Gadsden County 4-H youth on campus for 4-H University. 4-HU is the premier youth leadership development event of Florida 4-H.
Leaders – Born or Made?
Many of us have heard the saying, “oh, that young man or woman is such a natural born leader.” But are leaders born that way, or do they develop into leaders? These Gadsden County delegates took advantage of 4-H University this summer – an awesome Florida 4-H state event designed to grow leadership skills. Many of them have also served as volunteer 4-H camp counselors during the summer. They understand that leaders are developed and not born.
What Defines a Leader?
Sometimes people confuse charisma with leadership abilities. Charisma is a special magnetic charm or appeal (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Many of our local to national leaders have some level of charisma. In addition to charisma, leaders should have the more important skills such as communication, problem solving, critical thinking, managing, and self-awareness. There are many definitions for leadership because there is no universal definition. Leadership involves a process while a leader is the one who carries out the process.
How Does 4-H Unlock Your Leadership Potential?
One of my favorite teaching tools used to develop my Gadsden County 4-H leaders is the “Unlock Your Leadership Potential” by UF/IFAS Extension. It has influenced how I would define a leader. The overall goal of a good leader is to move the group or organization toward its goals while building a sense of togetherness and well-being.
Florida 4-H grows leaders at the club, county, district, and state levels by creating safe and nurturing environments and providing quality experiences. Knowledge and skills are great, but being able to apply them through experience is what fortifies and matures youth as well as increases their confidence. The 4-H slogan, “Learn by Doing”, is why the 4-H Experiential model is important to UF/IFAS-Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. The more active the youth and the duration of a their engagements in 4-H positive youth development the greater the benefits not just for them but also their communities (2013, National 4-H Council). It takes a whole team of Extension professionals, staff, 4-H Seniors, and volunteers to make the “magic” happen.
Call to Action:
- Begin the journey as a youth or volunteer: http://florida4h.org/getinvolved/
- Engage in local and state 4-H programs: http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/
- Give to Florida 4-H: https://www.uff.ufl.edu/give-now/?fund_id=003603
- Read and share the other great blogs by my colleagues here: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/4hn/
- Join the “30 Days of Doing” 4-H Movement: https://4-h.org/inspire-kids-to-do/
References and Further Reading:
I recently the privilege to attend a national training conducted by Washington State University called Navigating Differences. The goal of the program was to help people become culturally competent. No magic pill exists to make us instantly culturally competent. We have to be willing to engage in and grow through the process. According to a policy brief from the National Educator’s Association, “when applied to education, cultural competence centers on the skills and knowledge to effectively serve students from diverse cultures.”
When most people hear or read the word diversity, they automatically think of the race and gender. Some may think of social economic status or religion. The Ohio State University Extension defines diversity as “the differences among people with respect to age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practices, and other human differences” (https://hr.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/diversity/DR_Sec1_Guide06.pdf), which is also the same definition used by the Washington State Extension’s Navigating Differences curriculum.
The training challenged me in my thinking in many ways. One of my “aha” moments came when it was shared that there are more differences within a cultural group than between groups. Do you question this statement? If so, here is your first challenge: Look up the Diversity Wheel. What is a diversity wheel? It is the dimensions that make us, well, us. You will discover there are somethings that are core to you and permanent – located at the center of the wheel. All other dimensions, which develop over a lifetime, are found on the outer rings of the wheel.
credit: Oregon State University
The next phase of your challenge is to look at your group (family, organization, or ethnic group) and examine factors including the following: age, gender, income, physical capacity, health status, beliefs, meal practices, size, height, educational background and hobbies.
These are just a few areas, but you will discover more after you look up a diversity wheel model.
Why should we examine diversity?
Working with people, whether in a personal or professional setting, is complex. The better your understanding of yourself and others is, the more productive your interactions will be. Remember, we are unique and come from different experiences that we bring that to the table with us.
For additional reading, visit the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source:
Here are links to a few other Diversity Wheel models:
Green and white are the colors of 4-H but what else can you think of that is green and white? Money! So, how does 4-H livestock projects teach financial management for the youth who participate in these programs? I am so glad you ask. We will take a journey into the 4-H Livestock world where I will show you the $$$ and how youth learn financial management.
There are several ways for 4-H Livestock youth to earn money with their projects:
- One of the most common ways is through livestock market and showmanship events. Youth can earn money base on how the animal is judges as well as how well the displayed/showed their animals.
- Another common way is through participating in terminal shows in which the animal is sold during the event.
- Youth can breed their animals and sell their offspring, or they can sell products their animal produces such as wool or eggs.
- Youth can also earn premium money by submitting their project record books to be judged and by participating in livestock judging events.
