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.

 

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.

Region 3′s Judge It! Returns

Region 3’s Judge It! Day holds a long history in 4-H circling back to when it was run by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and was called the Peterborough Junior Day and held at the Peterborough Fairgrounds. This event has always attracted large crowds from members all across the region, sometimes on the low end with 60 members, but many times attracting over 120 members. This typically depended on where the event was hosted, as after some sponsorship ended, the nine Region 3 counties took turns hosting the event. Through an inter-region naming competition, Jane Johnson of the Durham West 4-H Association came up with the new name, Judge It!. Despite its long history, participation had been declining over the last few years and the event had to be cancelled in 2015.

In a judging competition participants are asked to judge six classes of four samples. These classes consist of the 4-H projects that were of interest in the prior year, such as livestock classes, crop classes and many others. Participants have to use critical thinking in order to decipher which sample in the class is the best, and which one is the worst. Participants have scorecards available to them to help them assess the most important features of a class in order for them to choose their top choice. They are able to take away public speaking, social, leadership and sportsmanship skills as they work as a team and compete amongst others.

Maria Davis of Durham West still holds fond memories of her time as a 4-H member at Peterborough Junior Day and is a recent member of the Durham West board.

“I really enjoyed the program and the rivalry with different members from different counties,” she says. “It was always a great time and I wanted to help make it that way again for young members.”

During a regional meeting a plan was put in place to revive Judge It! and rather than rotate it through different counties, they would keep it at the same place and date for at least five years and evaluate how attendance was effected. This proved to be extremely successful in the first year back, with over 100 members participating. The competition saw Diane Jeffs claim Top Overall Judge honours.

“I believe the event was so successful this time because as a board of volunteers we really pushed for participation from our own counties,” says Davis. “A couple of counties even had a bus hired to bring them. I think it was a great effort by parents and volunteers to get the event back on its feet that really was the success.”

Judge It! was held at the Orono Fairgrounds in Durham East County which is central to all of the nine counties in the region. The event was made shorter through the use of improved record placing technology and the fairgrounds is also a large open space with a public pool, ideal for hot days and a cool down. Held on the last Tuesday in July, this will continue moving forward to allow for better planning and promotion.

Davis says she enjoys being a part of 4-H because it was such a big part of her youth, her entire family was involved and it was something she looked forward to doing in the summer.

“I met many great friends that I still have in other counties through the various camps and competitions and I enjoy being a part of something that has such a strong history,” she says. “I enjoy being a part of Judge It! because I didn’t want to see it disappear. I have always loved to judge and think that it is such an important and fun part of the 4-H program.”

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 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 Nicole French, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Peel 4-H Association

Over the past 8 years, 4-H has been a major part of my life. It has shaped me into the person I am today. Giving me skills I will be able to use for the rest of my life. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people from across the province and make many life long connections.

Through my years with 4-H, it has given me many opportunities to expand my skill set and learn new things. The opportunity to be a 4-H Ontario Ambassador will allow me to further expand my skills and share what the program has done for me and why I love it so much!

Something that is unique about the 4-H program is its motto “Learn To Do By Doing”. 4-H encourages members to learn new things by trying them. It pushes members out of their comfort zone and into a world of new possibilities.

I can honestly say without 4-H I would never have learned how to: sew, latch hook, embroider, make balloon animals, lead a cow, grow a giant vegetable, pull a tractor, make a barn quilt, build a seed mosaic, make maple syrup, public speak, bake a pie, judge hay and the list goes on.

4-H gives members a safe place to try new things and learn from their mistakes. The mistakes that I have made when trying to learn something new, have allowed me to develop skills in patience and problem solving. Something I have learned from my 4-H experience is that you don’t always succeed on your 1st attempt, and in the case of growing a giant vegetable the 5th attempted didn’t work either. But that’s the best part about 4-H, even though I haven’t been successful in growing anything larger than a golf ball, I still join that club every year in the hopes that I will learn something new and “maybe” this will be the year to grow a giant pumpkin.

