Perth County Takes Home GFTG Honours

By: Ryan Métivier 

All across the province, Go For The Gold (GFTG) teams have been practicing and competing for months for a chance to represent their regions at the Provincial Championships held at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Saturday, November 7, 2015. This year’s finals saw Perth County of Region 5 come away victorious over Durham East from Region 3.

Congratulations go out to Nathan Williams, Brooklyn Johnston, Halle Horn, Brett Harding, Glenna van der Heiden, and Coaches Terri Kraus and Carolyn van der Heiden.

For over three decades, Go For The Gold has been an integral part of many 4-H Associations across the province.

In order for teams to participate at the Provincial Go For The Gold competition they must have competed and won at their local and regional levels. The Provincial Championship presents the ultimate challenge to members by testing their skills and understanding of 4-H project material as well as general knowledge of 4-H, agriculture, food, nutrition and current events.

Leading up to the 2015 competition there was much preparation, with teammates meeting throughout the month following Regionals and a couple times a week as the provincial event drew near. There was also lots of cramming the night before.

Left to right – Terri Kraus (coach), Nathan Williams, Brooklyn Johnston, Halle Horn, Brett Harding, Glenna van der Heiden, Carolyn van der Heiden (coach)

“We rotated through everybody’s house and sat and practiced game after game after game,” said Carolyn. “Everybody took designated manuals and studied them and made up a mock game so that we could practice, and at the beginning of our practices we would always go in groups of twos and they would read questions back and forth and then we would get together and actually play a mock game at the end of the evening.”

Perth County definitely came out prepared as they managed to go 5-0 through round robin play. Facing the 4-1 Durham East team, Perth took the championship game by a 170-155 score.

“There’s a lot of competition out there, more than I expected,” said Brooklyn. 

“They seriously know their stuff, so you do need to do those months of practice and make sure you do everything,” added Glenna. “And the games, usually we would just make up questions to practice, but making up an actual game and having the different formats really helped study.”

The team included two members (Brett and Hallie) who were new to competing in GFTG this year, who got a taste of how much work it is to prepare, while also balancing school and studying for both.

In fact, all of the members had challenges when it came to meeting and practicing between full-time jobs, school, living in different areas and farming obligations. Social media, texting and emails was what they credit for helping them to all stay on the same page and communicate amongst each other.

The team also credited their coaches for being amazing, excellent, dedicated and supportive.

“They surprise us every time and you think they gotta know this and they gotta know that, and they do,” said Terri. “And it’s like where do you come up with those answers and they’re right on.”

“The end goal was to win, but it was learn to do by doing and let’s have fun,” said Carolyn. “We told them you guys know what you know, we’ll take it from there. You could see that they were going up and down in their stress levels as they played. We’re so proud of them and they know so much.” 

The final standings for the Provincial Competition were:

1st: Perth
2nd: Durham East
3rd: Carleton
4th: Halton
5th: Middlesex
6th: Sudbury

For more photos from the 2015 GFTG competition click here.

Go For The Gold is made possible through the generous support of Ontario Mutuals.

KLH Claims GFTG Supremacy

By Ryan Métivier

All across the province 4-H’ers have been competing amongst their Associations and regions all year for a chance to represent their region at the Provincial Go For The Gold (GFTG) Competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

The Go For The Gold competition is a great experience for 4-H members to increase their knowledge of 4-H project materials, agriculture, food, community, events and much more, all while doing so in a team atmosphere. There are 4-H Association level and 4-H Regional level competitions hosted by local 4-H volunteers.

This year’s championship took place on Saturday, November 8 during The Royal and was highlighted by a dominating showing from the team from Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton of Region 3 who claimed the title. The team of first-time competitors went 5-0 in round robin play and amassed a total of 990 points. After this impressive showing, they entered the final against the team from Halton and Region 4 in a rematch of the first round robin game. KLH was able to come out on top once again though with a 185-120 win.

From l-r: Diane Armstrong (Coach), Maggie-Jo Hickson, Sadie-Jane Hickson, Cassandra Gorril, Trevor Kennedy, Craig Kennedy (Coach)

“I was stressed about mid-terms at university and everything so it was kinda like a crash thing,” said KLH team member Cassandra Gorrill when asked about how the team prepared for the competition. “But Sadie and Maggie are super intense on drilling and that’s basically how I prepared for today. You just kinda learn as much as you can in a short period of time. It’s intense.”

