The Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture (CYSA) Competition warmly thanked and recognized long-time board member John J. MacDonald of P.E.I. for his outstanding contribution to the organization this past weekend at the CYSA public speaking competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
Board member and past president John J. MacDonald was presented with a plaque recognizing his more than 10 years with CYSA and naming him Honourary President.
Chairman of the Board, Ted Young, stated in his tribute that, "we were so very lucky to have a man of John's stature share his time, talent, vision, and unwavering commitment to rural youth development across Canada, not only through CYSA, but with 4-H Canada and other rural stakeholders across the country."
"Each and every one of us who contributes to our community, to society, doesn't look for recognition. We just do it, because that's what we want to do," said MacDonald. "I'm not just giving my time; I'm learning as well. I come in here and sit all day listening to these amazing young people who have so thoroughly researched everything - and I don't always agree with everything, but that's what's so wonderful about it. They come up on stage and express their opinions and open up the debate."
He wrapped up by asking the theatre full of speakers and their family and friends to, "Please pass on the message that this is a great stage, a great venue for young people to be recognized across Canada and, indeed, across the world."
CYSA also presented a recognition plaque to honour board member and past president Richard Kuntz who is concluding his term on the CYSA board.
Each year the renowned public speaking competition is held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. The competition is open to youth ages 11 to 24 with a passion for agriculture whether raised on a farm, in the country or in the city.
Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture is a national, bilingual competition that gives participants an opportunity to share their opinions, ideas and concerns about the Canadian agri-food industry in a five- to seven-minute prepared speech.
Since the first competition held at the Royal Winter Fair in honour of the International Year of the Youth in 1985, it has gone on to become the premier public speaking event in Canada for young people interested in agriculture, with more than 900 participants in total over the years.