Head, Heart, Hands, and Health is not just a motto.  For John Drummond, it is three decades invested in training and encouraging the youth in his community.  His leadership is all about “we”.

john presentation

John being honored as the 4-H Canada’s Volunteer of the Year

Once In 4-H, Drummond Never looked Back

Young Canadians often look forward to hockey but for John Drummond of Lanark County there was another tradition that inspired his participation. “I was born and raised in the 4-H program.  As the youngest of 6 kids, I watched my older siblings all be very active in the program, and waited with anticipation until it was my turn.  My mother was a ‘Homemaking’ 4-H Club Leader, and I remember a group of girls coming over on Saturday afternoons – I would have been 4 or 5 at the time.  I joined the Lombardy Calf Club at age 12, which was the starting age” way back then”, and never looked back.”


John competing at the 1982 Contact Hays Classic

4-H Leaders Ignited John’s Involvement

In the same way that he inspires others to get involved in 4-H leadership, John was inspired by his leaders. “Ron McMillan and Gerald Hunter were awesome guys, lots of fun, and great 4-H club leaders.  I remember them giving me the tap on the shoulder that I should become a leader of the club, which I did for my first two years after graduating from the program.  I also consider Bruce Witmer to be a great example of a lifetime of 4-H involvement.” John didn’t stop at the club leader level. He was on the Ontario 4-H Council Board of Directors from 2003-2010, serving as President in ’06/07.  “That totally ignited my involvement on a provincial level.  The influence of great executive directors like Rob Black and Lyndon Stewart provided lots of fuel and excitement for the program.”

4-H and Career Became Synchronized

John feels it was a natural transition to move from member to leader in the Lombardy Calf Club.  “When I graduated from the University of Guelph, I accepted a position with Floradale Feed Mill, a move that brought me to Waterloo County, as a dairy feed specialist, and the wonderful 4-H program they have there.”


The Years Passed and the Commitment Grew

John merely did what was expected of him, and that certainly built an incredible leadership record. He is as surprised as anyone at the long standing commitment. “Waterloo Vet Club… 29 years now.  Wow.  Floradale Dairy Club for 28 years and the Senior Dairy Club for almost as long.  In 2006, I became a lifeskills club leader when we started the Kitchener Market 4-H Club, a cooking club that runs Saturday mornings at the Kitchener Farmers’ Market.” John is still filled with youthful enthusiasm and, even more so, over another new club. “One of the most exciting clubs I’m involved with is the Waterloo Paintball 4-H Club, which has provided me with some great days of exercise, strategy, teamwork and leadership development.

People Make the Difference

Although he loves the variety of programs and experiences, John Drummond feels that there is one fundamental thing that makes the difference for him. “The people.” He asserts. “When I was President of the Ontario 4-H Council, I travelled across the province to Awards Nights and Annual Meetings, Judging Competitions and Achievement Programs.  I loved meeting people that had a similar passion for the program.”  Like other passionate leaders, John has found that two people performing the same job can produce quite different results in terms of quality because of their passion for what they are doing (or lack thereof).


4-H Memories are the Foundation

We all build on our successes.  For John, many of these relate to his early 4-H experiences. “In 1981, my 4-H calf was virtually undefeated at shows, going on to be Honourable Mention All Canadian that year.  The following year and my last as a 4-H member, I showed a calf of my own breeding, who went on to be nominated All Canadian.” With understated enthusiasm John sums that up as “Such an enormous thrill for an 18-year-old.”

Over the years, John has been involved in making it possible for others in 4-H to have outstanding experiences and memories. “In 2005, Waterloo hosted the 90th Anniversary Celebration of 4-H in Ontario.  We formed a club that planned and presented such a great reunion and celebration that I don’t know how we’ll ever top it for next year’s 100th Anniversary.   We do have a 100th Anniversary Club running now planning the celebration for next year, and the ideas that are taking shape are well on their way to making a party that will be every bit as amazing.  As the home of Ontario’s first 4-H Club, we’ve had such great opportunities to put 4-H in the spotlight.  We’ve never backed down from doing it.”

4-H has something for both Leaders and Members

John doesn’t hesitate in encouraging people to become involved at any level of the 4-H program. “It’s not hard; it’s not confusing. It’s always rewarding, and it’s always fun.  The rewards of being a leader are every bit as much as they are for being a member.”  Obviously, John is a natural born recruiter as well as a leadership specialist. It’s his enthusiasm that inspires the 4-Hers John works with. He not only motivates participation but encourages individuals to share their uniqueness. “Don’t be afraid that you don’t have something to offer – everyone does.”


There is no looking Back. For John, it is always about Building Forward.

When John Drummond sums up what is so great about the Waterloo 4-H Board of Directors, he is summarizing what has kept him passionate about 4-H. Hearing John describe his pride in the teamwork of his local group, sounds a lot like what great leaders say about great teams. “We work together, laugh together, celebrate our successes, learn from our mistakes and never lay blame.  We’re not afraid to try new things!” It isn’t the least bit surprising that they work toward delivering a strong and fun 4-H program of the best value for everyone.” Of course, John deflects any personal praise, “ I have such an excellent backup of co-leaders who do more than I do to make these clubs fun.  Great people like Wilf Strenzke, Jason Brownridge, Kevin Snyder, Lyndon Stewart, Linsday Oxby, James Martin, Joanna Follings, Lynsay Beavers, Colin McNabb, Anne Snyder, Susan Martin, Luke Wheal, Megan Pollock, Tayler Black, and countless others.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Any time you invest your Head, Heart, Hands and Health, there is going to be growth.  John Drummond shares his 4-H passion and has a positive effect on youth and his peers and, as a result, everyone grows forward together. We extend our congratulations and heartfelt thanks to John Drummond for leading by example to serve, equip and inspire the next generation and being named 4-H Canada’s Volunteer of the Year.


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