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Meet the Author – Aly Schortinghouse

Aly is a 4-H Livestock Agent in Escambia County, Florida.

Aly Schortinghouse is the 4-H/Livestock Agent in Escambia County, Florida. Aly grew up in Georgia 4-H and was heavily involved in the horse and livestock programs. From horse quiz bowl and equestrian drill team to showing heifers and steers, Aly was able to travel the nation with 4-H doing what she loved showing horses and cows. Though her heart was buried in the horse and livestock program, 4-H led to new experiences such as the speaking program and leadership roles in her clubs. Aly largely attributes the 4-H program with developing her life skills and her passion for life long learning.

 

Aly working on halter breaking a Jersey dairy cow.

Aly studied Animal Science at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. While completing her undergraduate degree Aly worked at the Berry College dairy and as a research assistant. After completing her undergraduate degree, Aly jumped back into the 4-H world when she joined the Escambia County 4-H family in January of 2017. Aly was once again enveloped in the 4-H family, though this time in the role as one of the 4-H agents. In this role, Aly works with the families, faculty, and community of Escambia County to build a strong and enduring 4-H program with programs and clubs which enable youth to dive into their passions all the while building the essential life skills which will aid them in becoming productive citizens.

Aly helps a youth get “show ready”.

 

Aly’s passion for 4-H lies in what the program means to so many and the opportunities it provides youth. “Seeing the youth set goals to strive for, then growing through their experiences is one of my favorite parts of the job.” Aly recently completed her Master of Science, and is looking forward to continuing to grow the Escambia County 4-H program.

 

It’s a New Year in the Florida 4-H Horse Program

It’s a New Year in the Florida 4-H Horse Program

Did you know the Florida 4-H Horse Program offers horse shows, horse judging, Hippology, public speaking, demonstrations, illustrated talks, quiz bowl, horsemanship schools, and even scholarships?

January kicks off the new year of the Florida 4-H Horse Program, and now is the time to get involved! The Florida 4-H Horse Program consists of all the programs mentioned above, and only a few of those events actually requires owning a horse. The horse program has something for everyone, and the best part is that you get involved with youth focused, horse loving community. Below, we will introduce you to each part of the program, but if you have more questions, be sure to reach out to your county agent. For this article, we will look at programs where you do not need to own or lease a horse, and programs where you do. So let’s get started!

Horseless Programs (No horse needs to be owned or leased)

Horse Judging

About: In horse judging, youth are presented classes of horses, and they are asked to evaluate each class, place them, and present oral reasons. This competition teaches youth to look at horses and evaluate the based on both confirmation and function. To watch a short video outlining the details of the competition, click here.

Important Dates:

February 8, 2020: Florida State Fairy Horse Judging Contest, Tampa, Florida

April 4, 2020: State 4-H and FFA Horse Judging Contest, Gainesville, Florida

For More information, please visit the UF 4-H Horse Judging Website.


Quiz Bowl

About: Quiz bowl is a trivia style contest with both individual and team components. Topics range from practical hands on knowledge to horse industry knowledge. To learn more about these events, watch a short video here.

Important Dates:

June 1, 2020 – State Entry Deadline

June 20, 2020- State 4-H Horse Quiz Bowl Contest, Gainesville, Florida

For More information, please visit the State 4-H Horse Demonstrations and Public Speaking.


Hippology

Youth visiting a local veterinary office for a tour.

About: Hippology includes all aspects of horse knowledge and covers topics ranging from judging to feedstuffs identification. Hippology includes practical horse management knowledge combining it with the experience and knowledge from all the other contests (Judging, quiz bowl, public speaking, etc.). To watch a short video outlining the details of the competition, click here.

Important Dates:

April 4 & 5, 2020: State 4-H Contest, Gainesville, Florida

For More information, please visit the UF 4-H Hippology Website. 


