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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

My name is Robert McKinlay and I am a 2017 4-H Ontario Ambassador. 4-H has been a huge part of my upbringing with both my parents having completed the program and strongly encouraging me to take advantage of all the opportunities it has to offer. My family calves out 200 cows on our family farm near Ravenna, Ontario, raising purebred Red Angus cattle along purebred Simmental cattle and crossbreds.

4-H Calf Club has been one of the most rewarding clubs I have taken part in because I am able to both share my knowledge of the beef industry but also learn other people’s stories and gain knowledge from them. I have completed 33 4-H projects to date and can’t wait to continue my 4-H journey by taking part in both the Ambassador Program but also in being a Youth Leader with my local 4-H Calf Club.

Other clubs that I have been involved in are 4-H Sheep Club, 4-H Fall Fair Club, 4-H Ploughing Club and 4-H Mechanics Club. I have been able to take part in both livestock and life skills clubs allowing me to take advantage of many 4-H opportunities. My favourite event run by 4-H in my area is the Grey Bruce Judging Competition in Walkerton, Ontario. This event allows for members to practice their judging skills as well as having the opportunity to network with other members of the 4-H community.

Outside of 4-H I am very involved with the farm working alongside my dad and our other employees. I have been accepted to the University of Guelph for Honors in Agriculture and hope to return from school with more skills and ideas to add to the farm to help it evolve with the markets.

As an Ambassador I have been able to take part in two events; College Royal at the University of Guelph and the Durham Farm Connections Open House. At both events I have had a great time meeting with the members of the community and engaging them in conversations about what 4-H has been in the past and what 4-H will be in the future. While at these events I have also had a great opportunity to get to know some of my fellow Ambassadors. They are all truly outstanding individuals both in their 4-H careers and in their lives outside of the program. I am honoured that I get to be a part of such an amazing team of individuals and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for us.