Photo credit UF/IFAS Washington County
Black Friday is only a week away, but you can get one gift taken care of TODAY!
Making my list…checking it twice…adding 4-H Camp for a kid who’s been nice!
This holiday season, parents and grandparents get swamped with requests for the newest toys or gadgets. Does it drive you crazy? So, I have a suggestion for you. Give the gift of 4-H Camp this year.
Life skills to last a lifetime
I began attending 4-H summer camp when I was eight. As a new and eager 4-H member, I learned so many life skills I still use to this day – like making my bed, cleaning up after myself, helping others, learning to be an independent thinker and most of all, leadership. At the age of eight, I was a leader! I was only leading myself, but I was responsible for myself. As I grew in the 4-H program, I became a camp counselor leading other youth. 4-H camp taught me so many wonderful skills as a child, and I only thought I was having fun!
Fun, adventure (and education, too)
When a child attends 4-H summer camp, their week is full of fun and adventure. Youth will learn to kayak, dance and even shoot a bow! Many of our youth experience new and exciting adventures like learning how to build a fire and even what “Ga-Ga Ball” is all about. In addition to all the “fun” stuff, 4-H camp teaches life skills, like how to get along with others, independence and leadership. If you have a teen in your family, 4-H camp provides leadership experiences that can help them with college scholarships and applications.
4-H Camp keeps on giving
We’ve all seen Christmas gifts go unused shortly after they are taken out of the box. The gift of 4-H camp will not go unused and will keep giving every year as your child, grandchild, niece or nephew grows in the 4-H program. Contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office and find out how to register the child on your list for 4-H Camp today.
Through 4-H, Victoria is able to share her skills and passions to help young people grow workforce and life skills.
Victoria Ballard came to Santa Rosa County 4-H in 2011 from Texas. Her family has been involved in 4-H since her oldest daughter turned eight. As a military spouse, Victoria has seen 4-H in two states. Prudence Caskey, the Santa Rosa County 4-H Extension Agent, has worked closely with Victoria and the two clubs that she leads. These clubs have completed projects on Marine Science, Wildlife, Horseless Horse, Robotics, and Veterinary Science; in addition to supporting a wide variety of individual projects such as poultry, photography, leadership, community service, and many more. To say that Victoria is vital to the success of the 4-H clubs that she leads would be an understatement. But the true success of the clubs comes from the dedication of the youth leaders that volunteer to serve as club officers and run the meetings and present program. The youth, ages 8-17, work together to decide their projects and activities, and learn what it takes to run an official meeting and be a leader in the community.
Victoria worked diligently to establish a summer horse day camp program. Creating the schedule, designing activities and obtaining volunteers was all part of the process, and she handled every aspect of the program. “When you find a volunteer’s passion, then you can just let them take the reins, so to speak”, says Prudence Caskey, 4-H Extension Agent. “She has a passion for horses and youth and so it was such a natural fit!”
When asked what she enjoys most about being a 4-H volunteer, Victoria says, “I really enjoy teaching kids about technology and animals that otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to those topics.” Prudence Caskey said, “We would not have been able to implement nor offer several programs if not for the tenacity and dedication of Victoria.”
Do you have knowledge and skills that you would like to share with young people? Consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. 4-H is in every county, in every state, and several countries, so it a perfect opportunity for military families especially. 4-H offers a wide variety of roles to fit any schedule. To find out more, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.
The term “Backyard Chickens” is one many people use today. The idea of having a pet help you make breakfast is growing in popularity. I am often questioned as to which breed of chicken is the best breed. When asked, I always reply, “What do you want the chicken to do?” The reason I ask is because The American Poultry Association recognizes 65 different breeds of chickens. Each breed can meet a different need. Many people will blurt out, “I want eggs!” Well, do you care what color eggs? Do you care how often you get eggs? Does the size of the egg matter? Each breed is different and there are pros and cons to each breed. Some of the more popular breeds that you can find at your local feed store during upcoming “Chick Days” are described below:
- Rhode Island Red: This is a breed that is a large-bodied bird that lays a large to extra-large brown egg. These hens are very personable and can have a great personality. This breed can become a pet in no time.
- White Leghorn: This particular bird will lay a large white egg on a very regular basis. The Leghorn is not friendly and is often referred to as “flighty”. Leghorns will not, as a general rule, become pets. They will lay you an egg almost daily, but will run from you when it’s time to collect those eggs.
- (Buff) Orpington: Usually sold in the color buff, additionally available in other colors. This is a large-bodied friendly bird. Orpingtons can become fast friends and will serve as a dual-purpose member of your flock. This means that they are great egg layers, and will also serve as a good meat bird if the desire or need arises.
- Sex-link varieties: With this breed, you will not get a breed, but they have great production. Sometimes called Red Star, or Black Star, the chicks show a difference when day old chicks. It will be easy to determine between the two. If chicks are not your thing, you can always purchase young hens that are just starting to lay.