“The second we won Regionals is when we started preparing for this,” said Trevor Kennedy. “I think another thing that went into the preparation for today was reciting lots of acronyms and symptoms of diseases and things like that that came into play today.”

Despite the undefeated record, the team from KLH admitted there were many challenges throughout the day.

“The hardest part was definitely not second guessing yourself,” said Sadie-Jane Hickson. “Knowing that you know the answer and you know your team knows the answer, but sometimes you’re just not quick enough on the buzzer.”

“I think one of the hardest parts was just staring down the other team and just having to face them, especially when you know people on the other team,” added Kennedy.

Getting involved with GFTG was a way for the team’s whole county to come together.

“It’s a county thing, so our whole county is involved,” said Maggie-Jo Hickson. “Some clubs count it as a meeting and everyone in our county has such a great time at that night, we just want to continue on with it.”

The team was quick to thank many people for their contributions leading up to and throughout the competition including their parents, friends and supporters and everyone who was involved at the county, regional and provincial levels. They also thanked their coaches Diane Armstrong and Craig Kennedy.

“They’ve put a lot of hard work into it and they should really be proud of themselves,” said Armstrong. “They knew a lot of answers to questions that I had no idea on. They did a great job and the day was excellent.”

Other teams that competed in this year’s provincial competition included: Temiskaming – Region 1, Russell – Region 2, Huron – Region 5 and Elgin – Region 6.

For more photos from this year’s Provincial GFTG Competition click here.

Go For The Gold is made possible through the generous support Ontario Mutuals.














Huron claims Go For The Gold glory

By Ryan Métivier

On Saturday, November 2, participants from across all six 4-H Ontario regions descended upon the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to compete in the 2013 Go For The Gold Provincial Championships, sponsored by Ontario Mutuals.

Go For The Gold is a trivia competition that gives 4-H’rs a chance to learn many new facts and compete amongst their peers.

After five preliminary rounds of competition, Region 4 – Halton and Region 5 – Huron, came up head-to-head in the championship game, with Huron taking the title by a narrow 165-155 margin. In a match that was fairly even for most of the game, Huron gradually increased their lead in the latter stages of the game, before a late comeback from Halton fell just short.

Region 4 - Halton

The Region 5 champions included Jeanette Schramm, Jolande Oudshoorn, Melissa Higgins, Reba Jefferson and Alternate Kate Higgins. The team was coached by Mary Ellen Foran and Marita Oudshoorn.

The team is made up of several family members and neighbours, and the girls are all a part of the Wawanosh Life Skills Club.

Team Captain Melissa Higgins, said her education in the Agriculture Program at the University of Guelph helped in quite a bit in her preparations, but the team also divided up the books and used a “divide and conquer” method to prepare.

“This morning we were feeding each other fun facts and because of that, we did get a Who Am I question right on the first try,” she said when asked about last-minute competition strategies.

In a tight final, Huron edged out Halton by a 165-155 score.

“It’s a really exciting competition and it’s just really fun to get involved with something with other 4-H people,” said Schramm. “You meet people from all across the province.”

Though the team from Huron County amassed an impressive average of over 200 points per game, the competition didn’t come without its challenges.

“The pop-ups are nerve racking, and the snappers,” said Jefferson. “Just cause it’s at the end of the game and true and false is hard. It’s 50/50, but it’s hard.”

“It feels good to win. Sort of makes you feel like a rock star in the 4-H world,” said Higgins.

“I’m super excited because my roommate was on the Region 6 team and I beat her. So now I can hang my winning ribbon on my doorway,” laughed Jefferson.

The teams in competition included Sudbury (Region 1), Carleton (Region 2), Prince Edward (Region 3), Halton (Region 4), Huron (Region 5) and Oxford (Region 6).

“We’re really proud of the team and all of the work they’ve put in over the past few months to prepare for the competition,” said Head Coach Foran.

