Youth Advisory Committee

Les 4-H génèrent des occasions pour les jeunes

Ce qui suit est un discours rédigé par Cameron Choquette, membre du CCJ et l’un de nos lauréats du Prix de distinction pour l’excellence en leadership 2015, qui a eu l’occasion de donner une allocation en mars dernier dans le cadre du groupe de jeunes « Connecter les jeunes et l’agriculture » lors du Sommet Renforcement de la main-d’œuvre agricole organisé par le Conseil canadien sur les ressources humaines en agriculture. Vous trouverez ci-dessous une copie du discours.

Passionnés, engagés, captivés et confiants. Ces mots décrivent les membres des 4-H.

Je suis étudiant inscrit en première année à l’Université de la Saskatchewan avec l’ambition d’obtenir un diplôme en commerce. Après l’obtention de mon baccalauréat, je souhaite représenter les intérêts et les besoins de l’agriculture et du secteur agroalimentaire ainsi que ceux des collectivités rurales canadiennes en occupant un poste de direction au sein d’un organisme d’envergure nationale.

Alors, vous vous demandez d’où vient cette passion pour l’agriculture et l’engagement communautaire?

Eh bien, j’ai grandi sur une ferme et suis engagé dans les 4-H.

Dans le cadre de mes années en tant que membre des 4-H, les animateurs attentionnés des 4-H  que j’ai eu la chance d’avoir comme mentors  m’ont enseigné les valeurs qui m’ont aidé à devenir le leader que je suis aujourd’hui.

Les 4-H m’ont donné une quantité incroyable d’occasions enrichissantes uniques et incomparables.

J’ai voyagé partout au Canada, pris part à des programmes nationaux où j’ai pu réseauter avec mes pairs ainsi qu’avec des dirigeants de l’industrie et j’ai même reçu un certain nombre de bourses d’études.

L’une de ces bourses est le Prix de distinction pour l’excellence en leadership des 4-H, également connu sous l’acronyme P.D.E.L.

Grâce à notre partenariat avec la Compagnie des chemins de fer nationaux du Canada (CN) dans le cadre de la bourse P.D.E.L, je fus l’un des quatre jeunes membres à recevoir la toute première bourse d’études P.D.E.L dans le cadre du volet de développement du leadership en engagement communautaire et en communication. J’ai reçu une bourse d’études de 20 000 $ sur quatre ans ainsi qu’une formidable occasion de mentorat.

Je suis fier de dire que mon mentor est Andrew Scheer, le député fédéral de Regina-Qu’Appelle. M. Scheer est l’ancien Président de la Chambre des communes et il fait maintenant partie de l’Opposition officielle à la Chambre. 

Les partenariats, le mentorat et les occasions d’apprentissage par l’expérience sont ce que les 4-H offrent à ses membres et ses animateurs. Grâce à ces possibilités, les membres des 4-H peuvent acquérir les compétences dont ils ont besoin pour devenir de véritables leaders au sein de leurs collectivités.

Je suis un exemple vivant témoignant de la façon dont les 4-H transforment la vie des jeunes. Cela dit, je n’ai pas toujours été aussi extraverti et confiant. 

J’ai assisté à ma première occasion nationale des 4-H en novembre 2013 et j’étais tout à fait effrayé. Ils s’attendaient à ce qu’un petit villageois comme moi travaille avec 60 autres adolescents, dont la plupart étaient de très jolies filles.

J’ai fait de mon mieux, mais je suis resté réservé la plupart du temps, car j’avais peur qu’on me juge. Trois mots qui auraient pu me décrire à ce moment-là : timide, réservé et effrayé.

Au moment de participer au Colloque sur la citoyenneté  2014 organisé par les 4-H du Canada à Charlottetown, à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, ma vie avait changé. Le garçon timide, réservé et effrayé que j’étais était alors devenu extraverti, joyeux et confiant.

Les expériences qu’offrent les 4-H m’ont aidé à sortir de ma zone de confort et à m’épanouir en tant que jeune personne – on peut dire que les 4-H ont changé ma vie.

J’ai entendu plusieurs questions aujourd’hui sur les nouvelles compétences qui sont nécessaires pour combler le manque de main-d’œuvre et les avancées technologiques dans le secteur agricole. La bonne nouvelle est que ces mêmes compétences, combinées aux compétences de l’agriculture traditionnelle, sont ce qui intéresse les jeunes des 4-H. Ce sont les domaines dans lesquels ils veulent  se développer et avoir un impact, où ils ont pourront diffuser les renseignements précieux qu’ils ont acquis et les innovations qu’ils auront créées.

