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4-H Day of Service- Peanut Butter Anyone?

Did you know that the Saturday of National 4-H Week is the 4-H Day of Service?  4-H Clubs across the nation will be celebrating National 4-H Week with “hands to larger service.”  Service is a huge part of the 4-H program (one of the “H”s”) and also helps teach youth compassion for others.  Service is also a requirement in order to maintain a 4-H club charter.

Younger youth typically start out with community service.  Community service is volunteering in your community.  This is usually done through food drives, such as the Peanut Butter Challenge, or volunteering at an animal shelter, collecting coats or blankets for those in need, or a toy drive during the holidays.  If you are looking for an easy but impactful service project for your club, I would encourage you to participate in the Peanut Butter Challenge.  Each county in the panhandle is collecting jars of peanut butter to donate to local food pantries.  The Florida Peanut Producers will match the donation of the county that collects the most peanut butter.  Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office for more info or refer to this flyer.

Older youth are encouraged to move from community service to service learning.  What’s the difference? Service-Learning is more than a “one-shot deal.”  Instead of spending a day or few hours helping someone, youth identify a need, and develop a strategy to address it.  It also incorporates reflection and celebration.  Service-Learning projects take community service to the next level by emphasizing both service and learning and is more meaningful for older youth.

Example: 

  • Community Service – Youth prepare and serve a meal at a local homeless shelter.
  • Service-Learning – Youth research homelessness in their community and contact local homeless shelters to learn about the types of services they provide.  Youth then decide together on a service project that will support this community need.  After planning and completing the service project, youth reflect upon both the Service-Learning process and the service project.

Did you know Florida 4-H has a state service project selected by our youth executive board?  Each year the State Project Committee of the Executive Board recommends activities in which 4-Her’s can participate that will carry out the state wide community service project of the Florida 4-H Council. This year, the committee decided that the theme for 2017-2019 will be “Living In Florida’s Environment (LIFE)”. This project is focused on creating a greener tomorrow by hosting beach cleanups, planting trees, and participating in citizen science activities.

Youth can receive recognition for their service efforts at 4-H University.  It is also a requirement for the District 4-H Spirit Stick Awards.  The State Project Committee encourages all youth to participate in at least one state project that is associated with LIFE.  The committee would also like to recognize the youth that do participate in these projects. Once a project is completed, please record it on the project report-back sheet found in the tool kit below. These record sheets will need to be submitted to Grace Carter by July 3, 2018. The committee would appreciate if pictures were included in these reports.

The report form can be found in the LIFE Service Project Guide.

Project Achievement

Bronze: Youth who complete 1 service project will receive a bronze certificate of completion.
Silver: Youth who complete 2 service projects will receive a silver certificate of completion.
Gold: Youth who complete 3-4 service projects will receive a gold certificate of completion
and will also receive recognition at 4-H University 2018.
Emerald: Youth who complete 5 or more service projects will receive an emerald certificate
of completion and will also receive recognition at 4-H University 2018.

What are 4-H Standards of Excellence?

4-H Standards of Excellence are tools to help individual members and clubs set and achieve goals and are part of our recognition model.  Recognition is an important part of the 4-H experience; it helps master skills and knowledge by providing feedback on progress towards goals.  Standards of Excellence is one of my favorite ways to recognize youth and clubs.  Here’s how it works:

At the beginning of the 4-H year, youth decide which level of recognition they would like to receive.  The levels are bronze, silver, gold and emerald.  To help youth decide, they should review the Standard of Excellence matrix with their parent or club leader. The matrix outlines what a member needs to do in order to achieve each level of recognition.  For example, if a junior member (ages 8-10) wants to achieve the gold standard, he/she would need to plan to do the following throughout the course of the 4-H year:

  • Attend at least 2/3 of club meetings (or number established by club).
  • Share project experiences by giving a presentation.
  • Attend three different activities
  • Participate in three different activities
  • Participate in three community service activities
  • Participate in four different competitions / exhibitions
  • Complete two project record reports
  • Teach one club level activity
  • Make a poster on “My 4-H Experience” or submit Building My 4-H Portfolio

But wait, that’s not all!  4-H Clubs can also achieve Standards of Excellence.  During the club organizational meeting, members can choose which type of club they want to be (bronze, silver, gold or emerald), and build those requirements into their club plan (most of the items are things that clubs would want to do anyway, so why not be recognized for it?):

  • Bronze club- 12/20 items on the list
  • Silver club- 14/20 items on the list
  • Gold club-16/20 items on the list
  • Emerald club- 18/20 items on the list

Once a member or club establishes their goal, they can submit their plan to their club leader.  Towards the end of the 4-H Year, the member submits their application to their leader, who signs off on it and submits it to their 4-H agent.  Youth are recognized during their County Achievement Night, or Awards Banquet.

Interested in helping?  We need volunteers to serve as project mentors, review/judge awards applications or help plan annual recognition programs.  Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office if you would like to get involved.