4-H has also taught me that hard work does pay off. That if you try hard enough you will succeed. This lesson can be applied to almost every aspect of your life and that is the best thing about 4-H. The life lessons you learn when at 4-H you can apply to other aspects of your life and you can use them for the rest of your life.

As a 4-H Ontario ambassador this is what I hope to achieve:

  • To inspire new member/leaders to join this amazing program.
  • To thank the volunteers and leader for all their hard work and time they have put into the program, because without them there would be no program.
  • To thank our generous sponsors for all their support and to hopefully inspire new sponsors to support 4-H.
  • To remind current 4-H members of why 4-H is an important part of their lives and that if they continue with the program it will give them a number of benefits and opportunities.
  • Lastly to inspire members to live the 4-H pledge, by continuing to learn new things, making friendships and staying loyal to them, giving back to the community whenever possible, leading a healthy life and doing this not only to better themselves but also other 4-H members, their community and hopefully the country.

The Ambassador Beat: Julie 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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Julie French, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Peel 4-H Association

Once-in-a-Lifetime Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

As 4-H members we all work towards different goals with our 4-H projects. For some, they strive to improve their skills within their respective club. For others, they work towards that red ribbon at the local fairs. But for many, the goal is to exhibit their projects at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year’s Royal was unlike any other that I have ever attended for many reasons! It demonstrated to me the importance of teamwork, patience and hard work!

 

 

Go For The Gold
Teamwork

This year the Peel 4-H Association put together a Go For The Gold team for the first time in a few years. The team from Peel consisted of Allison French, Nicole French, Jamie Laidlaw, Robert Matson and myself. We met the deadline for entry on the last possible day, studied intensely for two weeks and then attended the Region 4 competition in Georgetown. To all of our surprise, we fared the competition and qualified for the provincial competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! After many hours of group studying (sometimes questionable whether we were actually studying or just hanging out together as a team), we took to Toronto for the provincial competition. The competition was fierce! In the end, all of the hard work our team put in paid off and we ended up winning the prestigious title. A special thanks to our leaders Tom and Heather French.

Artistic Display
Patience

Another first for the Peel 4-H Association this year was running a seed mosaic club (led by leaders Lindsay Bebbington, Brenda Bebbington and Darlene Downey). This club was one to remember, testing patience and creative ability. Each of the six members created a seed mosaic that we were determined to finish for the local fairs with the end goal of entering them in the competition at the Royal. After hours of work, some minor hiccups and individual sorting and placing seeds with tweezers, four boards made it to the Royal. Peel did amazingly well for the first time participating in this competition- finishing with a 1st (myself), 4th (Allison French), 5th (Nicole French) and 8th (Robert Matson) place. All exhibitors in this competition spent a HUGE amount of time on the creations, creating a beautiful display of a unique club in the 4-H program! A special thank you to SeCan for their support for this competition!

TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic
Hard Work

I have been showing in the dairy club for eight years, experiencing all the highs and lows that exhibiting livestock comes with. You invest so much time and energy into training your heifer and getting her ready for the shows in pursuit of success. A huge milestone of the year being qualifying to represent your association at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic in Toronto. This year’s Classic was very special for Peel as we changed our display thanks to a younger member’s initiative (a special thank you to Allison French) and placed 8th - a huge accomplishment for our association! Several of our members also ended up qualifying from their heat to the finals of their classes! I had the incredible experience of exhibiting the Grand Champion Calf- Quality Solomon Lust. An unbelievable experience that even writing about now seems surreal. I want to thank Quality Holsteins for letting me borrow their heifer as my 4-H project for the year. A special thank you to the amazing 4-H volunteers of Peel, the TD 4-H Canadian Dairy Classic Committee and the Sponsors, and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for their support of the Classic. Without the volunteers and sponsors, this once-in-a lifetime Royal experience wouldn’t have been possible.