Il existe maintenant des clubs et des projets 4-H qui mettent l’accent sur la fuséologie, le géocaching, la machinerie à petites pièces et même la robotique.

Les 4-H font participer les jeunes à tous les niveaux en leur donnant l’occasion d’explorer les compétences et les connaissances qui les intéressent. Les 4-H permettent d’aider aux jeunes personnes de l’ensemble du Canada et du monde entier à devenir des leaders au sein de leur collectivité.

À la fin de la présente conférence, je souhaite que tout le monde ici présent, tout comme les gens issus de l’industrie de l’agriculture dans son ensemble, voie non seulement les défis auxquels nous sommes confrontés, mais surtout, qu'il envisagera les possibilités de responsabiliser nos jeunes et de redéfinir ce que signifie travailler dans le secteur agricole.

Alors, je vous invite à parler aux jeunes de votre collectivité et à trouver des moyens de partager vos connaissances sur l’industrie ainsi que sur les occasions de carrière et de style de vie enrichissantes qui s’offrent à eux.

Invitez les jeunes à vos conférences en qualité d’observateurs ou en tant qu’orateurs et impliquez-les dans les politiques et la programmation : cela peut constituer une excellente occasion d’apprentissage pour tout le monde présent

Il est également important de noter que lorsque vous abordez l’avenir de l’agriculture, de vous assurer d’apporter la voix authentique de la jeunesse à la table. Après tout, nous sommes l’avenir.

Je vous remercie. 

 

Uprooting Assumptions on Food Security

This past April, our YAC member, Andrea Soesbergen was invited to attend the 2016 Thought For Food Global Summit in Zurich, Switzerland. The following is a reflection piece from Andrea on the event and how her involvement with 4-H in Canada led her to these unique opportunities.

Thought For Food (TFF) is a movement that gathers bright young minds from around the world to work together in making the world a better place and engage in discussion about shifting common assumptions in food and agriculture. They take a hard look at the food system and work out how it can be improved by uprooting these assumptions.

The TFF Global Summit was a two-day extravaganza of excitement, communication and a commitment to breaking down food security barriers. We were invited to throw away our pre-established views of the world and design the future that we want to see.  TFF challenged university students to come up with ideas for entrepreneurial projects related to the food system for a $10,000 prize to help them accomplish their goals. At the summit, we watched the pitches of ten finalist teams. The overall winner this year was Kulisha, a group producing low-cost fish feed for aquaculture made from insects.

Throughout the Summit, we listened to talks by speakers like Daan Roosegaarde, founder of Studio Roosegaarde, an art studio whose productions often have educational and world improvement objectives, Julie Borlaug of the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, who shares the institute’s commitment to improving conditions for smallholder farmers and Chris Lewicki, president and CEO of Planetary Resources, a company exploring space to see what resources can be used to make life better here on earth.

We also took part in interactive workshops on various topics like hacking biology, open-source data and sustainable business. This combination of activities made for an incredibly enriching and unforgettable experience.

Although the invitation to attend this conference was not directly through 4-H, it was the result of my involvement with 4-H programming that set me on this path. Being in 4-H has always encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and to not be afraid to apply myself to something I am passionate about and watch what unfolds as a result of the hard work put in.

Involvement in 4-H has shown me the importance of not accepting the world as it is, but working to make the world better through volunteering and helping others. As a result, I have found myself attending conferences around the globe this past year, sharing ideas on agriculture and the food system, growing and realizing my own potential.

These experiences have shown me that I have a voice and knowledge to share and the power to make great change in the world around me by starting with small actions in my own community.

Thank you 4-H, for setting me on this journey of personal growth and taking me, quite literally, to the top of the world and back.

Une jeune des 4-H du Canada assiste au discours du président Obama devant le Parlement

Le mercredi 29 juin 2016, le Cabinet du Premier ministre a invité une jeune leader des 4-H du Canada à assister au discours du président Obama devant le Parlement, tenu dans le cadre du Sommet des leaders nord-américains. Andrea Soesbergen, membre du Comité consultatif sur la jeunesse des 4-H du Canada, a représenté les jeunes des 4-H lors de cet événement historique.

