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. 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

A Year In Review

As 2018 comes to a close I look back at all the amazing opportunities and adventures I had this past year. This year has flown by and I am glad that I got to make some amazing memories and meet some incredible people.

My year started off by being chosen to represent 4-H Ontario as one of the 2018 4-H Ambassadors. This was the start of an adventure with five other incredible individuals that I had the chance to watch this amazing program shape into the leaders they are today.

In March I applied to become a Youth Service Leader with 4-H Canada’s new program – Hands to Larger Service. I am truly grateful to have been selected as one of 24 YSL from across the country, because this program gave me a summer that I won’t forget.

In May, I attended a training weekend for this new program – Hands to Larger Service. Over this weekend I got the opportunity to meet 4-H members from across the country. I can now say I know people from every province in Canada! Over this weekend we learned a lot about what it takes to organize a community service project. We also had the chance to go to the Canadian McDonald’s headquarters and meet the CEO of McDonald’s Canada, John Betts.  This weekend was an amazing learning experience and inspired me to look for ways to give back in my community.

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of August I had a unique experience. The Canada Service Corps put on a conference for all their partners to attend. I was chosen as one of three YSLs to attend this conference. This was an awesome networking opportunity because there were people there from 13 youth organizations, government officials, and also people from around the world that work to help youth serve their community. The goal of the conference was to brainstorm ideas as to how to change the culture of service in Canada, how to get more youth involved and how to keep them involved. It was a very unique experience to be apart of. I came home from the conference inspired and with connections to people across the country and around the world.

The Service project I led in Nova Scotia as well as the Service project Morgan Passmore ran in Manitoba were also chosen to be a part of a video for 4-H Canada. The video shows what the Hands to Larger Service program is all about. You can watch the video here.

Over the next two months I worked with my club in Barrington, Nova Scotia to plan their community engagement project. The Hands to Larger Service project works in partnership with the Club To Club Exchange. My partnered club exchanged with Oakville, Manitoba’s 4-H club. I had the opportunity to travel to Oakville, Manitoba and help my fellow YSL run her community service project at the end of July. I was put up by an amazing family that took Morgan (the other YSL) and I around site seeing in Winnipeg. The community service project that we ran in Manitoba was a community fun day for local youth and new comers to Canada, where they had the chance to learn about 4-H. This was a wonderful experience because I got to see the difference we were making in the lives of these youth who all left with smiles on their faces.

After I came back from Manitoba, I worked to put the finishing touches on the community service project I would be running that would be taking place at the start of August. When in Nova Scotia, Morgan and I were put up by another amazing 4-H family. (this experience has reminded me the 4-H community is filled with some of the most kind and generous people). My time in Nova Scotia was awesome, we had a beach lobster boil and beach clean up on the first day when we arrived. Our community service project was to build a pavilion at the local exhibition grounds, we also built animal pens for sheep and goats and painted the horse ring and cleaned up the barns. It was amazing to see the all the 4-H members working together to help this community with something they needed.

I had two other firsts this year, with 4-H. As an Ambassador I had the opportunity to be a facilitator at Youth Adventure Camp. As someone who attended YAC four times, this was an eye-opening experience to see the other side of YAC. You get to truly appreciate how much effort and energy the facilitators put into the camp to make it the best week of your summer. At the end of the week I was dead tired but so thankful to have been a part of a 4-H opportunity that gave me as a camper the chance to learn and grow. One thing I loved about this opportunity was watching the campers come out of there comfort zone, try new things, make new friends and learn. In the picture below is one of my favourite moments from camp, a camper who would not talk to other campers at the beginning of the week, taking charge of this team-building activity and leading the group with confidence. This is what YAC is all about and I am proud to have been apart of it.

The second opportunity that was a first for me was attending the TD Classic as a participant. This was another eye-opening experience of how little sleep you can get and still be a functioning person. This was also an opportunity to reconnect with 4-H members I had met in the past at camps and conferences. Those few days were filled with laughs and memories made. I am thankful to have been a part of this amazing opportunity.

 

 

 

 

I am so thankful for everything 4-H has done for me this past year and over the last nine years. I am proud to call myself a 4-H member and will continue to encourage youth to get involved in this one of kind program even after my time as Ambassador is finished. I am excited to see what 2019 will hold for me, but am also sad that my time representing 4-H Ontario is coming to a close. These past two years have truly been fantastic and I wish the incoming Ambassadors all the best!

 

 

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 FS. 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-H Impact Felt In Peel

By Ryan Métivier

4-H was on full display throughout Peel Region in 2016, including the many barn quilts that 4-H members created that made their way all over the region. The Barn Quilt project was new to Peel 4-H Association in 2016. A barn quilt is an eight-foot square (and larger) painted replica of fabric quilt blocks installed on barns. Barn quilts draw attention to Canada’s rural landscapes, timber frame and family farms.

These barn quilts were created by 17 members (who made two each) between the ages of 10 and 20 years old and were on display at Caledon Town Hall, fall fairs, the Caledon library, the Alton Mill Art Gallery, at the Farm Conference at Palgrave Equestrian Park, along a main road in Brampton creating a Barn Quilt Trail and also to be included at the Canada 150 exhibit at the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives in 2017. The club was run again in the summer and remaining boards were offered to senior members. Achievement programs were held in both April and September where members explained what their quilts represented in their life.

After deciding to run this project, leader Carol Williams came across the opportunity to apply for a grant through proceeds from the Caledon Councillor’s Community Golf Tournament. Priority was given to organizations that would present a unique opportunity to showcase the Town of Caledon. Peel 4-H Association received funding at the completion of the project for the full amount of their proposed budget.

“Our members loved this project and many are eager to do it again,” says Williams. “Once again members gained self-confidence in themselves using new equipment and techniques and participating in the Achievement Program.”

The project gained praise in the community with responses including, “I didn’t know there was a youth group with so many members in our community,” to “what a great way to celebrate our heritage.” Peel 4-H Association inspired other community groups to apply for the Canada 150 grant so more barn quilts can be painted and the Ontario Barn Quilt Trail has also contacted Peel 4-H about their project.

One of the brightest lights in Peel 4-H Association shone on Julie French during 2016. One of 4-H Ontario’s Ambassadors for the past year, Julie represented Peel and the 4-H program across the province. The year saw her attend Discovery Days in Regions 1, 2, and 4, the Ontario 4-H Foundation Golf-West Tournament, Ambassador Sponsor Tour and UPI Charity Golf Tournament. Julie’s biggest highlight though likely came at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair where she attended the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic. After showing in the dairy club for eight years, she qualified to represent her association in Toronto. While there, Julie had the honour of exhibiting the Grand Champion Calf – Quality Solomon Lust; an experience she said still seems surreal.

“This year’s Royal was such a humbling experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” she says. “It makes me truly realize the value of the 4-H program and all it has to offer. Hard work, patience and teamwork are all valuable lessons that 4-H teaches members.”

Success at The Royal didn’t end there though, as Peel’s team consisting of Julie, Jamie Laidlaw, Allison French, Robert Matson, Nicole French, as well as coaches Tom and Heather French claimed first place in the Provincial Go For The Gold Competition.