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What is 4-H?

4-H Ontario | (Posted April 9, 2020)

What is the most important thing about 4-H? Some will say the shows. Some will say the animals. Some will say the connection to agriculture, or the competitions, or the opportunity for scholarships and travel. Most of us consider it to be the hands-on learning.  


Learn To Do By Doing. 


These things do contribute to making 4-H funHowever, the most compelling answers to what is 4-H? are usually about the experience. The connection. The learning. The learning to fail and try again. The relationships. The people. Finding a home among friends. A sense of belonging, growing and learning and being supported. These are the reasons that we love 4-H. These are the stories that keep us coming back year after year, and these are the reasons we have the most dedicated members and volunteers of any youth serving organization. 


Many of you probably feel that COVID-19 has taken something from you, has stripped you of the ability to do something you love, because you cannot go to the farm, meet with your friends, groom and show your animals. At 4-H Ontario we feel the same way. When staff were faced with the suspension of some of our largest events, events that we have worked for months to plan and put together to share with our members, events that we look forward to all year, it was heartbreaking. We’re all here because we love what we do, and because we want to give every opportunity possible to our youth and volunteers to do what they love to do 

For many, 4-H is a constant, a place of belonging and a place when they feel a part of something bigger. We are striving to provide new ideas, to adapt and be innovative, but we can’t do it without your help and support. For 4-H volunteers, we know that working outside of the box when it comes to leading a 4-H club is a big ask. We know that it may be outside of your current skills or comfort levels, but we want to support you and help you as you Learn To Do By Doing. We want to continue to be the constant, and we want to challenge our 4-H Ontario family to share the transformative experience that is 4-H with new friends as well. As a youth driven organization, we have an opportunity to learn from our members and embrace their use of technology. They are an incredible asset to anyone looking to use more technology in their clubs.  What better time to bring people together virtually then when we are forced to live apart? So many of us are feeling lost and need a connection. 4-H has the power to connect us.  


4-H Ontario can make a promise to all 4-H’ers that we will find every possible way to support clubs, volunteers, youth, your animals, your projects, and all aspects of the 4-H experienceWe want to be able to offer youth who will be graduating this year an opportunity to experience 4-H in their final year, to reach project completion milestones, to complete a youth leader project. And we can promise that we will work every day to present you with new and innovative ways to enjoy the most immersive digital 4-H experience possible while you are safe at home. We will adapt, we will join you. 


Will the 4-H program look a little different this year? You bet. Is it possible that a different program could be stronger and more relevant then ever before? Absolutely. Is it important that we continue to provide something, even if it is a little different in this time of so many unknowns? 100% yes. The bottom line is that there is no 4-H Ontario without you: Our members, our volunteers, our 4-H family. 

So, we ask you to gather remotely with your clubs online. Laugh. Be silly. Learn. Have fun. Be resilient. Communicate and share. Lean into the root of what lies at the core of 4-H and you may find that for a few blissful moments, the troubles of the word are forgotten as you remember what brought us all here in the first place.  


Learn To Do By Doing. 

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