I am so thankful to the members, volunteers and sponsors of the 4-H program. This year’s Royal was such a humbling experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It makes me truly realize the value of the 4-H program and all it has to offer! These were only three events at the Royal this year, with so many other opportunities for 4-H members to exhibit their projects. Hard work, patience and teamwork are all valuable lessons that 4-H teaches members.

 

5 Questions With… Linda Humphrey

First Name:  Linda
Last Name:  Humphrey
4-H Association or Region:  Oxford
Years In 4-H: 34

Member, Volunteer, Alumni (Indicate all that apply):

Member, Volunteer

Currently Oxford 4-H Communications Coordinator – membership, awards, newsletter  (Paid position), an extra body if needed at meetings and an “expert” for sewing projects.

Questions:

  1. Why did you join 4-H?

My mother insisted with dad’s support. Didn’t really like it much but determined to stay in till I had completed 6 projects; Then decided that I could do 12.  Pretty sure I was a trial for the leaders. But I matured, saw the value of the program and became an Assistant Leader and continued as a member – you could do that then. Received County (6) Provincial (12) and Advanced (18) Honours which was as far as you could go. My biggest regret is that I never took a dairy club – my dad had a calf he encouraged me to show but I would have none of it.

  1. What clubs, camps, opportunities etc have you participated or volunteered in?

Became a volunteer with Princess Elizabeth (homemaking) then started a club in Bright.  At present I have volunteered for 63 projects. Have done some minor volunteer duties for 4-H at the local fair and attend every Volunteer Symposium I can manage.

  1. How has 4-H changed your life?

I kept all my project manuals and member projects and have referred to them often.  Now most of the information is available online but I learned it first from 4-H. There was a time when you learned the best way to do something in 4-H and you were expected to improve through the clubs. The program has changed over the years but that I miss the most.

  1. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

Presenting my first 24 project award for my club member and to my daughter. But I think the best will be at our Awards Night this year. A member who took a lot of her projects with my club is to be the featured speaker. I love seeing the members grow through the years, changing from shy kids into confident speakers and workers. I also like working with my Youth Leaders and have never been disappointed in the way they come through for their projects and duties. Also thrilled that my granddaughter loved Cloverbuds and is looking forward to “real” 4-H!

  1. What do you do outside of 4-H? (hobbies, school, career, etc)

I was a stay at home mom for 23 years, worked as an Administrative Assistant then as a buyer for a manufacturer. Currently as I said above I am the Communications Coordinator for my county 4-H association handling the duties of membership, awards and newsletters – plus just ask and if I don’t know I will find out. But the most surprising thing I do now is as a lay worship leader for my church. Me, standing up in front of people delivering a sermon I’ve written when during all my career as a 4-H member I managed to avoid speaking at all. Eventually 4-H gets you trained. It took a lot of years for me. I am also an avid quilter (making lots of donation quilts while I perfect my skills), seamstress (so far around 20 Western shirts plus many other things) and also knit and crochet. I’m also teaching my granddaughter to sew and knit and am a devoted grammy to my grandkids.

 

Liked Linda’s story? Want to share your own 4-H story? Check out our 5 Questions With Feature here!

The Ambassador Beat: Elaine Jeffs

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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Elaine Jeffs, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Northumberland 4-H Association

4 Ways To Show Your 4-H Spirit

Bring friends to 4-H events - 4-H achievement days, camps and other opportunities are some of the most exciting experiences for 4-H members, so what better way to show your friends what 4-H is all about than inviting them to come with you! Discovery Days, Youth Adventure Camp and Dairy Sen$e® are just a handful of the awesome events that are open to both 4-H members and non 4-H members. Getting new people involved in 4-H, expands the demographic that the program can reach, lets new people have the opportunity to learn to do by doing and makes it easier for you to make new friends that will last a lifetime! So next time you are excited about attending a 4-H event, see if you can invite a friend and show them what 4-H is all about!

