The goal of 4-H is to teach youth essential life skills. In so doing, we find that we also equip them with marketable skills, a sense of belonging, and a sense of self-worth, each of which makes them more apt to be successful. However, besides the most obvious benefit that your volunteer services are to your local youth and community, there are benefits for you personally as well. In fact, studies indicate that individuals who volunteer experience greater health benefits such as an increase in social skills, an expanded social calendar and even a decline in depression.
A teen volunteer helps a Cloverbud member during a summer workshop
Another thing to consider is that by volunteering with 4-H you will have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of children. This more than likely will trigger a sense of commitment, pride, and accomplishment in you which leads to a more positive self-image. The more positive your self-image, the more likely you are to set and accomplish positive personal goals, thus feeling a sense of accomplishment which creates a continuous circle of self-worth and confidence.
One of the most undervalued benefits of volunteering with 4-H is the time spent practicing the very life skills you are teaching through 4-H programming like communication, teamwork, and program planning. As you work with your youth to help them develop these life skills, you too are strengthening them in yourself. When they combine their increased life skills with taking part in the wide variety of training opportunities presented through 4-H, some volunteers may open new doors for employment based on the skills they have learned and developed.
In today’s time when families are busier than ever and time seems limited, having a positive adult role model can truly influence the path of youth. Volunteering with a 4-H program allows these positive impacts to occur. If you are already a 4-H volunteer, take pride in your contributions and reap the joy and benefits associated with such. If you are not currently a volunteer, the great news is that you do not have to look far to find a perfect match for your volunteer services…the Florida 4-H program welcomes you, and area 4-H Agents are eager to help you get started!
Now is the perfect time to start your path to volunteering and making a difference! The new 4-H year begins September 1, 2019 and all counties across the state of Florida are in need of positive adults to serve in the role of volunteer. Whether you are interested in working directly with youth to lead a 4-H club or would like to assist behind the scenes in preparing others to facilitate outstanding 4-H programming, Florida 4-H needs dedicated individuals to carry out its mission.
So, go ahead. Reap the benefits of volunteering! Join the 4-H family today. The process to become a volunteer is relatively simple: visit http://florida4h.org to apply online or stop in to your local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet with your 4-H Extension Agent for assistance.
Street view of Hurricane Michael damage. Photo by Melanie Taylor.
Do you enjoy building structures and figuring out problems? If so, the 2019 STEM Day Camp is for you. The day camp theme is Building for Hurricanes: Engineering Design Challenge. The day camp will be held July 22-24 at the Jackson County Extension Office, 2741 Penn Ave. Suite 3, Marianna, FL 32448 from 9am CT – 2pm CT. The cost is $30; space is limited. Pre-registration is required at https://florida.4honline.com/.
In order to prepare for the day camp final competition, teams will become familiar with engineering, hurricane damage and natural disasters. In the engineering design challenge, students build a tower to resist a simulated hurricane.
Jefferson Co 4-Hers and volunteers helping clean up after Hurricane Michael. Photo by Paula Davis.
- The curriculum guide being used to teach the day camp includes, background information, examples and sample activities to help prepare the teams for the final competition.
- Teams will demonstrate their hurricane ready structure for the judges and audience, and then give reasons. They must plan and build a tower as tall as possible that will hold up a tennis ball while resisting the force of wind from a fan. For an extra challenge, a spray bottle will be used to simulate rain. After the towers are built, the group comes together to test them. Adults will not be able to assist members with the design.
- All tools and supplies will be provided.
After the day camp, you can continue this challenge and further expand your engineering skills at the North Florida Fair STEM judging event on 4-H Day at the Fair, November 16, 2019.
If you would like to learn more about this 4-H STEM Day Camp, 4-H Day at the Fair, additional 4-H day camps and programs in your local area, or how to get involved as a 4-H volunteer, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Collecting and pinning insects are just some of the fun things we will be doing at entomology camp.
We’re revving up for the NW 4-H District Exciting World of Insects Day Camp set for July16-18. At this camp, youth from counties across the district will come together to learn everything from what an insect is, to insect parts and orders, and how to collect and pin insects, and create insect art.
This camp is a great springboard to competitions and events later in the year. By participating in this day camp:
- Participants will leave the camp with all of the supplies they need to continue collecting and pinning insects on their own
- Collections and art projects can be entered in local fairs and in the state 4-H contests
- Participants will also be ready to compete in the state 4-H Insectathon insect ID, skillathon, and quiz bowl contests and in county and district demonstration contests
Stay tuned to our Facebook page for pictures and follow-up from camp. If you’d like to learn more about 4-H day camps in your area, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Top L-R: Jessie, Katelyn, Olivia
Middle L-R: Mason, Clair, Matt
Bottom L-R: Hailee, Miles
For campers, getting to know their camp staff is beyond just learning names and faces. It is an important aspect of belonging, one of 4-H’s essential elements included in every facet of our program. So, when camp time rolls around each year, Ms. Ariel, our fabulous Resident Camp Director at 4-H Camp Timpoochee, responds to our call for a little early information on the latest and greatest members to join the team, the 4-H Camp Timpoochee Camp Staff. Without further delay, allow us to introduce our trained camp team for Summer 2019:
Meet Mason, a 2nd year camp staff member and student majoring in Recreation, Tourism and Events, from Cottondale, FL. His favorite camp activity is Marshmallow Paint War, favorite camp song is “5 Little Muffins,” and favorite canteen items are water and Twix bars. Something interesting about Mason that we just learned is that he once spent 13 days in South Africa. He shared that, because of camp, he understands that a small act of kindness can go a long way.
