4-H Canada CEO

Les héros de tous les jours peuvent changer et changent le monde

Il y a de nombreuses raisons pour lesquelles les 4‑H du Canada constituent l’un des programmes de leadership pour les jeunes les plus importants au Canada. Nous formons des générations de leaders qui changeront le monde par des moyens que nous ne pouvons même pas encore imaginer, et notre mouvement dépend de notre capacité à apporter un appui à tout un chacun d’eux.

Dès leur enfance, les membres 4‑H mettent en pratique leurs propres idées, du début à la fin, grâce aux projets de club et aux occasions de développement du leadership, dans lesquels ils peuvent réellement diriger, tirer des leçons leurs erreurs et apprendre les étapes menant à la réussite. 

Avoir accès à un endroit sûr pour vivre l’expérience d’exercer des responsabilités, définir des objectifs, apprendre à s’exprimer et se forger une opinion sur une question importante, voilà toutes des situations qui se présentent dans le programme des 4‑H. Tous ces importants apprentissages produisent une génération de leaders talentueux et très engagés qui ont une bonne estime de soi ainsi que les compétences nécessaires pour relever des défis mondiaux complexes comme le changement climatique, les nouvelles technologies et la sécurité alimentaire.

Le monde ne peut plus considérer les jeunes comme les « leaders de demain ». Il doit plutôt suivre le modèle de développement positif des jeunes des 4‑H consistant à faire participer les jeunes à titre de leaders d’aujourd’hui et de les inclure à la prise de décisions, ce qui permettrait de mieux résoudre ces défis mondiaux.

Saviez‑vous que, pendant que les membres 4‑H du Canada deviennent des leaders plus confiants, attentionnés et responsables, le mouvement 4‑H est aussi présent en Asie, en Afrique, en Europe, en Amérique du Nord et en Amérique centrale?

Dans ces cinq régions des 4‑H, plus de sept millions de jeunes comme nos membres 4‑H canadiens apportent des changements positifs dans leur communauté et dans le monde entier, et ce, à tous les jours. En fait, il y a trois ans, ces cinq régions des 4‑H se sont regroupées pour créer le Réseau mondial des 4‑H avec la vision commune de mobiliser les jeunes d’aujourd’hui et de partager des ressources sur les meilleures façons de former de jeunes leaders.

Cet été, lorsque nous nous réunirons à Ottawa dans le cadre du Sommet du réseau mondial des 4‑H, nous aurons besoin de la participation de tous les membres 4‑H, qu’ils se trouvent sur place ou dans le confort de leur maison, pour montrer les 4‑H du Canada au monde entier et pour exposer les raisons qui font que les #Les4HPourLeMonde peuvent unir les communautés, habiliter les jeunes et former des citoyens du monde.

Nous aurons besoin de votre voix unique, que vous soyez participant, bénévole, chez vous dans votre communauté ou sur les réseaux sociaux, pour apporter des idées sur les questions mondiales et pour célébrer les 4‑H.

Que ce soit grâce à l’entretien de votre jardin respectueux des pollinisateurs Fier membre de la colonie des 4‑H, à la création d’une invention dans le cadre de l’Expo-sciences des 4‑H du Canada, aux voyages à l’étranger par l’entremise de nos échanges Les 4‑H autour du monde, aux débats parlementaires avec les dirigeants de vos gouvernements, ne doutez jamais de la valeur des compétences que vous avez acquises dans les 4‑H. Ce sont les héros de tous les jours comme vous, comme les membres de votre club, les animateurs bénévoles et le personnel des 4‑H qui sont indispensables pour contribuer à créer un monde meilleur.

Shannon Benner
Présidente‑directrice générale, 4-H du Canada
Présidente, Conseil d’administration du réseau mondial des 4-H

Aimeriez‑vous participer au Sommet du réseau mondial des 4‑H? En tant que pays hôte, nous avons une occasion unique d’accueillir les autres et de favoriser la croissance du mouvement 4‑H. Visitez l’adresse global-4-h-network.com/fr pour en apprendre davantage sur le rôle que vous pourriez jouer et suivez‑nous sur Facebook, Twitter et Instagram!

Everyday Heroes Can and Do Change the World

There are many reasons why 4-H Canada is one of today’s strongest Canadian youth leadership programs. We’re building generations of leaders who will change the world in ways we can’t imagine, and our movement depends on us supporting every single one of them.

From an early age, 4-H’ers are implementing their own ideas, from start to finish, through club projects and leadership opportunities where they truly lead, draw lessons from mistakes and learn the steps to succeeding.  

Having a safe space to experiment with responsibility, setting goals, learning to speak out and finding a voice on an important issue all happens within the 4-H program. All these important learnings extend into a talented and highly engaged generation of leaders with a strong sense of self and the necessary skills to address complex global challenges like climate change, emerging technologies and food security.

The world can no longer consider youth as ‘tomorrow’s leaders.’ Rather, following the 4-H positive youth development formula of engaging youth as leaders of today and including youth at the decision-making table can better solve these global challenges.

