Merlin Community Club – Meeting #1

The Merlin 4-H Field Crop Club Holds First Meeting
By: Abby Pepper

On Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 9:00 am the Merlin 4-H Field Crop Club met for their first meeting of 2018. The meeting was held at the Sullivan’s house.

The meeting was started off with a mixer activity in which all members and leaders had to share something that about themselves and then the group had to guess if it was true or false.

After the mixer activity, the group was asked a roll call question “Name a crop that you see farmers growing?” Answers included sugar beets, soybeans, corn, alfalfa, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes. After roll call was completed, we reviewed the guideline of being a 4-H member.

Gerry Sullivan, one of the group leaders, introduced the special project for the 4-H group this year. We will be setting traps to see if we have any Western Bean Cutworms in our area. Gerry discussed how the traps work and how much damage the Western Bean Cutworm does to our fields. The group will be testing traps and seeing if their fields have any Western Bean Cutworms, on the 3rd or 4th week of July and will stay in the ground for 2 to 3 weeks. Bob Thurwell from Glencoe supports the Western Bean Cutworm traps.

Shaun Sullivan gave the 4-H group some tips about judging. We then judged facecloths. Some things that the group had to look for were the size, smell, cleanliness and the condition of the cloth.  A few of the members gave their reasoning’s to Shaun.

The group then discussed possible educational tours and our “Me Pages.”  The group members voted on a club name “Thee Merlin Amazing Aggie’s”.

After the club name was voted on, the nominations were then open for the executive positions. The positions were voted on and the results were:

·         President – Ben Rhodes

·         Vice President – Abby Pepper

·         Press Reporter – Abby Pepper

·         Secretary –  Oliver Brady

The meeting was adjourned and Abby Pepper thanked the Sullivan’s for hosting the meeting.

Merlin Community 4-H Press Reporter
Abby Pepper

4-H first meeting 2018


Top 4-H Members of the Year 2017

Matthew Vermey, Top 4-H Male of the Year

As the 4-H Male Member of the Year, I would like start by thanking Chatham-Kent 4-H for this honour, particularly the Board Members, volunteers and leaders who work tirelessly to deliver such a positive youth development program. These dedicated individuals do an amazing job mentoring youth to further develop their knowledge in agriculture, life skills and community service.

There are so many opportunities through 4-H that I have been fortunate to participate in. Regionally, I have been involved in a variety of clubs ranging from tractor repair and financial fitness to dairy, poultry, veterinary and field crop. I have assumed executive positions, participated in Rally Night, Judging Day, the Round the County Tour, fundraisers, served as the Youth Leader for the Vet Club and had the opportunity to share my experiences about 4-H in an interview with the Ontario Farmer. At the provincial level, I have participated in two 4-H leadership camps and competed in the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Not only have I made new friends along the way but I have also had the chance to network with a lot of wonderful people.

These experiences have enabled me to embrace the 4-H motto, “learn to do by doing”. I have developed greater self-confidence and gained valuable skills in running meetings, public speaking, leadership, team building, and time management, all which I use in my everyday life.

4-H has not only been instrumental in promoting my personal development but it has played an important part in supporting my future goals and aspirations. 4-H has been a formative part of my life and I hope to be able to give back to this important organization in the future. I would like to encourage all members to participate in as many opportunities as possible
through 4-H. There is definitely something of interest for every member.

Molly Sayers, Top 4-H Female of the Year

As the 4-H Female of the Year, a big thank you goes out to Chatham-Kent 4-H for selecting me, I am so honoured.  Also to the amazing people that work behind the scenes to ensure success within the program: it is because of you that all Chatham-Kent 4-H members have countless opportunities to develop their skills, gain new experience, grow as a leader, and “learn to do by doing”.  Thank you for providing us with numerous learning opportunities and pushing us to do our best.

Being part of this program has taught me many wonderful things; such as the value of friendship, how to have quality leadership skills, and when to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.  I have been a member in over 32 different clubs, ranging from livestock to lifeskills to heritage.  Through 4-H I have participated in Youth Adventure Camp, and camp dedicated to teaching teamwork and cooperation skills, and Career Mania, a conference that provides tips for building excellent resumes and cover letters, and helpful hints when it comes to interviews.  This conference also allows members to stay at the University of Guelph campus and get a taste of campus lifestyle, which will really come in handy when it comes time to apply to secondary schools.  I have also had the opportunity to be involved in many other events through Chatham-Kent 4-H and have gained many great life skills; such as public speaking, team building, problem solving, critical thinking, and effective communication.  All of these skills have played an active role in my life and are positively contributing to my school and 4-H careers as they develop.

