The Ambassador Beat: Shannon Desjardins

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 six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly 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 Shannon Desjardins, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Prince Edward 4-H Association

I would like to take a moment to reflect on this past year as one of six 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassadors.

I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of you this year, my name is Shannon Desjardins and I am from Prince Edward Association in Region 3. I am now a graduated 4-H member after the most amazing 12 years. I completed 126 clubs from the best program you will ever have the chance to participate in!

Over the past year I have had so many opportunities come my way from the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program. I have traveled across Ontario, meeting so many wonderful and enthusiastic 4-H members, siblings, parents, volunteers and alumni. From fairs, to livestock shows, plowing matches to awards nights, Discovery Days to Judge It Day – these are just a few of the activities I have participated in as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador.

Being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador isn’t just about traveling around Ontario representing 4-H at different local and regional events; it’s about the relationships, friendships, influences, contacts and skills you gain from the program as well.

At each and every event you attend as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador you grow as a member, a mentor and person. Each association has so many outstanding volunteers that give you new and exciting ideas to bring home to your local association. The members you meet along your journey share with you why they love 4-H, what clubs they have participated in and why they are excited to join next year making you more and more excited to be a part of this program. The parents (and potentially alumni) are so thrilled to speak with you about what opportunities are out there for their child and why the 4-H Ontario Ambassadors program is one opportunity they will never want to miss out on.

The 4-H pledge talks about Head, Heart, Hands and Health with our club, community and country, but what does the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program say? Well, an Ambassador to me stands for;

Achieve

Memories

Beneficial

Adventurous

Spectacular

Satisfying

Accomplished

Dedication

Opportunities

Relationships

 

Those are just 10 words that describe the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program and why it is so amazing to have had the opportunity given to me by 4-H Ontario and our sponsor FS. When you are 18 years of age, I strongly encourage you to fill out the 4-H Ontario Ambassadors application form and apply! This is an opportunity that you will fondly look back on and never regret!

An Experience of a Lifetime

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors channel their energy and 4-H experiences into recruiting new Members and sharing the 4-H story. They attend 4-H events across the province, as well as other community events, to promote the 4-H program. The summer is a very busy time for 4-H Ambassadors. There is ample opportunity for them to attend events and continue to build skills that they are able to use now, and in their future.

4-H Ontario Ambassador, Samantha Klaver, was kind enough to take the time to share her experience as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador so far. Read on to see what a day in the life of a 4-H Ontario Ambassador is like.

Thank you to GROWMARK Inc., and UPI Energy LP for sponsoring the 4-H Ontario Ambassador program.
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Summer 2012: An Experience of a Lifetime as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador
By Samantha Klaver, 4-H Ontario Ambassador

As a 4-H Ontario Ambassador hailing from Region 5, I am pretty central to a lot of places. This was perfect for a summer with so much potential. As the summer months approached and the Ambassador requests rolled in, I quickly became excited for the opportunities that I was fortunate enough to have the privilege to attend.

2012 4-H Ontario Ambassadors
Welcoming the 2012 Ambassadors at the Ambassador reception

The summer had some common themes-fun, friends, education, sightseeing, and excitement! It did not matter what event I attended, where I went, who (if anyone) I was with, when the event was; these common themes were very evident. This is certainly one of the benefits of being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador!

As always, attending a 4-H Ontario Ambassador event, I know it is safe to say on behalf of my fellow Ambassadors, that there was never a shortage of learning on our adventures. From my perspective, attending events hosted by our program sponsors, GROWMARK Inc. and UPI Energy LP were likely the events that I learned the most information. Although we have had numerous chances to learn about our program sponsors, there is nothing like going out and experiencing their businesses first hand. I found the sponsors very interesting and could relate to them, as I work in the agribusiness industry. Even though I currently work in that industry, my fellow Ambassadors, really appreciated the tours and events because it allowed them to see what working in the agribusiness industry is like, which in the end, can help them decide if they would ultimately like to work in the agriculture field. I also gained a new appreciation for GROWMARK Inc. and UPI Energy LP, as they are so large, yet are strong supporters of the 4-H Ambassador program.

Ambassador Tour
4-H Ontario Ambassadors on the Ambassador Sponsor Tour

The most important characteristic to remember to always take with you on your adventures is an open mind. It is important to go to events with the willingness to do whatever, and always follow, “Never let any opportunity pass you by.” This enhances your experiences, provides more opportunities, allows you to venture to ideas and areas only imaginable! Not only that, it makes your time spent at that event, area or region so much more enjoyable. It also takes you to new heights, taking you that much farther down your journey as a 4-H Ambassador and a person in general. It is also important to take the characteristic of being “easy going” with you as well. There are times when things happen beyond your control and your contact person’s control, and it is important to not get worked up, be understanding and “go with the flow.” No matter how much training and preparation 4-H Ontario completed with you, there will always be that small element of unknown in your role, and these qualities and characteristics will help you be so much more successful.

Some of the greatest gifts for being a 4-H Ontario Ambassador are those that are not tangible. They are often overlooked, yet are so important in today’s society. Sometimes, these skills can be taken for granted. Figure out what I am describing? Some of the most valuable gifts you receive as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador are the development of your public speaking skills, confidence and ability to network and draw connections. These skills and qualities may sound a little scary, and not as exciting as touring across the province, but they enhance you as a person. They assist you in standing out above the rest when it comes to job interviews and any role you partake in. These skills and qualities are crucial in our ever so fast, changing society. After a year as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador, these gifts will be evident to everyone around you, and something to be cherished for a lifetime.