Social Media- With technology constantly advancing, there are so many ways to share what’s going on in our lives with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have opened up windows of opportunity for members, leaders, volunteers and alumni to show their 4-H spirit to the world! The hashtag #4His4me has been a great way to connect people and share the 4-H spirit across the nation. You can share your 4-H stories, pictures, memories and updates with people who love 4-H too! If you are at a conference or even a 4-H event of your own, creating hashtags is a great way to connect with the people in attendance and share your thoughts, opinions and pictures from the day with everyone. So the next time that you are at a super cool 4-H meeting or event, remember that you can share the highlights for others to see and enjoy too!

4-H swag – Are you wondering what to wear today? Why not put on a 4-H shirt or hat? I think that it is safe to say that we all feel awesome when we are decked out in 4-H gear, wearing the logo with pride! Stay tuned to the 4-H Canada website for the newly updated 4-H mall which is opening soon. But wait!!! Wouldn’t it be great to show your 4-H spirit on the same day as other members across Canada? Well now you can! On Wednesday, November 2, 2016 it is Show Your 4-H Colours Day! This is the day where 4-H clubs, alumni, volunteer leaders, friends and supporters get to show off your green gear while giving back and doing good work in your community! Using hashtag #ShowYour4HColours you can see how others are making a difference and showing spirit too! For more information visit www.4-h-canada.ca/showyour4hcolours

Spread the word- One of the best ways to show your 4-H spirit is to spread the word! Tell your friends about the different clubs that you are taking, what you are learning about, the trips that you are going on, the competitions that you are competing in and the amazing people you are meeting! It is your time to shine when you meet someone who has never heard of 4-H before. You can tell them what it is all about, answer questions and debunk any myths that you hear about the 4-H program. 4-H is for everyone so it’s time for you to show your spirit! Tell the world why you love this amazing program and maybe they will get to find out why there is no better way to discover the world than learning to do by doing!

The Ambassador Beat: Vicki Brisson

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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Vicki Brisson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Russell 4-H Association

4-H – My Club, my Community, my Country

4-H is an incredibly unique organization providing youth with all the necessary tools, skills and abilities to become successful individuals that thrive in their personal and professional lives. As I attended a variety of 4-H events across the province this summer, I had the opportunity to experience first hand the importance of everyone supporting the 4-H program in any way, shape, or form; once again showing how the 4-H pledge is applicable to any 4-H events.

My club

4-H offers over 75 different club projects, with topics ranging from livestock, to scrapbooking, to paintball. However, these clubs rely entirely on volunteer leaders that offer their time, knowledge and passion. Furthermore, they act as role models for their members, who then become mentors to younger members themselves.

My community

4-H creates a tight-knit community, whether it be local businesses sponsoring 4-H in their community or 4-H clubs running events such as food drives or seasonal clean-ups. 4-H also relies on the generosity of their community to find facilities willing to host them, whether it be farms opening their doors to livestock clubs, or churches lending their kitchen to cooking clubs.

My country

4-H offers many opportunities for youth outside their county, at the regional, provincial, national, or even international levels. To name only a few: Discovery Days, Provincial Leadership Camp, 4-H Ontario Ambassador program, 4-H TD Classic and youth exchanges. All these events give members an opportunity to travel and discover their country in a unique way while making lifelong friends and memories and work on new skills. These events also have in common one thing: very generous sponsors. As a 4-H ambassador, I can truly say that without the help of Growmark and UPI, all we have accomplished throughout the year would not have been possible.

As the 4-H year is coming to an end, I would like to encourage every one of you my fellow 4-H’ers to join me and show appreciation by saying thank you to all your volunteers, sponsors, family members who help you along the way. We often forget these very important people along the way, but as National 4-H day is coming up on November 2nd, show your 4-H colours and show the world how proud you are to be a 4-H’er. That is the best Thank You Possible!

