The Ambassador Beat: Laura DeKlein

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 Laura DeKlein, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Middlesex 4-H Association

4-H New Years Resolutions

Hi, my name is Laura DeKlein and this year I have achieved and participated in many events, activities, and conferences as a 4-H Ontario Ambassador and member. My goal for 2017 is to encourage all youth, volunteers, and participants to do the same. Need some ideas? Here are some ways I encourage you to get started:

1. Apply for Opportunities

The opportunities available are endless and extremely valuable. Opportunities vary on local, provincial and even international levels. Just rake the risk and apply! This includes clubs, camps, exchanges, competitions, scholarships and much more. Visit www.4-hontario.ca and start/continue your journey today!

2. ACT Enthusiastic and you’ll BE enthusiastic

It is important when approaching any situation to act enthusiastic. It is important to influence those around you and be a team player despite potential lack of interest. This will open so many doors and opportunities for you and those around you. When you open the door, there are so many more ‘doors’ and opportunities. It all starts with you and the attitude you put forward not only in the first impression, but also for every time you approach something.

3. Take Risks

This may seem crazy but risk taking is key in order to diversify your life – appropriate and safe risks of course! By risks, I mean beating your negative conscience and saying I CAN or I WILL. Personally, I have achieved this through 4-H in 2015 and have been building on this since PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp). Be yourself – but apply for what you want, work for what you want and be who you want to be despite all else. 4-H provides so many opportunities for you to apply yourself to new risks and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to do so – learn to do by doing.

It is my pleasure to be able to write a New Years blog post as a 2016 4-H Ontario Ambassador. Thank-you to all of the 4-H Ontario staff and volunteers for the opportunity to advocate for this program, and to Growmark, Inc. and UPI Energy LP for such generous sponsorship. In closing, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities 4-H Ontario provides. I wish all a prosperous New Year.

The Ambassador Beat: Vicki Brisson

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 your event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Vicki Brisson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Russell 4-H Association

4-H – My Club, my Community, my Country

4-H is an incredibly unique organization providing youth with all the necessary tools, skills and abilities to become successful individuals that thrive in their personal and professional lives. As I attended a variety of 4-H events across the province this summer, I had the opportunity to experience first hand the importance of everyone supporting the 4-H program in any way, shape, or form; once again showing how the 4-H pledge is applicable to any 4-H events.

My club

4-H offers over 75 different club projects, with topics ranging from livestock, to scrapbooking, to paintball. However, these clubs rely entirely on volunteer leaders that offer their time, knowledge and passion. Furthermore, they act as role models for their members, who then become mentors to younger members themselves.

My community

4-H creates a tight-knit community, whether it be local businesses sponsoring 4-H in their community or 4-H clubs running events such as food drives or seasonal clean-ups. 4-H also relies on the generosity of their community to find facilities willing to host them, whether it be farms opening their doors to livestock clubs, or churches lending their kitchen to cooking clubs.

My country

4-H offers many opportunities for youth outside their county, at the regional, provincial, national, or even international levels. To name only a few: Discovery Days, Provincial Leadership Camp, 4-H Ontario Ambassador program, 4-H TD Classic and youth exchanges. All these events give members an opportunity to travel and discover their country in a unique way while making lifelong friends and memories and work on new skills. These events also have in common one thing: very generous sponsors. As a 4-H ambassador, I can truly say that without the help of Growmark and UPI, all we have accomplished throughout the year would not have been possible.

As the 4-H year is coming to an end, I would like to encourage every one of you my fellow 4-H’ers to join me and show appreciation by saying thank you to all your volunteers, sponsors, family members who help you along the way. We often forget these very important people along the way, but as National 4-H day is coming up on November 2nd, show your 4-H colours and show the world how proud you are to be a 4-H’er. That is the best Thank You Possible!

 4-H, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays

4-H est un organisme pour les jeunes qui vise à développer les aptitudes et connaissances nécessaires permettant aux jeunes de 9  à 21 ans de s’épanouir, autant dans leurs vies personnelles que professionnelles. J’ai pris part à une variété d’évenements à travers la province cet été, et j’ai pu constater à quel point le support des partenaires supportant le programme 4-H, de quelque façon que ce soit, est important. Laissez-moi vous présenter pourquoi les bénévoles et commanditaires sont essentiels au succès du programme, pour mon club, ma communauté, mon pays.

