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.


  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.


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5 Questions With… Meg Siegel

Meg Siegel may have been a part of 4-H in Novia Scotia, but 4-H is still 4-H and she has some great memories to share and took the time to submit her 4-H story. So in this feature, we look at an out-of-province 4-H alumni, who nows lives in Toronto.

Name: Meg Siegel

Status: Alumni

Years in 4-H: 12

1. Why did you join 4-H?

I’m from rural Nova Scotia and when I was a kid you either joined Air Cadets, 4-H or hung around town doing not much of anything. My parents had enrolled me in Cloverbuds from the age of six and when it came time to join a big kid group, 4-H was a natural fit. I was able to pick some projects that were relevant to my interests and some that were new to me, but things I always wanted to learn.

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

I was in the Shelburne County 4-H Club in Nova Scotia. I was the treasurer and president of the club for a short while. I went to many pro-shows, did an interprovincial exchange and went to Chat-a-rama a few times.

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

Aside from teaching me basic life skills like orienteering, cooking, sewing and just being generally handy, I think I have 4-H to thank for my success in my career. I now work in advertising in Toronto and use skills that I learned in 4-H on a day-to-day basis. From presentation skills and public speaking to judging (aka giving feedback), when I think about it, these were the skills I have been working on since I was a kid.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

In 4-H I won an exchange trip and went to Alberta for 10 days to stay with another 4-H member (who in turn came to Nova Scotia). It was my first time travelling solo and it gave me such a great sense of independence. It still has been my only time out West and I plan to change that and perhaps to get in touch with the family I visited when I was 16.

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

Now I’m pretty busy working in advertising on clients like Nike. But outside of work I’m big into cycling and I love getting away from the city for the weekend to go camping when time permits. I also love bringing new Toronto friends back home to the farm in Nova Scotia.

Liked Megan’s story? Want to share your own 4-H story? Click here and tell us what 4-H has meant to you in our 5 Questions With… feature!

5 Questions With… Shelley Barfoot-O’Neill

Name: Shelley Barfoot-O’Neill
Status: Volunteer/Alumni
Years in 4-H: 10 (member), 21 and counting as leader

1. Why did you join 4-H?

As the kid of a 4-H family, there was never a doubt! My grandparents were leaders and my parents were both members and leaders. When I was 11 before the age changed, I was at the Regional Show in Owen Sound with my dad and the Wiarton Dairy Club, and I remember thinking…’next year that will be me in the ring with my calf!’ I was so excited. Our family is four generations of 4-H enthusiasts and just waiting on the fifth generation to become old enough to continue the tradition!

I am a bona-fide 4-H lifer, and so are all of the Barfoot and O’Neill families!

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

As a member I tried to attend every opportunity that was available to me and luckily my parents were very supportive; camps, conferences, and three exchanges to Niagara, Alberta and Saskatchewan. I was in as many livestock and homemaking clubs as I was allowed to take, completing almost 50 clubs. I never missed shows, representing Grey was an honour and I was able to do so at the Classic and Silver Dollar many times as I was also the Grey County 4-H Ambassador and President of the Grey County 4-H Members’ Association.

As a leader, my husband and I lead the Wiarton Dairy, fitting and Sheep Clubs. I also lead the Nashville North and Clavering Lifeskills clubs. I’ve been the chaperone for EastGen since it was Silver Dollar, am dairy and registrations chair for the Grey-Bruce Regional 4-H Show, committee member for the Royal Jr. Sheep Show and All-Ontario Jr. Sheep Show, and have assisted with the Grey County Team at the Classic for many years. Additionally I’m involved as the Livestock Contact for Grey, was President of the Grey County 4-H Leaders Association and countless other activities too numerous to mention.

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

4-H gave me the opportunity to meet my husband of 28 years. As many others have we met through the program and been involved in 4-H together ever since. That is the most important! Aside from that, I was a shy only child and through 4-H members always being at my farm when I was little to being a member and now leader it has given me the self-confidence to do things way outside my comfort zone! While I am still nervous and a little anxious to do new things, I don’t let that stop me. I cannot forget to mention the countless friends and contacts I have made not only as a member and leader but also as a 4-H mom. These wonderful people who have come into our lives through 4-H will always hold a special place in our lives. I love to connect with 4-H’ers from all over at the various activities. We generally are their “Udder Parents” and we are quite happy to be considered that. Learning the importance of community involvement and volunteering from my family and my 4-H Leaders has been a great opportunity and I hope to honour the work they did by being the best I can be.

