By: Ryan Métivier  All across the province, Go For The Gold (GFTG) teams have been practicing and competing for months for a chance to represent their regions at the Provincial Championships held at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Saturday, November 7, 2015. This year’s finals saw Perth County of Region 5 come away victorious over Durham East from Region 3. Congratulations go out to Nathan Williams, Brooklyn Johnston, Halle Horn, Brett Harding, Glenna van der Heiden, and Coaches Terri Kraus and Carolyn van der Heiden. For over three decades, Go For The Gold has been an integral part of many 4-H Associations across the province. In order for teams to participate at the Provincial Go For The Gold competition they must have competed and won at their local and regional levels. The Provincial Championship presents the ultimate challenge to members by testing their skills and understanding of 4-H project material as well as general knowledge of 4-H, agriculture, food, nutrition and current events. Leading up to the 2015 competition there was much preparation, with teammates meeting throughout the month following Regionals and a couple times a week as the provincial event drew near. There was also lots of cramming the night before.

Left to right – Terri Kraus (coach), Nathan Williams, Brooklyn Johnston, Halle Horn, Brett Harding, Glenna van der Heiden, Carolyn van der Heiden (coach)

“We rotated through everybody’s house and sat and practiced game after game after game,” said Carolyn. “Everybody took designated manuals and studied them and made up a mock game so that we could practice, and at the beginning of our practices we would always go in groups of twos and they would read questions back and forth and then we would get together and actually play a mock game at the end of the evening.” Perth County definitely came out prepared as they managed to go 5-0 through round robin play. Facing the 4-1 Durham East team, Perth took the championship game by a 170-155 score. “There’s a lot of competition out there, more than I expected,” said Brooklyn.  “They seriously know their stuff, so you do need to do those months of practice and make sure you do everything,” added Glenna. “And the games, usually we would just make up questions to practice, but making up an actual game and having the different formats really helped study.” The team included two members (Brett and Hallie) who were new to competing in GFTG this year, who got a taste of how much work it is to prepare, while also balancing school and studying for both. In fact, all of the members had challenges when it came to meeting and practicing between full-time jobs, school, living in different areas and farming obligations. Social media, texting and emails was what they credit for helping them to all stay on the same page and communicate amongst each other. The team also credited their coaches for being amazing, excellent, dedicated and supportive. “They surprise us every time and you think they gotta know this and they gotta know that, and they do,” said Terri. “And it’s like where do you come up with those answers and they’re right on.” “The end goal was to win, but it was learn to do by doing and let’s have fun,” said Carolyn. “We told them you guys know what you know, we’ll take it from there. You could see that they were going up and down in their stress levels as they played. We’re so proud of them and they know so much.”  The final standings for the Provincial Competition were: 1st: Perth 2nd: Durham East 3rd: Carleton 4th: Halton 5th: Middlesex 6th: Sudbury For more photos from the 2015 GFTG competition click here. Go For The Gold is made possible through the generous support of Ontario Mutuals.