4-H Ontario Ambassador speaks to hundreds about innovation in the future of ag

By Laura Goulding

Congratulations to 4-H Ontario Ambassador Michaella Snyder who was selected as one of the 2019 youth speakers at the Growmark Annual Meeting and Agribusiness Symposium in Chicago this August. At the “Ideas Grow Here” themed annual meeting, Michaella spoke to approximately 800 people about her experience with innovation in agriculture and the innovations she feel will move agriculture into the future.

“This was an amazing learning opportunity and I am so thankful that I was able to go and represent 4-H Ontario at such a large event,” says Michaella. She spoke about improvements that her and her family had made to the maple syrup production on their farm that improved their yield and decreased the physical labour associated with production.

To prepare for this event, Michaella worked with Growmark and a speech coach which she described as an amazing opportunity all on its own. Michaella also gave credit to the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program for helping her grow her confidence in public speaking since this past March. “I was surprised to find that before I spoke in Chicago I was not as scared as I thought I would be. I was nervous but I was also equally as excited about speaking. This was due to the wonderful support and resources that I got from Growmark and the support and experience that I had from 4-H,” says Michaella. “A huge thanks to Janice Johnson and Growmark for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

From left to right: Nic Webber, Michaella Snyder, Janice Johnson, John Johnson

While in Chicago, not only did Michaella have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers at the event and see the impact Growmark and FS has in agriculture, but she also had the chance to explore the city. Along with two other delegates from Ontario, Michaella went on an architectural tour on the river, saw the city from a ferris wheel on the pier, visited the Willis tower all the way up to the Skydeck, and ate all the deep dish pizza that she could – “a whopping two pieces.”

Michaella, you did an excellent job of representing yourself, your family, 4-H and Growmark professionally and with confidence. Congratulations from all of us at 4-H.

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!

 

The Ambassador Beat: Devin Catt

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. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Devin Catt, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

Year in Review 

As the air once again cools down and students are back in school, I have had a bit of time to reflect on my summer as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. I have the opportunity to use my voice to represent 4-H and I am proud to do so.

One experience I remember well was attending an event with fellow Ambassador Andrea Dohner to talk to kids that had not heard about 4-H. It was great to chat with these youth and as I stepped aside and allowed Andrea to take the lead for a minute, it was amazing to watch how when she talked about her personal experience with 4-H that their engagement really began to increase. It is this kind of engagement we need to strive for in all the Associations of our 4-H family as we continue to grow as an organization.

As our members head to school I see this as an opportunity to encourage them to share the experiences they have had in 4-H with the other students in their classroom. As 4-H is still very heavily involved in the agriculture sector, trying to involve members from different walks of life will only help to strengthen our community.

The opportunity to get more members involved is right now when the homework load hasn’t peaked and students will be looking to fill their extra time. Now is the time to share your 4-H stories and promote the organization in your communities. There is also an opportunity to engage youth with fall clubs to show new members the extent of 4-H’s reach, such as Achievement Days and events beyond the local level that happen in the latter half of the year.

I hope that we, as a 4-H community, can share our personal experiences now and in the future, not only within our community but beyond to help to expand this great organization.

The Ambassador Beat: Kyle Nussey

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 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The
4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Kyle Nussey, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Oxford 4-H Association


Where Have I Gone, Where Will I Go?

This year has been one to remember and something that has taken me down a path that I never imagined being a part of. 4-H has done a lot for me and I will continue to grow with 4-H and take whatever opportunities that I can to better myself and become the person that I want to be. This year as an ambassador I have attended a variety of events that have helped to improve my leadership abilities and understand the value and work that goes into developing 4-H programs. My favourite events to attend out of the numerous I went to were Career Mania and the National Members Forum.

At Career Mania I had the opportunity to facilitate a provincial 4-H camp and help shape tomorrows youth. This opportunity to make a difference on upcoming 4-H members was important to me and helped me to realize the passion I have for leadership and continuing to be involved with 4-H. In the future I would love to keep giving my time to 4-H and participating in the facilitation of these camps. They have changed who I am as a person and impacted the things that I do today so that I may continue doing great things for myself and others.

 National Members Forum was my first national opportunity and opened my eyes to how interconnected we all are and the impact we have on each other. 4-H is different all-around Canada and it makes me proud to be a 4-H Ontario member. 4-H Ontario has provided me with so many great camps and conferences that have made a difference in my life and allowed me to continue participating in these great opportunities. As I continue my journey with 4-H in this upcoming year, I hope to apply to Citizenship Congress and gain a deeper understanding of governance and public policy.