 

 

« Après tout, on ne bâtit pas un pays comme les pharaons bâtissaient leurs pyramides pour les laisser en place à défier l’éternité. Un pays se bâtit chaque jour à partir de certaines valeurs fondamentales que nous partageons tous et toutes. »

Ce sont ces paroles, prononcées à l’origine par Pierre Elliott Trudeau, qu’a reprises le président Barack Obama dans son discours devant le Parlement du Canada le mercredi 29 juin 2016. J’ai eu l’honneur d’assister à cet événement en tant que représentante des jeunes des 4-H du Canada, en compagnie de paires d’autres organismes canadiens œuvrant pour la jeunesse, dont la Fédération canadienne des étudiantes et étudiants, Fusion Jeunesse, les Clubs Garçons et Filles du Canada et Passeport pour ma réussite.

Lors de cet événement prestigieux, j’ai eu l’occasion de siéger aux côtés de députés à la Chambre des communes, de premiers ministres provinciaux et d’autres Canadiennes et Canadiens influents pour entendre ce dirigeant inspirant parler des valeurs sur lesquelles ont été bâtit, et continuent d’être bâtit, selon lui les États-Unis et le Canada, et en quoi elles rendent notre pays aussi merveilleux. Entendre un homme de sa stature parler avec autant d’intégrité sur l’importance de la gentillesse, de la coopération et de l’ouverture fut une expérience inoubliable. Quoi de plus symbolique que d’entendre le président Obama s’entretenir sur l’importance de continuer chaque jour à bâtir un pays selon des valeurs communes dans la salle même où notre pays se bâtit chaque jour et d’être entourée des dirigeantes et de dirigeants d’aujourd’hui qui prennent ces décisions.

Tout comme notre pays, notre organisme se bâtit jour après jour selon certaines valeurs communes. Chaque jour, les programmes des 4-H du Canada habilitent des jeunes à devenir des leaders en leur enseignant l’importance de la responsabilité, du travail acharné et de la coopération.

Les 4-H m’ont aidée à grandir et à passer d’une enfant débordante d’énergie et avide d’apprendre à une jeune leader possédant des connaissances et des compétences à partager. En vieillissant et en continuant mon parcours de membre à leader, je crois qu’il est important de mettre mes compétences à profit pour aider à bâtir le programme des 4-H afin que les jeunes d’aujourd’hui puissent continuer de vivre la même expérience épanouissante que j’ai eu la chance de vivre au sein des 4-H. Je veux m’assurer que les jeunes d’aujourd’hui bénéficient de l’espace et des ressources nécessaires pour faire preuve de leadership selon LEURS valeurs et qu’ils peuvent contribuer à façonner le monde dans lequel nous vivons – aujourd’hui et dans l’avenir.

4-H Canada Youth Attends President Obama's Address to Parliament

On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office invited a Canadian 4-H youth leader to attend President Obama’s address to Parliament during the North American Leaders Summit. 4-H Canada’s Youth Advisory Committee member, Andrea Soesbergen (QC), represented 4-H youth at this historic event.

“A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs built the pyramids, and then leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day out of certain basic shared values.”

These words were originally spoken by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, which President Barack Obama shared in his address to the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. I had the honour to attend this event as a youth representative of 4-H Canada along with some of my peers from other Canadian youth organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Students, Youth Fusion, Boys and Girls Club of Canada and Pathways to Education.

During this prestigious event, I sat among members of Parliament in the House of Commons, provincial premiers and other influential Canadians, to hear this incredible leader speak of the values that he believed both the United States and Canada were, and continue to be, built upon and why they make our countries so great. To hear a man of his stature speak with such integrity on the importance of kindness, cooperation and openness was an unforgettable experience. It seemed fitting to hear President Obama speak of building a country every day on shared values in the very room where our country is built, day after day, surrounded by today’s leaders who are making these decisions.

Just as our country is being built every day on shared values, so too is 4-H. Every day, 4-H programs empower youth to be leaders by teaching them the importance of responsibility, hard work and cooperation.

4-H has helped me grow from an energetic kid who was eager to learn to a young leader with knowledge and skills to share. As I grow older and continue to transition from being a member to a leader, I think it is important to use these abilities to help build the 4-H program so that youth today can continue to receive the same life-changing 4-H experience that I experienced.  I want to make sure that today’s youth have the space and resources to show leadership according to what THEY value, so they can help shape the world around them – today and in the future.