 4-H, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays

4-H est un organisme pour les jeunes qui vise à développer les aptitudes et connaissances nécessaires permettant aux jeunes de 9  à 21 ans de s’épanouir, autant dans leurs vies personnelles que professionnelles. J’ai pris part à une variété d’évenements à travers la province cet été, et j’ai pu constater à quel point le support des partenaires supportant le programme 4-H, de quelque façon que ce soit, est important. Laissez-moi vous présenter pourquoi les bénévoles et commanditaires sont essentiels au succès du programme, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays.

Mon club

4-H a développé et offre plus de 75 différents projets, sur des sujets aussi variés que bovins laitiers, scrapbooking et paintball. Cependant, ces clubs dépendent entièrement des bénévoles, qui offrent leur temps, leur savoir ainsi que leur passion. De plus, ils sont des modèles pour leurs membres, qui à leur tour deviennent mentors pour les membres juniors. C’est au niveau du club que la passion pour le 4-H est éveillée.  C’est là que tout commence. 

Ma communauté

4-H crée une communauté tissée-serrée. Que ce soit les entreprises locales commanditant les 4-H dans leur communauté ou les clubs 4-H organisant des évènements tels que des collectes de denrées non-périssables ou encore des corvées de nettoyage saisonnier dans les endroits publics, il y a de l’entraide.  Les compétences de leadership se développent par l’implication des jeunes dans l’organisation de ces activités communautaires.  Les clubs 4-H dépendent aussi sur la générosité de leur communauté afin de trouver des locaux désirant les accueillir, que ce soit une ferme qui ouvre ses portes à un club de bovins laitiers ou une église qui prête sa cuisine pour les clubs de cuisine.

Mon pays

4-H offre de nombreuses opportunités au niveau régional, provincial, national ou même international. Pour n’en nommer que quelque unes : les Discovery Days, le Provincial Leadership Camp, le programme d’ambassadeurs 4-H, la Classique TD et les échanges. Tous ces évènements offrent aux membres l’opportunité de voyager et de découvrir leur pays d’une façon unique tout en créant des amitiés et des souvenirs pour la vie. Ces évènements ont aussi toute une chose en commun : de très généreux commanditaires. En tant qu’ambassadrice, je peux réellement dire que sans l’aide de Growmark et UPI, tout ce que nous avons accompli durant l’été n’aurait pas été possible. 

Alors que l’année 4-H tire à sa fin, j’aimerais encourager les membres 4-H à démontrer leur appréciation, en remerciant tous leurs bénévoles, leurs commanditaires et les membres de leur famille qui les supportent. Il est souvent facile d’oublier ces personnes très importantes, mais lors de la journée nationale du 4-H qui approche, le 2 novembre prochain, démontrez vos couleurs 4-H, partagez avec le monde votre fierté d’être un membre 4-H. C’est souvent de simples petits gestes qui sont la meilleure façon de démontrer votre gratitude et reconnaissance. 

 

A 4-H Icon – Bert Stewart

By Ryan Métivier

When you’re talking about someone who epitomizes everything that 4-H stands for, the name Bertram (Bert) Stewart quickly comes to mind. Bert and his family have been a part of every level of 4-H and the agricultural community throughout their lives.

Stewart is a world-renowned judge and pioneer in preparing and exhibiting dairy cattle, a mentor and coach to countless youth and tireless supporter of all things 4-H.

Stewart is the seventh of eight children born to Ernie and Jennie Stewart who owned a family farm in Peel County. Over the years each of the children, as well as their kids and grandkids have been avid 4-H members and supporters. Bert now has a five-year-old great grandson who may soon start another generation of 4-H’ers in the family. All told the family has been involved as members or leaders in Peel, Halton, Waterloo, Wellington, Bruce, Middlesex and Kent 4-H Associations, as well as in Portage la Prairie and Steinbach in Manitoba.