 

4-H Family Guide

This article will help you know what to expect at your first club meeting.

Is your family new to 4-H?  Welcome!  We are glad you chose us to help your child reach his/her fullest potential.  Here are a few basics to help you become familiar with 4-H as you begin your journey with us:

  • The 4-H year starts September 1st through August 31st.  Whatever your child’s age is on September 1st is his/her “4-H Age” and determines his/her eligibility for certain programs.
  • There are four age divisions in 4-H (you can find policies for participation based on age here):
    • Cloverbuds (ages 5-7)
    • Juniors (ages 8-10)
    • Intermediates (ages 11-13)
    • Seniors (ages 14-18)
  • Youth can participate in 4-H through a variety of methods (camps, school programs, after school programs, and clubs).  Youth can participate in all or just one of these delivery modes, or types of 4-H memberships.
  • To join a club, you will want to enroll through 4HOnline.  Many counties offer an Open House, or Kickoff night where families can preview the different types of clubs available in their community. Some clubs offer a variety of projects, while other clubs focus on a particular project (like archery or sewing) or a project area (like animal science or leadership).  Some clubs meet all year and others may only meet for six consecutive weeks (SPIN clubs- special interest clubs).  If you are not sure which club is the best fit for your family, schedule an appointment with your local UF IFAS 4-H Extension Agent.

Talk to your local 4-H Agent to decide which club best suits your family.

Preparing for your first club meeting:

  • There is no uniform for 4-H, but some clubs will order shirts for youth to wear when they go on field trips or compete in contests.
  • Clubs typically open with icebreakers, or get to know you games (especially at the beginning of the 4-H year).
  • The club business meeting lasts about 1/4 of the total club meeting and is always opened with the American Pledge and the 4-H Pledge.  Check out this video to learn the 4-H Pledge. During the business meeting, youth will give committee reports, discuss and vote on club business, and announce other 4-H opportunities.  Clubs made up of primarily Cloverbud members do not have elected officers, but encourage members to take turn leading the pledges and helping with the business meetings.
  • The first club meeting is the organizational meeting.  During this meeting, youth will plan the club calendar and elect officers.  If it is a new club, they will also select a name for the club.
  • Once the club calendar is set, about half of the club meeting time will be spent on educational activities.  This may include a guest speaker, field trip, or a hands-on activity to learn about a subject or project area.
  • Every club participates in at least one service project each year, decided on by the club members.
  • The last 1/4 of the meeting is usually spent on recreation- this can be icebreakers or team building activities.  Sometimes, it is just a time to socialize while enjoying light refreshments.

What is the role of the parent?  4-H is a family affair, offering many opportunities where both child and parent participate in common interests.  This not only strengthens the club, but strengthens family ties. When parental support is positive, the club is likely to become stronger, larger, and more active because parent volunteers help broaden the scope and reach of the club.  A few ways parents can support and strengthen the club include:

  • Arriving on time and being prepared (if working project books, make sure your child has theirs)
  • Offering to help with a club meeting or activity
  • Sign up to help with refreshments
  • Offer to share a skill or knowledge that you have by becoming a 4-H project leader

We are glad to have you as a part of our 4-H Family and look forward to getting to know yours!

Why 4-H is a Good Investment

Photo credit: National 4-H Council

September 1st marks the new 4-H year in Florida, and many families are enrolling their kids this week. There are several different ways that youth can participate in 4-H.  The most traditional delivery mode is community clubs, but youth can also participate through their school or afterschool program, military youth center, camp, or even as a short-term special interest member.

Last year, Florida 4-H introduced a membership fee for community club members ages 8-18 of $20.00.  Many parents have asked me, “Why is Florida 4-H charging community clubs?  Many club kids are enrolled in projects where parents have already invested money into animals or equipment (shooting sports, robotics, sewing machines).”  I am one of those parents- my own children are enrolled in the poultry project and would like to advance to a rabbit, pig or steer.  As a parent who has paid the fee, I see it as an investment, and here’s why:

Photo credit: Paula Davis, UF IFAS Bay County

Although every 4-H delivery mode incorporates positive youth development strategies, research shows that the club delivery mode has the greatest benefit to youth.  A few years ago, Tufts University did a groundbreaking study on Positive Youth Development.  They studied youth engaged in a variety of youth programs (including 4-H) and they tracked the youth from 5th grade until graduation.  Florida participated in this study and the results were exciting for 4-H!  You can read the full report here.  Based on this research, compared to youth in other youth programs, youth engaged in 4-H clubs are:

  • Four times more likely to contribute to their communities
  • Two times more likely to be civically active
  • Two times more likely to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities during out-of-school time
  • Two times more likely to make healthier choices
  • 4-H girls are two times more likely to take part in science programs compare to girls in other youth program