Public Speaking/Demonstrations/and Illustrated Talks

About: In these events, youth get to explore an area of interest as it relate

Tucker Padgett gives a public speech at the 2020 Escambia County 2020 County Events.

s to horses, then create a presentation to share it with others. These events have a county, district, and in some cases a state level. To learn more about these events, watch a short video here.

Important Dates:

Most counties have a qualification process, that differs across the state. Check with your county agent for the specifics on the county and district qualifying events.

June 1, 2020 – State Entry Deadline

June 20, 2020- State 4-H Horse Demonstrations and Public Speaking Contest, Gainesville, Florida

For More information, please visit the State 4-H Horse Demonstrations and Public Speaking site.


Scholarships

About: The Florida 4-H Horse scholarship program aims to reward youth who are demonstrated an intense passion and advancement in the Florida 4-H Horse Program. These scholarships have their own specific requirements and awards. For More information, please visit the Florida 4-H Equine Scholarships Summary here.

To watch a short video outlining the details of the opportunities, click here.

Important Dates:

June 1, 2020- Scholarship Applications are due

*Be sure to work closely with your county 4-H agent to ensure this process goes smoothly.

Project Horse Programs (A horse must be owned/leased by youth)

Area and State Horse Shows

About: Each year, Florida 4-H hosts Area Shows to qualify for the State 4-H Horse Show. To learn more about these shows watch this short video which introduces the Florida 4-H Horse Shows.

Important Dates and Information:

If you want to compete at your Area Horse Show, you need to be aware of the following items:

  1. December 31, 2020- The Florida 4-H Horse Certification Form should be submitted to the county 4-H on or before December 31, 2020 to qualify to pa

    Youth displaying ribbon after placing in a horse show class at the 2019 Area North Horse Show.

    rticipate in the Area North Horse Show and the State 4-H Horse show. This form must be completed each year, even if you are using the same horse as a previous year. A youth should do this for each horse they intend to show or use to participate in 4-H shows with.

    1. Find the form here: Florida 4-H Horse Certification Form
  1. December 31, 2020- A Horse Lease Form should be completed and submitted if a youth wants to participate with a horse that is not owned by the youth. Even if you are borrowing the horse without a fee, youth must have a Horse Lease Form on file with the local county 4-H office.
    1. Find the form here: Horse Lease Form
  1. The Florida 4-H Horse Project Record Book is a great way to track and demonstrate your growth throughout the year.
    1. Find the project book here: Florida 4-H Horse Project Book

Each county has their own specific guidelines and requirements. Please be sure to check when your county offices are closed for the holidays as they may not be open on the final day the form is due. Contact your county office if you have any questions or concerns regarding county specific requirements. For more information about Florida 4-H Horse Project opportunities visit the State 4-H Horse Events site.


Horsemanship Schools

About: Horsemanship school is a week long program geared at teaching and equipping youth with the knowledge and tools needed to be successful and grow as horseman. There are three program offerings: Western week, English week, and Cowboy Camp (male 4-H youth). To watch a short video outlining the details of the opportunities, click here.

Important Dates:

Youth at Horsemanship School in Niceville, Florida before camps were moved to Gainesville.

May 31-June 5, 2020 – Cowboy Camp, Gainesville, Florida

June 7- 12, 2020 – Western Week, Gainesville, Florida

 

June 14-19, 2020 – English Week, Gainesville, Florida

For more information, please visit the UF Horsemanship School website.


The Florida 4-H Horse program is abounding in opportunities, so come join our community of horse loving youth and adults focused on “making the best, better”!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us!

You can find your local county 4-H office here.

*Photo Credits belong to:

Julie Andrews Photography, 2019 Area North Horse Show, Clay County, Florida.

Anne Peterson, Escambia County 4-H Volunteer

Aly Schortinghouse, Escambia County 4-H

*All Photos were taken prior to COVID-19 lockdown and policies.

4-H Chick Chain: Ready for Your Next Challenge?

4-H Chick Chain: Ready for Your Next Challenge?