Mon club

4-H a développé et offre plus de 75 différents projets, sur des sujets aussi variés que bovins laitiers, scrapbooking et paintball. Cependant, ces clubs dépendent entièrement des bénévoles, qui offrent leur temps, leur savoir ainsi que leur passion. De plus, ils sont des modèles pour leurs membres, qui à leur tour deviennent mentors pour les membres juniors. C’est au niveau du club que la passion pour le 4-H est éveillée.  C’est là que tout commence. 

Ma communauté

4-H crée une communauté tissée-serrée. Que ce soit les entreprises locales commanditant les 4-H dans leur communauté ou les clubs 4-H organisant des évènements tels que des collectes de denrées non-périssables ou encore des corvées de nettoyage saisonnier dans les endroits publics, il y a de l’entraide.  Les compétences de leadership se développent par l’implication des jeunes dans l’organisation de ces activités communautaires.  Les clubs 4-H dépendent aussi sur la générosité de leur communauté afin de trouver des locaux désirant les accueillir, que ce soit une ferme qui ouvre ses portes à un club de bovins laitiers ou une église qui prête sa cuisine pour les clubs de cuisine.

Mon pays

4-H offre de nombreuses opportunités au niveau régional, provincial, national ou même international. Pour n’en nommer que quelque unes : les Discovery Days, le Provincial Leadership Camp, le programme d’ambassadeurs 4-H, la Classique TD et les échanges. Tous ces évènements offrent aux membres l’opportunité de voyager et de découvrir leur pays d’une façon unique tout en créant des amitiés et des souvenirs pour la vie. Ces évènements ont aussi toute une chose en commun : de très généreux commanditaires. En tant qu’ambassadrice, je peux réellement dire que sans l’aide de Growmark et UPI, tout ce que nous avons accompli durant l’été n’aurait pas été possible. 

Alors que l’année 4-H tire à sa fin, j’aimerais encourager les membres 4-H à démontrer leur appréciation, en remerciant tous leurs bénévoles, leurs commanditaires et les membres de leur famille qui les supportent. Il est souvent facile d’oublier ces personnes très importantes, mais lors de la journée nationale du 4-H qui approche, le 2 novembre prochain, démontrez vos couleurs 4-H, partagez avec le monde votre fierté d’être un membre 4-H. C’est souvent de simples petits gestes qui sont la meilleure façon de démontrer votre gratitude et reconnaissance. 

 

The Ambassador Beat: Sadie-Jane Hickson

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 Sadie-Jane Hickson, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Kawartha Lakes-Halliburton 4-H Association

For me, one of the most rewarding things about the 4-H program has been the opportunities to attend camps and conferences. I have learned so much during the education sessions, and can say I have met some of the most amazing and inspirational 4-H’ers ever. The 4-H program gives youth the opportunity to attend regional, provincial, national, and even international camps, conferences, exchanges and trips. These activities give youth the chance to meet and to connect with motivated and enthusiastic 4-H’ers.

Having returned from Youth Adventure Camp (YAC), midway through August, I have learned a bit more about how to prepare for a 4-H camp and feel these are some things to remember to bring:

Rain gear- Mother Nature always has a way of surprising you. It’s important to be prepared for anything, specifically rain in the summer months. While an umbrella or rain coat are handy to have, I recommend rubber boots or “crocs” for your feet and a rain poncho; embrace the bright yellow poncho and have fun with it!

A water bottle- Staying hydrated is always important, so you can participate in every activity!

Camp songs- When you’re at a campfire or in the dining hall, camp songs are always great to have. I know it’s always appreciated when a camper wants to lead a song WITH ACTIONS in front of the group and you always need songs for someone to sing when they have their elbows on the table.

Your NAME TAG- Nobody ever wants to embarrass anyone at camp, BUT it is always important to wear your name tag, so that everything runs smoothly. Name tags are important for sorting campers into groups and staying organized.

Plaid- This is a mistake I have made a couple times at camp. It is always a good idea to bring a plaid shirt to 4-H camp, no matter what type of camp it is. At some point during the camp you will want to be wearing plaid. Two-stepping anybody?

