Meet Kris, the C-K 4-H President!

Let’s meet Kris, the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association President!

Kris started her 4-H career at the age of 12, encouraged by her dad. He like many others told her how much fun 4-H was! She had already been showing beef cattle at the Hensall Fair but really wanted to participate in the 4-H beef show. Upon joining her local beef club, she became involved in a number of other clubs including sheep, veterinary, cooking, crafting, outdoor adventure, leadership and photography. Kris enjoyed holding a busy schedule, attending weekly 4-H meetings, learning and meeting up with friends.

As a 4-H member, Kris participated in the equivalent of Discovery Days today, Provincial leadership camp, and the Royal Bank Inter-Provincial Exchange (New Brunswick).  She participated in many Judging Competitions and Go For the Gold Competitions, including the Provincial level.  Kris was also fortunate to win some 4-H scholarships upon attending University. As a leader she has coached winning Go For the Gold teams and was a chaperone for the National 4-H Conference in Toronto one year.

‘Life changing’ is a buzzword when talking about past 4-H experiences and Kris’ story is no exception. In short, she has met many people and made many friends. She tells us “One of the people I met briefly at Provincial Leadership camp I ended up re-meeting when I started University.  We realized we knew each other when we saw each other’s photo from the event!” 4-H has also helped to increase her confidence. As a member, Kris tells us she was quiet and shy, finding it hard to express her options with others fearing she would be wrong. Through the 4-H program, she has learned it is okay to be wrong, in fact we all are sometimes! Since then, Kris has gained confidence in voicing her options, knowing she would have support. Not knowing exactly when it happened, Kris also became a public speaker!

Kris has a lot of 4-H memories but she still enjoys watching a good beef (or other livestock) show. The excitement of doing well in a show where you don’t expect too, is amazing!

Outside of 4-H, Kris enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering with the local Girl Guides, camping, hiking, canoeing/kayaking and reading (when she has the time!). She has a love for the outdoors, traveling and learning about other parts of the world. Some of her adventures include trips to Peru, Egypt, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Turkey!

As you see Kris at local 4-H events, make sure you introduce yourself and say a friendly hello, she would love to meet you!

Do you have questions for Kris? 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-mailing us at chathamkent4h@gmail.com!

Meet the Sayers, a 4-H Family!

Let’s Meet the Sayers Family!

Joining 4-H wasn’t something they had to think twice about.  It “looked and sounded like an amazing opportunity” for them to become more involved and learn more about topics that interested them. The Sayers Family, Paul, Amber, Molly (15), Lauren (11) and Carson (9), are very involved with the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association in various aspects as well as within their community on a large scale.  They are truly a great example of what it means to be a 4-H Family.

Molly has participated in countless different clubs from livestock to Lego Engineering, and has been to Discovery Days, Youth Adventure Camp and Career Mania, all of which she really enjoyed and recommends! Molly recently achieved the Gay Lea Award of Achievement for completing 24 clubs.   Lauren has been a member for 2 years and has completed close to 15 clubs now. She attended Discovery Days this past year and said “it was a really fun day” and that she “made lots of new friends”.  Lauren’s favourite club to date was the Poultry Club, where she most enjoyed learning how to show poultry and showing her rooster, Chester.  Carson made his 4-H debut this past year and joined Cloverbuds.  Carson said his favourite meeting was “going to meet Rob Reid at the Dairy Barn on the Ridgetown Campus and learning how to milk a cow and being shown how everything in the barn worked.” Carson has joined the Toy club this year as his first club as a true 4-Her.

When not at 4-H, Molly pursues piano, drama, guitar and choir among other activities. She can frequently be found playing the piano in church, much to the organist’s delight! Lauren also plays piano, guitar, sings in the Ridgetown girls’ choir and acts with Ridge Players.  She is passionate about animals and aspires to one day become a veterinarian or biologist. Carson enjoys collecting toy tractors of all shapes and colours and can always be found at the Chatham-Kent Toy Show (January 15th, 2017 at the J.D. Bradley Centre) with his ever growing display.  This year he is adding a campground feature, as a tribute to the family’s hobby of camping every summer.

Amber and Paul are not only proud 4-H parents, they have also taken on leadership roles within the association.  Amber participated in 4-H when she was in Girl Guides, completing the Pets and Healthy Living clubs.  She only returned to 4-H once they moved to Ridgetown and Molly became involved in the Chatham-Kent 4-H Program.  She now helps lead the Dairy club, Community Heritage club, Rabbit Showmanship and Rabbit Agility Clubs.  Their calendar is usually full of 4-H meetings once April hits!  Amber really enjoys helping the kids learn new skills and probably the best part is seeing the kids develop friendships and confidence and “learn to do by doing”.  Aside from 4-H,  Amber can be found working in the Dairy Barn at Ridgetown Campus and is actively involved in Sunday School at Turin Church (don’t miss the 3rd Annual Comedy night coming up this spring!), and chairing the parent council at Naahii Ridge Public School. Her best 4-H memory to date is taking pictures of the 4-H dairy kids outside of the barns at the Royal Winter Fair, with the CN Tower in the background: Growing up as a kid who went to the Royal on field trips, she never dreamed of being on the “inside” and being part of the show.