Golf Tournament
(l-r) Samantha Klaver and Victoria Kyle at the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf West Tournament

During the summer months, I attended events in a variety of areas. I started my summer off with attending the Sponsor Tour. I was very excited for this event and enjoyed it very much! I appreciated visiting GROWMARK Inc., UPI Energy LP and FS Partner locations, while catching up with my fellow Ambassadors and learning about the GROWMARK Interns summer experiences.

I also attended some local events. I assisted and spoke at the Perth County Judging Competition. This was the perfect opportunity to speak to members of all ages about the Ambassador program. A few weeks later, I attended the Perth County Go For The Gold competition. At this event, I adjudicated games for the preliminary rounds. Not long after that, I travelled to Region 4, where I was one of the score keepers for the Go For The Gold Competition. The summer kept rolling as I attended the Mitchell Agricultural Society’s Fall Fair opening ceremonies. I spoke about how I got to be an Ambassador, and my experiences so far. These were the events I partook in the summer months, but have also had the honour of attending the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf Tournament in Guelph, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus’ Spring Expo, Discover 4-H Fun in Region 4, UPI Rendezvous and Chatham-Kent 4-H Achievement Day. Some of these events I attended with all or some of the other Ambassadors, and the remainder, I attended alone. So far, it has been the perfect amount of variation.

Local Event
Samantha attending a local event

As you can see, each of the events I have attended are all very different, and unique in their own way to say the least. With this being said, it is hard to pick a favourite memory because I can name at least one thing that I enjoyed or remember from each of the events I have attended. Whether it is meeting Emerson Drive at the UPI Rendezvous, learning how to show a rabbit at the Chatham-Kent 4-H Achievement Day, being super excited to share my experiences as an Ambassador at the Mitchell Fair, raising money for 4-H at the Golf Tournament’s Putting Contest, learning that Haldimand County 4-H has two Go For The Gold competitions, one for junior and senior 4-H members or learning that FS Partners in Ayr has over 1,000 customers. These are just some of the keys experiences or facts I have gained from being a 4-H Ambassador. I have had a fantastic summer and look forward to what the fall has to offer as I know there are so many more exciting things to discover beyond the horizon!

Samantha Klaver is a 4-H Ontario Member, as well a 4-H Ontario Ambassador.  Starting her 4-H career ten years ago, Samantha has been a very active Member, completing more than 60 club projects and attending 4-H opportunities such as Provincial 4-H Leadership Camp, Careermania and Go For The Gold to name a few. Samantha is very active within her home community of Seaforth as she is a director on the Seaforth Agricultural Society and a Provincial Director for Huron County Junior Farmers. 

An Eye Opening Experience

In the beginning of July, the 2012 4-H Ontario Ambassador embarked on the annual Ambassador Sponsor Tour. This tour gives the Ambassadors a chance to meet the 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program’s sponsors GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP, and gain a little intel on what these companies are all about. 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Steven Stockdale, shares his experience on the tour below.
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An Eye Opening Experience at the 2012 4-H Ontario Ambassador Sponsor Tour
By Steven Stockdale

Steven Stockdale

I recently took part in the 4-H Ontario Ambassador Sponsor Tour on Thursday July 5th. I was joined by my fellow 4-H Ontario Ambassadors and 4-H Ontario staff representatives Marianne Fallis and Wraychel Horne.

During the tour we visited many FS locations such as FS PARTNERS in Ayr, the GROWMARK, Inc. Ontario Distribution Centre in Kitchener, North Wellington Co-op in Harriston and the UPI Energy LP card lock and distribution centre in Guelph. A side trip during this tour was to the Stone Crock restaurant in St. Jacobs – what an amazing place to eat! The food there was just fantastic. If you know me, you know I like food. LOL.

Group shot
Tour group shot

My favorite part of the tour was stopping at FS PARTNERS in Ayr. The grain storage they had there is unbelievable. I’m from Peterborough, and we do not have grain storage facilities that are this impressive. It was like looking up to the Jolly Green Giant; I just couldn’t believe my eyes!

Grain storage
Grain storage bins at FS Partners

Another part of the tour that was intriguing was the test plots. It was interesting to see the partnership between the farmers and FS showing how to improve his fields and improving his crop yield over the long term with multiple crops.  This would be valuable for many farmers as most don’t just plant one year but many years.

Ambassadors on tour
The five 4-H Ontario Ambassadors: (from left to right) Victoria Kyle, Jennifer Pollock, Steven Stockdale, Julia Romagnoli, and Samantha Klaver

For me the tour was valuable because it really showed me, as well as the other Ambassadors, a first hand look at what our sponsors do and we learned how diverse the companies are. I feel proud to have such great sponsors for the 4-H Ontario Ambassador Program.

About Steven
Steven Stockdale grew up on his family’s dairy farm and has a passion for the 4-H program that has been passed down to him from his parents. He has completed more than 45 Club projects during his ten years as a 4-H Member and has attended multiple 4-H opportunities at the local, regional, provincial and national levels. Steven has held many 4-H Club executive positions including President and Vice President and even Youth Leader, as well as being a volunteer soccer coach in his community. All of these experiences demonstrate his strong leadership and teamwork skills. Steven’s ability to share his 4-H experiences with others while enhancing the Member experience for future generations are just two of the many qualities that make Steven an excellent Ambassador. Steven currently works at Sky Jack in Guelph as a Certified Welder.