The Lasting Effects of a 4-H Experience

Hello Everyone! My name is Robyn Cox and I’m the new Communications Intern for 4-H Ontario working on a volunteer contract. I’m a recent graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Media in the Public Interest program and I am really excited to keep you updated about the happenings at 4-H Ontario. It’s amazing to hear about the great experiences and abilities people have gained through their participation with 4-H. Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with a 4-H alumnus, Doug Osborn, and he told me a bit about his history with 4-H.
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The Lasting Effects of a 4-H Experience
By Robyn Cox

Doug Osborn is an individual who is truly admired for his community involvement and leadership skills. A devoted father with a son and daughter in their early twenties, Doug works as a leading Millwright and has volunteered for various community efforts, including being a Scout leader and a Tai Chi instructor. But for Doug it all started with 4-H.

From ages twelve to eighteen Doug participated in various 4-H clubs in Huron County, including Dairy, Beef, Farm Safety, Farm Machinery, Field Crops, and Gardening clubs. His whole family participated in 4-H; his mother was a volunteer leader throughout her life and his siblings participated in various clubs as well. His experience goes back to a time when there were only two sections in the gardening category of clubs: homemaking and agricultural. Nowadays there are a plethora of different types of gardening clubs including ones directed towards plant-life in the home, plant-life in the yard, plant-life in the field, and even landscaping.

Doug has a lot of great memories from his time with 4-H. One of his fondest memories is of his Dairy Club doing a display using barn board as the background and presenting it at the Western Fair. Shortly thereafter barn board backgrounds became all the rage in 4-H project displays.

In his opinion, 4-H has had a positive lasting effect on him because of the skills he was able to develop as a leader and a communicator. As a club member he was able to hone those abilities through leadership camps, youth leader programs, and youth exchanges. Later on, he further developed those skills as the volunteer leader of a Financial Fitness Club.

A lot of things have changed about 4-H over the years but some very important things remain the same. As he puts it, “4-H will always have a lot to offer individuals in terms of developing interpersonal skills that they will consistently use throughout their lives.” Doug is proud of his accomplishments with 4-H and feels that “it’s a great way to develop usable life skills” no matter where you’re from or what kinds of clubs you’re involved in.
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Share Your 4-H Story4-H Ontario’s Alumni program is funded through a Promotional Partnership with Hyland Seeds, including the position of 4-H Ontario’s Coordinator, Alumni Services. Hyland Seeds is passionate about agriculture and believes in supporting the people who are deeply rooted in the agricultural industry; dedication to 4-H is proof of this commitment. Thank you Hyland Seeds!