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4-H Canada Blog

Meet Wayne Macdonald, Last Year’s National Volunteer Leader of the Year Recipient

Decades of dedication to 4-H in Canada, and a commitment to positive youth development, were just some of the reasons why Wayne Macdonald was selected to be 4-H Canada’s 2015 National Volunteer Leader of the Year. Ontario 4-H member, Elaine Jeffs, sat down with the Sudbury-based Clever Clovers 4-H Club leader to ask him about the importance of being involved with 4-H Canada. To nominate your local volunteer leader for the 2016 National Volunteer Leader of the Year, click here.

What was your first experience with 4-H and what made you want to get involved in the program?

Shortly after Paulette and I married, I helped her start a 4-H club in Arnprior, Ontario in 1988. As a 4-H alumna from Renfrew County it was natural for her to want to share the 4-H experience in our community.

Have you had any mentors that have supported you along the way?

I have had many mentors along the way and have built some amazing relationships, notably Rob Black, Lyndon Stewart and Evelyn Chambers.

The "Clever Clovers" 4-H club is very unique; please describe how it is different than many of the 4-H clubs in your area.

We have an urban 4-H club and our philosophy is to offer projects in every key area of 4-H available to youth. These areas include parliamentary procedure, 4-H Month celebrations and meeting with the mayor annually to discuss 4-H and to raise the 4-H flag.

What is your favourite thing about the 4-H program?

When a person joins the 4-H family, it is amazing how the people and the experiences have such a positive effect in their lives.

What do you think the future of 4-H looks like in your area?

I would love to see the 4-H program strengthened in schools and urban areas without losing the agricultural roots and knowledge. The strong foundation that has been built over 100 years demonstrates to me that this program is a vital part of the development of the youth across Canada.

What strategies can other 4-H associations use to increase the spirit of 4-H in their area?

One of the best strategies our 4-H association uses is to be inclusive of the 4-H families, respect volunteers and support leaders.

The youth are the 4-H program and we all ‘Learn To Do By Doing’ together. The members are involved right from the beginning; no question is wrong, no idea is wrong and there is always another way. To our amazement, the group finds the ways and they create their own spirit; they are in a safe, supportive environment and they can ‘just be themselves’!