Anything funky! - I know this is also something I have just learned! Bringing something unique to wear is always fun. During one of the sessions, or at a meal, it’s nice to make the people around you smile with your amazingly bright knee-high socks.

A watch- It is so important to always be on time when you are at camp! Always try your best to not be the last person to the meeting place, or you may end up singing “Brown Squirrel”!

A spoon- There will be a time during camp that a game of spoons will break out. It cannot be stopped. Do your best to be armed with a spoon at all times, but if you aren’t, I know there is a big box full of them travelling in the 4-H Ontario games box.

Your favourite pillow- It’s the pillow you can’t sleep without, and always get the best night’s sleep with… Bring this so that you can fall asleep quickly when the facilitators say “Lights Out!” so you don’t get caught chatting. Plus, you will definitely need your sleep for the next day.

Smiles! – This may be the most important thing to remember to always have with you at camp, (besides your name tag). A smile makes you easier to talk to from a facilitator point of view, and makes you more approachable to campers! Always try your best to meet new people at camp; you won’t regret it, and you’ll make friends for life!

 

4-H Competitions Inspire Youth to Achieve

Written by: Ryan Métivier

Annually, 4-H sends a team of youth to compete in the 4-H and Youth National Judging Competition at the Canadian Western Agribition. In her third year of competing, Cassandra Gorrill set her sights on improving her results from years past and finishing in the top five of the competition. After two busy days of judging different classes and mingling with other teams and sponsors, Gorrill surpassed her goal by being named Grand Aggregate and gaining the opportunity to judge the First Lady Classic. 

Gorrill, of Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton 4-H Association, traveled to Regina for the competition with four other members and one chaperone to make up team Ontario. The competition is open to 4-H members and college and university students from across Canada. A member since 2006 when she could first join, Gorrill has been a member of numerous clubs as well as being a Youth Leader for Beef.

“I enjoy the people and skills the most in 4-H,” she says. “I love learning new things and teaching younger members all the skills I can pass along. I love the people involved with 4-H.”

On the third day of Agribition, winners were announced and Gorrill was thrilled to have placed in three classes:  Dairy Cows, Charolais Bull Calves and Barley Class. Then came the countdown of the top five spots and the realization she’d been named Grand Aggregate.

“When they announced my name as the Grand Aggregate I think I experienced shock,” says Gorrill. “I was happy and proud and couldn’t wait to call my mom, but as I walked up to receive my buckle and trophy, my hands began shaking and my tummy clenched with fear at the thought of judging the First Lady Classic.”

After getting over those initial nerves, she settled in and evaluated all the cattle the way she usually does, not worrying about how she would place them in relation to the more experienced judges. In the end she was right on point picking the champions of both the Futurity and the Bred Heifers categories.

“There was no greater honour than judging the First Lady Classic,” she says.

Gorrill says her time with 4-H directly prepared her for this opportunity by giving her the ability to have fun no matter what, the confidence to meet new people, to speak in public and the ability to judge different classes. Her county’s Evaluation Night and Peterborough Junior Day and Judge-It! Days exposed her to competitive judging and gave her the foundation for this competition.

“If I had to tell a youth who wasn’t yet involved in 4-H something, it would be that they were only a step away from making some of the best memories, building some of the best friendships and connections and experiencing the best opportunities that will impact you in the future,” says Gorrill. “4-H is great big family filled with people who want to help you explore your passions.”

Team 4-H Ontario at the Canadian Western Agribition. Caleigh Van Kampen, Dufferin Courtney Van Kampen, Dufferin Cassandra Gorrill, Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton Julie French, Peel Jessica Lasby, Wellington Also attending with the team as Chaperone: Dawn Van Kampen

The Ambassador Beat: Logan Emiry

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 Logan Emiry, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Sudbury 4-H Association

Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned at 4-H

4-H is full of life lessons. Lessons can be found everywhere in the 4-H program, not only from 4-H clubs like life skills clubs, sewing and cooking clubs. Some lessons come from 4-H camps or trips. Others come from leaders and fellow members. But most importantly every lesson is valuable and can be applied to life! Here are my favourites that I use every single day:

Enjoy everything and dance in the rain

4-H trips, exchanges and events can come with lots of ups and downs. 4-H has taught me that no matter what comes my way I can overcome it with a positive attitude! On my second 4-H exchange to Alberta learning to deal with tough situations and bad weather was key. Learning to dance in the rain made me lifelong friends and some great memories too!