4-H has given me multiple chances to make new friends and develop long-lasting relationships with all of the people I meet.  From competing at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to participating in Judging Night, I have been very fortunate to have made countless valuable connections with many different people.  Also, having such fantastic relations with my leaders and fellow members has ensured that I will always have someone to look up to if I need help or direction.

Being a member of this program has made me a stronger leader, capable of being understanding, enthusiastic, passionate, and hard working.  I can accredit many of my new experiences, gained skills, and valuable qualities to 4-H.   This program has been very helpful when it comes to making tough decisions and will support me as I finish high school and move on to bigger things.  I am happy to be helping teach and encourage the younger members as they grow in 4-H and definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to become a skilled leader, try new things, make friends, and have fun!


Discover Vet School 2018

Discover Vet School 2018

By: Lauren Sayers

On Saturday Jan 13th, Hanna Reid and I traveled to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph to attend Discover Vet School Day 1.  This is a 1 or 2 day program organized and run by a team of vet students and professors in support of Global Vets. More information on what Global Vets is and what they do can be found here:

Our day started with registration at 8:30 where we picked up goodie bags full of information and pens and notepads for use during the day. We were welcomed and the Global Vet students introduced the guest speakers to us and they told us that in true vet school fashion, it was going to be a very long day!!  There were about 80 or so people attending the event, ranging from my age (12) to college age and even a few parents!  We attended lectures covering topics such as Haematology, Parasitic Zoonoses, and Misconceptions in Medical Literature (meaning, just because an article tells you that chocolate isn’t bad for you, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you either!).  We also participated in labs.  One lab was on learning how to suture and we were shown how to do two types including simple interrupted and simple continuous sutures and we each got to try our hand at it!  We used the curved suturing needles with needle drivers and real suture thread and practised on leather wrapped foam with mock incisions!  The other lab we did was diagnosing a colic case in a hypothetical horse.  We went around to different stations and learned the symptoms. One station was learning what you would feel inside upon rectal palpation. Another station was listening to heartbeats and counting to determine if in normal range (normal range is 28-40 beats per minute; the horse we were diagnosing had 20 beats in 10 seconds = 120bpm and had tachycardia (rapid heartbeat).) Lastly, we learned how to pass a stomach tube known as a naso-gastric tube and it goes in the horse’s nose and they have to swallow the tube into their esophagus (make sure it doesn’t go in the trachea as then it will end up in the lungs!) and end up in their stomach.  We then attempted “refluxing” the horse by pouring a known volume of water into the hose and creating a siphon by tipping the hose down into a bucket and measuring how much came out.  If what we measured was more than what we put in then we successfully removed the excess liquid! Horses cannot vomit so excess liquid in their stomach can cause pain and even rupture if not removed in time! Our last 2 sessions were a time of Q & A with the current DVM students. They enlightened us to how much work it is, like how a single class can last from 8-5 and tests every Monday, to telling us to make sure we still have a life while in school by doing extracurricular activities and joining clubs so we don’t become loners and stressed out. The last thing we got to do was tour OVC.  We saw all the barns, animal hospital, the medical labs, outdoor paddocks (they told us that they have even had elephants stay overnight there from zoos!), the rooms with all the preserved specimens and skeletons (one of the coolest things was a preserved nervous system of a cat displayed in a glass case complete with eyeballs and brain!) and they even have a giant horse treadmill that is used as a diagnosing tool.

We were provided lunch and had the opportunity to purchase shirts, calendars and hoodies to support Global Vets.  I got a great T-Shirt!  It was an awesome day and I recommend it for anyone interested in animal medicine as well as those wishing to (hopefully) become a vet one day.  This is the 9th year that they have run this program and I hope to return next year to learn more!  Information on the program can be found here:


Sugarbeet Club 2017

The 4-H Sugarbeet Club held their year end banquet Jan. 8, 2018 at the Countryview Golf Course. Ian Lawton did a fantastic job as our Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Clayton Van Hyfte led us in the pledge, Everett Ellis said grace, Lauren Ross thanked the cooking and serving staff and Aidan Ellis expressed his appreciation to the members of the Michigan Sugar Company who provide ongoing support and resources for our club. Awards were presented to each of the members and each of them read excerpts from their essays that they had completed as part of the requirements to get credit for being a part of the club. Top awards went to Sophie Jubenville and Kyle Ross, Everett Ellis, Clayton Van Hyfte, Sarah Campbell and Aidan Ellis. We would like to thank all of the parents who supported us over the past year and the members who made this club enjoyable to lead. We hope to see you all next year.

