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Register Now for State Marine Camp!

Register Now for State Marine Camp!

by Laura Tiu | Jan 10, 2020 | Laura is a UF/IFAS Sea Grant Agent in Okaloosa and Walton Counties in the Panhandle of Florida

Discovery in the bay is one of the highlights of Marine Camp.

Are you interested in learning about marine life, going fishing, or exploring the underwater world with a mask and snorkel? If so, Marine Camp is the camp for you! This opportunity for budding marine scientists will be happening this summer at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville, FL.   Marine camp enables participants to explore the marine and aquatic ecosystems of Northwest Florida; especially that of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Campers get to experience Florida’s marine environment through fishing, boating snorkeling, games, STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) activities and other outdoor adventures. University of Florida Sea Grant Marine Agents and State 4-H Staff partner to provide hands-on activities exploring and understanding the coastal environment.

If Marine Camp sounds interesting to you or someone you know, visit the Camp Timpoochee website at for the 2020 dates and registration instructions. The camps fill up quickly, so early registration is encouraged. Marine Camp is open to 4-H members and non 4-H members between the ages of 8-12 (Junior Camp) and ages 13-17 (Senior Camp). In the summer of 2020, there will be the following Marine Camps:

2020 Marine Camps:

  • Senior Camp – June 22-26
  • Junior Camp – July 13-17
  • Junior Camp – July 20-24

The cost for Senior Camp is $350 for the week and $300 for Junior Camp. A daily snack from the canteen and a summer camp T-shirt are included in the camp fees, along with three nutritious meals per day prepared on site by our certified food safety staff. All cabins are air-conditioned. So many surprises await at Marine Camp, come join the fun!

Valentine’s Day
Marine-Themed Craft 

Just in time for Valentine’s day, this site has some free, printable, marine-themed Valentines!

For more information on the 2020 State Marine Camps, your county’s residential summer camp, or other 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit

This article was adapted from Laura’s original post to the Panhandle Outdoors website.  To read the original article click here:

What Exactly is FL 4-H State Executive Board?

What Exactly is FL 4-H State Executive Board?

Youth headshots in a circle

Executive Board members putting their heads together to make the best better!

4-H Agents and long-term 4-H members are often asked, “What exactly is Florida 4-H State Executive Board?”  So what better way to get the best clarification than to get it straight from the source.  I turned to Shelby Sumner, our Florida 4-H State Council Reporter, to give us the best inside scoop…Here is Shelby’s reply:

Executive Board is a committee composed of 4 delegates from each of the 13 4-H Districts, as well as up to 30 Executive Board appointees, and the 8 Florida 4-H State Officers. The Executive Board members meet 3 times each year to work together to plan state events, and to work in their respective standing committees.



The standing committees include Entertainment, Communications and Council Support, State Project, and Ways and Means. Entertainment works to provide entertaining activities at the State Executive Board meetings; Communications and Council Support assists with the promoting of different State 4-H events and opportunities available; State Project plans and implements a statewide community service project; Ways and Means is responsible for fundraising for the Florida 4-H State Council.



Similar to the standing committees, there are 4 event committees on Executive Board as well. These include 4-H Legislature, 4-H University, Day at the Capital, and Intermediate State. Executive Board members play a vital role in the planning and implementation of these state events by providing input into our state events during their working committee meetings at Executive Board Weekends, and helping throughout the course of the event itself.


Youth at Executive Board weekend

Executive Board Weekend


While the work that Executive Board members put in throughout the year is obviously an important component of Executive Board, it does not encompass what I believe to be the best part: the second family that it gives you. Laura Manzueta, a Miami-Dade County Executive Board Member, described what Executive Board means to her, stating, “To me, Executive Board means a family of youth that are responsible, care about the community, and are going to change the world.”




Members at Executive Board working together to plan great things.


Additionally, Executive Board gives youth life-changing experiences and connections that help them to grow as individuals. “Executive Board has shown me that surrounding yourself with people you look up to, helps to make you a better person.”-Daylyn Hutchinson, St. Lucie County Executive Board Member.




Third Executive Board provides an opportunity for non-Executive Board members (4-H ages 14-18) to get a feel for what Executive Board is like, by taking part in activities such as the State Project activity, and they have chances to observe standing and event committee meetings.  Third Executive Board will be held at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake in Madison, FL, on April 3-5, 2020. The cost for non-Executive Board Members is $120, and $115 for Executive Board Members. Registration for this event opens on 4-H Online on March 9, 2019 and closes March 27, 2019.

Between the various learning and leadership opportunities, and the chances of meeting new best friends, becoming an Executive Board member is one of the greatest decisions that a 4-Her can make, and attending Third Executive Board is the perfect way to learn more about this endeavor. So, don’t miss out on an amazing weekend, and make sure to attend Third Executive Board in April!