Stepping out of your comfort zone leads to personal growth

4-H camp is one of the best places to try something new. My experience at Future Leaders in Action this year was proof of that. I spent my week stepping out of my comfort zone while encouraging others to do the same. With such a supportive group behind me it was easy to grow as a leader. I strive to step out of my comfort zone every single day and help others to do the same!

Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic!

One of my favourite 4-H lessons ever comes from Provincial Leadership Camp. 4-H camp was so much fun and the friends I made at camp was an awesome experience. PLC inspired me to be a happy and energetic person every single day! I attempt to make every 4-H club, event and activity day as fun as PLC with my enthusiasm! Just remember to act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic!

Try new things and meet new people

4-H has given me so many opportunities to try new things, travel new places and meet great people all along the way! Through these experiences I have learned the more you try the more you learn and the more fun you have! Meeting great people has given me connections across my province, country and across the world. Meeting people is my favourite part of 4-H and you get to hear all of their great experiences through 4-H. This year I am excited to continue my travels through 4-H travelling overseas to Ghana!

Always be prepared when going on bus trips

Going on 4-H exchanges or travelling to 4-H events means lots of bus trips. In my experience that has also meant lots of bus breakdowns unfortunately. On the bright side, I have learned from this poor luck and now am always prepared for bus trips. The best way to learn is by doing and I learnt quickly that having everything you need if your bus breaks down, blows a tire or can’t stop without restarting is very important!

Greet the world with a smile and it will smile back

Having a positive outlook on everything I do is part of who I am. That is largely thanks to 4-H which helps me

4-H friends are the best type of friends

4-H’ers are truly one of a kind people, and they are definitely my type of people. Just like me other 4-H members understand how to have fun and be enthusiastic. Plus there are 4-H members all around our world who share common interests, perspectives and experiences as you! I have made so many friends from the 4-H camps, exchanges and events I have been to and couldn’t ask for better friends! You don’t have to look far to find welcoming 4-H’ers who are awesome people!

LEARN TO DO BY DOING!

The great motto of the greatest organization in the world is definitely a good one to live life by! There is no better way to learn how!

4-H Club Leaders Help Youth Gain Confidence

Written By: Ryan Métivier

4-H leaders know when youth need that little push to come out of their shells or a change in an activity to help a particular young person reach their potential.

Isabel Miller of Haldimand spent time as a 4-H member when she was a teenager, before making the move to volunteer in 1992, first as a parent volunteer and then as a leader and out of county chaperone. Even after her youngest child graduated as a member in 2006, Isabel has continued volunteering as a leader and a member of the executive committee of Haldimand 4-H Association.

“My belief in the program and the positive impact that it has on youth plays a big role in my involvement,” says Miller.  

Of the many clubs she currently leads, at the very first meeting of her Miniature Horse Club back in 2014, she noticed she had one very shy member in the group. This member hid her face in her mom’s coat sleeve and let her mother answer for her. She also was too shy to attend the judging event or any of the horse shows. She did though, wish to stay in the club and continue to visit Miller’s barn to care for and show one of her horses (as she did not have one of her own).

Miller thought about it and made some modifications, allowing this member to write a story about her 4-H experience rather than attending a judging event. Over the summer the member quietly worked away getting advice and teachings from her with the rest of the group. Slowly, she began to speak up and ask questions and make comments on her observations. By August, she had built enough confidence to participate in a practice show at Miller’s farm with other youth members and their families, with the only stranger being the judge.

This was a huge success and the young girl agreed to sign up for the smallest show of the season afterwards.

“I told her I would register her and if she got there and didn’t feel comfortable showing, that was alright but she could still help and be part of it,” says Miller.

Once again loving the experience, the member was eager to chat about it afterwards and went on to show at her Achievement Day and read her story about her 4-H experience in front of her peers at the club’s final meeting. 

