4-H Ontario Volunteer Conference

Magic of 4-H

4-H Ontario Volunteer Conference 2023

You are invited to the 2023 4-H Ontario Volunteer Conference ‘Magic of 4-H’, hosted by the Ontario
4-H Council and the Ontario 4-H Foundation.

When: March 24-25, 2023
Where: Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel, 600 Highway 7 Richmond Hill, ON
Conference Hosts: Ontario 4-H Council, Ontario 4-H Foundation and 4-H Ontario Staff


The 4-H Volunteer Conference will be hosted in-person on March 24-25, 2023 at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel. This event will not include a virtual component.

The pre-conference activities begin on Friday, March 24, 2023 with hotel and conference registration, In The Know Workshop, networking, resource displays, Swap Table and early bird sessions such as Land Acknowledgements, 4-H at the Fair and a session for local Membership Coordinators.  Followed by the Ontario 4-H Council Annual General Meeting (AGM), the conference kick off, and social activities to close the opening day.

The energy and excitement will truly be dazzling on Saturday, March 25, 2023 with the Paralympic Winter Games Sledge Hockey medalist Tyler McGregor, who will share is journey of successes and struggles, as the conference keynote speaker. The 4-H Ontario Volunteer Support Staff team will then be bringing back regional jam sessions, followed by a second morning session with some interactive sessions and tips to encourage more volunteer engagement. Lunch on Saturday will have a spotlight on the 4-H Ontario Ambassador inductions and recognition celebration. The afternoon is filled with more educational workshops and activities, including involved youth, mental health, risk management, local fundraising ideas and the value of local association by-laws and constitutions. All delegates are invited to attend the prestigious 4-H Ontario Arbor Award dinner and presentations. Be sure to bring your bidding arm to participate in the 4-H Ontario Live Auction. There is also a silent auction throughout the weekend, that we encourage everyone to check out. Saturday caps off with entertainment and a social and networking time.

Check out the SPEAKERS, WORKSHOPS and AGENDA below!

4-H Ontario Volunteer Conference Workshop Topics

Pre-Conference Session

In the Know: Mental Health Workshop for the Agriculture Community  

In the Know is a mental health literacy workshop designed specifically for farmers, their families and those who are involved and/or support the agriculture sector. Through this four-hour workshop, participants will cover the topics of stress, depression, anxiety, substance use and how to start a conversation about mental well-being.  


Afternoon Session

4-H is 4-All:  Fostering a greater understanding and awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion matters within 4-H Ontario to improve overall experience for youth and volunteers. We will discuss how to adapt projects and how to ensure that your club is a safe and respectful environment for all those involved.

Times are changing! So Should Your Volunteer Efforts:  Are you struggling to find volunteers?  How do you keep volunteers coming back every year?  In this workshop we will talk about the changes that communities are seeing over the last 20 years and how to engage today’s volunteers.  We will learn about tools and resources to help you update your volunteer processes using an asset-based approach.

Volunteer Retention: Once you’ve brought on great volunteers, you need to find ways to keep them motivated. Learn about the barriers to retention as well as new ideas for keeping your volunteers engaged.

Volunteer Recognition: Meaningful recognition goes a long way to keep volunteers engaged, motivated and making an impact. Learn how to recognize your volunteers in effective, inexpensive, far-reaching and virtual ways. 

Morning Session

Regional JAM Sessions:  Regional JAM Sessions are back on Saturday morning.  An opportunity to network with the other fabulous volunteers from within your own region.  Come and hear about upcoming events and updates from the provincial Volunteer Support team.

The Importance & Value of 4-H at the Fairs: 4-H is certainly visible at many local fairs in the province throughout the year, however there is more to it.  Join Vince Brennan as he shares ideas how local 4-H Associations and the local Agricultural Societies need to continuously work together, to be able offer these opportunities to the 4-H members. 