So as a parent, I see the club membership fee as an investment.  Twenty dollars is way less than what I pay so that my kids can play soccer for a couple of months each year (and depending on the coach- my kids may or may not learn sportsmanship and teambuilding).  There isn’t anything on the list above that I don’t want for my children.  But these outcomes are all tied to long term involvement with a 4-H club.  Clubs are the most effective delivery mode for positive youth development because they focus on three very important areas:

  • Positive and sustained relationships between youth and adults
  • Activities that build important life skills
  • Opportunities for youth to use these skills as participants and leaders in valued community activities

Photo credit: Julie Dillard, UF IFAS Washington County

So if 4-H sounds like a good investment to you, here’s how to enroll (if you are a member of more than one club, you pay the membership only one time per year):

NEW 4-H Members:

  1. Log onto https://florida.4honline.com
  2. Create a family profile.
  3. Enroll individual youth.
  4. Each youth must have a club and project (select from the drop-down menu).
  5. You will receive an email with a link to pay the Florida 4-H Membership Fee after enrolling.
  6. Pay the Florida 4-H Membership Fee.  If you don’t want to pay online, you can drop off cash, check or money order at your local UF IFAS County Extension Office using this form.
  7. Membership will be set to active after fee is paid. Until
    membership fee is paid, youth cannot attend 4-H club meetings, events or activities.

RETURNING 4-H Members:

  1. Log onto https://florida.4honline.com
  2. Enter your email address and password.
  3. Update contact, medical, club and project information for each member.
  4. Each youth must have a club and project (select from the drop down menu).
  5. You will receive an email with a link to pay the Florida 4-H Membership Fee after enrolling.
  6. Pay the Florida 4-H Membership Fee.  If you don’t want to pay online, you can drop off cash, check or money order at your local UF IFAS County Extension Office using this form.
  7. Membership will be set to active after fee is paid. Until membership fee is paid, youth cannot attend 4-H club meetings, events or activities.

Many counties are planning 4-H kickoffs this time of year, and those events are a great way to learn about the different clubs available in your community.  If the fee is a hardship for your family, contact the 4-H agent for possible scholarships.  For more information about 4-H, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

 

Jean Bodiford McMillian: Florida 4-H Hall of Fame

Ms. Jean Bodiford McMillan was inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame August 2nd. She has helped 5 generations of youth in Gulf County learn leadership and life skills through the 4-H Horse Project.  In 1970, she became the club leader for the Big River Riders 4-H Club.  Mr. Roy Carter, a former Gulf County Extension Director, says “The Big River Riders 4-H Club holds the county record for the longest running 4-H club [in Gulf County] and Jean is one of the strongest leaders we have ever had the pleasure to work with.  She has been the backbone of our horse program and is always willing to help in any capacity.”

In addition to serving at the county level, Mrs. McMillian also serves on the Area A 4-H Horse Advisory Committee.  This committee of volunteers provides direction and leadership for 4-H Horse programs across the Florida Panhandle (Northwest District).  The purpose of the committee is to make sure that 4-H horse events are educational in nature and adhere to the philosophies and goals of 4-H positive youth development.  This committee has the authority and responsibility to manage the direction and resources of the Area A 4-H Horse Program.  Examples of programs include schooling shows, showmanship and judging clinics, camps, and competitive shows.

Ms. Jean Bodiford McMillan being inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame during the 4-H University Awards Banquet in August.

Jean has served on the Area A Horse Committee for over 30 years and has held a variety of positions on the committee.  Through her involvement in the committee, she has watched her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren participate in the Florida 4-H Horse Program.  She is always willing to help with anything that needs to be done from checking bits and helmets to calculating points.  She has chaired the Western and Speed Divisions for a number of years at the district level and also pitches in to help with whatever is needed at the State 4-H Horse Show every July.

Her work in customer service has helped her as a volunteer to resolve conflict and solve problems.  She began her professional career with FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Port St. Joe office) in 1960 in the customer service department and held various jobs over the years.  She is also an active member of the Honeyville United Methodist Church in Honeyville located right outside of Wewahitchka. She retired from the integration and reports department of FairPoint in 2009.

When asked why she has stayed involved with 4-H for so many years, she said:

We have a very good group of Extension directors, agents, volunteers and members within our Area A Horse Program and I am so thankful to be a part of the group in any capacity. I was a 4-H’er growing up, worked as a volunteer for 5 generations over 45 years and there are so many rewarding pleasures when you see the young people do their best and strive to improve in all areas. When all your heart is given and they continue to give more is the greatest reward of all. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this astronomical foundation.” 

Despite retiring from the professional world, she has never retired from her 4-H volunteer work. Her dependability and compassion for youth has earned her the respect and admiration of fellow volunteers as well as Extension faculty.   If you are interested in sharing your knowledge and skills to inspire the next generation, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office to find out more about becoming a volunteer.  We offer a wide variety of roles to fit your interests and schedule.