Jessie’s hometown is Chipley, FL and is also a 2nd year camp staff member. She is majoring in Natural Science. Her camp heart song is “Down by the Bay,” her favorite camp activity is sitting outside during free recreation and hanging out with the campers. Her favorite canteen snack at camp is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a little fact about Jessie is that she can eat twelve chocolate chip cookies at one time! She shared that because of camp, she is allowed to meet new people and create memories and adventures not only for herself but for others as well.
Hailee hails from Stuart, FL and she joins the camp staff for the first time this year. She is a Marine Biology student so her favorite song is “Just Keep Swimming” of course! Her favorite camp activity is Smores and her canteen snack of choice is a Snickers bar. An interesting fact about Hailee is that she collects snow globes and pressed pennies from all over the world. Because of camp, Hailee says she can help create memories that her campers, fellow staff, and she will never forget.
Katelyn, originally grew up in Middleton, NH but now calls DeFuniak Springs, FL home. She is also a 1st year camp staff member and is studying Microbiology. Her favorite camp song is “You’re Momma Don’t Wear No Socks” and she loves to kayak and then snack on Skittles and Sprite during canteen. She shared that she once lived in Alaska for a period of time. Katelyn said that, because of camp, she gets to work with awesome youth and staff for the summer.
Matthew joins us from Pensacola, FL as a 2nd year camp staff member studying Mass Communication with a focus on advertising and a minor in psychology. His favorite camp song is “Bomdalele,” his favorite camp activity is movie night, and his canteen snack of choice is a Kit Kat with a Dr. Pepper. An interesting fact about Matthew is that he has 10 siblings and 49 first cousins! Because of camp, Matthew says he gets to make other people as happy as he possibly can.
Miles, a Chemistry major, is also from the west coast, Santa Rosa, CA, and this is his 2nd year as a camp staff. His favorite camp song is “Down to the Swamp,” and he enjoys a Pepsi and a Crunch bar after his favorite camp activity, going out on the boat. Something interesting about Miles is that he rides a motorcycle. He shares that because of camp, he is responsible.
Clair is a Marine Science major and 1st year camp staff from Archer, FL. Her favorite camp song is “The Princess Pat,” her favorite camp activity is campfire time, and she loves to eat Kit Kats during canteen. Something unique about Clair is that she built herself a wooden kayak once. Because of camp, she shares that she gets to teach others about her passion, the ocean.
Olivia is from Grand Ridge, FL, also a 1st year staff member, and is majoring in Business. Her favorite song is, “I’m a Little Coconut,” her favorite activity is Marshmallow Paint War, and she snags Cheese-Its during canteen. In her spare time, she loves to travel. Olivia shares that, because of camp, she gets to meet many new people and play a small role in the campers’ lives, helping them have an amazing week at summer camp.
Thank you again to Ms. Ariel and her camp team for taking the time to share with us before we kick off the 4-H Camp Timpoochee summer residential camping season. If you’d like to learn more about 4-H Camp and how you can send your child to 4-H camp for a week of fun-filled camp traditions, life-long memories, and long-term friendships, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Have you ever had one of those kids in your life that just towered over you? You know, the kid in your 4-H club, the student in your classroom, or maybe your next door neighbor’s child that just grew every year and made you feel like you were not eating your Wheaties enough. He would be the one that, if you had to have a talk with him, you have to stand on a chair with your tip toes to look eye level, yet he would be just as mild mannered as a teddy bear. He is the youth whose laugh is contagious and his presence fills the entire room. Well, Holmes County 4-H has one of those gentle giants in our midst, Jamin Marks, and I assure you, he is going to be missed in our 4-H family!
Jamin Marks, Holmes County 4-H Member and graduating Senior.
Recently, I went to a local K-8 grade school to recruit new campers for our 4-H Camp Timpoochee summer camping program. While speaking to some students, they initially acted like they might be “too cool” for summer camp. I realized I needed to change my approach of introducing 4-H summer camp to this audience so I stopped mid-sentence into my introduction and simply asked them who knew Jamin Marks, the graduating senior football player from our community. Almost all of the student body raised their hands and I heard quite a few kids throwing out comments such as “he is so cool,” and “Jamin’s my man.” I then asked how many knew that Jamin was a 4-Her and has been to 4-H Camp Timpoochee almost every year since he was 8 years old. Some hands went down, then gasps, and then a rumble started to occur. Finally, I told the group that this was Jamin’s last year at camp and then asked who wanted to sign up for 4-H Camp Timpoochee this year. Every hand in the room shot straight to the ceiling! I knew this was the way to reach my audience because I knew that Jamin has been such a profound impact in the community for many of these younger kids without him even realizing it. That is Jamin, our gentle giant with a giant impact that has made a lasting impression for years to come.
Jamin as a camper in 2014.
Jamin began his 4-H journey by participating in 4-H summer camp at Camp Timpoochee as a camper. Then, in the summer of 2016, Jamin excelled in the role of counselor. He used his gentle gift of humor to ease the fears of new campers, create a sense of belonging, and lighten the mood if tensions were high after a long day of fun and sun. In addition, Jamin began using his leadership skills to help his peers understand the effects of bullying. It did not take long for Jamin to become one of the most requested counselors at summer camp every year. That is our Jamin, our gentle giant, creating a safe environment for every child to feel included.
Jamin believes that being involved in Holmes County 4-H is like being part of a big family and his reference to me as “Mama Niki” tells me where I rate in his circle. His expression of gratitude to all of the 4-H volunteers for their support over the years generates a huge thanks and expressive hug. And, as we conclude the interview for my blog, Jamin can’t help himself. He ends it with, “Mama Niki, you know I am going to become a 4-H volunteer, so I can come back to camp every year and help you with your campers.” I just end the conversation with a huge smile. That is our Jamin, always our gentle giant.
To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office, or follow us on Facebook.