Magic of 4-H: Demystifying the Ontario 4-H Foundation: Come and learn about: What do we do and why do we exist? How does the Foundation support 4-H in Ontario? How can your local association benefit? How can we work together for the future of 4-H? This educational session will provide background information about the 4-H Foundation how its work supports 4-H at the provincial and local level.  


Buckle Up! Managing Risk: Have you got questions about managing risk for your club? Join for a discussion of how to integrate risk management into all parts of your 4-H life from planning activities to working with local fairs.  

Membership Coordinator Round-Table Chat: This is a session designed for those who serve as the Membership Coordinator for their local Association.  Come and gather with your fellow Membership Coordinators to discuss updates for 2023 and to chat with others who share the same role about best practices from across the province that might benefit you! This opportunity for a face-to-face gathering will help to enhance the Membership Coordinator Community!


Afternoon Session


Building Your Mental Health Toolbox: Stock your toolbox with new strategies, tools & resources for better wellness.  Learn about free mental health programs offered by Agriculture Wellness Ontario for the agriculture community. (repeating twice)

5 Keys to Keep Youth Involved:  Need ideas to motivate your members to stay involved with 4-H? Challenge Growth, Provide Support, Express Care, Share Power and Expand Possibilities. When groups like 4-H intentionally focus on the elements of Developmental Relationships participants are more likely to feel connected and stay involved. The framework is supported by the research of the Search Institute and practice with organizations including 4-H National Council – Program Leaders Working Group in the US and the Halton Youth Initiative. Real-world examples will bring the framework to life, and workshop participants will explore their own connection to staying motivated.

Putting your Best Foot Forward: We’re all proud to be part of the agriculture and food industry and are eager to answer questions about who we are and what we do. But speaking up can be challenging because we work in an industry that’s filled with tough topics and questions. This workshop will cover the questions consumers have about food production and provide techniques on how to put your best foot forward when it comes to being a great agricultural ambassador. 


Fun Facilitator Tips and Tricks: You don’t need to be at camp to be a facilitator! Understanding what a facilitator does can help you understand your role as a club leader, and help you build fun, friendships and purpose into your club. Join Kim, Craig, and John as they take you through social activities that’ll ensure your members get to know each other, work as a team, and have fun while learning.
(repeating twice) 


Constitutions, Bylaws and ONCA too! Learn about your board constitutions and  bylaws and how you work with them in your associations. Also, the 4-H Ontario ONCA committee will speak to the process of ONCA. As a not for profit association, registered with the CRA, we must follow these government policies…and ONCA stands for Ontario Not For Profit Corporations ACT!


Spotlight on 2023 4-H Projects: Join us to see what’s new with 4-H Ontario resources as we launch the updated Breadventure project, the updated Swine Project and the updated Veterinary Project, as well as three new Cloverbud units, also about Breadventure, Swine and Veterinary, to add to our Year Two of Cloverbud curriculum. Come to see and hear about the new and updated materials, see what activities are available, and have your questions answered about 4-H projects and the Cloverbud program. 

4-H Ontario Volunteer Conference Speakers 🔉

A leader on Canada’s national Para ice hockey team for many years now, Tyler McGregor was named captain of the squad in 2019.  

He’s been Canada’s top scorer at the last two world championships in 2019 and 2021, where Canada also finished in second place.

At age 15, he broke his leg in his 2009 season opener. An OHL prospect at the time, he underwent surgery but developed a growth behind his leg. He was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a form of soft-tissue cancer that originates in the bone. His leg was amputated on the same day as the 2010 OHL Draft.

McGregor realized quickly that he wanted to get back into hockey and started playing again with a standing amputee team. However, he switched to Para ice hockey in 2011 and his determination led him to the national team, and now to being one of the very best in the game.

He made his national team debut at age 18 at the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Calgary, earning a goal and two assists as Canada won the silver medal. Less than a year later, McGregor helped Canada to gold at the world championships. 