In 2015, now more confident, she returned to Miller’s barn, attended every show she could and participated in the judging event. 2016 will now be her third year as a 4-H participant.

“The saying goes that you only get out of something what you put into it and in this case, being willing to spend that extra bit of time and think a bit outside the box, continues to make this member’s 4-H experience a very positive thing that will help her throughout her life.”

Haldimand leaders ensure all are included

Written By: Ryan Métivier

In the Haldimand Girl’s Night Out Club members partake in activities based around topics such as skin and hair care, self-esteem, bullying, exercise and fashion. They also enjoy guest speakers on these topics and have a chance to learn how to make homemade body scrubs and face masks and participate in a Zumba class.

Last year, while recovering in the hospital following an accident, one member, Charlotte Huitema, was unable to participate in some of the club’s meetings. Rather than be forced to miss out, the club’s leaders made the extra effort to alter some of the activities and include her from the hospital.

The club is run by leaders Stephanie Huitema and Kaitlynn Young. Huitema was a 4-H member from 2006‑2012 and began volunteering once completing the program and Young began volunteering in 2013.

Kate Young, Stephanie Huitema, Charlotte Huitema

“I decided to become a leader because I loved my time as a member and was so appreciative to all the leaders that I had, that I wanted to be the same type of role model and community volunteer as well,” says Huitema.

“I got involved with 4-H because I felt I could help teach kids and to be able to learn something new from the clubs myself too,” adds Young.

In order to accommodate Charlotte, with internet access and a laptop she was able to follow the PowerPoints and group discussions from her hospital bed, which worked out great so she could sign off when she needed rest. As a senior member, she was able to help define various topics during discussions to the many first-time members and explain to them the structure of 4-H and how different roles work.

“It was really nice to be included in the meetings and being able to participate when the club started,” says Charlotte Huitema. “This gave me the opportunity to ease back into 4-H and not lose a club that I was interested in. The leaders were very supportive in allowing this option for me to participate.”

Both leaders were thrilled to be able to help this member stay a part of the club, have some socialization and assist in her recovery.

Interested in finding out more about 4-H Ontario, or becoming a member or volunteer yourself? Visit our website here to find out more about signing up! 

5 Questions With… Meg Siegel

Meg Siegel may have been a part of 4-H in Novia Scotia, but 4-H is still 4-H and she has some great memories to share and took the time to submit her 4-H story. So in this feature, we look at an out-of-province 4-H alumni, who nows lives in Toronto.

Name: Meg Siegel

Status: Alumni

Years in 4-H: 12

1. Why did you join 4-H?

I’m from rural Nova Scotia and when I was a kid you either joined Air Cadets, 4-H or hung around town doing not much of anything. My parents had enrolled me in Cloverbuds from the age of six and when it came time to join a big kid group, 4-H was a natural fit. I was able to pick some projects that were relevant to my interests and some that were new to me, but things I always wanted to learn.

2. What clubs, camps, opportunities, etc. have you participated or volunteered in?

I was in the Shelburne County 4-H Club in Nova Scotia. I was the treasurer and president of the club for a short while. I went to many pro-shows, did an interprovincial exchange and went to Chat-a-rama a few times.

3. How has 4-H changed your life?

Aside from teaching me basic life skills like orienteering, cooking, sewing and just being generally handy, I think I have 4-H to thank for my success in my career. I now work in advertising in Toronto and use skills that I learned in 4-H on a day-to-day basis. From presentation skills and public speaking to judging (aka giving feedback), when I think about it, these were the skills I have been working on since I was a kid.

4. What’s your favourite 4-H memory?

In 4-H I won an exchange trip and went to Alberta for 10 days to stay with another 4-H member (who in turn came to Nova Scotia). It was my first time travelling solo and it gave me such a great sense of independence. It still has been my only time out West and I plan to change that and perhaps to get in touch with the family I visited when I was 16.

5. What do you do outside of 4-H? (hobbies, school, career, etc).

Now I’m pretty busy working in advertising on clients like Nike. But outside of work I’m big into cycling and I love getting away from the city for the weekend to go camping when time permits. I also love bringing new Toronto friends back home to the farm in Nova Scotia.

