Written By: Rachel Gras

An outstanding 4-H leader or mentor should be someone who is supportive, considerate and always there for you. I have been very lucky to find many people in 4-H who are like that for me, but there are three main people that I would like to talk about: Stefan Gubelmann, Rita Gubelmann and Deb Falconer. Stefan and Deb were both two of my first ever 4-H leaders, with Deb leading my first ever club, which was sheep, and Stefan leading my second club which was dairy.

Stefan and Rita Gubelmann

I met Stefan and Rita in 2019 when I started showing 4-H calves with them, and since then, I would not be where I am today without them. They are always there to make sure our calves are clipped to perfection the night before the show, and the morning of the show, they are there to make sure the calves are all washed, dried and trailered in time to make it to the show. When at the show, they are always there to make sure we have everything we need but also know how to give us the perfect amount of space to make sure we are still learning and growing. They have inspired me in a million and one ways, and for that, I am forever grateful for. They have inspired me to help kids achieve their goals, be a leader in the community and be welcoming arms to people who wish to join 4-H. I don’t think it was always easy to get a large group of kids under the age of 18 ready for a show, but they never gave up, and they never showed anything other than happiness, pride and respect for us.

Deb Falconer

Deb Falconer was my first ever 4-H leader and has been one of the many reasons I continue 4-H. She built the foundation of my love for 4-H, and she made sure it was a strong one. Deb is one of those people that fills the room with happiness just from her smile, always says hi when she sees you and is always there to lend a helping hand. Her dedication to assuring all the members in her club were constantly growing and achieving their goals is one that will never go unseen. Although Deb is no longer my 4-H leader, she is still someone I can look to for guidance, support and ideas. As a 4-H leader, Deb helped lead kids in several clubs and always pushed them to learn by doing. Her contribution to her local 4-H clubs is one that I will always admire and strive to achieve.

All of these people are people I will forever look to for leadership, and I know that they will always be there to lend a helping hand. They have been the best leaders and mentors I could have ever asked for, and I hope one day I can become someone like them and help mentor the next generation of 4-H’ers, youth and leaders.

Written By 4-H Ontario Ambassador: Rachel Gras

Rachel is currently studying food and agriculture business, with a minor in agriculture, at the University of Guelph.