As a former dairy farmer from Stirling, Ontario, Vince brings nearly 45 years of involvement with his local agricultural society as an exhibitor, director, and committee member. 


Strong organizational and governance skills have been gained from working with the Hastings Federation of Agriculture as a 4-H volunteer and serving as President of the Ontario 4-H Council during a time of significant change. 


Vince has been an official dairy livestock judge for most of his life and has had the opportunity to judge livestock shows in many countries around the world. He is also an avid curler who actively supports several local clubs in the area. Vince has been the Manager of the OAAS since the spring of 2016. 

Megan Burnside-Poitras, Coordinator, Volunteer Support – Region 3, 4-H Ontario

Megan is a long-time 4-H member, leader, facilitator, and staff member.  She has been a volunteer in a wide variety of 4-H projects including Beef, The Region 3 Senior Member 4-H Club, Relay For Life, Judging, Virtual Lifeskill Programs, etc. and has been a facilitator at a wide variety of 4-H Camps, with her favorites being the March break camps.  She considers the 4-H members around her a part of her family, and particularly loves working with senior members.

Megan enjoys showing her herd of purebred and percentage beef cattle throughout Ontario.  Having grown up in a 4-H family, with her parents as role models and leaders, she continues to volunteer in Hastings County, where she currently resides, with her husband David and daughter Noelle. When she is not busy with 4-H, she loves to hang out with her dogs, Goose and Harley, and can often be found baking and decorating cakes for birthdays, under-water ballet recitals, and weddings for family and friends.  Megan loves to curl and is also an active volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Evelyn Chambers, Senior Manager, Volunteer and Community Engagement, 4-H Ontario

Evelyn is the Director of Professional Practice with 4-H Ontario. In this role she oversees all aspects of Risk Management including insurance, accreditation and policy development. Evelyn is also a long time supporter of fairs and is a past director and president of the Lindsay Agricultural Society, host of the Lindsay Exhibition. 

Is a team member of the 4-H Ontario staff as the Database Specialist, Kelly is responsible for managing the 4-H Ontario database and ensuring the data we capture is reflective of the hard work 4-H’ers do every day.

Raised on a grain farm near Guelph, Ontario, Kelly Daynard is the Executive Director of Farm & Food Care Ontario. She is a graduate of both Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program.

A former reporter/photographer and agricultural communications specialist, Kelly has been with Farm & Food Care Ontario since 2005. Farm & Food Care Ontario is a coalition of farmers, farm organizations and associated businesses proactively working together to earn public trust in food and farming.  

Kelly is passionate about helping farmers and others working in agriculture to tell their stories. She is one of the co-founders of the Speak Up team training program, an initiative that gives farmers the skills and confidence they need to be able to tell their stories about their farms and farm families to the public. The workshops have now been delivered to farmers and agribusiness staff across Canada.  

Kim is an experienced facilitator and has assisted numerous organizations with meeting management, leadership development, strategic planning and parliamentary procedure. She attends numerous board meetings as a volunteer as is very actively involved in the local 4-H Association, commodity organizations and Big Sisters Big Brothers organization along with being a 4-H leader.

Born and raised in Smiths Falls, Ontario, John Drummond is a proud product of the Lanark and Leeds 4-H programs. A strong advocate for 4-H opportunities, John has been a facilitator at PLC, FLIA, Careermania, and Discovery Days. Now in his 38th year as a leader in Waterloo Region, John leads many clubs, including Dairy, Veterinary, the Kitchener Market 4-H Club, and more recently the virtual Waterloo Wellington Cooking Clubs. John was the President of the Ontario  
4-H Council in 2006-08, Syngenta Arbor Award Winner in 2006, and Canada’s 4-H Volunteer of the Year in 2013.    