Reflecting back on my year as an ambassador I see the ways that I’ve improved and how I can continue improving myself. My public speaking and ability to answer questions and be comfortable in unfamiliar situations has improved dramatically over the last year and will continue to grow. As a 4-H member this year I am stepping down from my ambassador position and carrying on to new adventures with 4-H. I have applied to the Hands to Larger Service program and for the 4-H Ontario Youth Director position. While I haven’t been chosen for either of these opportunities, I know that the best people for these positions will be selected.

4-H has done a lot for me and I am forever grateful for the positive impact it has had on my life. I have come a long way from being the kid that took a year off from 4-H when I was 16, but now I understand what 4-H can do for others and how I want to keep spreading the wonderful message that is 4-H.

Adam Reid the 2018 Recipient of the Maryn Pardy Scholarship

Story and Photo By Laura Green, Public Relations for Southern Area

At the Southern Area Women’s Institute 104th Convention held in St. Paul’s Station on Oct. 20th, the Maryn Pardy Scholarship for an active 4-H member in Southern Area Women’s Institute area was awarded to Adam Reid. Adam is enrolled in the first year of the two-year Agriculture diploma program at University of Guelph – Ridgetown Campus. He is a very active 4-H member with Chatham-Kent and Essex 4-H Associations. In 2017 he received the 42 Project Provincial Seal. He volunteers for and is a member of many organizations in his community in Chatham-Kent. He has time to raise several Speckle-Park beef cattle and is a graduate from Ridgetown District High School.

Making the presentation to Adam are Southern Area President Michelle Loosemore, Kent District President Shirley Ashton and Scholarship chairperson Eleanor Williams.

 

The Ambassador Beat: Devin Catt

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 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Devin Catt, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

The Opportunity of a Lifetime 

The path that a 4-H Ontario Ambassador walks is an interesting one. We have been given the chance to travel across the province and impact lives and at the same time we are young adults finding our way in the world and figuring out what is important to us.

Becoming a 4-H Ambassador for 2018 wasn’t something I had planned for myself. 4-H had stopped playing an important part in my life. In previous years I had been attempting to take all the clubs available to me in my county. I had attended many of the provincial opportunities that 4-H offers such as Provincial Leadership Camp, Go For The Gold and the TD Canadian Dairy Classic Show. I thought that 4-H had done what it could for me. I was happy to move on and start getting more involved in university life.

However, as I got more involved with clubs through the university, I found myself stepping back and becoming a member and less of a leader. I was struggling to find my place among my peers and how to use my leadership skills to help the groups I was now a part of. It was suggested to me that I should apply to become a 4-H Ambassador by one of my leaders. I found myself remembering the skills and the experiences that I had gained from 4-H. As I put those to use within my university clubs, I then rediscovered how important 4-H is to me.

It is because of 4-H that I have the ability to step forward and take chances that others might not be willing to. It is because of this, that I have had many amazing opportunities, and becoming a 4-H Ontario Ambassador has been one. But what makes being a 4-H Ambassador special, is that I am able to share how important 4-H is with the younger members. By explaining that even though we grow up and 4-H may lose its appeal, 4-H is a program built to help everyone from the young members learning new skills from the clubs to the senior members learning how to lead and share experiences, to the leaders learning about their members and helping to shape them into productive young members of society.

As one of the four ambassadors from Region 6 this year, I wanted to take this opportunity to see as much of Ontario as I could. I took the opportunity to travel to Region 1 and help facilitate the regional Discovery Day, as well as attend Leader Training days. While I was in Region 1, I met many new people, shared some amazing experiences with them and learned that we all face many of the same problems. We all struggle trying to explain that 4-H isn’t just about farming, all while trying to coordinate with members across the association. I was impressed by the solutions many counties came up with and was happy to share how my home association of Elgin tries to accomplish the same goals.

All in all, the trip I have already experienced and the trips that I am looking forward to will all come together to be an opportunity I will never forget.

Ken and Marie McNabb: Members, Volunteers, Business Owners & Mentors

By Ryan Métivier

Farming, agriculture and 4-H have all been key pillars in the McNabb family their whole lives. Both Marie and Ken grew up on farms and were both 4-H members as youth. Marie has spent time consulting with farmers during her time working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for 13 years. Today, she serves as a Director for Gay Lea Foods, while also doing the bookkeeping at the family farm.

That family farm began with the dairy farm Ken grew up on in Halton County. Ken

would go on to eventually purchase the farm from his parents and he and Marie would form a partnership when she stopped working full-time off-farm.

Today they call the more rural Waterloo County home, after shifting their herd from a tie stall barn into a milking parlour and free stall in 2005.

“We felt that dairy farming would be transitioning towards milking parlours and robots in the future,” says Ken. “In 2015 we built a new dairy barn with a couple of milking robots and have grown from there, now milking 75 cows.”