 

Introducing our 3 New YAC Members

It is my pleasure to introduce to you three new YAC representatives.

Erica Jackson is 20 years old and hails from Upper Stewiacke, a small rural community in Nova Scotia. She has been in 4-H since she was of age but grew up in a heavily involved 4-H family. Erica has a wide variety of both livestock and life skills projects, including dairy, waterfowl, poultry, beef, rabbit, garden, floriculture, crafts and foods. She was also a Junior Leader for three different livestock projects, which allowed her to bring a vast knowledge to YAC. Erica attended the 4-H Citizenship Seminar in Ottawa, Ontario in 2011. She also completed two years at Dalhousie University's Faculty of Agriculture, working towards a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) with a major in Animal Science and minor in Animal Nutrition.

The best thing about the 4-H program, in her opinion, is the lifelong friends and connections that are established over the years. From taking dairy in 4-H, Erica has realized that the dairy industry is her real passion. She was the Overall Individual Dairy Participant at the 2013 Atlantic EastGen Showcase and won the opportunity to embark on a trip to Belgium this past September to partake in the 2014 European Young Breeders School.

Being selected as the Nova Scotia YAC representative has definitely made Erica’s year. She hopes to bring her outgoing and easy-going personality to the table. She is a very social and approachable person and she really hopes to improve 4-H awareness in her province and across the country. Because 4-H is such a valuable and life-lesson teaching program, Erica strongly believes that more youth should take part! Something that she would say to people who aren't in 4-H is that 4-H isn't only for "country kids" because there is definitely something that can appeal to everyone. Erica is excited become a part of it a fantastic 2014 YAC team!

It is my pleasure to welcome Melissa Taylor to the YAC Team as the Newfoundland and Labrador representative. She hails from Meadows, Newfoundland, is 18 years old, and has been involved in 4-H for 10 years. Melissa plans on taking a visual arts program at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the fall.  In her opinion the best thing about the program is how it brings everybody together. She lives in a rural area so members from 4-5 different communities come together. It's almost like having a second family. 4-H has changed her life by inspiring her to follow her dreams into visual arts.

Melissa’s 4-H family has really supported her to pursue her arts hobby. For example, one of Melissa’s projects was visiting the Memorial University's Performing Arts program.  The members provided lots of support which led Melissa to believe in her career choices and herself. As a part of YAC, Melissa hopes she can influence more youth to join/stay in the 4-H program because of all the amazing opportunities it has given her.

Melissa has attended four national conferences, one Atlantic conference, won 4-H scholarships and made friends from around the globe. Without 4-H, Melissa wouldn't be the confident person she is today. Keeping youth busy is one thing, but putting them into a program with people who really care about them and that teaches them they can achieve anything they put their mind to is a blessing.

Chris Deklein is excited and honoured to be the 4-H Ontario YAC representative. From a small town in Dorchester, Chris is 19 years old and is in his last semester at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus.

Chris has been in the 4-H program for nine years and has completed 30 projects to date. He has attended multiple youth camps and conferences including Provincial Leadership Camp. Chris also had an amazing opportunity last year as one of six 4-H Ontario Ambassadors.

4-H has truly furthered Chris’s leadership, communication, public speaking and judgment skills through leadership camps, project clubs, and showing dairy cattle.  As Ontario's YAC representative, Chris hopes to give back to the 4-H program and to youth as much as possible. The YAC team is excited to welcome Chris and we are confident he will be invited into his role with open arms and warm hearts.

It is my pleasure to introduce Erica, Melissa, and Chris as the newest members of the YAC team. We are sure they will bring a diverse mind set and skill level to help YAC ensure that 4-H is represented well across the country.

Yours forever in 4-H,
Casey Morey
4-H AB YAC Representative

Let the Bells Ring Out. We Have a New YAC Member!

Andrea Soesbergen working with a calf in her early days of 4-H

Andrea Soesbergen has had an illustrious 11 years in 4-H. Humble beginnings as a pee wee member, many executive positions, and experience on the Quebec 4-H Board of Directors have all culminated in her being selected as the new Youth Advisory Committee member for Quebec 4-H. 

Andrea currently resides in Dundee, QQ and is only 20 years old. She is presently enrolled in Agro-Environmental Sciences at McGill University, specializing in Plant Production and Professional Agrology so that she can one day be a professional agronomist/agronome. In order to help everyone get to know Andrea, please see the interview below where Andrea tells more about herself and why she loves 4-H so much. 