While 4-H’ers in Canada are becoming confident, caring and responsible leaders, did you know that 4-H also exists in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Central America?

In these five 4-H regions, more than 7 million youth just like our Canadian 4-H members are affecting positive change in their communities and around the world every single day. In fact, three years ago, all five of these 4-H regions came together to form the Global 4-H Network with a common vision of engaging today’s youth and in sharing resources on how to best grow youth leaders.

This summer, when we gather at the Global 4-H Network Summit in Ottawa, we’ll need participation from every 4-H’er, whether in attendance or in the comfort of their homes, to show 4-H Canada to the world and to show why #4H4TheWorld can unite communities, empower youth and grow global citizens.

We’ll need your unique voice as an attendee, volunteer, or at home in your communities and on social media to contribute ideas on global issues and to celebrate 4-H.

From caring for your Proud to Bee a 4-H’er pollinator gardens to designing an invention through the 4-H Canada Science Fair to travelling abroad in our Going Global Exchanges to engaging in parliamentary debates with your government leaders, never doubt the power of the skills you have learned in 4-H. It is everyday heroes like you, your club members, volunteer leaders and 4-H staff that are needed to help make the world a better place.

Shannon Benner,
CEO, 4-H Canada
Chair, Global 4-H Network Board of Directors

Looking to get involved with the Global 4-H Network Summit? As the host country, this is our unique opportunity to welcome others and to help grow the 4-H movement. Visit global-4-h-network.com to learn more about how you can play a role and follow us online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

4-H Alumni: Deepening our roots and growing the movement

4-H Canada’s alumni number is in the hundreds of thousands and can be found all across the country and around the globe. Theses “graduates” of the 4-H program are leaders in their industries and in their communities, and their successes are a testament to 4-H’s positive youth development (PYD) approach and programming in Canada. Having so many successful alumni represents an incredible pool of resources for 4-H in Canada. And at a time when mentorship and skills transfer is ever more important with a growing need for more people to enter the agricultural sector.

Recently, we reached out to our alumni via an online survey and the results speak volumes on what a positive, long-term impact our programming has had and continues to have on their lives.

Alumni and volunteers are strongly positive about their 4-H experiences, especially those who have been involved with the organization for many years. Almost all (97%) of alumni surveyed would recommend 4-H to youth that they know. And while most recognize a range of ways in which 4-H can make an impact, the idea of building stronger citizenship in youth is particularly resonant.

The pride we have in 4-H and the commitment we make to the generations that follow are strongly reflected in the results.

We want to foster lifelong relationships between alumni and 4-H at all levels – this builds stronger communities. The information we were able to gather via the alumni survey is invaluable as find ways to engage alumni and tap into their vast experience and passion for supporting the next generation of leaders. Alumni are key to strengthening and growing the 4-H movement in Canada.

Are you a 4-H Alumni and want to share your story? We would love to hear from you! Please contact Stacey at sscott@4-h-canada.ca  today and tell us how 4-H has impacted your life.

Thinking in Pictures: How Changing Our Thought Process Can Change the World Around Us

(l-r) Michael Congdon, Erica Jackson, Temple Grandin, Kelsey Morehouse

Most of us have experienced situations where words just aren’t enough. Sometimes it’s a feeling beyond description or it could be something you don’t know how to explain.  Well, have you ever heard the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Sometimes an image is the most effective way to express a thought or event. This is the way Dr. Temple Grandin, a renowned animal behaviourist, explains the way she thinks all the time in her efforts to improve how we handle livestock.

Dr. Grandin is a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, and on May 8 I had the honor to meet her at a fundraiser for 4-H Nova Scotia, held at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture in Truro, Nova Scotia, where she spoke on reducing stress during animal handling. One of the messages she emphasized in her talk was, “don’t let bad become normal.” Bad stockmanship, as Dr. Grandin mentioned, is one of the easiest things to address in reducing stress in animals.

Another way to reduce stress in animals, whether it be cattle, horses, pigs or even sheep, is to acclimatize them to both people and objects in a positive way. This type of effort helps to ensure we have calmer livestock, which in turn is proven to promote better growth and longevity, better conception rates and overall improved productiveness.

Thinking Outside the Box and Inside the Corral

The improper use of prodding and persuading tools, and the associated stress to livestock in slaughterhouses, has been the focus of Dr. Grandin’s career. Ultimately, the rough handling of cattle and pigs in slaughterhouses produces tough beef and pale pork, neither of which are desirable meats. She specifically talked about electric prods never being used as a primary prod in persuading the movement and behaviour of livestock in the slaughterhouse.

Dr. Grandin is known also for how she completely redesigned the design and operation of stockyards, corrals and chutes based on what she observed as a measurable correlation between stress and productivity. Dr. Grandin’s observation that animals feel more comfortable when they are looping back in the direction from which they first came became a picture of how to reduce stress levels in livestock. Her new semi-circular corral design, coupled with the herd mentality of cattle, meant that stockyards could only coral smaller groups of animals at a time, but the results were clear, with lower animal stress and mortality rates in chutes and higher quality of animal products.

