In late September, 2016, 4-H members in British Columbia had not one but three opportunities to engage with the Royal family during their visit to Canada. On Sunday, September 25, 2016, two ambassadors attended the Prime Minister’s reception for Young Inspired and Inspiring Canadians in Vancouver. On Tuesday, Sept 27, 2016, the Royals attended an event at Mission Hill Winery in West Kelowna where they experienced a taste of BC agriculture. Local 4-H’ers were present with a local chef who teaches on cooking skills and nutrition. On Thursday, Sept 29, 2016, the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Judith Guichon, hosted a garden party for the Royals with a focus on their children. Local 4-H’ers were present with their animal projects for the royal children to meet. The following is our 4-H British Columbia Ambassador, Hallie Bryant’s experience of this special meeting.
Any 4-H member will tell you that 4-H has opened doors for them…Most notably, for me, the doors to Buckingham palace! On September 25, 2016, I was invited to attend a reception hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in honour of the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or as they are known here in Canada, Will and Kate.
As a 4-H ambassador, I am often asked to represent 4-H at important functions but never in a million years would I have thought I would be introduced to royalty!
The purpose of the event was to bring together inspiring youth leaders from across BC It began with a panel discussion hosted by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
The panel discussed how we, as youth, can work to advance Canada over the next fifty years. Speakers focused youth engagement, environmental protection, indigenous reconciliation and diversity. I was most inspired by a Paralympic athlete, an advocate for Syrian refugees and an indigenous youth leader.
The event culminated with the reception, where Prime Minister Trudeau and Prince William walked around the room, greeting youth and discussing their accomplishments.
They came to talk to me first and my heart skipped a beat when Prince William asked what organization I was there to represent.
I think most 4-H members understand the struggle of how to adequately explain our complex program to someone who has never heard of it before, but thankfully I had received special training as an ambassador!
As I explained to him the multitude of projects you can take in 4-H, he stopped me to ask whether there was a tractor project and told me about Prince George’s fascination with tractors.
I let him know that the 4-H program would love to have the prince as a member, once he’s old enough to be a cloverbud, of course!
Prime Minister Trudeau had kind things to say about 4-H as well. He told Prince William that 4-H is such a great program because it teaches youth in urban and rural communities where their food comes from.
Once it was all over, I felt encouraged that our politicians and heads of state care about what initiatives their youth are involved in.
Did the lessons I’ve learned in 4-H help prepare me to meet the Prime Minister of Canada and British royalty? I don’t think you can ever feel fully prepared for such an experience but my public speaking skills and overall passion for the program gave me the confidence to promote 4-H to some of the world’s most influential people.
What doors will 4-H open for you?