Select Page
Graduate Spotlight: “Super Sarah,” Jefferson County

Graduate Spotlight: “Super Sarah,” Jefferson County

Picture of female

Sarah Crandall, 4-H Senior

I will never forget the summer of 2007. Sarah Crandall’s mom dropped her off at the 4-H Office for the 4-H Cloverbud Day Camp. I introduced myself and tears begin to roll down her face. She would not say a word, even when you asked her a question. The following year she returned. We noticed she became more talkative and outgoing. We would have never guessed she would develop into a mature, bright, and exuberant young woman.

Youth standing at wall poster

Sarah teaching check writing

Sarah is a proud and energetic member of the Jefferson County 4-H County Teen Council. She was elected president, vice president, and secretary of the Jefferson County 4-H County Council over the course of years. She was the 2019-20 4-H District III Council Secretary and served on the 4-H State Council Executive Board Events Committees.   My observation of Sarah presiding over the club meetings clearly demonstrated that she could run meetings in a productive and orderly fashion using Robert’s Rules of Order. Her leadership skills are impeccable!  She served on the NW Florida 4-H Teen Retreat Planning Committee for the past three years. This year, Sarah was part of the team-teaching trio of the Living On My Own – Real-Life Simulation. Sarah did an exceptional job teaching the check writing portion of the activity.

In 2017, Sarah received the first-place trophy at 4-H University (state level) for her team illustrated talk entitled “Stay Alive Don’t Drink and Drink.” The past four years, Sarah participated in county, district, and state (4-H University) doing various presentations. In her spare time, Sarah loves photography, which inspired her to also participate in the State 4-H Photography Contest.

Since age 13, Sarah has been a camp counselor for all day camps and Cherry Lake overnight camps. Her peers at Camp Cherry Lake twice voted her as the Most Outstanding Camp Counselor. She is a certified 4-H Shotgun Instructor and does a phenomenal teaching shotgun discipline at the Jefferson/Leon Counties Wildlife Day Camp.   

Youth packing toys in a bag

Sarah bags toys for JOY

Volunteerism is a vital component of 4-H and Sarah has proven this.  This young woman has devoted over 400 community service hours. Sarah has also been a loyal citizen in her community by giving her time and efforts, working on community service projects. She helped Jefferson County 4-H put the final touches on the 4-H Nature Trail by clearing brush and installing signs to identify trees.  Sarah has also assisted the council every year with the roadside 4-H Adopt-A-Road project. As part of the service project during camp counselor training, she helped remove debris and landscape the Jefferson County Senior Citizen Center. Sarah also makes her visits to both nursing homes in Jefferson County during the holiday seasons. She helped bagged toys during the holidays for needy youth by participating in the JOY (Jefferson Outreach for Youth) Project.

Youth in hurricane debris cleanup

Sarah helps clean up debris

Sarah Crandall is one of our Hurricane Heroes. When Hurricane Michael caused mass destruction to the Florida Panhandle in 2018, Sarah, along with peers, spent the entire day in Bay County, moving and piling tree limbs, garbage, debris, and other miscellaneous materials.  These diligent teens worked around utility workers, fallen power lines, utility poles, and even worked in the rain until the job was completed.

I asked Sarah, what are you going to miss about 4-H the most? She stated, “I am going to miss being a camp counselor the most. I took a lot of pride in passing on my knowledge to the kids at our camps, much of which I learned when I went to the same camps at their age.” 

Our heart is content knowing that Jefferson County 4-H equipped this young woman with the tools necessary to be successful post-high school. Sarah plans to attend Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Lakewood, Colorado. Jefferson County 4-H takes pleasure in wishing Sarah Crandall much happiness and success in her future endeavors.

4-H teaches essential life skills to youth through hands-on lessons and real world situations through trained volunteers in a safe, positive environment.  If you are interested in becoming a 4-H member or volunteer, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.

Special thanks to John Lilly, UF/IFAS Jefferson County CED & 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.

Graduating Senior: Trent Grimes

Graduating Senior: Trent Grimes

Male youth in cap and gown

Trent Grimes, 4-H Senior

Trent Grimes joined 4-H in 2012 to be able to spend some extra time with his friend, Kyle.  Trent joined the Santa Rosa County 4-H Club, Bockin’ -N- Eggs 4-H when he was 11 years old.  What began as a poultry club quickly became a livestock club focused on community service, so Kyle and Trent had a fascinating first community service project assisting the Panhandle Equine Rescue with a no-cost castration clinic.  On that first community service project day, Trent and his club helped with 28 procedures that day!  There’s a story to tell about that event, for sure, but we will  leave that for another time. From that day on, Trent has had a passion for 4-H and community service.

