National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award - Interview with Lisa Patton

Each year, 4-H Canada recognizes the amazing volunteer leaders across the country, who are committed to providing an outstanding experience for their 4-H club members and are making an active difference in their community.

One volunteer leader from each province is awarded the Provincial Volunteer Leader of the Year and has the opportunity to be selected for the National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award! The winning national volunteer receives a cash prize of $1,000 and registration for the virtual, 2021 Leadership Summit. The Provincial and National Volunteer Leader of the Year Awards are powered by nominations submitted from 4-H members.

Last year’s National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award winner, Lisa Patton, was chosen for her outstanding commitment to empowering 4-H youth in her home province of Nova Scotia. Lisa was a dedicated leader for over 15 years, and most recently, held the position of President for the Truro-North River 4-H Club. Lisa has been an integral part of the success that the 4-H movement in Colchester County has seen over the years – committing countless hours working with 4-H youth to support their growth in their communities and as leaders.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Lisa Patton about her time with 4-H and winning the 2019 National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award.

Portions of this conversation have been edited for brevity and clarity.

4-H Canada: Tell us about your background in 4-H and how you became involved.

Lisa Patton: I was a 4-H member growing up and enjoyed my time in the program. I was a member of the Onslow-Belmont 4-H Club in central Nova Scotia and completed various livestock projects such as beef, goat, and horse.

I truly believe 4-H has played a big part [in] who I am today and [the] decisions I have made to be as involved as I am in my community on a volunteer basis. Volunteerism is the rent we pay for living within our community. My own 4-H motto is “We are 4-H... we can do anything we put our minds to!”

4-H: Why did you choose to become a 4-H volunteer leader?

LP: I joined 4-H as a leader in 2004, along with my daughter, who was only 6 at the time. I joined so she could experience a healthy and engaging program that encourages leadership skills.

4-H: Tell us about being nominated and winning the National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award

LP: Being nominated for the 2019 National Volunteer 4-H Leader of the Year by two 4-H members was an absolute honour and that was the win for me.

To find out I had actually been named as the 2019 National Volunteer Leader of the Year – was icing on the cake.

4-H: Do you have any words you’d like to share about your experience with 4-H?

LP: It has been my sincere pleasure to watch young 4-H members grow into responsible, young adults who become mentors to the younger members. My father always used the phrase “4-H members of today are leaders tomorrow”. I believe, we as leaders, need to always work hard and let our members see this – leading by example.

I truly could write a book [of] memories from my time as a 4-H member, 4-H alumni, 4-H parent, and 4-H Leader. I am so thankful to have these memories to share with others.

Nominations for the National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award are now open and can be submitted by 4-H members until Dec. 30, 2020. Nominate your volunteer leader today.