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 2017, 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 GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

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

A Backstage look at what its like to be a 4-H Ontario Ambassador.

Over the past nine months I have had the privilege to represent 4-H Ontario at many amazing events. At these events I had the opportunity to speak with sponsors, 4-H members, leaders and members of the public. This is what everyone already knows about the ambassador program so allow me to give you…… the story behind the pictures.

Where it all started… Training weekend

This photo was taken after we were all named the 2017 4-H Ontario ambassadors. It’s a fun picture, but what happened after the picture was even funnier. We dropped Robert, not on his head thankfully. He was like a cat and landed with grace. This would be a great start to great friendships we would all make, over the course of the weekend we became more comfortable with each other and got to learn more about one another. While to most, Sarah may seem like a quiet girl, once she gets to know you there is no stopping her joking with you. Even though she made me the butt of most of her jokes, I was totally fine with this because it led to the start of a great friendship of trading jokes between each other.

The Competition… the Durham Farm Connection

At this event Robert and I got to know each other better, I learned just how funny Robert was, I don’t think I have ever laughed more. Our job at this event was to talk to the parents and kids about 4-H and hopefully spark some interest in 4-H. I had brought some 4-H stickers with me, so Robert and I decided to attract the kids to our booth with stickers so we could talk to them and their parents about 4-H. We made it in to a competition trying to see who could get the most kids to take a sticker. Apparently, my approach to giving out stickers might have been a little “aggressive” (according to Robert). Let just say, Robert had more luck with the kids and won our little competition.

Oops, did I forget to tell you?… 4-H West Golf tournament

This is probably my favourite picture taken this past year and one of my favourite events. Even though because of the rain, we were unable to golf that day, we made the best of it. Our job was to go around to different tables and ask the sponsors trivia questions. This lead to many laughs as you can see in this photo. Our questions lead to many debates at the table and some pretty interesting answers. For example, the question: “how many litres of water does a cow drink to produce 1 litre of milk” the Scotiabank guy answered 100,000 litres. This lead to that guy being roasted for the rest of day and many jokes being traded. While that is what happened in this photo what happened later that day would become one of my favourite ambassador memories.

Robert and I were to sing the 4-H grace at dinner, I knew the grace so I wrote it down for Robert to learn. I guess I forgot to mention to Robert that the 4-H grace is sung. So, when we were called up to give the grace Robert began to speak it while I sang it, thankfully John Drummond was there to save that day and started sing as well. It was probably the funniest and most awkward experience; good thing Robert has a good sense of humour about it.

The Tradition… East-central junior show

This is a picture of my two sisters and I. While there is no particularly funny story behind this photo, there is a story. As many of you may know, my older sister Julie was a 2016 4-H Ontario Ambassador, and as an ambassador John Drummond requested her to come hand out ribbons at the Junior Show. John then asked me and my younger sisters to be Poop Ninjas (my lifelong dream… no joke). When we arrived however John found a more prestigious job for us, or at least that is how he phrased it. We become the ring marshals. One year later John would be requesting me to be the ambassador to come and hand out ribbons at the show, he then bribed my sisters with hamburgers to be the ring marshals. At the end of the show John informed my younger sister Allison that she would need to become a 2018 4-H Ontario Ambassador so we could keep this tradition going.

The Opportunity… Growmark AGM

This is the part of my post is where I would like to thank our wonderful sponsor, UPI Energy FS and GROWMARK. Without them this program would not be possible, especially this photo. I was the 4-H Ontario Ambassador chosen to attend the Growmark AGM in Chicago. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had! I got to meet so many amazing people, from Growmark executives to Future Farmers of America. The connections I made were incredible. I also had the chance to learn a lot not only about Growmark but also some valuable life skills. There were speakers at the AGM talking about a variety of topics from living life fearlessly to using big data, and my personal favourite was Doug Flipp. We as young leaders had the chance to take a behind the scenes tour of the Chicago Hilton. This was amazing. Our role as young leaders at the AGM was to be flag bearer. It was an honour to have been able to carry the Ontario flag into the opening ceremony. Janice Johnson the Ontario young leaders chaperone (for lack of a better word) was amazing. She treated us like her kids and made sure we got the complete Chicago experience; from going to the top of the Willis Tower, to eating my weight in deep dish pizza. We also went on an architecture boat tour of the city where we learned about Chicago’s rich history. We also had the chance to go to Navy Pier and ride the Ferris wheel and eat at Bubba Gumps. Last and certainly my favourite, we got to see the Bean!  On our final day, which is when this picture was taken, I had the honour to give the invocation at breakfast before the closing ceremonies.

This was such an amazing trip and there are no words to descried how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to go and represent 4-H Ontario.

Oh the places we’ve gone and the destinations ahead.

As our ambassadorship is drawing to a close I have taken the time to look at all the amazing events we have been able to attend as ambassadors, the people we have been able to speak to and the impact we have made. This program has not only allowed me to further develop many of the life skills that 4-H has taught me, I have also had the chance to make life long connections. As my ambassador time comes to an end and I say goodbye to these five amazing people, I will be left with the many incredible memories of our time together. I would like to thank our sponsors UPI Energy FS and GROWMARK for making this experience possible, without you I would not have become great friends with these amazing individuals. I know after our reign as ambassadors is over, we will all go on to do amazing things and continue to live the 4-H motto, by learning to do by doing.

