The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2015, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form. Submitted by Ava Doner, 4-H Ontario Youth Ambassador from Durham East 4-H Association On a daily basis, I find myself feeling so grateful for my 4-H experiences and for the multitude of contributions this powerful program has made in my life. As a member of 4-H you are exposed to a wide range of activities, events and situations that help you grow as an individual. The 4-H program helps to develop skills that provide you with the necessities of life. As a result, I thought it would be appropriate to outline the top 10 reasons why I am proud to be a 4-H member.

  1. Provides opportunities to try new experiences. 4-H is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. With a safe environment for all members to participate in, each individual has the potential to try something new. 4-H provides a wide range of activities that are available to all ages so everyone has the opportunity to ride a horse, bake a cake, or attend camp for the first time! Participating in real life experiences helps members to gain a new perspective on what the world has to offer!
  2. Helps you develop a deeper appreciation for individualism. The 4-H organization is comprised of a diverse group of individuals. Everyone in 4-H comes from different backgrounds and has different values and interests. In 4-H, you learn how to interact, understand and appreciate individuals that have different morals, hobbies and opinions than yourself.
  3. You learn decision making. Life is all about making decisions and sometimes you need to explain your reasons in regards to that decision. With judging and giving reasons in 4-H, members learn to be confident with the decisions that they make. This is a skill that carries with members throughout life when they are deciding what career they want to pursue, what job offer to take, and so much more.
  4. Develops public speaking skills. I still remember my first 4-H meeting where I was a shy, timid, young, ten-year-old. I was standing in a circle with a bunch of brand new faces that I had never seen before and when it was my time to answer the roll call, I quietly said “Skip me please.” If you met me today, you would quickly come to realize that I am anything but shy. I am convinced that my parents blame 4-H for making me a talker, but I am extremely thankful for it. 4-H provides members with the opportunity to be outspoken and to be confident while speaking to an audience.
  5. The events that you’re privileged to attend. The places that you travel and the things that you get to see are one of the greatest benefits that 4-H has to offer. Often, 4-H clubs do field trips to different farms, workplaces, and events. Additionally, the 4-H Ontario program offers many camps that members of all ages are able to attend across Ontario. Furthermore, 4-H provides exchanges to different provinces and countries where members are able to learn about different cultures and lifestyles. The opportunities presented through the 4-H program are unlike any other!
  6. The people that influence your life. The people that you meet through the 4-H program are some of the most influential and amazing individuals in the world.  You meet mentors and leaders in the industry that often inspire you. Whether you are involved in your home association or at a provincial level, the people that you interact with will teach you life lessons and impact your life forever.
  7. The leadership skills that you develop. The 4-H motto says it all…”Learn to do by doing”. By participating in 4-H, you learn teamwork, responsibility, communication skills, self-confidence and so much more. The leadership skills that you learn in 4-H will help you in all aspects of life in the future.
  8. Helps you become more independent. 4-H provides opportunities to make your own decisions and to take chances outside of your comfort zone. From becoming responsible enough to raise an animal on your own, confident enough to make new friends, or courageous enough to attend a fair for three days without your parents, 4-H gives members a feeling of accomplishment and a feeling of independence.
  9. Sense of inclusion. The members of a 4-H association are often referred to as one big family. The people that you meet and the connections that you make will last a lifetime. Furthermore, 4-H provides opportunities to travel and make friends around the world!
  10. 4-H prepares you for life. At every 4-H meeting, parliamentary procedure is followed and an agenda is used. This teaches members structure and a skill that they will forever use. Additionally, 4-H gives you real life experiences in areas that pertain to a wide range of careers. The events and activities that you partake in are extremely appealing to employers. Lastly, 4-H gives you the skills in order to succeed in a job, such as communication and networking skills.

This is only a short list on how 4-H has impacted my life and why I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization. Because of 4-H, I feel confident in the direction that I am heading towards in the future and gives me confidence to achieve things that I never felt possible before. Now that I have outlined the top 10 reasons as to why I am honoured to be a 4-H member, I am interested to hear what you have to add. Why are you proud to be a 4-H member? How has 4-H influenced your life? If you want to share your 4-H story be sure to check out our “5 Questions With…” feature here and tell us your story!