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4-H Canada Blog

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.