One final special thanks to Marianne and Lindsay for keeping this ship running smoothly. Without you two there would be no program. Thank you for all that you have done for me and the ambassador program. You ladies are my role models. Thank you for being amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 2017, 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 GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for your event please complete the request form.

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

Over the past 8 years, 4-H has been a major part of my life. It has shaped me into the person I am today. Giving me skills I will be able to use for the rest of my life. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people from across the province and make many life long connections.

Through my years with 4-H, it has given me many opportunities to expand my skill set and learn new things. The opportunity to be a 4-H Ontario Ambassador will allow me to further expand my skills and share what the program has done for me and why I love it so much!

Something that is unique about the 4-H program is its motto “Learn To Do By Doing”. 4-H encourages members to learn new things by trying them. It pushes members out of their comfort zone and into a world of new possibilities.

I can honestly say without 4-H I would never have learned how to: sew, latch hook, embroider, make balloon animals, lead a cow, grow a giant vegetable, pull a tractor, make a barn quilt, build a seed mosaic, make maple syrup, public speak, bake a pie, judge hay and the list goes on.

4-H gives members a safe place to try new things and learn from their mistakes. The mistakes that I have made when trying to learn something new, have allowed me to develop skills in patience and problem solving. Something I have learned from my 4-H experience is that you don’t always succeed on your 1st attempt, and in the case of growing a giant vegetable the 5th attempted didn’t work either. But that’s the best part about 4-H, even though I haven’t been successful in growing anything larger than a golf ball, I still join that club every year in the hopes that I will learn something new and “maybe” this will be the year to grow a giant pumpkin.

4-H has also taught me that hard work does pay off. That if you try hard enough you will succeed. This lesson can be applied to almost every aspect of your life and that is the best thing about 4-H. The life lessons you learn when at 4-H you can apply to other aspects of your life and you can use them for the rest of your life.

As a 4-H Ontario ambassador this is what I hope to achieve:

  • To inspire new member/leaders to join this amazing program.
  • To thank the volunteers and leader for all their hard work and time they have put into the program, because without them there would be no program.
  • To thank our generous sponsors for all their support and to hopefully inspire new sponsors to support 4-H.
  • To remind current 4-H members of why 4-H is an important part of their lives and that if they continue with the program it will give them a number of benefits and opportunities.
  • Lastly to inspire members to live the 4-H pledge, by continuing to learn new things, making friendships and staying loyal to them, giving back to the community whenever possible, leading a healthy life and doing this not only to better themselves but also other 4-H members, their community and hopefully the country.

Meet 4-H’r Nicole French

4-H offers a variety of Clubs to ensure every Member can get the most from their 4-H experience. From chocolate to chickens to gardening, there’s absolutely a 4-H Club for every Member to enjoy participating in.

In addition to learning the tangible Club skills, Members also learn a variety of transferable skills that will benefit them now and in the future. To provide a better idea of what a Member can learn in a 4-H Club, we had 4-H Member, Nicole French, share her 4-H story. After all, what better way to understand what 4-H means to its Members than hearing it from the Members themselves.
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My 4-H Story
By Nicole French

Nicole FrenchOver my two years in 4-H I have learned many new things, made new friends and faced new challenges.  I have participated in over 10 Clubs.  Some of my favorite Clubs are the Garden Tractor Pulling Club, Maple Syrup, Sew Easy and the Dairy Club.

In the Fall, I was in the Grow A Large Vegetable Club. I was trying to grow a really big pumpkin.  We were given a seed from an 800 lb pumpkin.  We learned how to file down the seed and then plant it in some soil.  We then got to bring home our seed to look after and grow. This is where the fun begins.  I had to water it and keep it in a window with sunlight. When it got big enough, I had to transplant it into my garden.  Then came the next challenge…….bunny rabbits!  So I can control watering and weeding my pumpkin…..but how was I going to keep Mr. Bunny Rabbit out of my garden.  Well, my Oma brought me some chicken wire over to put around my pumpkin.  I also put out some stakes with pie plates on them.  I think the noise they make when the wind blows them, scares the bunny rabbit away.

I really like watching my pumpkin grow.  It gets bigger every day.  This is a good example of our Club motto, Learn To Do By Doing.  This is a really hands on Club, that requires me to stay focused and learn new things by trying different strategies.

I have also had some great help from my Leaders.  They have really made the Clubs fun and interesting.  They help answer many questions I have.  The Club Leaders have been a big part of my 4-H experience.

One thing I really like about 4-H is reciting the 4-H pledge at every meeting.

I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service and my Health to better living for my Club, my community and my country.

This pledge helps me keep focused on what 4-H really means.  It reminds me to live a good life by staying focused on what I want to do.  The best part is I get to learn all of this by doing things.  That is the 4-H motto to Learn To Do By Doing.

When we have to say our pledge at the start of every meeting, some people may think, “Oh we have to say that silly pledge again?”  But for me it reminds me to think positive, help others, stay healthy and overall, be nice to everyone I meet.  I will take my 4-H experience with me wherever I go and remind people that no matter what you think you know, you can always learn more.  That is what 4-H has shown me.

I encourage everyone to give 4-H a chance to try new things and make new friends. When you say 4-H the first thing that pops into my mind is an awesome, fun and active experience.  I’ve invited my friends to come and experience 4-H. I love 4-H and everything that I am learning.  It is helping me to become a better person with a wide range of skills.

Nicole French is a 4-H Member from Region 4. She has been in 4-H for two years and has already completed an amazing 13 projects! Nicole has also taken on many executive positions in her Clubs including Club President, News Reporter and Treasurer.