If 4-H members get half as much out of the program as we do as Leaders then we are doing our jobs. I tell people if the Leaders aren’t learning and developing right alongside their members they aren’t doing something right.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

I have so many. In my own time as a member, it truly was an honour to participate in the first ever Classic, and to place second with my calf, Kenarbara Dominion Fobes, was extra special. Every time I represented Grey I cherished the opportunity. As a 4-H mom, seeing my sons achieve and excel not only in the showring but outside as well, and to develop into great young men is amazing. A couple of special memories would be Adam winning the dairy member of the year for Grey and Champion Showman at Lucknow and Shea winning Reserve Champion showman at the Classic and the same year also Reserve Showman at the Jr. Sheep show. I don’t think that has been done before or since. The next year he followed it up by winning EastGen Overall Champion. As a 4-H Leader, last year two of our sheep members were named Grand and Reserve Grand Showmen at the Jr. Sheep Show at the Royal. Watching Zac being presented with the grand ribbon then watching Delaney also being presented with her reserve ribbon was amazing! But what made it extra special was to see the pride on Zac’s face when Delaney was named reserve. He was as happy for his club mate as he was for himself and that is what 4-H is all about. Our sheep club is 95% non-farm kids with no 4-H history, and to hear their families talk about how the kids have grown and developed throughout the club is very fulfilling!

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

Since I am a bona fide 4-H addict, most of our lives revolve around 4-H. I have worked at the Real Estate Institute of Canada for the past 13 years. We are a not-for-profit organization and I find working in that field helps me to better understand how others such as 4-H works. I have just taken on the part-time role of Livestock Coordinator with 4-H Ontario—my dream job! Even if it is a little hectic at the moment, I love it. Brian and I own a couple of holsteins and love to show, so if there is a show you will probably find us either at ring side or in the barns, depending on our work schedules. I am also active helping the boys with their purebred sheep flock and their showing. I am Logistics Manager and Public Relations for Shad and Goodacre Livestock during the sheep show at the Royal. Brian and I are blessed with two amazing sons, Adam and Shea, a great daughter-in-law Liz and three grandsons Riley, Hunter and Grayson and any day number four will be making their appearance. They are the light of our lives and sure keep us busy.

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5 Questions With… Kathryn Ringelberg

Name: Kathryn Ringelberg
Status: Alumni
Years in 4-H: 12

1. Why did you join 4-H?

It seems like just the other day that I was beginning my career as a 4-H member. I still remember going to that first 4-H rally without even knowing what 4-H was truly all about. My mom brought me to sign-up night because she was a 4-H member when she was younger. I signed up for almost every club that year because they all seemed so interesting. I think I was gone every night of the week to a 4-H meeting. My parents became the ultimate chauffeurs, allowing for me to dive head first into the program that they too had gained so much from when they themselves were members. After that first sign up night I never looked back. 4-H had become a part of who I was and I already miss being a member within this amazing program.

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

4-H soon became what I did in my down time and what I did to de-stress from my schooling. Although I completed over 65 clubs as I grew older my focus in the 4-H program became the dairy and dairy judging clubs. Over the last number of years I attended a 4-H dairy show every weekend from mid-July to Thanksgiving weekend in October. While most of my friends were walking their dog down the street, I was walking my heifer around the field on our family farm in Troy. My Friday nights were spent washing and clipping my heifer and packing the truck and trailer so we could get to the fair on time the following day. This summer I can honestly say I do not know what I am going to do on all those weekends!

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

In 12 short years many different leaders taught me how to fix tractors, fit my heifer, bake the best bread, sew pajamas, judge a class of hay, and give a correct set of reasons. These leaders taught me life skills that I use every day at work. I learned how to run meetings, take notes and organize community events. I was taught about teamwork, decision-making and public speaking. 4-H gave me multiple opportunities to compete on a local, provincial and national stage; connecting me with other members from coast to coast. I went to fall fairs, Go for the Gold competitions and provincial camps. I made life-long friends and had leaders that I looked up to. I had some of the best times, and some of the worst times; but the trials I faced only made me stronger. I “Learned to do by Doing” and with each club came a new challenge. For 12 years 4-H has been a huge part of my life, it was a very bittersweet moment in December when I officially graduated from this amazing program.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

There is no single memory that I can name as my favourite. I was lucky enough to travel to many different fall fairs with my 4-H heifer, compete at a national stage at the Royal Winter Fair, make friends from all over Ontario and Canada from coast to coast. All of these memories are special to me and there are so many memories that I will never forget!

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

I graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in the spring of 2014 from the Honours Sociology program while also completing a Business Certificate from Mohawk College. I strive to be an active member within my community as I co-chair two committees at the Rockton Worlds Fair and also represent South Wentworth as Queen of the Furrow for my third consecutive year. I enjoy public speaking and compete at the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair every year. For the past two years I have been one of the top six contestants in Canada. None of those accomplishments would have been possible without the 4-H program equipping me with the skills I need to succeed. I am ever thankful for this amazing program and I encourage everyone I know who is of the right age to join!

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