Rob & Maureen McKerrall
Sugarbeet Club Co-leaders



Horse and Pony Club 2017

Horse and Pony Club 2017
Club Name: “Horsing Around”
Leaders:  Kyla Reid & Allison Stirling

It was a busy year for the 4H Horse and Pony Club in Chatham Kent.  We had a fantastic group of energetic youth who wanted to learn about our four-legged, long-eared, equine friends!

This year, we were very fortunate to have several guest speakers come to talk to our group about a various topics.

In March, Cindy Cook from Purina joined our meeting to talk about the importance of good equine nutrition.  Members were able to inspect different types of feed and learned how to calculate the weight of a horse using a weigh tape.

In June, we visited the Village Hardware and Tack Shop in Thamesville.  Our horse club members were provided with a list of various horse tack and accessories that they had to find throughout the store and record it’s price.  Once all the items were found on the “scavenger hunt” list, the students tallied up the cost of all the items.  They discovered that it can be quite expensive to outfit a horse!  Special thanks to Ron Vanroboys for opening his store after hours for us!  We had a lot of fun!

In July, we had the opportunity to observe a reining demonstration in Chatham at Dr. Donna Vansegbrook’s farm.  Her daughter, Amber, performed a wonderful show and talked to our group about various events that she competes at.  Afterwards, Dr. Vansegbrook spoke to the group about different types of equine injuries and emergencies.  She talked about ways to prevent some common horse injuries and what to do if they occur.  The members enjoyed their visit and especially liked the frozen treats that Dr. Donna provided to the group!

In August, we visited the von Martels farm where we met Cecile von Martels.  She graciously invited us in to watch her perform a dressage demonstration.  Her and her mother, Debbie, answered all our questions about this sport and gave us a tour of their facility. We all had a wonderful time and greatly appreciated the experience!

But the fun didn’t stop there!  We also participated in the Thamesville and Ridgetown parades!  We decorated a float and rode through Thamesville showing off our 4H pride!  Then, we headed over to Ridgetown for their parade to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday!  However, this time we dressed up like rodeo clowns and pushed our wheelbarrows down the streets of Ridgetown to pick up…you guessed it…ROAD APPLES!  Our crew did a terrific job by helping out the community during this great day.  It wasn’t a glamorous job…but everyone who participated had a positive 4H attitude!  A special thank-you goes to Fran Murphy for walking with our group and being a wonderful parent volunteer!  It was greatly appreciated and your kindness did not go unnoticed!

Our group “cantered on” into September where they displayed their 4H achievement projects with pride at the Highgate Fair!  The members also created two fantastic display boards highlighting this year’s Horse & Pony Club.

We had an amazing group of youth who were eager to learn and happy to help out.   Our goal for the year was to teach the basics about handling and caring for horses.  Our members were taught different subjects which included barn safety, grooming, equine anatomy and tack.  However, if you ask our members which meeting they liked the most they would probably say it was the obstacle course day!  The students were able to lead the horses through a pattern of obstacles on a lead line.

Lastly, on behalf of Kyla and myself, we would like to thank our members for participating in this year’s club.  We did a lot of “horsing around” and we hope you enjoyed the club as much as we did leading it.

Thanks for a great year!

Happy Trails!
Kyla & Allison


Engineering Lego Club

The Engineering Lego Club visited the STEAM Centre in St. Thomas on November 4th, 2017. The cost of this visit was mostly paid for by the Secan “Grow a Leader” Twitter campaign. The kids enjoyed a tour of the STEAM Centre and spent the morning coding Ozzobots, both on paper & on the computer; building a cardboard maze for Sphero robots and doing 3-dimensional scans. The STEAM Centre staff were impressed with the 4-H members and how quickly they learned to code and build. Everyone agreed it was a fun morning!


Merlin 4-H Achievement Night

4-H Press Report – Achievement Night

On October 23rd, 2017, the Merlin 4-H Crop Pros along with the Blenheim 4-H Field Crop Club got together at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus to have their annual achievement night. We started off the meeting by saying the 4-H pledge, then we discussed what the itinerary for the night would be.

One of the leaders from the Blenheim Club introduced the three judges who would be judging all the crops that each member brought into different categories. The crops that were there were hay, shelled corn, ear corn, wheat grains, soybeans, and a wheat sheaf. At the end of the night, they would announce the winners.

After they introduced the judges, we went over to the Agri Theatre. We had a guest speaker named Nicole Mackellar from Glencoe, Ontario. She is the manager of market development at Grain Farmers of Ontario. She was a self-described farm kid, who always helped out around the fields, but what she expanded on was her career journey.

Her career began at an IGA grocery store when she was in grade 10, she went to McMaster University to study sports therapy, but ended up studying economics and psychology instead. She said that she applied for a job at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL team, and got the job. I found it interesting when she said that one day, her boss told her that he hired her because she was a farm kid, thinking that she would get the job done. A few years later, she was hired to work with the Toronto Blue Jays, as the manager of corporate partnership.

