4-H Canada, Alberta YAC Rep Cassidy Barnert
Looking back, it’s pretty crazy to think that this adventure all started when my parents signed me up for 4-H as a shy little 8-year-old on a very stubborn pony. She was definitely a character builder and little did I know she would give me the confidence to say yes to every 4-H opportunity that came my way.
From attending Junior camp, 4-H on Parade, the National Members Forum, a Careers on the Grow internship in Arizona and even a Going Global Service Learning trip to Ghana, 4-H has taken me across the province, country and world. All of these experiences will stay close to my heart. The people I have met, and friendships I have created will stay with me for a lifetime.
Some of my best memories in 4-H are starting a spontaneous line dance at the Calgary Regional Horse show, reindeer racing at my districts Christmas carnival, showcasing our club at Calgary Stampede Youth in Action booth and then all of the rides, clinics and training’s that were full of laughter. I think the biggest highlight was being one of 10 members across Canada to be selected to be a part of the Going Global Service Learning Trip to Ghana in July 2016. It was a crazy few weeks living off the grid and representing 4-H Canada. Few people get to experience another country like we did. We lived with a host family and visited schools to see their enterprise gardens. We learned how to cook traditional meals, speak the language of Twi, harvest cassava/plantain/cocoa and so much more. I met, not only, 12 of the coolest Canadian 4-Hers but so many passionate Ghanaian’s and Americans too. The neatest part was reconnecting with one 4-H Ghana delegate at this years Global 4-H Network Summit!
In August of 2016, I said goodbye to being member at the 4-H rodeo, by taking one more step out of my comfort zone and finished a successful cow ride. I like to think that when one door closes, see if the window is locked. While I’m no longer a member, I’m still passionate and I have returned as a canine project leader and now Alberta’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) member. I’m returning in these positions because I want to see members have the same incredible opportunities that I once did. This program has given me so much and truly made me into the person I am today. Without 4-H I would not have developed the skills I have, made the friends I did, traveled the places I went and had the opportunities I had. My life would be completely different!
My advice to future 4-H members is to apply, and put yourself out there. Whether it be a regional clinic, event, scholarship applications, or trips, step out your comfort zone and take advantage of everything 4-H has to offer. Remember, it’s not about the awards you receive or the recognition you are given, but the skills you developed, experiences you had and those you had them with.
Regardless of where my journeys take me, I always know that I have a 4-H family to return home to.