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Reflections from Graduating Seniors: Alex Davis Jenkins

Alex Davis is a graduating senior from Leon County 4-H

Six years ago, Alex’s grandmother registered her to attend summer camp at Cherry Lake with Leon County 4-H and she hasn’t looked back since!

Alex has become one of the shining stars of the Leon County 4-H program. She has held positions of Parliamentarian, Secretary, and Vice President of the Leon County 4-H Leadership Council. She has served as a member of our Banquet Planning Committee and for the past four summers, Alex has volunteered her time as a counselor at Robotics, Sewing, Cooking, and Gardening camps. She is raised by her grandparents, Suzane Parke and Sidney Jenkins and is the oldest of three siblings.

Alex’s leadership and responsibility truly shine when she is leading and helping youth. One of her favorite 4-H experiences was assisting a group of robotics camp participants complete a challenge: “We were scrambling to finish our car. It was so great to see the look of accomplishment on the kids’ faces.”

Alex has helped teach a variety of 4-H programs during her six-year membership.

Alex is a wonderful representative of 4-H. Perhaps more importantly, she is a stellar student. When Alex first joined 4-H, she talked about her future enrollment in the IB program at Rickards High School. I remember this discussion vividly because I was extremely impressed with the maturity of a then-thirteen year old explaining how she would be reducing her participation in order to focus on school. Four years, hard work, late nights, and hard choices – many times causing her to choose between 4-H and homework – she has accomplished her goal.

Alex was accepted into the University of Florida where she will begin this summer. “I plan to study animal biology. And eventually Veterinary Medicine. Real STEMMY things. And I want to have an impact on people, but not work directly with them. So I figure helping their pets is pretty close.”

One of her favorite experiences has been learning about how food is produced. Alex will extend her learning at the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture this fall.

Curious, we asked Alex why she chose to keep coming back to 4-H. As a driven student, active member of Young Marines and other youth organizations, many things could have pulled her from the program. Alex said: “It was fun. I learned things I never knew…like how to sew a pillow! That will come in handy in college. And the adults…Ms. Stefanie was awesome. Ms. Heidi was great. And the other adults were always so helpful and nice.”

We will definitely miss Alex’s smiling face and bubbling personality around our office this summer, but we are so proud of our 2017 graduate! 

Reflections from Graduating Seniors: Jessica Wells

Jessica credits 4-H with helping her develop leadership and communication skills to help her transition into the workforce.

Super Woman has nothing on Washington County 4-H’er Jessica Wells.  During her 11 years as a 4-H member, she has logged over 500 4-H volunteer hours, started and led a horse project club,  facilitated agriculture judging at the county youth fair, led a highly successful community service project, served on 4-H Executive Board and the district teen retreat planning committee, been my right-hand woman at day camps, the county 4-H Tropicana public speaking contest and awards banquets…I could go on and on!

Through events such as 4-H University and executive board, 4-H involvement has broadened Jessica’s personal skill set.  She has learned about opportunities beyond the county level, stepped out of her comfort zone, looked inside herself to see where she needed to grow and developed teamwork skills that have benefitted her now and will continue to benefit her in the future.

Jessica also shared that “exploring career options has been one of the biggest benefits of my 4-H involvement.”

Jessica’s involvement in the 4-H horse program has led her to start a horse club in her community, so she can share her passion and expertise for the horse industry with other youth.  There had not been an active horse club in the county for several years, so Jessica was able to match her interest to serve a real need in the community.

With leadership development as the focus of her senior 4-H year, she says that 4-H University has been her favorite event that has allowed her to flex and grow her skills as a leader.  Jessica lives a heads, heart, hands and health life:  she has grown her personal skill set, she leads and serves with a giving and caring heart, her work ethic is tremendous and she has begun a club to serve an unmet need in the county.  Jessica has balanced her 4-H life while working at her grandfather’s blueberry farm, working with her horses (even rehabilitating a rescue horse), being an awesome big sister and daughter and serving at church. Jessica is the daughter of Rodney and Karen Wells and big sister to Sarah and Joshua.  She plans to attend Chipola College then transfer to either Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College or the University of Florida and major in agri-business.

Hear what Jessica has to say about what she has gained from her 4-H experience, and why she has remained in 4-H through her high school years:

UF/IFAS Extension Washington County congratulates Jessica on her high school graduation!  We look forward to seeing how you move and shake the world.  Love, Julie, Judy, Mark, Matt, Nikki & Cynthia

Bust Boredom and Extend Learning through Summer

4-H summer programs allow youth to explore a variety of topics- from animal science to robotics! Photo credit: Heather Kent, UF IFAS Extension

With the end of the school year approaching, many parents are puzzling over what to do with their children during the 8-10 weeks of summer vacation.  Fortunately, 4-H has the solution to bust summertime boredom and extend learning while exploring a variety of topics- such as sewing, gardening, culinary arts or even robotics and engineering.  4-H camps are different from most other camping programs because they are framed around the essential elements of positive youth development and are intentionally structured to promote the development of life and workforce skills such as communication, decision-making and appreciation of differences.  4-H camps are staffed by caring teen and adult volunteers who have been screened, oriented and trained according to federal and state law, and incorporate best practices for risk management to insure a physically and emotionally safe environment.  The connection of 4-H to land grant universities like the University of Florida also means that camp curriculum is based on the best knowledge available about any given project utilizing inquiry and learn-by-doing methods.