Now, she works as the manager of market development at the Grain Farmers of Ontario. She was a Nuffield Scholar in 2017, travelling around the world to countries like Japan, the United States, Belgium, Germany, and more, working on the agricultural part of the world stage. After that, she went over what the Grain Farmers of Ontario do, and what crops they grow, then ended her presentation.

After that, the judges came into the Agri Theatre and gave the winners page to the Blenheim 4-H youth leader. The overall winners were Gregory Vermey for soybeans, Sarah Campbell for ear corn, Adam Reid for hay, Cora Vince for the wheat sheaf, Andrew Vermey for wheat, and Craig Scott for shelled corn. The meeting was then adjourned.



Meet Gregory, a C-K 4-H Member!

Meet Gregory!

Gregory Vermey is currently a member of the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association. Gregory is a grade 9 student at Ursuline College in Chatham where his favourite subject is gym. He comes from a family of three boys, all of which have been involved in the 4-H program.  His mother Marcia is a 4-H leader and father Marty is a 4-H Alumni. Gregory joined 4-H because it was around his age that his dad originally joined the 4-H program.

With the many clubs Chatham-Kent 4-H offers, Gregory has participated in the Blenheim Field Crop, Financial Fitness, Rabbit and Vet clubs. To date, Gregory has completed 6 4-H projects. Beyond the local level, he has participated in regional Discovery Days in Ridgetown where he enjoyed the food, playing games and meeting new people!

“4-H has changed my life by making me a better leader and teaching me how to judge different classes,” Gregory recalls, having placed 2nd in the junior class at our local Judging Competition.  4-H has also given him the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics such as soil quality, exotic animals, care of rabbits and how to save money, just to name a few.

With every 4-H experience, come some amazing memories. Gregory’s favourite memory is when he won 3rd place with his shelled corn sample at the local Field Crop Achievement Day, and then went on to place 1st with his sample at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Outside of 4-H, Gregory stays busy playing hockey and soccer.  As well as on the farm, taking care of their 7 cows, 2 goats and 24 chickens alongside his 2 brothers.


Meet Mitchell, a C-K 4-H Member!

Meet Mitchell!

Mitchell Anderson is a current member of the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association. Mitchell is 13 years old and is a Grade 8 student at Ridgetown District High School. He comes from a 4-H family and joined 4-H for many reasons, including his love for showing cattle.  This passion developed at Paris Fair while showing cattle for his Uncle Terry when he was only 5 years old and decided to pursue the opportunity once he was of age to become a 4-H member. The friendships outside of school and hockey that you make through 4-H were another reasons for becoming involved. Mitchell has been involved in 4-H on many levels from the local up to the provincial level.

At our local level, he has been a member of the dairy, beef, poultry, rabbit and judging 4-H clubs. He has also volunteered in fitting and preparing 4-H calves for numerous shows, including Highgate, Ancaster, Rockton and Pairs Fairs as well as the Western Junior Show. At a regional level, Mitchell has attended Discovery Days a number of times and has most recently participated in Youth Adventure Camp (YAC), a provincial opportunity.  While attending YAC, he enjoyed meeting new friends from across the province.  “It was an awesome week of learning about team work, getting involved and competing in some fun activities,” recalls Mitchell. Looking forward, he looks to participate in more 4-H leadership opportunities as he progresses through this 4-H career.

“4-H is an awesome opportunity that I would encourage any of my peers to get involved in,” says Mitchell, a great testament to his personal 4-H journey. He goes on to say, “You don’t have to be from a farm to be apart of 4-H as there are lots of clubs for many different interests out there.” Mitchell has been provided through 4-H the opportunity, at the local, regional and provincial level, to compete in various dairy shows. Through these 4-H experiences, he has met many lifelong friends that you would not find anywhere else.

Even at his young age, 4-H has already provided Mitchell with many favourite memories. Some of his favourite 4-H memories this far into his 4-H career include showing Valmar Doorman Marilyn who was selected Reserve Champion at the Western Junior Show and Grand Champion at Highgate Fair; “A year of showing that I never expected.” Another favourite memory of Mitchell’s is his recent week spent at Youth Adventure Camp (YAC), meeting lots of new faces that he looks forward to seeing at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto this fall.

Outside of 4-H, Mitchell is involved in many school sports including soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross country and track and field. He also plays hockey for South Kent Lightening. When Mitchell has some free time, he enjoys riding his dirt bike!

Do you have questions for Mitchell? Leave a comment below.  Are you a current member, volunteer or alumni that would like to be featured on the blog? Let us know by commenting or e-mail us at!