Trent has been a vital part of many events on the county, district, and state levels.  Trent has even participated in a community service project for youth in foster service in Tennessee for the last three years. When asked about his time in 4-H, Trent replied, “My experience in 4-H has been awesome. I have been able to see places and meet people that I wouldn’t have normally been able to.  I have always enjoyed 4-H University, and I have mowed a lot of grass to be able to go every year!”

Trent is referring to one of the primary skills membership in 4-H has given him.  Trent is a young entrepreneur and has been able to finance many of his statewide 4-H trips by mowing the neighbors’ lawns.  As the years have gone by, Trent has been able to increase his clientele of Grimes Grass, his landscaping company.  Currently, Grimes Grass has 31 clients.

Trent Grimes has always had a heart for service.  He serves with his 4-H club and family to assist with the annual Veteran’s Day Cookout, where together, Santa Rosa County 4-H holds a cookout for 400-500 Veterans and their families.  Trent also serves on the Florida 4-H State Executive Board, where he can help plan multiple statewide events.  His heart of service does not end with 4-H; he serves his senior class at West Florida Baptist Academy as the Senior Class President.  Through 4-H, Trent has learned public speaking skills, communication skills, and excellent organization skills.  After graduation, Trent will continue to pursue more customers for Grimes Grass and build his business.  As any true fan of the University of Florida, he hopes to fulfill his dreams of someday working at a gator farm.

Trent is just one of the many outstanding 4-H members in Santa Rosa County and across the state of Florida that has served his 4-H club and community well.  Where his 4-H journey has brought him over the course of eight years will help him to navigate along the new path for the many years to come, confident with the various essential life skills he has learned along the way.

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.

Special thanks to Prudence Caskey, UF/IFAS Santa Rosa County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.

Graduating Seniors: 4-H Years In The Making

Graduating Seniors: 4-H Years In The Making

We all agree that the last three months have been unusual and, for the most part, the majority of the population has done a great job of handling the challenging situation in the world fairly well, considering.  I say this as I lead into the fact that, as the Holmes County 4-H Agent, I have had the honor of working with many and great youth and families in my career.  And, of those youth and families, they have handled the COVID-19 pandemic well.  Included in these youth are our graduating Senior 4-Hers, who have missed out on quite a few 4-H traditions that typically close an important chapter, their final 4-H year, in their life’s book, only to introduce many new chapters in the coming months.  These graduating senior 4-H members in Holmes County 4-H (and surrounding 4-H counties) have handled this disruption with grace and maturity, which lets me, volunteers, and parents know that they have truly learned and applied the essential life skills taught throughout the many club meetings, workshops, events, and activities along the 4-H journey!

In the closing of their senior 4-H year, three Holmes County 4-H graduating senior 4-Hers share some of their 4-H wisdom with us…

Female youth in blue dress

Issi Teck, graduating 4-H Senior


Isabela “Issi” Teck has been a member of Holmes County 4-H for eight years.  Issi transformed from a young, shy 4-H member into the bright, confident young woman that she has become today as she prepares for college in the fall.  In addition to being a 4-H member, Issi also serves in the role of a teen volunteer and camp counselor.  Issi shared that one of her favorite 4-H memories is when she went to camp for the very first time and her camp counselor was Emily Shelby.  She stated remembering how Emily helped her to feel like she belonged and how much she loved camp and it made her want to come back the next year and become a counselor.  Issi did in fact become a camp counselor every camp year until this year, when COVID-19 occurred.

Issi shared advice for fellow 4-Hers – “Never be afraid to step up and get involved.  You’ll miss out on so much if you wait to try something new.”  And when asked about advice for those not in 4-H, Issi said she wants to tell them, “4-H helps you become someone better because you get out of your comfort zone and you make new memories.”

Male youth in purple suit

Seth Smith, graduating 4-H Senior


Seth has been a 4-H member of the Holmes County 4-H program for nine years, joining as an extremely shy kid.  He grew up in the 4-H program with teen leaders that took him under their wings and groomed him to be a great leader himself, filling local and district 4-H club officer roles for several years, and grooming the next set of 4-H teen leaders.

Seth participated in numerous local, district, and state 4-H events throughout his 4-H involvement, including 4-H University week, which he states was where one of his favorite 4-H memories took place.  He said attending 4-H University week was one of his favorite 4-H experiences because he stayed at the University of Florida dorms for the first time, got to see the Gainesville area, met new 4-H friends and participated in new and different 4-H workshops and activities.  It was an overall 4-H experience he enjoyed very much.

Seth’s take on 4-H is simply join 4-H for those that are not already members.  For those that are 4-H members?  Seth’s advice is plain and simple and 180 degrees from when he started nine years ago –  don’t be bashful, get involved!  He explains that 4-H has volunteers that are good role models that take the time and are dedicated to helping us.