Overall they crop 271 acres providing all the roughages for their herd and selling IP soybeans and winter wheat.

Marie has seen many changes in the agriculture industry over the years saying things are becoming increasingly high-tech, with monitors, robots and automatic calf feeders. With new technology and science, farmers are learning to use their smart phones in the field and social media as a way to reach out to consumers.

“It [social media] can be a method of answering questions about everyday activities on the farm, connecting the dots and carrying out conversations with people who truly want to learn about all types of agriculture,” she says.

With the University of Guelph stating there are currently four jobs for every graduate, Marie would highly encourage youth to consider the industry that encompasses farming, the food industry and suppliers.

Both Marie and Ken would also strongly recommend youth being involved with 4-H. Marie was a member for seven years in Oxford County completing dairy, homemaking and garden projects, as well as attending the 15 Year Old Conference. Ken was an eight-year member in Halton County, enrolled in dairy, crop, tractor and judging clubs. He also attended the 15 Year Old Conference, Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp and was chosen to go to the American Youth Foundation Leadership Training Camp.

Among the many things they appreciate from their time in 4-H, are the great mentors they had the opportunity to learn from. Ken remembers fondly his Ag Rep Henry Stanley, as well as his neighbour and leader Jeff Nurse whom he later co-led with. Marie was able to learn through her mother and also Sharon Hart during her time in homemaking clubs.

Now, they are mentoring today’s 4-H members including Noah and Olivia Lichti who have participated in clubs lead by the McNabbs.

“Ken and Marie are very passionate about 4-H,” says Noah. “Ken has helped me a lot with judging and showing my dairy heifer.”

“They are very knowledgeable in what they do and their enthusiasm is contagious,” adds Olivia.

Both came from 4-H families and have decided to continue their 4-H careers as volunteers and leaders after their time as members.

“I think as a volunteer I’ve always enjoyed working with the younger kids and I’m trying to pass on some of the knowledge and skills that I learned through 4-H,” says Ken.

“My reward in volunteering is seeing a child develop, grow, take chances and want to try something new; watching the quiet person coming out of their shell from the beginning of a club to the end of the club,” adds Marie. “Many times I have heard it said that 4-H develops life-long friends. We try to enhance that.”

Another youth, Philip Cressman, has been a dairy member for three years and has shown a calf from the McNabb’s farm each year.

“They are helpful and give me lots of tips on how to prepare and show my calf at the Elora show and the New Hamburg Fair,” he says. “Ken and Marie are very passionate about 4-H. I look forward to going to 4-H meetings and learning about calves. They have welcomed me into the 4-H world with open arms.”

Mentoring and leading just seems to run in the family as each of their oldest and youngest sons, Colin and Liam began volunteering while only 18 and still members themselves.

Marie sees so many ways youth can benefit through the 4-H program. She lists judging, communication, public speaking, leadership, teamwork financial management and cooking—to name a few of the skills youth will develop.

“There is a certain amount of competition in 4-H. It doesn’t matter where young people will go in life they will compete; whether it’s for a job, a spot in a program at university or college or an apprenticeship,” says Ken. “The skills that members learn when judging in our clubs are teaching them to make decisions and by giving reasons they learn to defend their decision.”

The Ambassador Beat: Evan Jenkins

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 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Evan Jenkins, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

Halfway Done but More to Do!

As August comes around, it marks the halfway point of the 4-H Ontario Ambassador term. In my mind, this is a perfect time for reflection. Through this first half of the term, I have met and spoke with many people, gone to numerous events and seen various parts of Ontario. With these thoughts in mind I figure I will share some of the highlights so far.

Being a 4-H Ambassador you must have good communication skills that can help in your travels and share your experience in 4-H. Some people I talk to are current 4-H members and volunteers that share their experiences with me as well. These experiences can range from talking about the different clubs they offer to talking about how excited they are for achievement day. The other people I talk to are members of the public who have questions about 4-H in their area or are 4-H alumni that share experiences from their days in 4-H. I have also had many people react surprisingly when they hear 4-H is still going!

Since many of the events aren’t local, driving is a key part of the position. Many events can be as far south as Essex County to as far east as Prescott County. Driving can be the worst part of going to an event, but you can use the time you have driving to think of an impromptu speech or to get mentally prepped to speak in front of an audience. The best part of driving is getting to an event and being mentally and physically prepared.

Now, I had thought I had seen all of Ontario, but I have proven myself wrong through this first half of my term. I had only seen what had interested me like the big cities, landmarks and notable towns. I have now broadened my view to see the different cultures like eastern Ontario where French is the primary language – which was a difficult time for me since I gave up learning French in Grade 9. It has also made me recognize that every small town feels like home! Staying with fellow Ambassador Mélissa Brisson’s family in Embrun while attending Golf-East had me feeling like I never left Belmont!