Now that I have tackled how 4-H Livestock youth can earn money through their projects let look at money management. The 4-H Livestock project record books have sections to record expenditures as well as income. Youth learn if the project was profitable or not. As youth review expenditures, they have an opportunity to make decision such as if blank high-end feed is really worth the money or does a less expensive feed provides the same benefits. As most youth mature, their understanding of managing money in relationship to their project improves. They can carry that knowledge gained from their livestock project over to other areas of their lives. Project record book workshops assist youth in completing their project record book especially the financial portion. At times, these workshops have been eye openers for parents.
Many of my 4-H youth shared in their project stories how they were required to invest back into their project by purchasing their show animal for the next year. I have also read how many of my 4-H youth, set higher goals for the profits from their projects such as buying a car or saving for college. Here is a great example of how one 4-Her used her livestock project to save enough money to purchase a house!
Now that I have shown the money in 4-H Livestock project, you may be interested in learning more about the animal science projects offered through Florida 4-H. If you are interested in helping youth learn how to manage their money through their livestock project, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. We offer a wide variety of volunteer roles to fit your interests, skills and schedule. Learn more at http://florida4h.org or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.
For more information about 4-H livestock projects, visit these links:
Over 70 teens from across the panhandle participated in last year’s retreat, sponsored by Farm Credit of NW FL.
Interested in meeting other 4-H teens across the district? Do you love camp? Would you like to be more prepared for state events like 4-H Legislature or 4-H U? What about scholarships for college? If any of these questions caught your attention, then Teen Retreat is tailor made for you! Last year, a committee of youth and adults put together a weekend event to help teens grow their leadership, communication and workforce skills. With lots of positive feedback from last year’s participants, we are planning another event for 2017.
WHO: Teens ages 13-18 in the Northwest District of Florida (4-H Districts I, II & III)
WHAT: A fun weekend retreat with your peers
WHEN: February 24-26, 2017
WHERE: Camp Timpoochee, Niceville, FL
HOW: Workshops and fun shops will be planned and taught by youth committee members. Everyone will also participate in a service project. Participants will be expected to bring what they learn back to their county council and organize a similar service project April 28-30.
Youth participated in a Shoe Cutting Party to help Sole Hope, and organization that provides shoes to children in Africa. We were able to send nearly 200 pairs of shoes!
Registration will open Friday, December 9th via 4HOnline. The cost is only $75/person thanks to corporate donations from State Farm and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida. Participate in our Teen Retreat T-shirt Design Contest and you could win a $50.00 scholarship for this event! Check with your local UF IFAS Extension Office to inquire about any additional scholarships that may be available. Once you complete your registration online, submit your payment to your local UF IFAS Extension Office.
My original tree, using paper leaves.
Have you ever heard the saying, “take time to stop and smell the roses?” With the hustle and bustle of daily life, this can be easier said than done! However, according to several studies, being intentional about gratitude can benefit you both physically and mentally. A Gratefulness Tree is a fun and creative way to help you be more intentional about the what you are grateful for.
I learned this project many years ago and I keep the first rendition (pictured on the right) which was really simplistic in my office as a constant visual reminder to count my blessings. The four H’s of 4-H, Head, Heart, Hands, and Health, are incorporated into this project, so consider this for a future 4-H club meeting activity as well!
These are the supplies you will need to create your tree.
Items needed for this project: Small branch(es) with leaves removed, vessel of choice, foam, sand, or soil to stabilize branches, pebbles for additional weight and stability, needle and thread to hang the leaves, leaf pattern and colorful paper, or purchased leaves. You will also need a gel pen or superfine marker to write on leaves, rubber bands, tape, and decorative seasonal napkins or florists’ moss to the base of the tree.
Even though this DIY project is presented in the month of November, this project can be done at any time during the year. On Thanksgiving Day or any designated day, have each family/club member and guest take a leaf off of the tree to read out loud.
Use tissue paper or florists’ foam to secure the branched in your decorative container.
The comings and goings of our daily lives can consume us at times. It can become easy to focus on the negatives or challenges we face because they cause of some sort of discomfort and forget to think of those things or people that bring joy and comfort to our lives. I hope this intentional project on gratefulness helps us all to “smell the roses” more often.
What do some of my leaves say? Well, here are a few examples of the things I am grateful for; food, good friends, willingness to forgive, sight, faith, family, and shelter. I will display the newest tree (pictured on the left) in my home and just like my first one it will gain more leaves over time.
Use a gel pen to write what you are thankful for on each leaf
Use decorative napkins, fabric, or even florists’ moss to cover the base of the tree.
This is what your Gratefulness Tree will look like when you are done.