Local woman receives 4-H Ontario’s most prestigious volunteer award

A local woman has received 4-H Ontario’s most prestigious volunteer award.

Established in 2001 during the International Year of the Volunteer, the 4-H Ontario Arbor Award recognizes a select group of 4-H Ontario volunteers who have served the organization for over 10 years and have positively impacted 4-H and their local community. According to the 4-H official website, this is the most prestigious volunteer award.

To be eligible to receive the award, 4-H Ontario volunteers must be nominated by their local 4-H Association.

“Nominees must have shown significant leadership and initiative and made a positive impact on 4-H at various levels,” reads the nominee requirement rules on the 4-H Ontario website.

Janet Campbell, Chatham-Kent 4-H Leader and Secretary/Treasurer, has been chosen as a 2022 recipient of the prestigious 4-H Ontario Arbor Award.

The recipients were honoured at the 4-H Ontario Arbor Awards Banquet on March 26. Each recipient received an award featuring a hand-crafted metal sculpture of a tree. In addition, a tree is planted in a location of their choice in honour of their contributions to the 4-H program and their community.

The tree planting for Campbell was held on October 15 at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus. Campbell, with the help of friends and family, planted a tree approximately 10 feet tall.

During the ceremony, it was said Campbell had been a 4-H volunteer for more than 35 years. During this time, she helped lead more than forty 4-H clubs and held many executive positions, including secretary, treasurer, resource contact, livestock contact and membership coordinator.

“She more than deserves the Arbor award. Pretty much every member in Chatham-Kent when they think 4-H, Janet’s face comes to mind. I am so glad Janet is part of 4-H in Chatham-Kent,” said fellow 4-H volunteer Kris McNaughton.

Campbell was said to be known by many members in Chatham-Kent 4-H as the ‘Keeper of Knowledge’ and an invaluable resource to 4-H.

“Her knowledge and approachable nature make her the ideal point person for new 4-H’ers. She understands the value of the 4-H program and tirelessly works to promote it within her community,” added McNaughton.

Officials with 4-H Ontario said Campbell is always one of the first to jump in when it comes to organizing an event or fundraiser for the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association. It was also announced Campbell would lend her time to other community organizations such as local churches, schools and the local plowing match.

Campbell said she was honoured to receive the award.

“Thank you to my family for all the support throughout the years. I enjoyed working with all the volunteers in Chatham-Kent. It’s been an honour,” she said.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News