After reading through this I see that there have been many memories made, many miles driven and many small towns I want to go see again. Most people say that you make lots of friends in 4-H, but I tend to say that I don’t make friends in 4-H, I make new family members for my 4-H family!

The Ambassador Beat: Kyle Nussey

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 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. To book an Ambassador for your local event click here. The
4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

Submitted by Kyle Nussey, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Oxford 4-H Association

The Start of Something Great

Every day I grow more and more excited about what is to come as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. Every day a new opportunity or chance to reach out into the 4-H community is presented to me. It gives me the opportunity to expand on what I know and teach what I know. This year has barely started but I realize it will become one of the most memorable and impactful years of my life.

My path to become an Ambassador wasn’t one that I predicted at the start of 2018. I have spent a lot of time in leadership roles and expanding my knowledge but becoming an Ambassador was a decision I wasn’t completely sure about but now I never want to look back.

My journey to become an Ambassador started back in grade 10 when it was suggested to me to take a grade 11 leadership course next year. I took the plunge and loved the course and everything I learned. Next year, I took the grade 12 leadership course, attended Provincial Leadership Camp, coached a couple of soccer teams, and ran a school-wide talent show. 2018 has just begun but already I have attended Future Leaders In Action, become a youth leader, attended the Global Student Leadership Summit in London, Ontario and most importantly, became a 4-H Ontario Ambassador. I look forward to many other new ways that I can expand my leadership abilities.

In 2015, I took a year away from 4-H as I didn’t believe 4-H could offer me much personal growth. After some convincing from my mother, I rejoined 4-H the following year for the sole purpose of attending Provincial Leadership Camp. Looking back now, I can truthfully say that rejoining 4-H has been a positive life-changing decision for me and I have no idea where I would be today without it. This year I look forward to spreading the message of 4-H and reaching out to youth who may be in a similar place as I was a few years ago.

I’m extremely thankful to everyone that has made my adventure to becoming an Ambassador a memorable one. I’m especially grateful to those that have pushed me even farther to become the best that I can be. I look forward to this great year with everything that I hope to accomplish and the people I will meet along the way.

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 2018, each of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program is sponsored by FS.

 

 

 

 

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

 

It is hard to believe that 2018 is here already. Where did 2017 go?!

2017 was a year of growth for me. A year that taught me to say “yes” to new adventures, taught me how rewarding experiences can be and taught me how to navigate on my own.

 

January 2017 – I was selected as a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador, an experience that has changed my life!

February 2017 – We celebrated success, as we were officially welcomed as ambassadors at the 2017 Ambassador Reception.

Shannon, Sierra, Nicole, Robert, Sarah, and I gathered with family and friends by our sides in Guelph as we were welcomed as the 4-H Ontario Ambassadors for 2017.

March 2017 – I began a social media feed to share my year as an Ambassador.

You can find my adventures as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador on Twitter, under the handle @dicksonlyndsay.

April 2017 – I attended the 2017 National Holstein Convention in Richmond Hill, Ontario as part of the Young Leaders Program.

May 2017 – I moved out!

After nearly 20 years of living under my parents’ roof, I found a place to call my own and moved out to start a new adventure of life on my own.

June 2017 – My first event as an Ambassador!

My first event as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador was the UPI Energy Invitational Golf Tournament.

July 2017 – My first 4-H dairy show of the season was a success!

My first 4-H dairy show of the season was the EastGen Showcase held in Spencerville. I was lucky enough to walk away with 6th Senior Heifer and Top Quiz.

August 2017 – I found out that the first heifer I owned is pregnant and due in March 2018!

I have my own prefix with Holstein Canada, Experience Holsteins. I own one heifer, Rockaberry Mogul Experience. I found out that she is expecting her first calf, which is also the first calf to carry the Experience Holsteins name in March 2018!

September 2017 – I had the pleasure of visiting Niagara Falls for the first time.

Fellow ambassador Sierra Stanley and I visited the beautiful Niagara Falls together following the UPI Energy FS Launch Party.

October 2017 – I celebrated my 21st birthday!

As all senior 4-H’ers will know; what your 21st birthday really means, is it’s almost the end of their 4-H career! 2018 will mark my final year as a 4-H member.

November 2017 – I attended my 5th consecutive TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic as an exhibitor.

I had the pleasure of representing the Leeds 4-H Association at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, held in Toronto every November, at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic. 2017 was my 5th consecutive year being a member of the Leeds team.

December 2017 – I celebrated the holidays with family and friends.

I am forever grateful for the amazing opportunity representing 4-H Ontario as an Ambassador for 2017. Thank you FS for this opportunity!

Once an Ambassador, Always an Ambassador.