After graduating as a 4-H member, Bert quickly transitioned into a volunteer in Peel County before later moving to Halton County. Bert became heavily involved in dairy and judging clubs and was instrumental in starting what is now the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Ontario 4-H Inter-Club Dairy Judging Competition.

Bert has taken a team to Madison, Wisconsin for the US National 4-H Judging Competition at the World Dairy Expo every year and says at least half a dozen of the team members have gone on to become official judges, something Bert always takes great joy in watching.

His judging experiences haven’t been limited to 4-H and North America though, as he’s had the opportunity to judge in 17 other countries around the world, with Brazil being his most frequent destination, somewhere he’s visited what he estimates was around 85 times.

“It was like a second home,” he says, of the house he once stayed in four to five times a year, where you could lie awake at night and hear the waterfalls come down the creek from 15 feet away.

He spent a lot of time down there judging and purchasing cattle and always made sure to bring a youth who had a keen interest in the industry with him to shows in Brazil.

To list all of Bert’s accomplishments throughout his career could likely fill many pages in this magazine, but he has amassed numerous awards and recognitions in the agriculture industry including receiving the Centennial Award in 1988 for outstanding service to the industry from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). In 2002, he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his continued years of community service and in 2010 he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. In 2012, Bert was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by 4-H Canada. This award commemorates Canadians who have positively impacted their community and distinguished themselves as leaders.

Today, Bert has dedicated 46 years to being a 4-H volunteer and in 2006 he was awarded with 4-H Ontario’s most prestigious award, the Syngenta 4-H Ontario Arbor Award for his efforts. The nomination came from a 4-H member from one of the judging teams.

His induction into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame is one memory he cherishes dearly. “It means everything,” says Bert when asked about how it feels to receive that sort of acknowledgement. “The best thing about being in the Hall of Fame was that my wife (Hazel) was still with me. 4-H had a lot to do with me being put in the Hall of Fame.”

The memory was further enhanced when his nephew Lyndon Stewart brought a bunch of 4-H kids Bert knew to the ceremony as a surprise.

In her speech at the presentation, his daughter Kelly spoke about what 4-H meant to her father and said 4-H has had a tremendous impact on their entire family and that his 4-H training prepared him for a truly great and exciting life.

Always looking to be more involved in the program, he represented 4-H as the Canadian 4-H Council President from 2005-2006, as a member of the Council thereafter and also as a Trustee on the Ontario 4-H Foundation.

“I was asked to do it, so I got involved that’s all,” he says. “And if I was involved, I was involved. I could’ve done other things, but 4-H was good to me, and I owed it to them. I’m happy I did what I did and I’ll probably still go to quite a few 4-H events in the future.”

When he says 4-H was good to him, sure he could be speaking of the countless doors and opportunities it’s opened to he and his family, or how he met his wife Hazel at a dance at the Junior Farmer’s building, but he’s also speaking of the great coaches and mentors he had as a youth when he learned from the Agricultural Representatives in his region.

Sit down and chat with Bert and you can see those are some of the things he still holds dear and wants to share with today’s youth. One of the many ways he does this is with the award he established with his late wife Hazel in 2010 for 4-H Dairy Club members in grade 9, 10 or 11. The Bertram and Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Youth Education Award & Bursary honours their deep commitment and passion toward agriculture, education and 4-H. The $1,000 award and bursary is presented by the Stewart family at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic during the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as a Living Legacy gift, which Bert is able to see the impact of each year. Part of their hope for this bursary was to encourage youth in the 11-14 age bracket to continue to stay connected to the program, an age group where he says 4-H’ers often get involved with other interests.

Whether he’s talking about his days as a member himself, a dinner he recently took a past judging team member to, letters he receives from youth, events and people he’s looking forward to attending and seeing, sleeping by waterfalls in Brazil or how he once purchased a calf for $4,500 and sold her last son, a six-year-old bull for $600,000, Bert is a fountain of stories, ideas, experiences and full of passion for all things 4-H.