Female youth in blue dress

Kiley Music, graduating 4-H Senior


Kiley Music has been a member of the Holmes County 4-H program for six years.  Kiley, not known to be shy, brought the silly smiles to our club meetings and activities every month!  Thus, it was no surprise when she shared that her favorite memory was having fun playing Marshmallow Paint Wars at Camp Timpoochee and was able to sneak up and tag me, her 4-H Agent, with all the colors of the rainbow, while I was innocently taking pictures, outside the game borders, I might add!  It was a fun day full of sunshine, laughter and good memories.

Kiley’s advice to those friends still in 4-H is to not be afraid to be who you want to be and try something new in 4-H that you have not tried to do before.




4-H agents, peers, volunteers, parents and community partners are proud of these three 4-H seniors and the many more seniors across the state and nation that have fulfilled their 4-H journey as successful youth members.  We look forward to the many accomplishments they will continue to make as young adults in their future endeavors.

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 visit

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Brake

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Brake

Picture of a young woman

Sara Brake, Santa Rosa Volunteer

Sara Brake has been a Santa Rosa County 4-H volunteer for over ten years. She remembers her first experience with 4-H as an eight-year-old, stating, “My mom was a fourth-grade teacher who helped organize the Tropicana Public Speaking program at Jay Elementary. My first 4-H experience was in the summer of 1990 at a summer education program held at the Jay Civic Center; we learned about solar energy.”  All of her energy goes toward the youth in the 4-H program now.

Sara is passionate about summer camp and camping at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville.  She explains, “Camp meant a lot to my family and to me as my grandfather had gone to Camp Timpoochee in the 1930s, and my mom went to Timpoochee in the 1960s.”

She also remembers, “4-H Legislature was my first summer program as a Senior 4-Her.” She devotes much of her time to planning the state-wide event that teaches youth civics in a week-long, hands-on atmosphere in Tallahassee, Florida, each summer.  When asked about her dedication of so much time to 4-H Legislature, she replied, “My favorite thing about Legislature as a volunteer is seeing how excited youth get when a bill they are passionate about goes the way they want.”

Sara Brake gives so much back to the 4-H program because 4-H gave so much to her.  She said, “My 4-H experiences helped me become the person I am. I know there are parents today who cannot take time to take youth to events and programs. I have the flexibility to give time. Helping youth have access to programs that meant so much to me when I was a youth is what keeps me volunteering.”

Santa Rosa County 4-H and youth from across the state of Florida, thank you, Sara Brake, for all of your hard work and dedication to our youth.

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

Volunteer Leadership Academy: Awards & Recognition

Volunteer Leadership Academy: Awards & Recognition

April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy on April 16, 2020 was on the importance of awards and recognition. We learned that recognition is important feedback that every individual needs as it helps to give a sense of belonging when a task or achievement occurs.  Recognition builds self-esteem and allows for self-reflection and personal growth.

In 4-H, youth members, volunteers, parents, and community partners all want to know that they have been successful in their participation and/or contribution to the program and that they belong in 4-H.   All members need to experience recognition for their efforts and that recognition is more meaningful when it occurs soon after it is earned.  April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy webinar explained that the National 4-H recognition model is based on five areas for recognition:  participation, progress toward goals, standards of excellence, competition and cooperation.  It also shared helpful tips on creative, low cost ways of recognition that will still send a meaningful message of value and importance to members in the program.


Green flyer with white text explaining the Virtual Volunteer Leadership AcademyRegistration Information

If you were unable to join us for April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy, it is not too late to register for future webinar sessions.  And, as a registered participant, you will have access to all of the sessions available, including missed sessions, which can be viewed on demand.

Registration is required and can be found at  Once registered, you can join each session live through Zoom.  In addition, if you are unable to connect live, all monthly webinars will be available to you on demand as they are recorded.  Register early – seats are limited to the first 100 registrants.

Future 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy Webinars

  • May – Club Tools for Online Use
  • September*- Judging Contests
  • October*- Preparing for Exhibits & Shows
  • November* – Club Organization Basics

*Fall session registration will be available July 1, 2020.

Webinar Viewing Information

Join each live session simply with one click from your phone, tablet or computer, using the Zoom app.  Once you have registered, you will receive email communication regarding the Zoom session links, dates and times.

4-H is one of the largest youth development programs in America with more than 6.5 million young people, ages 5-18, and 540,000 youth and adult volunteers.  A variety of fun, educational, engaging activities are offered to teach the fundamental 4-H ideal of practical, “learn by doing” experiences which encourages youth to experiment, innovate and think independently.  For information on how you can get involved with 4-H as a youth, volunteer, or supporter, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county.