Each year in Northwest Florida, 4-H hosts a 4-H Chick Chain Project. During this project, youth select their birds, raise their birds, attend educational workshops, and show their birds at a final show. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic placing a new emphasis on fresh from the farm food products, the 4-H Chick Chain project is a great way to launch into raising chickens or to start a new project. This year, the project is going one step further than previous years by adding more opportunities for youth to share about their projects through a demonstration or illustrated talk and the chance to explore building a business through an entrepreneurship challenge.

 

Demonstrations and Illustrated Talks
4-H youth posing with her show bird at a show.

4-H youth, Tucker Padgett, posing with her show bird at a show.


Participants will have the chance to share a demonstration or illustrated talk focusing on their chicken related experiences at the 4-H Chick Chain Competition. The best part is that presentations made at the Chick Chain event can be perfected and carried on to other competitions such as County Events, District Events, and 4-H University. Through a demonstration, youth will show the judges how to do something, while with an illustrated talk, youth are explaining a situation or topic while using a visual aid such as a poster, PowerPoint, or physical object. The best part of this opportunity is that youth are encouraged to talk about their chickens and chicken experiences. After all, it is the 4-H Chick Chain Project.

 

Entrepreneurship Challenge

This new experience is designed to walk participants through the documentation and setup of a business plan focusing on chickens, over multiple years. Each year, participants focus on a different aspect of owning and operating a business. At the Chick Chain show, participants will present their plan to judges. For youth who are interested in the entrepreneurship challenge and more similar opportunities, youth are encouraged to check out the Florida 4-H Gator Pit which offers educational workshops and the chance to interact with entrepreneurs throughout Florida.

 

Try it Out

Chickens pecking at feed offered in a feed pan.

Chickens pecking at feed offered in a feed pan.


This project is open to Florida 4-H youth in Northwest Florida. Registration will be open October 1, 2020 through 4-HOnline with the show taking place on March 20, 2021. Interested in getting involved? Visit FL 4-H Chick Chain or ask your local UF IFAS County Extension Office where to get started. This project offers a chance for every level of youth to stretch their comfort level focusing on one of the best topics out there… Chickens!  So join us, learn something new, teach us something new, and make some awesome chicken loving friends.

 

What We Don’t See

What We Don’t See

Often times we think of 4-H programming in the traditional context of agricultural education through school and community clubs. What we often forget is how diverse an audience the 4-H program actually serves. Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola is the home to two youth centers, the NAS Pensacola Youth Center and the Corry Station Youth Center. Every day the staff of these centers welcome and care for military youth in their charge. The staff at these centers work diligently to incorporate 4-H programming into their centers, serving as 4-H screened and trained volunteers. They provide the youth they serve a myriad of opportunities to develop life skills as well as give back to their community.

 

4-H Projects


Youth participate in a workshop led by Santa Rosa County Horticulture Agent, Matt Lollar, during the Try a Day of Camp designed to provide youth a one day introduction experience to the Florida 4-H residential camping program.

The NAS Pensacola 4-H club and the Corry Station 4-H club offer their youth a chance to engage in all aspects of 4-H programming. While some youth may be involved in the 21 day long embryology project, others may be focused on the archery programs, or maybe they are even doing both! Youth from these centers are often engaged in community service projects like volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House or collecting various items for those in need. Not to mention the grilling, hay bale decorating, and fair entries OH MY! To make a complete list of the projects the youth at these centers are involved in would be… exhausting! These clubs facilitate high quality programming through the dedication of the staff at these centers. Without them, these programs would not exist.

 

 

Breaking the Mold


NAS Pensacola 4-H Club placed second in the 2019 Escambia County 4-H hay bale decorating contest.

