My 4-H Beginning

Because the pages of our blog have so far been filled with stories from Alumni, Members and Volunteers, I thought it was time to get to know the 4-H Ontario staff. What better place to start than with the 4-H Ontario Executive Director, Wraychel Horne. Wraychel joined the 4-H Ontario staff team in 2011. Her dedication and passion to the program are second to none.

Being that it is spring time, which is the time of new beginnings, Wraychel decided to share her story about how she began with 4-H. Read on to hear Wraychel’s story. You can also learn more about Wraychel here >

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My 4-H Beginning
By Wraychel Horne

Wraychel HorneMy 4-H beginning may not be as traditional as most, but, it is an honest moment that had a big impact in my life. It started when I was a very young child with a simple question. Although it did not begin under the happiest of circumstances, it was one of those moments that has been ingrained in my mind and it has truly helped shape who I am today.

My family roots are in rural PEI.  When I was less than four, my grandfather passed away.  My grandmother was tasked with making the selections for the grave marker that would commemorate both her husband’s life and her own, once the time came.

Visiting home the next year, I asked what the little flower with H’s on it, beside my grandmother’s name, was when we visited the cemetery.  As you can likely guess, it was the 4-H Clover.  My parents explained to me then that it was “Gran’s club about teaching”.

Over the years my relationship grew with my iconic matriarchal Grandmother and I came to learn the full impact of what 4-H meant to her life – sharing and learning, building friendships and community. My aunts all lead clubs.  One as a youth herself was selected to attend the National 4-H Membership Conference.  I watched my cousins prepare for meetings and shows over many summers back home.

My own career grew too – in youth development, community engagement, consulting and program planning.  I worked for not-for-profit organizations and in municipal government.  My family was always supportive but they did not always understand my work.  Now having joined the 4-H fold, it is a homecoming of sorts.  My family entirely relates to what I am doing.

Since starting with the staff team as 4-H Ontario’s Executive Director, I have had many “firsts”: Achievement nights, Regional Board meetings, Town Halls, starting a pen pal exchange with a Member, golf tournaments, CAM, teleconferences, fairs, National Member’s Conference, pins and hugs.  Even standing in the centre ring of the Royal.

Wraychel with Volunteers
Wraychel with Anne and Marion, two 4-H Ontario Volunteers

I profoundly feel like I have come full circle and I am so grateful.  I am able to use my skills to serve 4-H.  I feel at home thanks to the warm conversations with Volunteers, Members, Alumni and parents.  All thanks to my grandmother for beginning my love for 4-H.