Cameron: How long have you been in the 4-H program? 

Andrea: I have been in the 4-H program for 11 years officially, but I have been involved in it for much longer than that. I started off joining my older brother and sister as they went to meetings, before I was old enough to be an official member myself. But I came to the meetings and learned alongside them and fell in love with the program very quickly. Since then I have grown a huge deal through 4-H. After starting at the club level, taking on executive positions within my club, I then represented my club on the Quebec 4-H Board of Directors. Throughout my five years of being on the board, I have progressed there as well, taking on executive positions at the provincial level of the organization. When the opportunity came up for YAC, a few of my friends recommended that I apply. I looked into what being on YAC was about, and it seemed like a natural next step in my progression through the 4-H program.

C: What is the best thing about the 4-H program?
 
A: One of the best things about the 4-H program is the opportunities it presents to its members. If you take up all the opportunities 4-H has to offer, it will put you in situations that will really allow you to grow as a person and gain new and exciting experiences. For example, through 4-H I have traveled to different provinces across the country, and I have been put in situations where I have had to run meetings or speak in front of a large group of people. Because of 4-H I have had the chance to be on both sides of an interview, and I've learned to organize large fundraising events. 4-H has continuously thrown me outside of my comfort zone in a way that has allowed me to grow so much as an individual.

C: How has 4-H changed your life? What aspects of the program have made the biggest influence on you? 

A: As exciting as my trips across the country through 4-H have been, I would have to say that the part of the program that has had the largest influence on me is actually the less extravagant part of 4-H. It has been experiences like learning to run meetings and working with others. And, through showing my calf I learned that hard work does pay off, but that there also times where you work hard and you don't win. It's the little lessons that I've learned here and there along my journey through 4-H that have taught me about leadership, hard work, communication, and about learning to win and lose with grace. 

C: In your role as a Youth Advisory Committee Member, what do you hope to achieve for both provincial and national 4-H programs? 

A: I want to be involved in making sure that both the provincial and national 4-H programs continue to offer the same kind of life changing opportunities that I had the chance to experience. I want to see the creation and maintenance of current opportunities and events that allow for positive youth development across Canada, because I believe that 4-H really does encourage youth to become the leaders of tomorrow.

C: If you could say one thing to people who aren’t in 4-H, what would you say?

A: Don't let this life changing opportunity pass you by. Go outside of your comfort zone, join a club, and learn some new skills. You'll be surprised with the places it can take you.

So, as you can see, Andrea has a wealth of knowledge to share with the Youth Advisory Committee Members and 4-H Canada as a whole. Her experiences have brought her to another amazing milestone in her 4-H career, and we can’t wait to have her join the team! 

If you, or anyone you know may be interested in the Youth Advisory Committee, please contact 4-H Canada. 

Yours in 4-H, 

Cameron Choquette 
4-H Saskatchewan Youth Advisory Committee Member

What Does 12 Years of 4-H Do to You?

Casey Morey jogs a horse

When you enter your last year of 4-H, you can get a lot of mixed feelings. Especially when you’re so dedicated to the program like myself. 4-H has done wonders for me as an individual, and as I enter my final year, I’m beginning to realize how important it has been to my life. I’ve also started to think about how I am supposed to fill the gap that 4-H has filled. 

From day one, 4-H has influenced my every decision. If I have had to pick between something and 4-H, you can bet 99% of the time I chose 4-H. So what have these 12 years done for me, and how will they impact my decisions in the future? Not only have I become a more self-confident individual, but I have also become a leader and mentor who influences the lives of youth across Alberta and Canada. 4-H has helped me to become a confident and vibrant young woman who never stops until she succeeds. I can speak in front of large crowds and not even flinch, and when in a pickle, improvisation is no jam. 

4-H has set me up for a lifetime of self-discovery, growth and inspiration. It has helped me to learn how to see challenges as opportunities, and has undoubtedly impacted how I see myself, as well as the people and the world around me. I see myself as a leader, who has the ability to influence not only my future, but also the future of others in a positive and incomparable way. 

4-H has created a lifetime of opportunities for me, like it does for most members. I have had the privilege to travel across Canada and the United States because of the program. When people see my resume or hear that I was a 4-H member, they automatically look at me differently and make an effort to open doors wider than normal.

4-H members have a wide range of skill sets and will complete any task put in front of them. With each year of 4-H, members learn a broader skill set, and increase their knowledge—which in turn helps them become even more productive and beneficial members of society. 

