The Ambassador Beat: Rose Danen

 

Getting Schooled – Balancing 4-H and University

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Rose (that’s me giving you the thumbs up!) and I am one of the 2019 4-H Ontario Ambassadors. I’m also a university student and managing to be an ambassador at the same time.

I love being a part of 4-H, and last fall school got in the way of doing what I loved. With homework, assignments, and classes, I didn’t know how I was going to make time to complete any projects. I’m going to school in Ottawa which is an 8-hour train ride from my home 4-H Association and any 4-H clubs close to campus were about a two-hour drive away.

So, I made some difficult decisions. I didn’t do a single life skills club over the winter – something completely uncharacteristic of me. I chose to not participate in my local dairy club for the first time in ten years because I wouldn’t be able to train my calf as well as I’d like to, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get home for my achievement day. I was most upset that I wouldn’t have the chance to go to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Senior 4-H’ers can feel overwhelmed as they start their post-secondary education, and this can influence their involvement in 4-H. I remember wondering why there were no senior members in my clubs. I would talk to my 4-H friends and they would tell me that they were facing the same challenges as me. Moving away from home and taking on new responsibilities has proven to be a challenge for many of us.

So, what can we do? Do we give up our last eligible years as a 4-Her? I think not! While this really is challenging, I know that 4-H’ers are full of perseverance. We ‘learn to do by doing’! We learn how to organize our schedules and juggle our responsibilities. It may be difficult, but many of my friends are doing both school and 4-H, and now, so am I.

Making 4-H A Priority

At some point, I couldn’t take it anymore. I would sit at ringside watching my friends show their 4-H calves, itching to jump in there and wrap my hand around a leather halter and stare down the judge. My siblings would bring home decorated cakes and barn quilts from their meetings. It was hard to watch and not be involved.

So, I decided to come back to 4-H. I decided to only do one club so that I didn’t overwhelm myself. My leaders were really understanding and helped me along the way. They gave me opportunities to make up missed meetings and were considerate of my needs. I’m also heavily relying on the support of my family to get my club completed, most notably my sister and my mother who will be looking after my calf when I return to school in the fall. And thank goodness for that extra support, because I also decided to get involved with 4-H in another big way.

Becoming an Ambassador

Last winter, I received an email from one of my 4-H mentors. “Become a 4-H Ambassador,” it said, “You’ll be good at it,”. I had no idea how I would even manage such a huge responsibility! Would I have the time? How would I get to events? But it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I took the plunge.

I put in my application, and a month later I was sitting in front of a computer screen in Ottawa, doing an interview over video chat. The rest is history. Since then I went to the ambassador training my reading week and my summer has been packed full of events. I’m even going for a two-hour bus ride from campus to the Metcalfe Fair in the fall!

I am so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you to everyone who has pushed me to make time to be an ambassador and to FS for their sponsorship that makes the ambassador program possible. The program has already taught me so much and I’m sure there are many more lessons to come. I’ve already learned that time management is key and that you’re never too busy for the things you care about, and I care about 4-H a lot!

The Takeaway

Yes, balancing school and 4-H can be difficult, but not impossible! If you persevere and manage your time well, you can continue to be involved in 4-H. Some days it may be overwhelming, and on those days look to your community to support you. At the end of the day all that matters is that you continue to ‘learn to do by doing’ and that you love what you do!

 

What 4-H means to me

By: Morgan Desserre

Better, the one word that goes with everything when I think about 4-H. Better person, better friend, better leader, better choices, better prepared. Without 4-H I would not be the person I am today. It has given me the opportunities to build and grow more than anything and given me the most fun way to do it. Some of the best times in my life were at a 4-H opportunity and being able to have that fun while becoming a better person makes everything else feel a little easier.

At the district level being able to help the people of your community makes you feel like a better person by making a difference in these people’s lives in ways you don’t even realize. The look on the faces of some of the younger members makes you feel better because you just made a difference in someone’s life and maybe gave them the boost of confidence that they needed to do something they were scared to do before.

At the regional and provincial level you get some of the best experiences anybody could ever ask for. I have attended 4 different 4-H Ontario camps and each time I went they were better than the last, starting with NOOLA (Northern Ontario Outdoor Leadership Adventure). People from our region came together to camp and learn to be leaders through having fun in different activities. Then for me came YAC (Youth Adventure Camp). I attended YAC when I was 13 and met people from across the province. Many of the people I met I am still in contact with today. When I was 16 and 17 my March Break wasn’t spent like most kids out skiing or fishing with their families. Instead, I was across the province at PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp) and at FLIA (Future Leaders in Action). Both of these camps were focused on developing the leadership skills of the kids there. I left those camps with a lot more than just leadership skills though. I rekindled some friendships from YAC and made even more new friends that I know just as well as my friends at home. It was quite easy to see that all the members and facilitators at the camps were having a great time there. It would be very hard to find someone who could tell you without lying that they weren’t enjoying themselves or expanding their comfort zone. The scene when leaving those camps was one of the happiest and saddest places at the same time. The entire camp was truly something that cannot be properly described without experiencing it yourself.

Given the chance to do anything differently in my life I would never change anything I’ve done in 4-H. There is no way to replace the feeling I’ve gotten from all of the opportunities I’ve been given. I’ve become a better version of myself through 4-H from the simple things at home to a bunch of once strangers now friends seeing the potential in me and growing alongside them to all become better people.

A Fantastic First Year With 4-H

Hello Everyone! My name is Robyn Cox and I’m the Communications Intern for 4-H Ontario. I’m a recent graduate of The University of Western Ontario’s Media and the Public Interest program and am looking forward to keeping you posted about the happenings at 4-H Ontario. Last week I got the opportunity to talk to Hallie Hulton, a young lady who just experienced her first year in a 4-H Horse Club. Talking to Hallie was a lot of fun. She was happy to share with me some of the great experiences she had with the club this year and it was inspiring to hear about the learning opportunities she took advantage of through 4-H.
________________________________________________________________________

A Fantastic First Year with 4-H
By Robyn Cox

Hallie Hulton is an articulate and energetic 10-year-old who just completed her first year in a 4-H club. Growing up on a horse farm, it is no surprise that Hallie wanted to participate in the Frontenac Horse Club this year. In her first year, Hallie has proven her showmanship prowess by racking up a number of winning marks with her beautiful horse, Lady. These include the Grand Champion Novice at the Metcalfe Regional Fair and the Frontenac Show, where she also garnered the award for Reserve Grand Champion overall.

Hallie and Lady's Achievements
Hallie and Lady proudly display their achievements

For Hallie it was the perfect timing to join the Horse Club; a mare on her farm had just given birth to a colt and her cousin, Kevin Hulton, was coaching the club alongside fellow volunteers Kathy Townsend and Marsha Pearse. Her background with horses made Hallie a great help to the friends she met in the club and the club gave her a golden opportunity to exercise her teamwork capabilities.

Hallie’s passion for animals is evident. Not only does she care for Lady but she also helps out with the six other horses, the family dog, and the five cats on the farm. As she puts it, “I love watching them grow up.”

Hallie’s pride and excitement shines through when she talks about all the different things she learned in the club: showmanship, feeding, care, and riding. While Hallie knew many of these things already her skill set and confidence grew with the club considerably. Also, her willingness to research at home and read books on horses allowed her to get the most out of her 4-H experience.

She is excited for another year in the club but in the meantime she continues to “Learn To Do By Doing”, in true 4-H fashion.