What You See Isn’t Always What You Get: Defining Your Own Success Story

I’ve spoken a lot about what Dr. Temple Grandin has done for the livestock industry, but, as I’m sure many of you have noticed, I haven’t mentioned one of the biggest things in Dr. Grandin’s life. Yes, you guessed it: her autism. There’s a reason for this. 

At the end of her talk, Dr. Grandin said that, “growing up, I wanted an identity other than just ‘being autistic’.” I was so inspired by this – that Dr. Grandin redefined the way she wanted to be seen by figuring out what was unique and special about her and using it to make a difference. 

That brings me back to the idea behind this post; Dr. Grandin explained how growing up she found it more difficult to communicate with words than other people. She found that sensory learning and communication was the most efficient way to portray her thoughts or, as she put it, “my mind works like Google for images. You put in a key word; it brings up pictures.” Throughout her time at school and through working with animals, Dr. Grandin realized that her way of “thinking in pictures” was how animals thought as well because animals physically can’t use words. This has been the basis for her extraordinary work with livestock and it is a lesson we can all take back to how we deal with our own animals. 

The fundraiser sold over 250 tickets and appealed to a wide audience filled with people from different backgrounds, including a significant number who, just like Dr. Grandin, have autism or another form of disability. 

Dr. Temple Grandin’s is an inspiration to many people in the agricultural industry, as well as the autism community, and her successes make her a role model for everyone. Her way of sensory thinking has allowed her to accomplish near-impossible feats with flying colors.  And who knows? Maybe this unconventional way of thinking could be the key to your being as influential, successful and inspirational as Dr. Grandin!

How I Became a Small Town 4-H Celebrity

4-H Canada Youth Advisory Committee member Erica Jackson shows off her prize cow at a competition in Belgium

I grew up in a small, rural community called Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, where everybody knows everybody, and where I am now affectionately known as the “Dairy Queen.” I didn’t set out to be the queen of anything—but I did have big dreams. That perhaps is why I’m making a name for myself around here.

Let’s back up to March 2015. That’s when 4-H Nova Scotia’s executive director sent out a media release announcing that I was Nova Scotia’s new 4-H Canada Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) representative. Almost immediately, I received a whirlwind of emails from local media asking me for interviews to talk about the 4-H program and my experiences within it.

After a week of planning and juggling schedules, fellow 4-Her Andrew Greene and I sat down for a live interview on Global Halifax’s morning news show. We talked about the impact 4-H has had on our careers, how 4-H has helped us achieve our goals, and how 4-H programs have changed over the years. We were proud to emphasize one of 4-H’s main goals: to develop a group of outstanding youth who will make a difference in the world.

Later that same day, I had an interview with CTV News Atlantic. We recorded the interview on the dairy farm that I grew up beside—Lonelymaple Holsteins—and I spoke about my achievements in both 4-H and in the dairy industry. Then, Cowsmopolitan Dairy Magazine shared that interview on Facebook. It received almost 1,000 likes! Assuming that those people also watched the interview, that’s almost 1,000 people who heard about the benefits of the 4-H program!

Earning my New Title

After that foray into local media fame, my grandmother told me I now had a nickname in my 4-H club and community. You guessed it: the Dairy Queen. My success in the dairy industry did not come overnight. It did, however, ramp up over the past two years.

In the summer of 2013, I received top honours as the highest point scoring dairy individual at the 2013 Atlantic EastGen Showcase. As part of my prize, I was selected as one of six young Canadians to be on Team Canada for Holstein Canada. We travelled to the 2014 European Young Breeders School in Belgium for a week this past September!

Nova Scotia’s Provincial 4-H Show was the next thing on my accomplishment list. Not only did I receive several honours, including having a Holstein heifer first in her age class; reserve champion Holstein calf; and honourable mention dairy calf; but I was also chosen to be one of eight Nova Scotians to travel to the 2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto—a goal of mine ever since I started the dairy project seven years ago.

Set Goals! You Just Might Achieve Them

All of this media exposure is just the start to my first year as being a YAC rep. My goal is to promote 4-H to as many people as I can, and not just to youth. I believe that everyone should be aware of the benefits and opportunities that 4-H has to offer.

Also in March, I was part of a panel discussion at the 2015 Atlantic 4-H Senior Members Conference in Debert and Bible Hill, Nova Scotia. I was asked to give one piece of advice to fellow 4-H members and I would like to share it here are as well: Make goals. Have dreams and aspirations. Your goals might seem unattainable and outrageous, but set them anyway.

Having goals will make you work harder, make you more determined, and make you never give up. Speaking from personal experience, I can assure you that those crazy and far-fetched goals may just become reality if you really believe in yourself and all of your abilities.

And who knows, you might also end up being a 4-H celebrity in your town.

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