For more information on Executive Board or other 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit

Special thanks to Shelby Sumner, Florida 4-H State Council Reporter, for providing this article, and Courtney Quirie, Florida, 4-H Events Coordinator, for providing the pictures.


4-H Judging Teams

4-H Judging Teams

Judging teams are a part of the 4-H curriculum that helps to build life skills.  Arising as part of the early 4-H club work, judging teams were noted to have begun prior to 1921.  In fact, 4-H Clubs were originally called corn clubs, because youth were taught how to grow a better crop of corn and in turn, would bring their corn into town to be judged.

4-H judging teams are short-term, intensive trainings in a particular subject area.  The goal of the trainings is to compete at judging team competitions.  Judging teams are typically comprised of three or four youth in the same age division, from the same county.

According to the Florida 4-H website (, the following are sanctioned state-wide judging teams:

  • 4-H Consumer Choices/LifeSmarts
  • Insectathon
  • Dairy Judging
  • Dairy Quiz Bowl
  • Dairy Goat Judging
  • Dog Quiz Bowl
  • Forest Ecology
  • Hippology
  • Horse Quiz Bowl
  • Horse Judging
  • Horticulture ID and Judging
  • Livestock Judging
  • Land Judging
  • Meat Judging
  • Poultry Judging

For our panhandle 4-H members, the North Florida Fair has the following contests:

  • Consumer Choices
  • Agriculture Judging
  • Horticulture Judging
  • STEM Challenge
  • Wildlife Ecology

Each judging contest has its specific rules and activities; however, the basic components of a judging contest include identification, judging classes, and oral reasons.  A good judging team member has the following characteristics:

  • A clear idea or mental picture of an items characteristics
  • Quick and accurate observation skills
  • The ability to weigh objectively and evaluate what is seen
  • The ability to defend choices made

Now we want you to try your hand at judging.  We will use the meat judging contest as an example.  The following is a class of pork sirloin chops.  A high quality sirloin chop has lots of meat, little fat, and little bone.  A poor quality sirloin chip has little meat, lots of fat, and lots of bone.  The sirloin chops are labeled 1, 2, 3, 4.  Your job as a meat judge is to rank them in order of best to worst.

Four cuts of siloin chops from poor to superior quality.

Your job as a meat judge is to rank meat in order of best to worst.

This class of pork sirloin chops are ranked 4-3-1-2, with cuts of 3-4-4. Four was placed first because it had the best combination of meat and little fat/bone.  Three was placed second because it most resembled number four and had more edible meat than number one.  Number one was placed in third because it had less fat and more meat than number two.  Number two was placed last because it was the fattest sirloin chop with the least amount of meat.

Each judging class is worth 50 points.  If you ranked this class 4-3-1-2, then you received 50 points.  If you placed it another way, then you dropped points based on cuts.  To learn more about how cuts work, please visit

A 4-H meat judging team member would mark their 4-H judging card as seen below.

An example of a 4-H meat judging score card.

An example of a 4-H meat judging score card.

4-H judging teams provide a safe, positive environment for individuals to learn and develop life skills. Judging teams emphasize experiential activities, organization, allowing youth to take part in leadership activities, and providing opportunities for volunteers to act as mentors to youths.

Benefits of 4-H Judging Teams

  • Build self-confidence and problem solving skills
  • Communication and public speaking opportunities
  • Meet new friends
  • Travel the state and country
  • Receive a scholarship for college
  • Learn observational and critical thinking skills
  • Find a new career
  • Selecting an animal for a 4-H project

Participating on 4-H judging teams offer many benefits to participants.  Team members are exposed to team work, effective communication skills and analytical thinking.  Team members also build self-confidence as they become comfortable with all components of judging and evaluation.  Development of these skills benefits every area of the 4-H judging team member’s life.  An additional benefit from participating on a judging team is having the opportunity to travel to new places and meet and interact with industry leaders.  Many times these relationships will aid 4-H members in the future as they choose career paths in any industry.

Many of our 4-H judging contests have national contests associated with them.  If you are willing to put in the time and effort to develop skills in one of our contests, then you have the opportunity to travel across the country with 4-H and interact with industry leaders.  Locally, several 4-H judging teams from the panhandle have recently participated in national 4-H contests.  Members from Jackson County 4-H have been to the national poultry judging contest and national livestock skill-a-thon contest in Louisville in 2019 and the Escambia County 4-H meat judging team will be competing in Colorado in January 2020.

For more information on 4-H judging teams, please visit  Good luck and happy judging!

Special thanks to Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Escambia County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.


Teen Retreat Registration is Now Open

The theme for Teen Retreat 2020 is “4-H Through the Decades”.

Online registration for 4-H teen retreat is now open at If you’re an existing 4-H member, login as usual and register for this event.  New 4-H’ers will need to create a family profile. You may contact your local extension office for help with this process.