As the current 4-H Ontario President, Laurie has been a 4-H volunteer in the Middlesex 4-H Association for over 20 years and has worn many hats throughout this time from club leader to association executive, co-chair of multiple provincial committees. She was a 4-H member in the North Simcoe 4-H Association and continued participating in clubs through university where she received a Bachelor of Applied Science degree and is currently the head of Guidance at Medway High School, in Arva, ON.

Sammy designs and oversees Volunteer Toronto’s responsive and accessible learning experiences for non-profit engagement professionals, grassroots leaders and volunteer seekers. With a strong focus on diverse educational interventions that support the changing needs in volunteerism, Sammy also develops training for aspiring and established non-profit Board Members. Sammy is a Certified Volunteer Administrator. 

Pat Howell-Blackmore is the Principal Consultant of PHB Spark Consulting and she is committed to building the capacity of Canadians who are working to make our country the best possible place for families, children, youth, businesses and communities to thrive. This belief has fueled Pat’s efforts for over 30 years as a Positive Youth Development and Community Development professional. Rich experience gained in various positions with Lions Quest Canada – The Centre for Positive Youth Development and as Director of Program Development and Evaluation at the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation inform her strengths-based approach to building organizational capacity and providing consulting services.

Pat has completed over twenty clubs as a 4-H member in Brant and knows first-hand the impact that participation in a 4-H club can have on a young person’s work ethic, leadership ability and mastery of a variety of skills.

Heather Keam is the Associate Director for Tamarack Institute’s Deepening Community practice area.   Heather is passionate about community change and has over 20 years of community engagement experience and in her spare time is volunteering on many local community projects and currently working in her small town to build a sense of belonging and connection.

Lindsay is the In the Know Program Manager, Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Branch. Lindsay joins us from the programming team at CMHA Ontario. A 4-H volunteer and alumnus herself from the Peel 4-H Association, Lindsay has a passion for agriculture advocacy and mental health literacy. She recognizes the importance of learning to prioritize your wellbeing and that this is a unique journey for all. Lindsay is excited to share some opportunities tailored to the agriculture community that are available through CMHA Ontario that could impact your own wellness journey. 


Elizabeth Johnston, Coordinator, Programming and Resources, 4-H Ontario

Elizabeth is the Coordinator of Programming & Resources with 4-H Ontario. She is also a 4-H volunteer and past 4-H member.  Within her role with 4-H, Elizabeth creates new 4-H projects and updates older projects and administers the Locally Submitted 4-H Project process. Elizabeth grew up and still lives on a beef farm and is a graduate of the University of Guelph. She is a director with the local Perth County Beef Farmers organization and has been a director with the Listowel Agricultural Society for the past 20 years where she now serves as their President.

Naomi Lutes is the Vice-Chair of the 4-H Foundation. Naomi is a proud 4-H alumna, having completed dozens of 4-H projects, particularly dairy and judging projects. Naomi frequently attended the Inter-County 4-H Judging Competition, showmanship competitions, and Go For the Gold. Naomi also worked as a summer student at 4-H Ontario in 2003 and 2004 and assisted in the development of an updated Judging Toolkit and other resources. Naomi is a lawyer practicing criminal law in Toronto.

Catherine is Director Risk Management and Accreditation at 4-H Canada.  She is responsible for risk management, insurance, and accreditation.  She Co-Leads the Youth Safety Standards working group with Evelyn Chambers.   


Tammy is no stranger to 4-H, as a current volunteer for over fifteen years, former Council President and Board member and actively involved within the Brant 4-H Association.  Tammy has been a facilitator at many national and  provincial opportunities including Leadership Camp, Future Leaders in Action and Go For The Gold. Tammy is currently the Event Specialist with the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians.

Marie has been a dedicated volunteer in the Haldimand 4-H Association for over 15 years and is the current President of the Haldimand 4-H Association.  

Craig is the manager of the Gay Lea Dairy Museum and Co-operative Education Centre near Aylmer.  He has lead a virtual 4-H social recreation club and has been involved with PLC for multiple years and a 4-H alumni from Lambton County. 