Many people are not ready to wait five to six months to get their beloved eggs from their new pets. If that is the case, you can always check with your local extension office to inquire if a local 4-H member might have some young hens for sale. On September 30th, 4-H members from across the panhandle will have a “Chick Chain” show and Auction. Save the date and get the best breed for you!
If you have children between the ages of 5-18 (as of September 1st, 2016) and you are interested in starting a backyard flock, you may want to sign up for the 4-H Chick Chain. This program teaches youth how to raise, care for, and show chickens. Registration is open February 1st-24th via 4HOnline. Youth will receive 12, day-old pullets on March 29th. Throughout the spring and summer, youth will learn the ins and outs of poultry farming, and how to market their eggs and hens for profit. They will keep business and health records, learn about bio-security, and gain poise, confidence, and communication skills while showing their hens in the fall. For more information, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or read about last year’s program.
4-H Poultry Project
4-H Embryology Project
4-H Chick Chain
Care of Baby Chicks
Factors Affecting Egg Production in Backyard Chicken Flocks
Intestinal Parasites in Backyard Chicken Flocks
Prevention and Control of Fowl Pox in Backyard Chicken Flocks
Small Flock Poultry Nutrition
Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks
Kyle working the air traffic control booth at the National Flight Academy. Photo Credit: Prudence Caskey
4-H has joined forces with the National Flight academy to bring a unique and exciting aviation camp to our 4-Hers. The National Flight Academy builds heart-pumping, adrenaline-filled story line, which brings life to a mission as if the students are in a real-world scenario. Students apply these skills by flying the high-performance X-12 Triad, the National Flight Academy’s experimental aircraft, offering them hands-on comprehension of the principles of flight thrust, hovering and target drops. Our 3-day cruise will be held on President’s Day Weekend, February 18th – February 20th 2017. The event is open to 4-Hers across the Southeast and costs $375 per student which includes rooming, food, and a lot of fun and learning! This would be an awesome holiday or birthday gift for any special youth in your life.
Participation in the event can also help young people develop both life and workforce skills- not to mention academic achievement. Kyle Caskey, a Santa Rosa County 4-Her, attended a week-long cruise last summer and shared:
“Before I went to the National Flight Academy (NFA), I was really intimidated by math. I love science, but just didn’t get the math. At NFA, I was able to use math and see why it works. I brought my grade up to an A! Oh yeah, the food is really good too!”
Click Here for registration instructions: 4hregistrationletter-for-nfa. You must be registered before January 28th, 2017.
The National Flight Academy is located on the NAS base at 1 Fetterman Way, NAS Pensacola, FL 32508. See more about the academy at http://www.nationalflightacademy.com.
If you have an interest in science, engineering, math, and/or technology (STEM), consider becoming a 4-H volunteer so that you can share your passion to spark the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org for more information.
The New Year is a great time to make a fresh start to live a happier, more balanced life.
Happy New Year! This month, our blog will be focusing on tips and ideas for making a fresh start. Do you have a New Year’s Resolution yet? If so, how do you plan to make sure you will achieve your goal? How can you assure yourself it is not simply a wish you will wish every January, simply to forget by February? There is a huge difference between a goal and a wish. Which category your New Year’s Resolution falls into, depends on you. Here are three tips to make this year’s goals stick:
- Tell someone! To tell someone about your goal gives them the permission to ask about your goal. This is called an accountability partner. Usually, a workout partner will help with getting you to go to the gym or workout. Maybe fitness is not your goal, it could be you strive to have a closer relationship with God. You could give a friend permission to call you if you don’t show up to church on Sunday. Perhaps your goal is to further your education so you can apply for a promotion or a new job. Tell a friend, and ask them to check in with you from time to time regarding your progress.
- Believe it! The best way to achieve a goal is to believe it is possible. If your goal is to get back to school, sit down and figure out when you will graduate. Mark it on a calendar, believe it will happen and achieve the goal, whatever it is.
- Start it! You can only get there if you take the first step! Let’s say you want to get back to school, call the admissions office on Monday and see what is needed to start the process. As the 4-H Extension Agent, I have assisted many young people with college applications and the financial aid maze. It can take time to get everything together to g0 to college. Don’t expect to start classes right away, but don’t let delays stop you. You can start classes later in the year.
What do you do should you get off track? Start again! If you did not meet your goal, or haven’t reached your goal yet, keep working on it. I started a “Read the Bible in a Year” plan three years ago; I plan to continue the plan and finish in 2016! Be positive with yourself and if you do not complete your goal, continue to work toward it in 2017.
Prudence Caskey is the Santa Rosa County 4-H Extension Agent. She works with youth ages 5-18 to develop life skills. She can be reached at email@example.com or by calling the Santa Rosa County Extension office at (850) 623-3868.