Teen retreat is a weekend of fun and life skill building for youth ages 13-18 as of Sept 1, 2019. The retreat will be held February 21-23 at 4-H Camp Timpoochee and registration will be $90 per person through January 31st and $150 from February 1 to February 8.  Registration includes lodging, meals, and an official teen retreat t-shirt.  Please review the packing list for ideas of what to pack.  We hope to fill camp with teens excited about teen retreat and making new friends as they learn and grow together!

For more information on teen retreat or other 4-H programs please contact your local County Extension Office.

Florida 4-H Horse Shows: Important Dates and Forms

Florida 4-H Horse Shows: Important Dates and Forms

Two youth riding horses

Photo Credit: Julie Andrews Photography Youth at the 2019 Area North Horse Show in Clay County, FL on May 11, 2019.

As 2019 is drawing to a close, there are a few things we want to remind you of before the holidays set in. As many people are aware, the Florida Horse Program offers many opportunities for youth to get involved with their horses, and a few are coming up quickly in the New Year. Each year, Florida 4-H hosts Area Shows to qualify for the State 4-H Horse Show. If you want to compete at your Area Horse Show, you need to be aware of the following items:

December 31, 2019

The Florida 4-H Horse Certification Form should be submitted to the county 4-H on or before December 31, 2019 to qualify to participate in the Area North Horse Show and the State 4-H Horse show. This form must be completed each year, even if you are using the same horse as a previous year. A youth should do this for each horse they intend to show or use to participate in 4-H shows with.

Find the form here:

Horse Lease Form should be completed and submitted if a youth wants to participate with a horse that is not owned by the youth. Even if you are borrowing the horse without a fee, youth must have a Horse Lease Form on file with the local county 4-H office.

Find the form here:

Youth posing with horse at horse show.

Youth at the 2019 Area North Horse Show in Clay County, FL on May 11, 2019.

Horse Project Book

The Florida 4-H Horse Project Record Book is a great way to track and demonstrate your growth throughout the year.

Find the project book here:



Important Reminders

Youth on horses competing in area at horse show.

Youth compete at the 2019 Area North Horse Show in Clay County, FL on May 11, 2019

Each county has their own specific guidelines and requirements. Please be sure to check when your county offices are closed for the holidays as they may not be open on the final day the form is due. Contact your county office if you have any questions or concerns regarding county specific requirements. For more information about Florida 4-H Horse Project opportunities visit the State 4-H Horse Events site (

If you would like to learn more about the Area North Horse Show or more 4-H activities and events, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit

Photo Credit: Julie Andrews

Welcome Caroline to Our NW 4-H District!

Welcome Caroline to Our NW 4-H District!

Young woman posing in a field.

Caroline Chappell, Jackson County 4-H Extension Youth Development Agent

Please help us welcome Caroline Chappell to our Northwest District 4-H Family!

Caroline is our newest 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent in the Florida Panhandle, filling the 4-H Agent position in Jackson County.  Caroline is no stranger to our area as her hometown is Graceville, Florida where she grew up on her family’s beef cattle farm with her siblings. As a youth, she showed her family’s Angus cattle all over the country, was a member of the University of Florida Livestock Judging Team as well as a member of the Meat Animal Evaluation Team.

With a passion in livestock, Caroline earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Florida and her Master’s Degree in Animal Sciences with a specialty in Beef-Forage, from Auburn University.  Although she has a strong livestock background, Caroline states that she is “excited to start all kinds of different programming for Jackson County 4-H!”

Caroline is a recent newlywed, who married Logan Chappell, an employee for Farm Credit of NW FL in Marianna. They have a Corgi puppy named Tilly, who is just a year old. When Caroline is not working or spending time with her husband and puppy, she enjoys gardening, working with her family’s beef cattle operation, or watching her favorite movie, Big Fish.

Caroline admits that she was never in 4-H as a kid, but did assist with 4-H programming as an intern in Washington County and as a graduate student at Auburn University. She has assisted mainly with livestock/meats related programming.  Caroline did report that one of her favorite 4-H experiences as an intern was when she helped put on a grilling workshop for the 4-H members in Washington County in preparation for the district tailgating contest a few summers ago.  She said she had a lot of fun learning to grill and then helping others.

I found out a few inspiring facts about Caroline to share with everyone as well…Her inspiring role model in life is her dad.  She said he loves Jackson County and over the last 25 years he has worked really hard (and still does) to make the community a better place to live. He’s impacted the lives of a lot of people through both his public service and in his career. She hopes that she can do the same in her new role as the Jackson County 4-H Extension Agent.

Another interesting fact Caroline shared is her favorite inspirational quote – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” by Theodore Roosevelt.  And last, but not least, when asked if she could have one superpower, what would it be and why, she responded with, “the power to stop time. There’s so much to do, but it seems like never enough time to do it.”  Ah, spoken like a true 4-H Extension Agent!

Welcome to our 4-H family, Caroline!

To meet your local 4-H Extension Agent, 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.