4-H Canada's 2022 Leadership Excellence Awards of Distinction (L.E.A.D) have been announced.

The program recognizes outstanding 4-H’ers who show 4-H values in the way they live their lives. 

Each L.E.A.D. recipient receives a $20,000 scholarship for higher education, an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the 4-H Leadership Awards, ongoing mentorship from an expert in their field of study and the opportunity to be a 4-H L.E.A.D. spokesperson.

Four L.E.A.D. recipients are selected each year, one for each of 4-H Canada’s Leadership Development pillars.

This year's recipients include Ava Copas (NS), Community Engagement & Communications Pillar; Aidan Reynolds (NB), Science & Technology Pillar; Elena Sales (BC), Environment & Healthy Living Pillar
Kate Axten (SK), Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security Pillar.

She grew up on her family's grain farm at Minton, and was part of the Radville 4-H Field Crops Club.

Under the program, 4Her's use a certain number of acres on the farm to plant a crop, watch it and keep track of everything through harvest.

Axten says she applied for a lot of scholarships this year, but this was one scholarship that she really hoping to get as she has a passion for regenerative agriculture.

"Growing up on a farm that uses a lot of regenerative practices it's all I've really known. So, I think that instilled a special love of agriculture for me. Watching my parents love what they do so much, made me love it even more. Then as I learned more about it and more about the connection of how your crops are grown, or how something is grown connects to the health of it."

Her parents Derek and Tanis Axten were named Saskatchewan's Outstanding Young Farmers in 2017.

Axten is taking International Food Business at Dalhousie University.

Through the course participants learn about the food system not only in Canada, but internationally.

She says in her second year of study, she will be going to the Netherlands, to study international food business.

"I think it's going to help me get a real global view of the food system, which is something that I'm really excited about."

Shannon Benner, Chief Executive Officer of 4-H Canada says the L.E.A.D. scholarships are special in that, above and beyond financial support, they provide unique opportunities for these young leaders to learn from mentors in their chosen field of study.

"This enables them to build skills outside the classroom, grow confidence, and gain real-life experience as they pursue their future careers.” 

L.E.A.D. scholarships are made possible through a generous partnership with CN.

Cyrus Reporter, Vice-President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, CN says at CN we see ourselves as more than a mover of the North American economy, we are also a corporate citizen that strongly believes in making a difference in local communities across our network. This is why CN is proud to support these exceptional and deserving scholars.

"The L.E.A.D scholarship program, through our partnership with 4-H Canada, helps to empower this next generation of leaders to achieve their best. We’re excited to see what they can accomplish in their growing careers.”

To learn more about the L.E.A.D. scholarship visit 4-h-canada.ca/lead.