While one might have the mental image of a 4-H volunteer being a parent or relative of a youth already in the program, this is not the case for many of the volunteers with the NAS Pensacola and Corry Station 4-H clubs. These volunteers are unique. They complete the 4-H 101 trainings, participate in county and district wide events, and facilitate some of the best programming Escambia County 4-H has to offer. Yet, could you list one name of a volunteer who is involved in these clubs? While these volunteers run 4-H programs year round and are constantly focused on providing on new opportunities, they are not often as visible as one might expect.

 

 

We Need All Kinds of Volunteers


Youth participate in STEM activities during 4-H Club meeting.

These volunteers break the mold of a traditional 4-H volunteer. They serve a tight knit community who face many obstacles the majority of us could never comprehend. Through all of this though, these volunteers provide a sense of stability for the youth they serve. While 4-H programming is offered at Navy youth centers across the nation and the world, the volunteers at NAS Pensacola and Corry Station Youth Centers are exemplary. They even have a national award to prove it! The staff at these centers were the recipients of the 2019 National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Military Partnership Award. In comparison, this award does little to truly recognize their impact on the youth they serve. While youth center staff may not be “traditional” 4-H volunteers, they fill the need of the communities serve. A 4-H volunteer is most effective when they are able to understand the needs of the community and are able to adjust the programming to fit that need. Often times, it is through the volunteers that go unnoticed, traditional and unconventional alike, that the youth we serve are afforded the opportunities that 4-H programs offer year round.

For more information about UF/IFAS Extension programs or to learn more about how you can serve your community as a 4-H volunteer, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension.

 

A Legacy Always Begins Somewhere

A Legacy Always Begins Somewhere

Anne Peterson, recipient of the 2019 Elaine Keir Memorial Outstanding Volunteer Award.

For over 40 years, Anne Peterson has served as a volunteer for Escambia County 4-H. Anne began at an early age taking riding lessons in a barn led by a local 4-H horse club leader. That barn was where she began to adopt the knowledge and culture she would strive to emulate for the remainder of her 4-H volunteer career. Anne’s early years largely impacted her path in life, and ultimately led her to volunteer with 4-H.

Many Roles

Anne began volunteering with a club as a young adult, and from there. pursued every opportunity to continue her service. From volunteering at county events to volunteering at sleep over camps like Camp Timpoochee during the summer, she took the opportunities she believed in most and supported them whole-heartedly. Anne has served on multiple committees and boards at the local, district, and state levels with the goal of sharing her experiences and looking for ways to make the 4-H program stronger and better. From the horse program to the legislative program, Anne has participated in the planning and execution of county, district and state wide events. Ms. Anne even volunteers on the Area North 4-H Horse Show Committee and State 4-H Horse Advisory Committees, even though she does not have any youth who compete in the events.

A Legacy

Anne has not only invested years of volunteer service in 4-H, but she also shares with others her dedication and passion for 4-H and youth development, which continues to inspire the youth and families she works with. Anne’s impact has been felt in the projects she has taken on, but her ever-steady impact on the individuals she encounters, reaches far beyond what is immediately observable. Anne has never strayed far from her passion that was sparked in that barn, and as she continues to serve others, she is leaving her fingerprints
on their lives as well as the 4-H program. Anne has also received multiple awards for her service over the years, some of which include the 2019 Florida 4-H Horse Program Elaine Keir Memorial Outstanding Volunteer Award, and an induction to the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame.

A Lesson for Us All

While Anne has demonstrated an astounding longevity in her volunteer career, we must remember that she too was once a new volunteer. We all serve a role, however little or large we perceive the role to be, every role is important as that is the only way we can continue to offer quality programs. The saying “it takes a village” holds true to 4-H programming. To be an extraordinary 4-H volunteer, one need not do every role, but do one role to the best of their ability, as it is through the team of volunteers and agents that an extraordinary and impactful program is created. One role builds to other roles, and it is left to you to decide what role you will take. Regardless of the role, you have the chance to positively impact youth in your community, so ask your county 4-H agent how you can help “make the best better.”

To learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office to learn about 4-H in your county.