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2023 March Conference Recap

2023 March Conference Recap
2023 March Conference Banquet Night
The 2023 Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario (JFAO) March Conference took place in Kitchener from March 24th to 26th, 2023. Under the conference theme of Channel Surfing, members and recent alumni gathered to network, learn, and usher in the new JFAO year.

Annual General Meeting

The weekend began with what might have been JFAO’s fastest Annual General Meeting (AGM). Effective and efficient meetings have been an objective of the 2021 and 2022 JFAO executive committees, and this was evident in the day’s proceedings. From the presentation of reports to the review of the financial statements, and the examination of constitutional changes, the meeting moved at a smooth pace. 2020 JFAO alumni Quintina Cuddihy was appointed as scrutineer to lead the board through the election process. Thank you to Quintina for volunteering her time to support the association and keep the agenda on schedule. Upon election as the 80th President of JFAO Jolande Oudshoorn of Huron Perth Junior Farmers shared, “I’m honoured to be elected as JFAO’s 80th President. I’m looking forward to the upcoming year, supporting clubs and their goals, meeting people and seeing new places. I’m also excited to be on the committee that is bringing back Leadership Camp after four years and look forward to what our executive achieves!”

2023 JFAO Executive Directors and Organization Representatives

Jolande will be joined on the Executive Committee with a contingent of JFAO members from across the province, who were elected following the confirmation of Past President Jamie Schultz of Renfrew County Junior Farmers. Congratulations to the 2023 JFAO Executive Directors and Organization Representatives:
  • Executive Director of Finance – Stephanie Mayes, Wellington County Junior Farmers
  • Executive Director of Programming – Patrick Sullivan, Carleton County Junior Farmers
  • Executive Director of Communications – Tina Wark, Grey County Junior Farmers
  • Executive Director of Community and International Programs – Nic Willemsma, Essex-Kent Junior Farmers
  • East Zone Director – Marissa Mulligan, Renfrew County Junior Farmers
  • Central Zone Director – Alex Isaac, Grey County Junior Farmers
  • West Zone Director – Christena Jenkins-Giffen, Middlesex Junior Farmers
  • Social Media Representative – Keely Henderson, Renfrew County Junior Farmers
  • 4-H Ontario Representative – Dougie Robinson, Stormont-Glengarry Junior Farmers
  • Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) Representative – Derrick Leclair, Essex-Kent Junior Farmers*
* Carson Wagner of Oxford County Junior Farmers will continue to serve as the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) Representative until the OFA AGM in November 2023. At which time, Derrick will join the OFA Policy Council as the JFAO representative. In describing his experience as President and looking forward to his time as Past President, Jamie shared, “it has been an honour to represent our organization this past year as the 79th President! I have been so fortunate in meeting new people from across the province and attending many events! I have grown so much as a person, and I am excited to continue my development as I take on the role as Past President this year!”. As Past President, Jamie will chair the 2023 JFAO Executive Committee and Provincial Board of Directors.

Post AGM Activities

Following the AGM, March Conference officially kicked off with networking opportunities for attendees that were tied into the conference theme. A delicious supper was catered by Dial A Dinner and the evening activities were enjoyed offsite at The Break Room, a local billiards hall that welcomed a JFAO take over. Thank you to The Break Room and Dial A Dinner for hosting us! If you find yourself in Waterloo, The Break Room is a must visit. The evening ended with members gathering for spirited games of euchre and Dutch Blitz in the hospitality suite. Saturday started bright and early with conference participants departing on a bus tour of local agriculture operations. Bus tour stops included Chickadee Christmas Trees, Verbinnen’s Nursery Ltd., Rockton World’s Fair, Rock Maple Lodge, and Brantwood Farms. At each location, the hosts provided an overview of the operation, a tour of the facilities, and gave conference attendees invaluable insight into different sectors of the agriculture industry. Thank you to Alison and Joe McCrindle, the Verbinnen family, the Rockton Agricultural Society, Peter and Karen Hamilton, and the Pate family for welcoming the March Conference delegates to visit your operations and providing excellent tours.

2023 JFAO Annual Banquet

The highlight of Saturday evening was the 2023 JFAO Annual Banquet. The theme of the evening was Friends and Alyssa Waldroff of Stormont-Glengarry Junior Farmers and 2022 4-H Ontario Representative acted as the master of ceremonies for the evening. At the Annual Banquet, JFAO members and alumni came together to celebrate the achievements of JFAO clubs and members over the past year, to welcome the new JFAO year, and to fundraise for the 2023 JFAO Provincial Charity; the JFAO Endowment Fund. A silent and live auction facilitated by Will Johnson, auctioneer and member of Middlesex Junior Farmers, raised $1,008 for the JFAO Endowment Fund.

