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Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding leadership and contributions of 4-H alumni to our communities, country, and world.

Selection Criteria

The award recipient will be selected by a panel of reviewers based on these criteria:

  • Demonstrated leadership and contributions to their field and the world.
  • Being an outstanding role model of 4-H values (critical thinking, service, loyalty, and healthy living) and support for future generations.
  • Experience as a 4-H youth member. The nominee does not currently need to be involved with 4-H.

2022 Recipient, Ken Keis, Ph.D.

Ken got his 4-H start as a dairy member in the Matsqui 4-H Holstein and Tractor Clubs, where he excelled in showing Holstein calves and driving competitions at Pacific National Exhibitions. He credits his involvement with 4-H as having been a critical to helping develop his confidence, and build the experience that would help him become a successful entrepreneur.

Today, Ken is the President and CEO of Consulting Resource Group, an international leadership, coaching, and training firm. He is considered an expert in the field of leadership, self-purpose and wellness, and his firm is acknowledged as being one of the top three leadership development and coaching firms globally. 

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding leadership and contributions of one of 4-H’s 350,000 alumni from across Canada, to 4-H, their communities, their industry, and the world. The award will be presented at 4-H Canada’s Leadership Awards, which will be held virtually Feb. 28, 2023.  The organization’s signature event, the 4-H Canada Leadership Awards aims to showcase the achievements of leadership at every level of 4-H in Canada, while fundraising for the Canadian 4-H Foundation.

Read the award announcement.

Past Recipients

Sage Watson, 2021 

A true embodiment of the 4-H mission and values, Sage Watson is being recognized for the positive change she effects in the world as an elite athlete, mentor, philanthropist, and changemaker.

Watson, a two-time Olympian, credits her agricultural background for her work ethic and fierce determination. She says growing up on a cattle ranch in southern Alberta taught her how to work hard toward her goals. As a youth, she joined her local 4-H beef club, and went on to become a District Grand Champion for her steer. Watson was also a finalist in several regional public speaking finals, chaired a variety of committees, and was elected to her club’s executive. She attributes her confidence in speaking at schools and events, and interacting with the media, to her time in 4-H.

From rural Alberta to the world stage, Watson is one of Canada’s most beloved track and field athletes, easily recognized by the trademark red lipstick she wears in competition. An NCAA Champion, one of her proudest accomplishments is balancing athletics and academics at the University of Arizona, where she graduated at the top of her class with a degree in Business Marketing.

Read the award announcement.

The Honourable Lyle Vanclief, 2020

The Hon. Lyle Vanclief

The Honourable Lyle Vanclief was presented with the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2021 4-H Leadership Awards held virtually on Feb. 22, 2021. Read the award announcement.

Gord Bamford, 2019

Gord Bamford

Gord Bamford was presented with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2020 4-H Leadership Awards in Ottawa, ON on Feb. 10, 2020. Read the award announcement.

Elaine Froese, 2018

Elaine Froese received the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award

Elaine Froese was presented the first-ever Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2019 4-H Leadership Awards in Saskatoon, SK on Jan. 31, 2019. Read the award announcement.


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