However, the average number of years members stay in 4-H is slowly decreasing. And, as a lifelong member who has been there since the first day she could start, it is upsetting to see so many youth not receiving as much out of the program as they possible can. 

I can tell you that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for 4-H. Never would I be so involved with agriculture, or pursuing a degree in Agriculture if I didn’t have 4-H. Not only has 4-H helped me grow as a person, but also it has helped me to create a path that never may have existed. Without the program, I would never have had the courage to travel to Cuba on a Community Service Learning Trip, or fly on my own. I would never have managed moving away from home and starting university. But most of all, I would never have had the courage to stand up for myself, what I believe in, and what I want to do. 

4-H creates leaders! It creates the future leaders of tomorrow. And it will continue to create those leaders no matter the number of individuals involved. With my final year of 4-H starting, I am being to realize how important the programs has been to me. I also have started to realize how much I am going to miss it. I will miss the programs, the leaders, and most of all the members I have been involved with. 

Needless to say, I will cry on my last day, because 4-H has changed my life. 

So make sure that you continue to be involved with the program, encourage your friends, and take all you can away from it, because once you come to the end you will realize everything you missed out on and everything you actually got. 

Yours forever in 4-H,
Casey Morey 
4-H Alberta Youth Advisory Committee Representative

P.S - here's a photo from back in the day:

Cracking Eggs and Changing Lives

Cameron Choquette visits Earth Rangers during 2015 4-H Canada Members Forum

Having just returned back from the 4-H Member’s Forum in Toronto, ON I can recall my very first conference last year. I was selected to go to the 2013 Members Conference as a delegate from Saskatchewan and I was quite nervous. For people who know me I am a rather outgoing person, but my very first trip without my parents was a daunting task. 

I remember walking into the conference scared out of my wits at the thought of meeting new people and being forced to participate. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything because I was afraid of people judging me. As I slowly went through each day I grew out of my “shell” and the egg was cracked. Once I knew how respectful and trustworthy 4-H’ers were - I let loose and did everything I could to enjoy the conference. 

That is what 4-H does, it cracks the eggs of young people and it changes their life. For me, 4-H has changed my life in the 12 years that I have been involved in the program. From public speaking to meeting skills, I can proudly say that I am a responsible citizen because of what 4-H does for me and for youth across the globe. 

The 2014 Members Forum was one for the record books. Every delegate had so much fun and I even got to witness people having their “eggs” cracked. The national trips and exchanges that are offered through 4-H Canada give young people a respectful environment in which they can express themselves wholeheartedly without the fear of judgement. This environment challenges delegates and chaperones alike to come out of their shell and try new things that will change their life. 

When I go to conferences I always make sure to remember every delegate’s name. I can brag and say that I knew the names of all 82 delegates from across Canada at this year’s Members Forum. 4-H is in the business of “Cracking Eggs and Changing Lives” as we continue to challenge our members and leaders to try new things and explore the endless opportunities that 4-H has to offer. 

All of the things that 4-H does for each member, leader, and volunteer changes their life in some way or another. The people involved in the program can certainly attest to that statement. I look forward to attending many more conferences, seminars, and meetings that are organized by 4-H because then I get to see more eggs being cracked and more lives being changed. 

4-H changes lives through positive youth development through our motto “Learn to Do by Doing” and we are certainly proud that over 26,000 members across Canada have the opportunity to change their life through the best youth organization in our great country. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact 4-H Canada or myself. 

All the best, 

Cameron Choquette 
4-H Saskatchewan Youth Advisory Committee Member 

Alberta’s SUMMER SYNERGY

Summer Synergy Awards Presentation

With the recent success of its 5th anniversary, Summer Synergy proves to be an event that is dedicated to the development of youth. Summer Synergy is a program developed as a partnership between Olds Regional Exhibition (ORE), 4-H Alberta, the Calgary Stampede, and Olds College.

This week-long event has brought together over 1700 participants from an array of species, including beef, dairy, and sheep. Throughout the week, participants compete in their respective species with points being allotted from 3 species-specific activities, a Synergy Multi Judging competition, and a Synergy Marketing component. Both multi judging and marketing prove to be great skill builders with participants evaluating 5 classes and completing an extensive marketing project. In the past, the marketing project has involved creating an online auction item or a marketing manual for livestock species.