Cheryl has worn many hats as a 4-H member, volunteer, leader, board member & 4-H Ontario Past President. She was a 4-H member in the Huron 4-H Association for eight years where she participated in many agricultural and homemaking projects and then became a 4-H leader. In 2010, Sullivan began volunteering in the Carleton 4-H Association where she has led the Dairy Club, Field Crops Club and many life skills clubs.

Kim has been involved in the 4-H program for over 50 years first as a member then a volunteer leader in Haldimand County for almost 40 years. Kim received the Arbor Award in 2017. He is currently Chair of the Ontario 4-H Foundation 
Kim owns and operates Turnbull Farms, a crop enterprise near Canfield, producing grains, oilseeds and forage crops. The farm has been in the family for over 165 years. Kim is an accomplished woodworker and has donated many items to the 4-H fundraising auctions. Kim and his wife Dawn, have two boys who both participated in 4-H

Over the past 10 years Adriana has worked in non-profit and social service and is passionate about educating others about Mental Health. Adriana was raised on her family’s dairy farm in Oxford County and has always been passionate about serving the agriculture community. In her spare time Adriana is a 4-H volunteer leading cooking projects and volunteers for her local agricultural society.

Shirley’s passion is to reduce the stigma of mental illness, to educate others, and to be part of the change in how we care for ourselves and others. Shirley has been enthusiastically facilitating workshops for the past 20 years and for the past 10 years has focused entirely on mental health and wellness with the Canadian Mental Health Association. She delivers a variety of workshops for both adults and youth including Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health Works, A.S.I.S.T., Living Life to the Full, CHOICES, Why Try and the Responding with Respect Series of workshops. As an advocate for youth, Shirley delivers workshops in York Region and South Simcoe schools and at youth-serving agencies to promote youth wellness 

Tayler spent twelve years as a 4-H member completing over thirty clubs on a variety of topics and participating in both provincial and national opportunities. Tayler continues his 4-H journey as a club leader and Board member with the Wellington 4-H Association and as a Trustee with the Ontario 4-H Foundation. In addition to 4-H, Tayler volunteers in leadership roles with various other community organizations including the local fair and pipe band. As a partner at Husky Farm Equipment Limited, Tayler pursues his passion for agriculture and technology through his work both professionally and in his spare time.  

Faith is the Volunteer Support Coordinator with Region 4 and Indigenous Communities, where she supports 4-H volunteers in their roles and provides leadership and engagement opportunities for them. 

As a Registered Social Service Worker (R.S.S.W) Faith runs her own company (E.B.Jjules Balance & Mental Health) that has a mandate of removing the stigma of mental health in the workplace, development of wellness workshops.
Faith has achieved her Diploma in Business Admin & Marketing and has a strong background in marketing and event planning in both the private and public sector. 

For many years Faith has been a champion for Mental Health and research to find cures for Diabetes and Cancer. 

Faith lives in Barrie with her partner Paul and their two very spoiled cats, Misty and Governor. 

Preliminary Agenda

Friday March 24, 2023

  • Check in
  • Sheraton facilities (pool, fitness centre, shopping etc.) open for delegate use
  • Pre-Conference workshop: In the Know – Mental Health (10am-1:30pm)
  • Afternoon Activities
    • 4-H Conference Registration Desk opens at 1pm
    • Early bird sessions at 2pm & 3pm
    • Dinner
    • 4-H Ontario Council Annual General Meeting (7:00pm)
    • Conference Kick-Off and Delegate Mixer

Saturday, March 25, 2023

  • Breakfast
  • Keynote Speaker: Paralympic Winter Games Sledge Hockey medalist Tyler McGregor
  • Workshops – 12 sessions spread over 4 timeslots
  • 4-H Ontario Ambassador Recognition Luncheon
  • 4-H Ontario Arbor Award Banquet
  • 4-H Auction
  • Live Entertainment
  • Social and Networking