Valerie Stone is the 2012/2013 Canadian 4-H Council Youth Advisory Committee – Ontario Representative. In this position, Valeria brings the views and issues of Ontario 4-H youth to the Canadian 4-H Council Youth Advisory Committee discussions. As part of her role, this year Valerie attended the Canadian 4-H Annual General Meeting (AGM) in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Valerie had a fantastic time at the AGM and connecting with 4-H’rs and 4-H supporters from across the country. Read on for Valerie’s experience at the AGM. _______________________________________________________________________________ Canadian 4-H Annual General Meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland By Valerie Stone Calling all passengers to board Air Canada flight 654 to St. John’s, Newfoundland! We’re off to the Canadian 4-H Council Annual General Meeting (AGM). As the incoming 4-H Canada Youth Advisory Committee member from Ontario, this was my first 4-H Canada AGM. The most welcoming thing when you get off the plane is the 4-H Volunteers with smiling faces holding that familiar logo above their heads. Instantly they greeted us, assisted us with picking up our bags, and loaded us into the van. While it was grey skies outside, inside was filled with warmth and excitement with our nation’s 4-H Annual General Meeting about to commence.
It started off by meeting each province`s Youth Advisory Committee member and getting to know one another. Being able to put a face to a name, and voice you have heard on teleconferences, was just the start of people I met throughout the AGM. The next morning 4-H Canada held a welcome orientation breakfast for all delegates who had never attended a 4-H Canada AGM. By 7 a.m. the networking had begun. Mike Nowosad, CEO of 4-H Canada, and Rob Black, President of the Canadian 4-H Council, had sponsors, YAC members, and provincial representatives all acquainted. By the end of the networking sessions anyone attending the AGM knew you by your face and not your name tag. During the Canadian 4-H Council AGM the Youth Advisory Committee did a presentation on a topic that has resulted in a fair amount of discussion over the past few months: Future Leaders. We, the Youth Advisory Committee, took a position about how the Future Leaders program could work and created and delivered a presentation that covered the following areas: (1) a purpose to standardize age range, (2) engage senior Members, (3) develop member skills, (4) increase membership and keep Members involved in 4-H. Our presentation allowed the other delegates attending the AGM to hear about how this program could work and it opened the door to more networking throughout the conference. Over the next few days I talked to many representatives from organizations that sponsor 4-H including John Deere, Farm Credit Canada, The Co-operators, Enbridge, and Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, just to name a few. I also got the opportunity to speak with past presidents of the Canadian 4-H Council and Council members from other provinces. I was able to learn about how different 4-H is across Canada, but also, how we are all connected; the 4-H logo is the piece that brings us all together. These individuals also gave us a lot of feedback on our presentation. This feedback was really valuable and the Youth Advisory Committee held a meeting to incorporate the feedback and submit this document alongside our presentation to all the provincial offices. At the Annual Meeting banquet we witnessed thirteen 4-H delegates receive a Queen`s Jubilee Medal for their contributions to 4-H throughout Canada. It was very rewarding to be able to be acquainted with such an amazing room of people. That matching logo! The connecting part between each Member’s head, heart, health and hands from the East coast waters, above mountains, through the Prairies, across fields, by parliament hill, around the Maritimes and to the West coast waters. The 4-H Canada logo connects each and every one of us who is a part of 4-H. It is the same grass roots across Canada.
As I return back to Ontario I am excited for the future of 4-H in our own province, as well as across Canada. I would like to thank Kim Hooey for attending the 4-H Canada AGM as outgoing YAC member from Ontario, the Ontario 4-H Council for providing me the opportunity to attend the 4-H Canada AGM, and Gary Skogberg from The Co-Operators for their sponsorship of the Youth Advisory Committee. I look forward to being the Youth Advisory Committee member from Ontario over the next few years and I hope to see all of you in September at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show! The Youth Advisory Committee will be in attendance over the three days to kick off 4-H Canada’s “100 for 100” fundraising campaign.