4-H Ontario

2016 Message from the Executive Director

Head, Heart, Hands and Health make better communities. Each leaf of the 4-H clover represents one of the four H’s.

This past year, 4-H’ers demonstrated these four factors in meaningful ways. We put our heads together to create some powerful strategies around youth and volunteer retention to grow the program. As well, several industry leaders shared their thinking to create relevant project resource manuals to teach youth about many topics. Three new academic research projects shed light on how the 4-H program positively influences youth and young adults.  

It is incredible how much people love 4-H with all their heart! They give so freely of their time and talent to help their fellow leaders and youth. Our hearts sing when we see youth succeed. As well, two new families chose to show their love of 4-H by establishing named endowment funds within the Ontario 4-H Foundation to ensure that the 4-H program will last forever.  

4-H’ers pledge their hands to larger service. Every night somewhere across this province, 4-H’ers are serving their communities by planning events, making decisions at board tables or teaching youth new skills. 4-H hands sign papers, take pictures, ice cakes, fix machinery, clip nails and most importantly clap hands to celebrate accomplishments. 

The 4-H program promotes physical and mental health in many ways. I have seen how people nurture each other back to health by paying attention to the mental health of teens going through hard times or filling in for a fellow volunteer while they are ill. In 2016, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs agreed to fund the 4-H core operations for the next five years to ensure financial health and stability.    

Thanks to every 4-H’er who used their head, heart, hands and health to better themselves and their communities.  


Debra Brown,
Executive Director, 4-H Ontario