Emmett Sawyer receives 4-H L.E.A.D. Scholarship

Emmett Sawyer CYSA

One local student has received a big honour. Emmett Sawyer, of the Acme area, has been named a 4-H L.E.A.D. Scholarship recipient. L.E.A.D. stands for “Leadership Excellence Awards of Distinction” and is comprised of four pillars each with their own scholarship: Community Engagement & Communications, Science & Technology, Environment & Healthy Living, and Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security—Sawyer winning the last pillar. The scholarship consists of $20,000 awarded $5000 per University year for up to four years, and the opportunity to receive guidance from a mentor in the recipients field through their education journey. The award is sponsored by CN and Emmett is happy “to see them interested in the leaders of tomorrow.” The three other recipients reside in Alberta, Newfoundland, and Quebec.

Emmett is in his first year at the University of Lethbridge where he is enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts in Agricultural Studies degree. After seeing an advertisement on social media about the scholarship, he decided to apply for it. Some time after submitting his application, which consisted of questions about his community and 4-H involvement, he received an email informing him that he’d placed in the top three in Canada for his pillar. Emmett had a video interview and just a few weeks later received a phone call letting him know that he had won, but was not allowed to tell anyone except his immediate family until the press release in the fall—from July until just recently he had to keep the news under his hat which was difficult to do as he was “so, so happy, I was absolutely over the moon when they phoned me and they said that I’d won it.”

Emmett’s passion for agriculture began at a young age, having grown up on the family farm west of Acme. Within the broad spectrum of agricultural studies he’s “really passionate about food security and making sure we produce the safest and most environmentally-friendly food that we possibly can” which is why this award was such a great fit for him. He is also very interested in the policy behind agriculture, “how they [the government] make decisions to make sure that agriculture is on track and protecting the environment and moving the industry forward in a safe way” whether with chemicals used or seed varieties.

His involvement in 4-H began nine years ago while a member of the Swalwell 4-H Club. Now he is a 4-H Alberta Ambassador for the Calgary Region, acting as a resource for clubs. He is so thankful for his time spent in the 4-H program because “there’s just lots of possibilities in 4-H and this is just one of the areas that shows that there’s so many benefits to being a 4-H member. Other than team building and communication skills there’s also the trips to be won and scholarships as well, so its just a really well-rounded program and I wouldn’t trade my experience with 4-H for the world.”

In January Emmett will be flown to Saskatoon for the 4-H Canada Conference. While there he will find out who his mentor is. This aspect of the award is almost the sweetest part for Emmett, “having a mentor and for someone to help guide me through these four years of university because this is a really key time to figure out what I want to do and what I’m interested in and I think the mentorship will really be able to focus that and to really find something I really enjoy. Obviously the possibilities are endless, so I’m looking for career advice and really in my personal life as well and how I can just give back the most possible to agriculture and how to move it forward in the best way possible.”

Thinking about his future, Emmett feels he would like to work “in some sort of a corporate agriculture company and then possibly go back to the farm, but I’m also very interested in politics so who knows, maybe in the future, if things work out, I’ll try to run to become an MP and hopefully be able to represent the people of the Bow River Riding. Hopefully I’m living in the Acme area, who knows—I’m open to all possibilities I suppose.”

Reflecting on his accomplishment Emmett says he is “hugely honoured and I think I’m still just trying to wrap my head around the fact that I won this award. I encourage everyone who’s in 4-H to apply to try to become a L.E.A.D. Scholarship recipient because it’s a fantastic process and it’s a really great opportunity to meet more people in the 4-H family…I’d encourage everyone to apply for it this coming spring.”