The StFX 4-H Society (pictured) is planning the first in a series of annual Leadership Development Conferences whch will bring upwards of 125 youth, ages 14-18 from across Atlantic Canada, to the StFX campus June 27-29.

ANTIGONISH: The StFX 4-H Society is pleased to be planning the first in a series of annual Leadership Development Conferences focused on the 4-H Canada Leadership Development Pillars.

The society is working collaboratively with 4-H Nova Scotia and StFX University to bring upwards of 125 youth, ages 14-18 from across Atlantic Canada, to the StFX campus June 27-29.

As suggested by the conference motto, “learn to lead by leading,” these active and engaged youth will be introduced to a variety of workshops and activities that will challenge their perception of leadership and give them the tools and skills necessary to become strong leaders in their clubs, their communities, and their country.

The 2017 conference will focus on leadership in sustainable agriculture and food security. In keeping with this theme, conference participants will gain a larger appreciation for the food grown and consumed locally, be introduced to sustainable agriculture practices, learn ways of improving nutrition and food security, and be empowered to share their newly gained knowledge with those in their home communities – throughout Atlantic Canada.

Students have worked hard throughout the school year, engaging with university faculty and staff, as well as members of the broader Antigonish community.

“The planning process has been highly rewarding, being able to engage with faculty members outside the classroom has been a wonderful experience and has given me a greater appreciation for the research and work that is conducted at StFX,” said Jordan MacDonald, conference co-chair.

As a new society on campus, the StFX 4-H Society has made quite an impression since its first meeting in the winter of 2016. The society began as a way for local Antigonish 4-H clubs to gather 4-H alumni, and interested students who study at StFX, and encourage them to step off campus and explore the program in a different region. This initiative has been very successful with many StFX members offering to judge at local club events, facilitate project workshops, and having fun with fellow youth.

The desire to host a conference quickly arose within the society as a way for older 4-H members to give back to the program and showcase StFX, and the programs it offers, to a broad audience of youth from across the region. The conference will also introduce many non-4-H members to the program and encourage them to join in the future. After only nine months of planning the group of enthusiastic young people feel confident the conference will be a fun and exciting way to raise awareness of sustainable agriculture practices and ensuring food security.

Members of the society have acted as event leads and will facilitate all conference workshops alongside an interdisciplinary group of leaders including StFX faculty and students in the faculties of Arts, Science and Business Administration, the McKenna Centre for Leadership, StFX Extension, and members of the broader Antigonish community. The inclusion of such a diverse group will ensure that participants will leave well prepared to be the next leaders of Atlantic Canada’s agriculture industry and its associated sectors.

“The university administration has been an integral partner and taken on an ownership role in conjunction with the 4-H society and 4-H Nova Scotia,” Jane Stevenson, president of the StFX 4-H Society noted.

“Their support has been invaluable as they have provided lots of in-kind services from assistance with various events to marketing to venues. We have also received tremendous support from faculty and staff from a variety of departments including nutrition, sociology and business. It’s amazing to see the StFX community come together to ensure the success of this conference and help our delegates go home with a new outlook on sustainable agriculture and food security.”

The StFX 4-H Society hopes to grow the conference in the coming years to include more participants from a broader scope of provinces. It is also excited to work with more areas of the university as the conference takes on a different theme each year cycling through sustainable agriculture and food security, community engagement and communications, science and tTechnology, and environment and healthy living – the four 4-H leadership development pillars.

To register for the conference, please contact Dawn Barrington-Hodgson at (902) 863-7501 or e-mail: Interested individuals can also search “Leadership Development Conference” on Facebook.

To learn more about 4-H Nova Scotia, and this exciting new partnership with StFX University, please contact Robin Benedict, executive director, via e-mail: or by calling (902) 843-3990.