Below you can find a list of day camps that will be offered throughout the Florida panhandle. Counties also offer week long overnight camps at Camp Timpoochee or Camp Cherry Lake.  In addition to camp, 4-H offers overnight leadership experiences for middle school and high school youth, such as Intermediate State (June 2-4th), 4-H Legislature (June 26-30th), and 4-H University (July 31-August 3rd).  Click on the county links below for more information or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.

Bay

  • Tailgating Grilling Workshop, June 5-9, 1pm – 5pm
  • Bots by the Bay, July 5-7, AF youth (active duty, guard, reserve or retired) age 13-15, 8am-6pm
  • Bots by the Bay, July 10-14, AF youth (active duty, guard, reserve or retired) age 16-18, 8am-6pm

Escambia

  • Beginner Sewing Day Camp, June 13-15, 9AM -3PM
  • Breakfast Day Camp, June 21-22; 9AM-3PM
  • Tailgate Day Camp- July 5-9, 9AM-3PM
  • Intermediate Sewing Day Camp- July 18 and 20, 9AM-3PM
  • CSI Day Camp- July 17 and 19th, 9AM-3PM

Gadsden

  • Sew Fun, Sew Easy, June 26-30th, 8AM-5PM
  • Marvels of Engineering, July 25-28th, 8AM-5PM
  • Farm to Table: the Youth Experience, July 6th– 8AM-5PM
  • Youth Poultry Clinic- July 8th, 8AM-5PM

Holmes

  • Poultry Perfection- June 2nd, 9:30AM-2PM
  • Cloverbud Crazy Art Day Camp- June 8th– 8AM-2PM
  • Tailgating Grilling Workshop- June 27-29th, 8AM-3PM
  • Animal Science Field Day- July 11th, 8AM-4PM
  • Junk Drawer Robotics Day Camp- July 25-27, 9AM-3PM

Jackson

  • Poultry Perfection- June 2nd, 9:30AM-2PM
  • Tailgating Day Camp- June 5-7th, 8AM-12PM
  • Equine Clinic- June 13th, 9AM-3PM
  • Livestock Nutrition Workshop- June 29th, 9AM-2PM
  • Poultry Day Camp- July 7th– 9AM-3PM
  • Goat Workshop- July 13st- 9AM-3PM
  • Livestock Skillathon Camp- July 17th-19th, 8:30AM-11:30AM
  • Robotics Camp- July 25th-27th– 9AM-3PM

Jefferson

  • Wildlife Day Camp- July 10-15th
  • Cloverbud Camp- July 18-21st
  • 8-9 year old camp- June 5-9th
  • Cooking 101- August 2-4th
  • Reading Makes Cents- June 14-16th

Leon

  • Farm your Backyard Camp- June 27th-30th, 9AM-4PM
  • Sewing for All Skill Levels (FULL- call to be placed on the waiting list)
  • Junk Drawer Robotics Day Camp- July 25-27th, 9AM-4PM
  • Wildlife Explorers Camp- July 10-14th (FULL- call to be places on the waiting list)
  • Tailgate Grilling Camp- June 27-29th– (FULL- call to be places on the waiting list)
  • #Adulting- June 15, June 22, July 6, July 13th– 9AM-4PM
  • Poultry Day Camp- July 7tth 9AM-5PM (FULL- call to be places on the waiting list)
  • Gardening for Cloverbuds (5-7 year olds)- July 14th, 8:30AM-12PM

Liberty

  • Tailgate Grilling Workshop, June 27, 28 & 29
  • Entomology Day Camp- July 11-12th
  • Robotics Day Camp- July 25-27th
  • 21st Century 4-H Day Camps- a variety of topics taught over the summer for youth enrolled in the 21st Century Learning programs at Tolar and Hosford schools

Wakulla

  • Cooking Camp- June 12-14th, 9AM-3PM
  • Gourmet Cooking Camp with Mr. John- June 15th-16th, 9AM-3PM
  • 101 Sewing Camp- July 10-12, 8AM-5PM
  • All About Animals- July 24-26th, 8AM-2PM
  • Insect Camp- July 19-21, 9AM-3PM

Walton

  • Tailgator Day Camp- July 10-12th, 8:30AM-4PM
  • Sew Fantastic Day Camp- July 6th
  • Cloverbud Chefs Extreme Cuisine- June 7-8
  • 4-H Extreme Cuisine- June 27th– 29th; 8:30AM-4PM
  • Ag-Ventures, July 18-19th, 8:30AM-4PM
  • Build a Bot Day Camp- July 25-27th, 9AM-4PM

Washington

  • Poultry Perfection Workshop- June 2; 9:30 am-2 pm
  • Tailgate Grilling Workshop, June 27, 28 & 29, 8 am-Noon
  • Beef Research Center Workshop- July 11; 8 am-2pm

4-H Horse Health Clinic Scheduled for June 13th

The Area A 4-H Horse Advisory Committee is pleased to welcome Dr. Bess Darrow, DVM and Mr. Billy Blackman, Professional Farrier to our first Area A 4-H Equine Clinic.  Our focus will be on overall equine health, as well as dental and hoof concerns.  There is no fee for this clinic but you must register on Eventbrite by June 5th. Lunch is provided for current 4-H members.

After the workshop, participants may make appointments and bring their horses to have dental and hoof work done.  *Fees will apply. To make appointments you will need to contact Dr. Darrow or Mr. Blackman personally (see flyer for contact information.)

The Area A Horse Advisory Committee is planning a series of both educational and competitive events for youth enrolled in the 4-H Horse and “Horse-less” Horse Projects this coming 4-H year!  For more information about the Florida 4-H Horse Program, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office or visit one of these links:

Florida 4-H Horse Project Page

Florida 4-H Horse Events (UF IFAS Animal Sciences)