Communications Awards

“This year, we received many wonderful entries for the communications awards. The judges and I had a large task at hand and many difficult decisions to make when reviewing these entries. Clubs submitted a fantastic representation of the activities they completed in the last year,” explained 2022 Executive Director of Communications Meghan McLeod as she presented the 2022 JFAO Communication Awards. Congratulations to the 2022 JFAO Communication Award winners.
  • Best Social Media Post – Wellington County Junior Farmers
  • News Article Competition – Oxford County Junior Farmers
  • Best New Member Recruitment Activity – Wellington County Junior Farmers
  • Best Collage of Photos – Huron Perth Junior Farmers
  • Best New Fundraising Idea – Middlesex Junior Farmers
  • Best Club Social Idea – Carleton County Junior Farmers
  • Best Youth/JF Activity – Wellington County Junior Farmers
  • Best Club Photo – Carleton County Junior Farmers
  • Favourite JF Memory in the last 2 years – Kelsey Brekelmans, Huron Perth Junior Farmers

2022 President’s Rose Awards

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2022 President’s Rose Awards. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate and honour JFAO members. As well as recognize their dedication and involved to their local club and at a provincial level. Prior to presenting the awards, 2022 JFAO President Jamie Schultz described the President’s Rose Awards recipients as individuals that clearly demonstrates the JFAO mission to build rural leaders through personal growth, travel, experiences, and community betterment. Congratulations to the 2022 JFAO President’s Rose Awards winners.
  • Outstanding Novice Member – Kirsten McIntosh, Huron Perth Junior Farmers
  • Outstanding Member – Amelia Judge, Wellington County Junior Farmers and Lauren Bos, Huron Perth Junior Farmers
  • Outstanding Retiring Member – Alyssa Waldroff, Stormont-Glengarry Junior Farmers and Meredith Mulligan, Renfrew County Junior Farmers

Member Milestones

Member milestones of 5, 10, and 15 years of membership were recognized by Tina Wark, the 2022 Executive Director of Programming. Kylie O’Neil of Middlesex Junior Farmers, the 78th JFAO President, and the 2022 JFAO Past President reflected on her 15 years of membership and her time at the helm of the association, “being the Past President of JFAO was a unique opportunity as I oversaw all aspects of the organization and learned the many inner workings that go into the events, decisions, and day to day operations of this incredible organization. I enjoyed guiding the executive and board to find a balance between following the traditions of the past and making the changes for the future, all while providing the best experience for our members. It is hard to believe that this chapter of my life has ended, but I have enjoyed every aspect of it, especially the people that I have met along the way. I have been told by many that JF (Junior Farmer) friends are friends for life, so I look forward to the opportunities that await and when our paths will cross again.”

5 Year Members

Meeka Bromley, Renfrew Ian Burnett, Carleton Sydney Carson, Stormont Glengarry Courtney Courville, Stormont Glengarry Alexander Cummings, Durham Taylor Dane, Wellington Scott Hanlon, Oxford John Harrigan, Oxford Charlotte Huitema, Haldimand Norfolk Campbell Kippen, Stormont Glengarry Chanelle Martin, Stormont Glengarry Seth Martin, Oxford Kyle Moore, Haldimand Norfolk Kyle Presley, Stormont Glengarry Victoria Pringle, Waterloo David Pullen, Oxford Emma Pullen, Oxford Laura Shaw, Wellington Elizabeth Sullivan, Haldimand Norfolk Campbell Talbot, Middlesex

10 Year Members

Kelsey Banks, Stormont Glengarry Karen DeBruyn, Oxford Frederick Mahon, Middlesex Hansford Mahon, Middlesex Katelyn O’Neil, Middlesex Sharon Ruiter, Carleton Philip Sullivan, Carleton

15 Year Member

Chris Budd, Oxford Phil English, Peterborough Nicole Sproxton, Durham Kylie O’Neil, Middlesex

Celebration of Lives

The evening also included a Celebration of Lives, cheque presentation to the 2022 JFAO Provincial Charity Water First, announcement of the 2023 JFAO Provincial Charity, the President’s address, presentation of the Past President’s pin, recognition of retiring directors, presentation of President’s pin and gavel, induction of the new Provincial Board of Directors, and presentation of the ever-anticipated Agricultural Club of the Year and Club of the Year awards.

Club of the Year

The 2022 Agricultural Club of the Year award was sponsored by MNP LLP. It is presented annually to a club that focused on agricultural awareness and has a positive impact on their local community. Whereas the Club of the Year award is granted to a club that has made exemplary contributions to forwarding the mission and values of JFAO. Congratulation to the 2022 Agricultural Club of the Year – Oxford County Junior Farmers and the 2022 Club of the Year – Huron Perth Junior Farmers. The 2023 JFAO Annual Banquet ended with the singing of the Junior Farmer song. It was followed by an evening of dancing and socializing.

Sunday Morning

March Conference participants came together again on Sunday morning to recap the weekend and participate in workshops on team building and conflict resolution lead by Patrick Sullivan and Tina Wark. As well as a game of Jeopardy to re-energize everyone before the end of the conference. The conference ended with closing remarks and a slideshow of photos taken by March Conference photographer Amy Danen over the course of the weekend.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone that made March Conference possible including the event sponsors. Special thanks to the 2023 March Conference Coordinator Heidi Danen, without her effort and time March Conference would not have been the event it was. Thank you to Jacqui Dennis, Susan Elliott, and Doug van Wolde, for all of their support and hard work on behalf of JFAO leading up to March Conference and throughout the entire year. Thank you to the provincial and assistant provincial directors that volunteered to ensure that March Conference ran smoothly. The 2023 March Conference committee included Nic Willemsma, Tina Wark, Patrick Sullivan, Laura Shaw, Jolande Oudshoorn, and Arin Douglas. The Committee was also supported by Jamie Schultz, Kylie O’Neil, Amy Danen, and many others. Submitted by Arin Douglas, Wellington County Junior Farmers        

Banquet Photo Gallery


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