this program could work and it opened the door to more networking throughout the conference.

Over the next few days I talked to many representatives from organizations that sponsor 4-H including John Deere, Farm Credit Canada, The Co-operators, Enbridge, and Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, just to name a few. I also got the opportunity to speak with past presidents of the Canadian 4-H Council and Council members from other provinces. I was able to learn about how different 4-H is across Canada, but also, how we are all connected; the 4-H logo is the piece that brings us all together. These individuals also gave us a lot of feedback on our presentation. This feedback was really valuable and the Youth Advisory Committee held a meeting to incorporate the feedback and submit this document alongside our presentation to all the provincial offices.

At the Annual Meeting banquet we witnessed thirteen 4-H delegates receive a Queen`s Jubilee Medal for their contributions to 4-H throughout Canada. It was very rewarding to be able to be acquainted with such an amazing room of people.

That matching logo! The connecting part between each Member’s head, heart, health and hands from the East coast waters, above mountains, through the Prairies, across fields, by parliament hill, around the Maritimes and to the West coast waters. The 4-H Canada logo connects each and every one of us who is a part of 4-H. It is the same grass roots across Canada.

Kim, Valerie and Marianne
Kim Hooey, Marianne Fallis (4-H Ontario Senior Manager, Programming) and Valerie Stone

As I return back to Ontario I am excited for the future of 4-H in our own province, as well as across Canada. I would like to thank Kim Hooey for attending the 4-H Canada AGM as outgoing YAC member from Ontario, the Ontario 4-H Council for providing me the opportunity to attend the 4-H Canada AGM, and Gary Skogberg from The Co-Operators for their sponsorship of the Youth Advisory Committee.

I look forward to being the Youth Advisory Committee member from Ontario over the next few years and I hope to see all of you in September at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show! The Youth Advisory Committee will be in attendance over the three days to kick off 4-H Canada’s “100 for 100″ fundraising campaign.