I grew up on a small family hobby farm, on which we raised mainly sheep, chickens, and turkeys. I owned horses as well, so I have been involved in agriculture most of my life. 4-H has been a huge part of my life since I was nine years old, and I credit the program and its many facets for making me the person I am today. I was a member for ten years (2000-2010), and I held many executive positions (president, secretary, and treasurer) throughout those ten years. I achieved in Rabbit, Horse, and Poultry projects. I competed avidly in public speaking, and I completed both my 4-H Grade 11 and Grade 12 external credits.
I use the skills I have gained from 4-H almost daily: university presentations, job interviews, even managing my finances. 4-H changed me from a terrified, painfully shy child into an empowered, self-assured young adult. 4-H pushed me out of comfort zone and provided me with opportunities I never could have dreamed of, such as attending PCW in 2008 and representing BC 4-H at the US National 4-H Members’ Conference in Washington DC in 2009.
4-H laid the groundwork for my successful post-secondary career, in which I have recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Co-operative Education and an interest in agricultural research. I completed sixteen months of Co-op work experience with Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada. The first was in Summerland BC, working on a multi-year study looking at the impact of climate change on the growth and development of Okanagan crops. The second was in Lethbridge AB, where I was working to improve fibre and nutrient content of finishing feed used in the beef industry, focusing on the use of wheat DDGS in cattle feed.
As a Cloverbud leader for the last three years, I have been giving back to my community what 4-H gave to me, by teaching the next generation of youth leaders what 4-H has to offer. The other leaders and I plan interactive, hands-on activities like field trips, farm tours, and other agricultural outings and events for the Cloverbuds that give them an overview of the 4-H program and projects, and what opportunities the program can offer them now and in the future.