My 2016 4-H Project

Submitted by: Sandeep Sinha

I was not too keen, and my father was very determined to get us to the Glenburnie United Church on Feb 26, for the Frontenac 4-H Rally. I did not know what to expect and I was probably the only city kid in the Rally.

However, the 4-H folks were very friendly and we quickly got into presentations about the various clubs through which we could do our projects. I was pretty certain that I wanted to do Dairy, but I was a total novice and did not even know the difference between a Holstein and a Jersey.

I came out of the meeting with plenty of enrolment forms, information and was less anxious about what lay ahead. After the Rally, we had our first meeting of the Frontenac Dairy Club. At the meeting, our Dairy leaders explained how the competition season works, leading up to the Achievement Day and the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair. 

When we got home we got a follow-up call from Becky Lamendeau, our Dairy leader, explaining in more detail, the work that was expected out of the members and how much practice lead to achievement.

In April, we showed up for enrolment day, and I signed up for the Dairy Club. It was there that I met Natasha Abrams, my Dairy leader, on whose farm, Hickory Acres, I would spend the next six months practicing my showmanship skills with a newborn Jersey calf, named Vaida. I set up my once-a-week schedule with her for showmanship practice, for the next two months.

Once the school year got over, I entered my first competition at Shannonville. It was an eye-opener to see the amount of effort needed to prepare the calf for an event, and I got the judge’s critique, which was very helpful.

I decided to double my efforts to improve my skills, and since the summer vacations had started, I was able to go to Hickory Acres twice a week for the next two months. All that work must have helped, because when I entered my next competition at Lansdowne, I was placed in higher ranks.

That gave me a lot of confidence, and I was now in a better frame of mind approaching the Achievement Day at the Kingston Fall Fair. The Fair exceeded my expectations and I did very well, which then set me up for the Regional Fair at Metcalfe. At Metcalfe, the level of competition was higher and my calf was a bit temperamental, but I placed in the higher ranks.

So then, it was all set up for our leaders to identify which Dairy Club members would represent the best chance for Frontenac 4-H to place in the higher ranks at the Dairy Classic in Toronto. I got my call, and jumped at the chance. I was very grateful for the opportunity, because many members had put many hours into their projects, and to be selected to represent Frontenac was an honour.

So, then we went about approaching sponsors to help us pay for the expense in getting the team over to Toronto, which included hotel, meals, gear and supplies. The whole month of October was spent chasing down sponsorship and checks, as well as, getting last-minute practice.

We finally departed in a convoy for Toronto on the morning of Sunday, November 6. It was an uneventful ride and when we finally showed up at Exhibition Place, we had to do a drive-around to unload the supplies and assemble the stall, before the animals arrived on the second trailer, which was following us, a couple of hours behind.

The next two days were spent in getting the animals used to their new surroundings and keeping them well-rested, exercised, well-fed and watered. Finally, it was show-time, and I had to get into my whites to be ready to lead my calf for the Showmanship category. I was hoping that my calf would not get temperamental, and after I got into the Ring of Excellence, the next 30 minutes just went by, as we went through the presentation. The next day was similar, except this time it was the Conformation category. This time around, there were no butterflies in the stomach, since I knew what to expect, leading up to this moment. 

The next few hours after the competition were anti-climactic, but we were not done yet because our stalls had to be judged and we had to make an additional trip to the Ring for the Group of Three event. When we were done, finally, we came back to dismantle and pack the stall into our supply trailer and the animals in the second trailer. As we got on to the road to leave, I felt very sad and empty, and as the lights of downtown Toronto winked goodbye, I fell asleep.

The Ambassador Beat: Julie 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 2016, 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 LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

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

Once-in-a-Lifetime Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

As 4-H members we all work towards different goals with our 4-H projects. For some, they strive to improve their skills within their respective club. For others, they work towards that red ribbon at the local fairs. But for many, the goal is to exhibit their projects at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This year’s Royal was unlike any other that I have ever attended for many reasons! It demonstrated to me the importance of teamwork, patience and hard work!



Go For The Gold

This year the Peel 4-H Association put together a Go For The Gold team for the first time in a few years. The team from Peel consisted of Allison French, Nicole French, Jamie Laidlaw, Robert Matson and myself. We met the deadline for entry on the last possible day, studied intensely for two weeks and then attended the Region 4 competition in Georgetown. To all of our surprise, we fared the competition and qualified for the provincial competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! After many hours of group studying (sometimes questionable whether we were actually studying or just hanging out together as a team), we took to Toronto for the provincial competition. The competition was fierce! In the end, all of the hard work our team put in paid off and we ended up winning the prestigious title. A special thanks to our leaders Tom and Heather French.

Artistic Display

Another first for the Peel 4-H Association this year was running a seed mosaic club (led by leaders Lindsay Bebbington, Brenda Bebbington and Darlene Downey). This club was one to remember, testing patience and creative ability. Each of the six members created a seed mosaic that we were determined to finish for the local fairs with the end goal of entering them in the competition at the Royal. After hours of work, some minor hiccups and individual sorting and placing seeds with tweezers, four boards made it to the Royal. Peel did amazingly well for the first time participating in this competition- finishing with a 1st (myself), 4th (Allison French), 5th (Nicole French) and 8th (Robert Matson) place. All exhibitors in this competition spent a HUGE amount of time on the creations, creating a beautiful display of a unique club in the 4-H program! A special thank you to SeCan for their support for this competition!

TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic
Hard Work

I have been showing in the dairy club for eight years, experiencing all the highs and lows that exhibiting livestock comes with. You invest so much time and energy into training your heifer and getting her ready for the shows in pursuit of success. A huge milestone of the year being qualifying to represent your association at the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic in Toronto. This year’s Classic was very special for Peel as we changed our display thanks to a younger member’s initiative (a special thank you to Allison French) and placed 8th - a huge accomplishment for our association! Several of our members also ended up qualifying from their heat to the finals of their classes! I had the incredible experience of exhibiting the Grand Champion Calf- Quality Solomon Lust. An unbelievable experience that even writing about now seems surreal. I want to thank Quality Holsteins for letting me borrow their heifer as my 4-H project for the year. A special thank you to the amazing 4-H volunteers of Peel, the TD 4-H Canadian Dairy Classic Committee and the Sponsors, and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for their support of the Classic. Without the volunteers and sponsors, this once-in-a lifetime Royal experience wouldn’t have been possible.

I am so thankful to the members, volunteers and sponsors of the 4-H program. This year’s Royal was such a humbling experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It makes me truly realize the value of the 4-H program and all it has to offer! These were only three events at the Royal this year, with so many other opportunities for 4-H members to exhibit their projects. Hard work, patience and teamwork are all valuable lessons that 4-H teaches members.


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.