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.

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

I Pledge, My Hands to Larger Service….

This summer I will be taking part in the Hands To Larger Service program set out by 4-H Canada as a way to inspire youth to give back to their community. Twenty-four Youth Service leaders were chosen to create, plan and execute community service projects for the Club to Club exchanges taking place this summer. Back in May, I attended a training weekend where I gained valuable skills and heard from guest speakers, who inspired me to make a difference.

I have been paired with Sue West 4-H Association in Nova Scotia and will be travelling there during the first week in August. I am working with the club to plan our project. We are looking at building a structure for picnic benches to go under at the local Exhibition Grounds in Barrington. This is the 4-H association’s way of giving back to their community.

So far this has been an amazing experience. With this being my first national opportunity with 4-H, I would like to encourage all 4-Her’s to take part in national opportunities and next year to apply to be a Youth Service Leader. I have already made lasting friendships with people across our great country and gained many more skills that I am immediately able to put into practice.

The Hands To Larger service program partners with McDonald’s Canada and the Government of Canada.

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: Andrea Dohner

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.

Submitted by Andrea Dohner, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Elgin 4-H Association

And So It Begins

Excited. Nervous. Proud. Thankful. These are just some of the emotions running through me as I think about the training weekend we just attended, and the year to come as 2018 4-H Ontario Ambassadors.

As an Ambassador, I am Excited to be able to travel the province advocating for the program I have come to love. I am excited to share my 4-H story to everyone I meet, whether they are current members/leaders, alumni, or corporations, and especially to people who aren’t familiar with the 4-H program. However, as an Ambassador, I am also Nervous to put myself out there, and embark on this journey to share my story and inspire others to join.

Proud. As a previously very shy girl, I am very proud to have come this far and to have taken this next step out of my comfort zone. In 2011, my parents signed me up for my first club, the Dairy Club, not knowing how I would react to 4-H. Little did they, nor I, know that I would soon fall in love with 4-H and everything it has to offer. In 2016, I attended my first provincial opportunity; Future Leaders in Action (FLIA). FLIA was easily the best week of my life because it was the week of change and new experiences. There I met some of the most wonderful people, learned how to facilitate my own events, and most importantly I learned how to be confident in myself and my ideas. When I went to FLIA I was still the shy girl, but when I left FLIA I was a more confident young woman who strived to push herself out of her comfort zone every chance she could and to be the best version of herself.

Thankful. I am so thankful to my parents for pushing me to join 4-H and for believing in me even when I didn’t. I am thankful to the Elgin County 4-H Association, my home, for supporting me in all of my adventures and opportunities. To my leaders for pushing me at every meeting, even when I begged them not to. To my friends at FLIA for making my first camp so rewarding, life changing, and memorable. To my friends at 4-H Ontario for running every event and doing everything you do, you are amazing! To all of the sponsors – nothing would be possible without you, you change people’s lives daily. To FS, the sponsor of the ambassador program, thank you for your unconditional support as we embark on this journey. And finally, to my Ambassador team, thank you for making training weekend so wonderful and for making me excited for the year we have ahead of us! Here’s to an amazing year with new opportunities, new friends, and new connections.

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 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.

Submitted by Robert McKinlay, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Grey 4-H Association

Being a 4-H ambassador for the past year has given me so many opportunities to view 4-H in different communities across the province. The variety of communities I have been exposed to has expanded my understanding of the 4-H brand. From Northern Ontario to Ridgetown, Ontario the diversity of projects and members has been huge, but the commitment to the 4-H motto of “learn to do by doing” remained the same.

 

I had an amazing opportunity to participate in the Massey Jamboree where I was able to meet and talk with members and leaders from the surrounding area. I was able to further my understanding of what 4-H meant to them and how the 4-H program had changed them. The sense of community I encountered in Massey was astounding to say the least and gave me a better understanding of life in Northern Ontario.

The Massey Jamboree was a great place to represent the ambassador program as I got to wear many different hats. I was involved with a 4-H meeting the day before where I helped with a Beef Calf Club. This was extremely fun for me as the majority of the animals were young Holstein- Belgium Blue cross calves. This meant they had a whole lot of attitude and energy but didn’t have a lot of size. This allowed a great learning experience for the members because they could train the calves with a lot less danger of being hurt. It also meant that the calves could have some fun with the members too. The next day we traveled to Massey where I was involved in the setup of the activities and the welcoming of the kids as they arrived. As the event got underway I was involved both as a leader and as a participant. I was able to be involved in events like square dancing and the Amazing Race Massey. The Amazing Race Massey was a true show of the community of the area. During the race we used the community’s involvement to collect clues and complete tasks to ultimately complete the challenge. Finally at the end of the day I was involved in the cleanup of the event and in discussions of how the event could be improved for next year. To me this event was a true show case of the ambassador experience as I was involved with every level of the 4-H program and was able to truly make a difference in some 4-H members’ lives.

 

Another interesting opportunity I had was to help at a Discovery Day in Ridgetown, Ontario where I helped run games and activities for members. It was a great opportunity to view their community and their interests in the 4-H program. In their region 4-H was made up primarily of urban members as opposed to the membership I had witnessed in Massey. In this experience I was able to interact with members one on one and was able to learn what 4-H meant to them.

 

I have also had a great opportunity to view the 4-H program back stage and see all the planning and preparation that goes into the events. The incredible volunteers and leaders involved in the 4-H program are simply inspiring to talk to and hear the reasons they have for being involved. Working alongside them I learned about the amount of work it takes to put on a 4-H event. The amount of planning and preparation that goes into an event like a discover day or a judging event is immense.

 

This year for my Ambassador project I organized “The Spirit of 4-H” trophy that recognized a person or family in my area that has gone above and beyond in the 4-H program both succeeding within the program but also takes the values of 4-H and applies them to their everyday life. I was pleased when the club presented the award to the Visser family this year to highlight all the work and commitment they have done within our club and in the 4-H program.

(Photo of Visser Family and Spirit of 4-H Award )

 

This program would not be possible without our amazing sponsor, FS. Their sense of community is never more evident than in their charity golf tournaments and their Rendezvous where the appreciation to their customers and associates was displayed for everyone to see. Talking with individuals in the company I have learned about the extent of their business and the commitment to quality and customer service. This is truly a case of leaders helping leaders as they help inspire the next generation of leadership.

This program is truly amazing and I want to personally thank all the parents that drive members to meetings, judging competitions, calf training nights and achievement days. All the leaders that go out of their way to create clubs that are educational and engaging. All the 4-H staff that process thousands of forms and do all the hard work that allows us to create such a fantastic program.  All the supporters of 4-H both financially and physically that help us run such a great program. And finally my fellow Ambassadors that have travelled the province working with members and sponsors to ensure this program never shifts from the quality we have come to expect.

(Both pictures unfortunately missing Shannon Desjardins)

 

My experiences as a 4-H ambassador have taught me so much about the 4-H program and about being an ambassador. The depth of this program, along with the amazing people it encompasses is overwhelming and I feel honored to have been able to be a representative for this program. The energy and enthusiasm of the members to learn and succeed is inspiring and I believe the world needs as many young leaders, like our members, as it can get. When I was younger I always looked up to the ambassadors, but now as an ambassador I look up to the kids as they are the future of the program and will be the leaders of our future.