Liked Megan’s story? Want to share your own 4-H story? Click here and tell us what 4-H has meant to you in our 5 Questions With… feature!

The Ambassador Beat: Nic Willemsma

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 2015, 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 Nic Willemsma, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Chatham-Kent 4-H Association

Hello! my name is Nic Willemsma, and I have the honour of representing 4-H Ontario as a 2015 Ambassador. I live in Kingsville, one of the most southern towns in Canada, where I work on a neighbour’s dairy farm. I am currently taking the Social Media Program online through Algonquin College, and I plan on using what I learn from this program to promote agriculture and 4-H.

I have been a 4-H member for 10 years and  have been able to attend many 4-H camps and opportunities that 4-H has to offer including Career Mania, Provincial Exchange Trip, National 4-H Members’ Conference, PLC (Provincial Leadership Camp), and FLIA (Future Leaders In Action).  Without the help of volunteer facilitators 4-H would not be able to run these great opportunities. Earlier this month (June) I attended my first event as as a 4-H Ambassador and was able to help facilitate Discovery Days in Region 6 and see the other side of a 4-H camp.

Back in 2013 one of my 4-H leaders recommended that I go to this 4-H camp that took place over March break called PLC. I had never been to a 4-H camp before and little did I know that it was going to be one of the best weeks I have ever had. After returning home from PLC I started looking up what other 4-H opportunities I could go to. Later that year I attended Career Mania and last year I attended FLIA and the National 4-H Members’ Conference.

Through these opportunities I have been able to meet and network with 4-H leaders and 4-H’ers from across Ontario and Canada. I am looking forward to meeting more people and sharing with them the great opportunities 4-H has to offer for members and even non-members

 

The Ambassador Beat: Laura Scott

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 2015, 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 Laura Scott, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Grenville County 4-H Association

My name is Laura Scott and I am proud to say that I am one of the 2015 4-H Ontario Ambassadors. Not only is this an honour to be an Ambassador, it’s an extra special year as we celebrate 100 years of 4-H in Ontario.

To start, I should probably introduce myself. I call the Grenville County Association home, and have my entire life. I am 18 years old and I am going in to my second year at the University of Guelph, majoring in Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics. I have completed over 35 clubs, ranging from beef, dairy, field crops, craft and cooking. I have been in 4-H for nine years, and have loved every single minute of it!

After reciting the 4-H motto of “Learn to do by Doing” for the last nine years, this year is when I believe that I am seeing that come into effect the most. While I’ve had to learn almost every skill I’ve gained from 4-H by actually doing it and practicing, I am noticing it so much more this year while I learn how my role as an Ambassador works.

Our year began with training and the reception, where we were first introduced and met our team for the year. After that, it was a pretty quiet spring for me. I went to an event here and an event there, but nothing steady. Let me tell you, that changed drastically when June rolled around. Even though this isn’t the busiest month we’re going to have as Ambassadors, it’s the first busy month for me. I’ve met so many new people and been so many places that it makes my head spin – in a good way, of course!

With the month kicking off with one of our major sponsors, UPI Energy, hosting their charity golf tournament, my month kicked off the learning to do by doing. I’d never been to a golf tournament before this one, and boy, was I ever glad that I had most of the Ambassador team with me as familiar faces that day! While we had a blast at the UPI Tournament, I found the 4-H Ontario Foundation Golf East Tournament even more fun! We had beautiful, warm weather, and I got to talk to so many people that are local to my area and who wanted to ask me about my time in 4-H, as well as my plans for after I’m finished university.

Of the three events that I attended in June, Region 2 Discovery Days was by far the biggest learning curve I’ve experienced as an Ambassador. I have younger siblings and I’ve helped young kids in my 4-H clubs whenever needed, but 40 kids in one room for six hours and they’re all between the ages of 9 and 12? The thing I learned the most from that day, was to roll with it. That and that kids come out with some of my favourite things. One member, when he got the wrong answer in a mock Go for the Gold Competition, snapped his fingers and said “Oh, barnacle nuggets!” This made me double over with laughter.

So all in all, I am learning so much from adults about my career options, but the kids are teaching me just as much, if not more. So far, my Ambassador experience is off to an amazing start, and I can only hope it keeps going this way for the rest of the year!