Community

Teen becomes a 4-H ambassador

Giving back: Local 4-H Club (Trail Dusters) member Alyssa Johnson will be a Provincial 4-H ambassador, representing the Kamloops-Okanagan region, for the next two years. - James Murray/Observer
Giving back: Local 4-H Club (Trail Dusters) member Alyssa Johnson will be a Provincial 4-H ambassador, representing the Kamloops-Okanagan region, for the next two years.
— image credit: James Murray/Observer

Since she was a little girl, riding her cousin’s horse, Alyssa Johnson has loved 4-H. Now, being a 4-H member is giving Johnson many exciting opportunities.

The 17-year-old Grade 12 Salmon Arm Secondary student is now a Provincial 4-H Ambassador, a commitment that lasts two years.

As one of four ambassadors for the large Kamloops-Okanagan region, Johnson will work to promote 4-H, assist fellow 4-H’ers, and connect with young people interested in the program. An accomplished public speaker, Johnson may also be invited to judge or MC special events.

Johnson holds a deep appreciation and love for 4-H, which has been a huge part of her life from a young age. She watched her older cousin, Breen Johnson, progress through the program and was inspired to do so, as well.

“I love all the lessons that 4-H teaches you. You learn people skills, public speaking and judgment skills. When you’re little, you don’t understand how important they are. Public speaking is probably the biggest thing that has helped me.”

Johnson has belonged to Shifting Saddles 4-H Horse Club since age nine, and was a Shuswap 4-H Beef Club member for two years.

Johnson also appreciates the friendships, connections and opportunities – like scholarships and travel – that have come with being a member.

“It’s an amazing program. It keeps me out of trouble,” laughs the teen, who has applied to the Bachelor of Natural Resource Science program at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. “4-H has helped me decide what I want to do post-secondary.”

Johnson hopes to eventually work in the wildlife and rangeland sector.

The teen recently attended the 2012 High School Youth Forum for The Society for Range Management in Spokane, Wash., as one of 24 delegates from across North America. At the four-day event, Johnson was selected from 10 nominated candidates to be president of the 2013 forum in Oklahoma City.

Johnson is looking forward to attending many upcoming 4-H events including ambassador training in Abbottsford, the PNE 4H Festival in Vancouver, and Provincial Club Week (PCW) in Naramata. Attending PCW is a special occasion for Johnson.

“I’ve wanted to go since forever. It focuses a lot on personal development,” said Johnson, who has also taken part in inter-provincial exchange programs to Quebec and New Brunswick.

Johnson enjoys playing rugby on the SAS girls’ team and spending time with her longtime 4-H project, Pocketful of Promise, a 16-year-old Arabian mare affectionately nicknamed “Folly.”

For Johnson, one of the greatest things about 4-H is seeing how much young people care.

“Whether it’s horses or crafts or adopt-a-grandparent, I love seeing how much the kids care for their projects. I often say the world would be a better place if more people were in 4-H. It has been part of my life since I was nine years old. It brings out the best in people.”

“I hope that I can give back to the program what it has given to me.”

To learn more about 4-H, go to www.bc4h.bc.ca

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