Thanks to the support from the 4-H Canada Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) sponsor, BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions, I was given the opportunity to attend Members Forum last November. Members Forum is an annual conference for 4-H members ages 16-21, and focuses on career exploration through the lens of making positive impacts to both our environment and our lives.

This was the first time I was able to attend the event, and the entire week blew me away with the people I met, the things I learned, and the experiences I had. My week in Calgary had a significant impact on my aspirations to become a teacher, and I left Alberta feeling more confident and passionate about where I would like to go in my professional career. The theme of this year’s conference was Embrace Your Path, which was weaved into a variety of activities, including Mentorship Circles, networking events, and the Members’ Perspective project, which I was proud to help organize.

Members’ Perspective

Alongside 4-H Canada staff, members of YAC, including myself, helped to create the Members’ Perspective project, an activity where delegates presented on a topic that was important to them. Guiding delegates through their projects was an incredibly engaging and rewarding experience for me. As a future teacher, being able to hear the opinions of today’s youth, and delve into the subjects they are passionate about was very eye-opening and inspiring.

Some of the subjects covered through the Members’ Perspective projects included: stigma in the agricultural sector surrounding mental health, the challenges for women in agricultural, and the climate crisis. Many of these topics aren’t commonly talked about, especially in youth academic settings. In my own life, the 4-H program has allowed me to gain knowledge of topics in agriculture that many other students don’t have access to. This has shaped the way I think about the world, my future career aspirations, and core values. In Ontario, agricultural education isn’t a large topic within the mainstream education curriculum, and is a field that many students don’t know about. In a changing world where we need new ideas to feed more people and safeguard our environment, learning about agriculture is now more crucial than ever.

Kayla and fellow Youth Advisory Committee Member, Kianna, introducing the Members’ Perspective project to Members Forum delegates.

GrowCanadaConference

My week in Calgary with 4-H Canada introduced me to various people and companies that support agricultural education. BASF invited me and two other Youth Advisory Committee members to attend a networking night at the GrowCanada conference, where we were able to meet and talk to an abundance of leaders within the agriculture and food industry. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to work on my networking skills, and meet some incredible people making a positive impact across the country.

These leaders included Agriculture in the Classroom, a non-profit working to create curriculum resources and programs surrounding agricultural education for students across the country. I loved speaking to Christa, one of the staff members, to hear about the everyday connections and impacts their organization is making, and where they hope their initiatives will take them. Agriculture in the Classroom is a company I hadn’t heard of before my trip to Calgary, and learning about its mission opened my eyes to the opportunities to bridge education and agriculture, two topics very important to me.

All of the professionals I was able to speak with at the GrowCanada networking event were incredibly inspiring, offering great advice on entering the professional world, following your passions, and working to create impact. I had great conversations about the importance of education regarding agricultural careers and issues, which reaffirmed my future goals of becoming a teacher, and the impact I can still create within the world of agriculture.

The next day, we travelled back to the GrowCanada conference with all the Members Forum delegates to attend morning sessions. This was a highlight of my trip! It was so energizing to talk to more GrowCanada delegates alongside other 4-H members. These sessions gave me, and other 4-H'ers, a taste of the topics being discussed in the current professional world of agriculture, and the number of opportunities that exist within the agricultural sector. The scope of career options truly seemed endless with such a large group of diverse, experienced professionals in the room. It was incredibly eye-opening and exciting for all the 4-H members, including myself!

Next, we had Mentorship Circles, an event that is always highly anticipated at every Members Forum. For Mentorship Circles, a number of industry professionals attending the GrowCanada conference graciously donated their lunch time to meet with 4-H members in small groups to discuss their careers, provide advice, and talk to members about their interests. This event was great because it allowed 4-H members to connect with mentors from a variety of careers in a comfortable setting and form great connections. Every member I talked to after the event felt incredibly inspired and excited, which reaffirmed the importance of making these industry connections for youth, and highlighted the impact they have.

From left to right: Youth Advisory Committee Members Lark, Katie, Kianna, and Kayla dressed and ready to attend the GrowCanada networking night.

Final Thoughts

Attending Members Forum was truly an irreplaceable experience for me and over 60 4-H members. The conversations I had with industry leaders from across the country opened my eyes to the scope of the agricultural sector, the careers available in Canada, and the topics being discussed today for a more sustainable, efficient tomorrow. My time at Members Forum and GrowCanada left me feeling inspired about my own career path in teaching, as I learned more about the importance of making connections between agriculture and education, and the opportunities to tie these two divisions together. These are two topics that are very important and close to my heart, and I’m excited to see how they will intertwine in my own life.

I’d like to thank BASF and 4-H Canada for the opportunity to travel to Alberta for this amazing experience. The connections, memories, and knowledge I gained from this trip have made an incredible impact on my personal and professional goals, and no doubt, will continue to resonate with me for years to come.

Kayla Emmerton Blog 3 1

From left to right: Katie, Kayla, Kianna, and Lark are all smiles during the group’s excursion to the Calgary Stampede grounds.

All Photo Credits:Courtesy of Kayla Emmerton

Nos sites web