4-H Canada’s 2023 national award recipients

4-H Canada’s 2023 national award recipients
Feb 05, 2024

4-H Canada names four individuals for three national awards.

By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Photo courtesy of 4-H Canada

4-H Canada is proud to announce the recipients of three prestigious national awards: Distinguished Alumni; Honourary Member(s); and National Volunteer Leader of the Year.

4-H provides youth with the guidance, resources, and opportunities to become contributing members of their community, their country, and the world by preparing them for the various paths of life and encouraging them to find their sense of self, purpose, and responsibility.

Each year, the Canadian 4-H National Awards recognize the extraordinary contributions of supporters, volunteers, and alumni who embody the mission of 4-H and make an impact on youth and the communities they serve.

Distinguished Alumni Award
The 4-H Canada Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to honour the outstanding leadership and contributions of 4-H alumni to their communities, country, and world.

This year’s winner is Jon Montgomery of Calgary, Alberta.

That’s him in the photo above. You probably recognize him from at least one of three Canadian things.

He is the TV host of The Amazing Race Canada, and he is an Olympic gold medal winner in the most dangerous winter sport—the skeleton, where you go headfirst down a curving downhill course atop a sled. He is one of this writer’s favourite athletes. He won his gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And if one thinks he can’t top all that, Montgomery is a proud second-generation 4-H’er!

His involvement in the 4-H movement began in his hometown of Russell, Manitoba, where he was a youth member of the Russell 4-H Beef Club for four years.

A proud alum, Montgomery has continued to live and breathe 4-H values throughout his career as an elite athlete, philanthropist, and national TV host.

He embodies leadership skills, pride in his rural roots, drive to achieve world-class goals, and a ‘can-do’ attitude that parallels 4-H Canada’s ‘Learn To Do By Doing’ motto.

Along with being an Olympic gold medallist, these 4-H values have taken him far, including taking on the mantle of host of The Amazing Race Canada in 2013 and remaining in that position today.

A household name in Canada and around the world, Montgomery frequently uses his platforms as a motivational speaker on topics close to his heart, including leadership, teamwork, and healthy living. A strong advocate for agriculture, Jon has been a fixture at important ag-related events around the country, including Manitoba AgDays and the GrowCanada Conference.

In 2023, 4-H Canada was proud to have Montgomery host the virtual 2023 4-H Canada Leadership Awards, where he led the celebration of 4-H youth, leaders, and supporters around the country. In a subsequent interview with The Pledge, 4-H Canada’s alumni magazine, he stated, “Life is about teamwork and collaboration, and 4-H teaches that. When you’re working with other kids towards a common goal, you’re caring about the people around you; that’s what we need more of in this world.”
Other award winners are:
Honourary Member – sponsored by FCC (Farm Credit Canada)
4-H Canada recognizes individuals who have rendered outstanding service to 4-H by naming them as lifetime Honourary Members. Nominations are submitted by governing members, and the recipients are selected by the board of directors.

One of the winners is Kim Beilby of Brandon, Manitoba. Please click HERE to be directed to the 4-H Canada site for more on her achievements.

A second deserving winner is Mary-Ann Carson of Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Please click HERE to visit the 4-H Canada website for more information about her.

National Volunteer Leader of the Year – sponsored by Co-operators
Volunteer leaders are truly the lifeblood of the 4-H program. The National Volunteer Leader of the Year Award recognizes volunteer leaders who have had a tremendous impact on 4-H youth through their dedicated support and guidance.

This year’s winner is Erin Rossmann of Quesnel, British Columbia. Please click HERE to learn more about who she is and why she is so deserving of this award.

The Volunteer Leader of the Year awards are given to a leader in each province, with Rossman also being selected as the national recipient. The provincial recipients (going from east to west) are as follows:

  • Yvonne BishopZodiac 4-H Club, Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Mark & Ilze FirmingerHopewell 4-H Club, Nova Scotia;
  • Tania BernardEvangeline 4-H Club, Prince Edward Island;
  • Ashley StoreyGentle Giants and Friends 4-H Club, New Brunswick;
  • Kayla McCannShawville 4-H Club, Québec;
  • Tanya BoydCarp Community 4-H Club, Ontario;
  • Shelley BjarnarsonNeepawa & Area 4-H Beef Club, Manitoba;
  • Mike KirzingerNext Step 4-H Club / Viscount 4-H Beef Club, Saskatchewan;
  • Carole TkachCoronation 4-H District, Alberta;
  • Erin Rossmann – Kersley 4-H Club, British Columbia
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