In order for teams to participate at the Provincial Go For The Gold competition they must have competed at and won their local and regional levels. This weekend’s competition presented the ultimate challenge to members by testing their skills and understanding of 4-H project material as well as general knowledge of 4-H, agriculture, food, nutrition and current events.

“4-H is all about building skills and learning to do by doing and I’ve heard stories about obstacles and surprises and every team has fought through those to get here and have this experience today,” said Debra Brown, Executive Director, 4-H Ontario. “I hope you take many good memories of your experience today, and congratulations to everyone for all that you’ve learned and accomplished.”

For more Go For The Gold coverage check out our Youtube Channel for a video covering the event and interviews with our winners here!

Region 5 - Huron GFTG Champions. From left - right: Head Coach Mary Ellen Foran, Reba Jefferson, Jolande Oudshoorn, Melissa Higgins, Jeanette Schramm, Alternate Kate Higgins, Assistant Coach Marita Oudshoorn.



Region 4 Go For The Gold Competition

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Region 4 Go For The Gold Competition.  Go For The Gold (GFTG) is a competition where teams from 4-H Clubs compete in trivia-style games answering multiple choice, true or false, and short answer questions based on a variety of 4-H project manuals. Winners of the local competitions then move on to represent their Association at a competition between 4-H Regions and then at the provincial level. The competition I got to attend was between the Associations of Region 4. It was certainly entertaining, even funny at times, and I was glad to have been there. Read more about the competition below!

The Region 4 competition took place in Fergus, Ontario, with six teams representing Hamilton-Wentworth, Brant, Haldimand, Halton, Wellington and North Simcoe 4-H Associations. Most of the teams arrived at 9 a.m. with their coaches and were dressed in matching team colours.  The games started at 9:30 a.m. and ran until 3:30 p.m. with a break for a pizza and ice cream sundae lunch around noon.

Most of the attendees are return competitors that keep joining teams GFTG year after year for a variety of reasons.  The North Simcoe team says they like GFTG events because they are competitive, while the Halton team enjoys the events because it gives them a chance to learn things about different Clubs.  Everyone seems to have fun at these events and anticipate each competition, especially the Wellington team who joked, “We look forward to the free lunch”.

Halton Team
The Halton Team enjoying their ice cream sundaes

The competitors aren’t the only ones who have fun. Some of the questions and responses had the audience laughing along with the judges and coaches. Coaches travel with the teams to provide mentoring, pep talks, and to keep track of the scores. “We come to keep a positive vibe going in the team,” Raymond Wilson, coach of the Hamilton-Wentworth team, explains.  Carol Pollock, one of the co-coaches for the Wellington team, explains, “I get a satisfaction in hearing our team answer the questions correctly. Just to know that they learned something and retained that knowledge and now are using it in the games. It’s a good feeling”.

It’s a friendly game and gives Members a chance to learn a bit about other Clubs and meet and interact with people from different counties.

4-H Ambassador Samantha Klaver was also at the Region 4 Go For The Gold competition. Samantha was asked to attend the event as a 4-H representative and help keep score for some of the games. Samantha has competed in Go For The Gold competitions for several years and helped with the Huron and Perth Association competitions earlier this summer as well. “I think these competitions are great because it’s a friendly game and gives Members a chance to learn a bit about other Clubs and meet and interact with people from different counties,” she explains.

Ambassador Samantha Klaver
4-H Ambassador Samantha Klaven keeping score

After four rounds of games, the final match came down to two closely scored teams: Haldimand and Wellington. After a close match, with both teams quick to hit their buzzers, the Haldimand county team eventually won. The Haldimand team, an all-family team comprised of four siblings and one cousin joke that they might have had an advantage going into this competition. “Because we are all related and have been around each other for so long we know how each of us thinks and which of us knows what. We also push each other to do better and are supportive of one another at the competitions,” one of the team Members, Nicole Huitema, explains. In preparing for the competition the team, also knows as the Huitema family, had a unique approach. “We would study together, each of us taking two or three of the manuals to study. That way, between the five of us, we covered everything,” another team Member, Stephanie Huitema, explains. After all their hard work, the win was well deserved. The Haldimand team will go on to represent Region 4 at the provincial competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in November. Click here to see more photos!

Haldimand, the winning team
The Haldimand team, the winners