For Paul, the 4-H dad and C-K 4-H Board of Director, his first 4-H experience wasn’t long ago.  It began when he accepted a nomination as a director on the Chatham-Kent board in January of 2016. Throughout the past year, he could be seen at many local 4-H events always there willing to help a hand to ensure events ran smoothly.  As a 4-H parent, Paul is enjoying the knowledge he gains every time he joins one of the kids at a 4-H meeting. The “Annual” Ski Trip to London with Chatham-Kent 4-H, which began as a 100th Year Celebration, has come to be a highlight of his 4-H experience.  A great opportunity for a 4-H family outing! Outside of 4-H, Paul works for South West Ag Partners as the Inputs Manager and the rest of his time is filled with raising three 4-H kids!

Being a family of 4-Her’s leaves little time for other activities but the Sayers Family really enjoys the program and, although they might be slightly biased, “believe that C-K has the absolute best 4-H program out there.” 4-H has made them all more confident, improved public speakers and has allowed them to participate in camps, trips and conferences that they never would have dreamed of. They have created connections that span the country thanks to 4-H!

The Chatham-Kent 4-H Association appreciates everything the Sayers Family does to keep the 4-H program running in our county.  Congratulations to Molly, Lauren and Carson on their 4-H achievements and we wish them continued success in their personal 4-H journeys.

Meet Sophie, a C-K 4-H Volunteer!

Let’s meet Sophie!

Sophie Jefferson is a current leader with the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association as well as a Huron County 4-H Alumni. Sophie currently works at DuPont Pioneer in Chatham in Supply Chain and Logistics. In her spare time, you can find Sophie not only volunteering with 4-H but also the Chatham Horticultural Society (currently holding the role of President) and the Chatham Granite Club.

Like many, Sophie grew up in a 4-H family.  When she and her sister were old enough to join 4-H, her mom and a neighbour started their local Wawanosh Life Skills club back up again. Through the club, she learned many skills not taught in school, ranging from bread making to small engines.  She uses these skills so often as an adult, that when she moved to Chatham for work, she decided to get involved in 4-H as a leader to help give youth in Chatham-Kent the same opportunities she had as a 4-H member.

Throughout her time as a 4-H member, she participated in many 4-H opportunities both at a local and provincial level.  She was a member of the Go for the Gold team in Huron and has also helped out as a leader with local Chatham-Kent events, attending the Ski Trip this past year. The one provincial opportunity that sticks out for her is Youth Adventure Camp (YAC) when she was a member, at the age of 13. Through YAC she was given the opportunity to meet many new friends from across Ontario.  She is still in contact with some of the members she met, and one was actually her lab partner in a first year university course!

4-H is continually being named as a life changing program, in a variety of ways.  For Sophie, 4-H has made her “a person who is comfortable learning to do by doing”, which has benefited her in her career and made her a more successful, independent individual.  She is also currently leading three clubs that she didn’t participate in as a 4-H member. Learning how to conduct herself during meetings, at a young age, has helped her to transition into a community leader. Her 4-H experiences helped to shape her career path as well, as her first position out of university was with Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in the Agricultural Show Office where she was responsible as clerk, for a lot of the smaller agricultural competitions such as preserves, cheese, poultry, rabbits and more.

Sophie’s favourite 4-H memory goes back to when she was a 4-H member and at the age of 18 her 4-H Club represented their region for the first time at the Royal. As a non-competitive club, “it was a great experience” for them to compete at a provincial level and experience the Royal in that way.

When Sophie is not at 4-H or volunteering in the community, she enjoys gardening, curling, skiing and using her 4-H life skills in the kitchen!

Do you have questions for Sophie? 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-mailing us at chathamkent4h@gmail.com!

Meet Alex, a C-K 4-H Alumni!

Let’s meet Alex!

Alex Richardson is a recent graduate of the Chatham-Kent 4-H Program.  Alex is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and now works at Thompsons in Blenheim as an Agricultural Consultant.  4-H has allowed Alex to meet new people, experience new things and tour facilities that he would not have seen if not for the 4-H program.  Not from this county originally, it has also allowed him to discover what Chatham-Kent really has to offer.

Joining 4-H, his goal was to learn, which fits very well with our motto “Learn to Do by Doing”. Learning from the experience and knowledge of the leaders, guest speakers and dedicated industry representatives has truly been an invaluable opportunity.  Throughout his time in the 4-H program, he was involved in the Field Crop, Sugarbeet, Plowing, Sheep and Square Dancing Clubs.  Alex was also a member of the Chatham-Kent Go for the Gold Team which competed in Dutton this past year. Representing Chatham-Kent Field Crop Club, Alex competed with his wheat sample at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, placing 4th.

Alex’s favourite 4-H memory is teaching younger 4-H members how to judge, by explaining what to look for in different classes, how to give reasons and taking reasons from new members during judging practices. This allowed Alex to experience the natural mentorship that 4-H provides, where new members look toward senior members for guidance and support.

Outside of 4-H, Alex is involved in the local Plowmen’s Association, enjoys curling and soccer in the summer months. Growing up just outside of town and helping during the summer on his Uncle’s dairy farm, Alex developed a love for agriculture and still enjoys helping out on the farm.

Do you have questions for Alex? 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 chathamkent4h@gmail.com!