As an event, Summer Synergy works hard to create a learning environment where youth can showcase their talents not only to the industry, but also to the world. Held in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede, a total of 305 scholarships have been awarded, amounting to over $300,000 being put towards the further education of our rural youth.

The program has seen a tremendous response of over 2800 head of beef, dairy, and sheep shown. It also hosts the Provincial 4-H Beef Heifer Show, Dairy Show, and Sheep Show. In addition, Summer Synergy hosts the Alberta Junior Black Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Limousin, Maine Anjou, Red Angus, Simmental, and All Other Breeds Shows. In the past, Summer Synergy has had the privilege of hosting the 2012 Canadian Charolais Youth Conference, and the 2012 Canadian National Junior Limousin Conference. Moving forward, it will host the upcoming 2015 Canadian Junior Angus Association Showdown.

ORE Event Manager, Tracy Gardner, says that, looking into the future, the organizing committee is most excited and committed to developing and executing celebratory programming for the 4-H Alberta centennial festivities in 2017.

As a Synergy Alumni and scholarship recipient, I am grateful to Tracy and the planning committee for being so dedicated to developing Summer Synergy into what it has become today. I have had the chance to walk across the grandstand stage at the Calgary Stampede twice, and it gives me chills to be able to watch the big screen while they announce the achievements of our rural youth. Summer Synergy has brought me out of my comfort zone and exposed me to a variety of skills and activities never imaginable. I promise that you could ask any Summer Synergy participant and they would say the event has created a lifetime of opportunities and opened many doors.

Before Summer Synergy, I had never been given the chance to interact with so many other species participants. I now have never-ending friendship bonds with participants from the beef, dairy, and sheep species. Alongside those friends, I have met participants who have travelled from across Canada, the US, and Australia - meaning the Summer Synergy is not limited to Alberta youth.

By combining traditional elements with innovative approaches for personal achievement and development, we are able to create a collaborative venue to showcase youth in agriculture. With the age range spanning from 9 to 21, youth have the chance to grow and show the passion they contain for the agriculture industry. Every year youth continue to come with their hopes, dreams, and skills. Youth don’t even realize that they’re shaping their own destiny, and by doing so, they’re shaping the destiny of everybody else involved with the industry. There’s just something special about Summer Synergy!

If your interested in learning more about Summer Synergy, check out the website at www.summersynergy.ca, or leave a comment below.  

By Casey Morey; 4-H AB YAC Rep.

Why Do We Give Back?

Casey Morey visited Cuba on a community service trip.

The reason why we do Community Service work!

Every year thousands of 4-H’ers across Canada pledge their hands to larger service for their club, community and country, but how many of those members truly understand what it means to give back to their community and how it affects who they will become in the future?

Most members are required to be involved in a club activity that is of benefit to their community. This activity can vary from helping at your local community dinner to doing a major fundraiser with proceeds going to charity to volunteering in other countries. Pretty much anything imaginable can involve giving back to your society. Providing a community service requires that you or a group of people do something that in turn benefits the public.

I personally feel very strongly about giving back to my community and have been involved with several community service events including several fundraisers for charity donations, playing games with the elderly, and most impactful to me is recently travelling to Cuba on a Community Service Learning trip with the University of Alberta. During this week-long trip my group travelled to farms within Cuba and provided help with farm work, not only to give back, but also to increase our knowledge of the environmental factors that are affecting those communities.

I had a life changing experience in Cuba and got the chance to see how fortunate we are to live where we live. It is hard to explain the impact that giving back can have on a person. Individuals must actually participate in the act of giving back to fully understand the impact it has on themselves and others.

Manitoba YAC representative Kendra Elliott says that especially being from a rural area, communities do so much for youth as they are growing up. She likes being able to return the favour and improve her community, as well as continue the tradition of encouraging future volunteers.

A community revolves around its people and succeeds when people take the time to contribute to its growth. 4-H is about encouraging community growth and creating bonds that are unbreakable. With each act of kindness and community service, the bond grows stronger and more unbreakable. The youth of today need to become more reliant on the community bond that surrounds them because it is the support of these people that will create endless opportunities and take that individual to places unimaginable.

As the 4-H Alberta vision states: 4-H Alberta develops leadership, communication, technical and life skills of 4-H members and leaders to strengthen communities. This is why WE GIVE BACK!

Forever yours in 4-H,

Casey Morey

4-H AB YAC Representative

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