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Hurricane Season is Blowing In With STEM Day Camp

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

NW District 4-H Entomology Camp is Just Around the Corner

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.

Introducing the 2019 Camp Timpoochee Staff!

Pictured:
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.

Grilling for Success: The Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest

Grilling for Success: The Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest

Youth grilling

A 2018 NW District 4-H Tailgating Contest participant prepares to grill

Imagine the smell of a charcoal grill on a breezy summer day. A neighbor is grilling in their backyard, and you wish you were invited over for dinner.  Would it be even better if it was your child or grandchild doing the grilling for you?

Fire up Your Grill!

4-H members have been firing up their charcoal grills  and participating in the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest since 2016. Designed to promote the use of animal protein in the diet, youth learn the art and science of safely preparing beef, pork, poultry, and seafood in an outdoor setting providing opportunities for 4-H youth to develop life skills, including decision making and healthy lifestyle choices.

In the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest, youth grill two, 6-8 ounce portions of one of the following proteins:

  • beef
  • pork
  • poultry – turkey breast or half chicken
  • shrimp – fresh, headless and de-veined

While youth are grilling, judges observe food and fire safety actions and ask questions about the recipe and safety knowledge. A team of judges evaluates the cooked product by taste testing and scoring each entry.

4-H Tailgating District Contest

After youth compete at county contests or participate in day camps, they can register for the district contest. There are four district contests hosted throughout the state including our Northwest District contest held at the Washington County Ag Center on July 20, 2019.  Cash prizes at the district level are awarded in each protein category – 1st place $400, 2nd place $250, 3rd place $100 and 4th place $50.

Winn Dixie, National Beef and Sonny's logos

Scholarships and prizes are awarded thanks to these sponsors.

4-H Tailgating State Contest

The top two winners from each protein are then eligible to compete in the state contest held at the University of Florida on September 28, 2019. For the state contest, the 1st place winner in each protein area receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the 2nd place winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship.

Since the Florida 4-H Tailgating contest began in 2016, over $63,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to Florida 4-H members made possible by sponsorships from Winn-Dixie, National Beef, and Sonny’s.

Learn More at a Tailgating Day Camp

Last summer, over 100 youth attended day camps to learn about identifying cuts of meat, preventing food cross contamination and food-borne illnesses, grilling techniques, food safety and fire safety.  Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office to find a grilling day camp near you so you can participate in the 2019 Northwest District 4-H Tailgating Contest!  Follow us on Facebook to see event details!

Resources

Senior Continues to Serve After Graduation

Sydney English, Santa Rosa 4-H member and FL 4-H Officer serving as Sergeant-at-Arms.

All Sydney English ever knew was Louisiana. It was home. At the age of five, Hurricane Katrina hit and Sydney’s life was turned upside-down. With a complete loss of her town and neighborhood, her family decided to move back to Santa Rosa County, Florida where her parents were raised. Little Sydney found herself in a new town, in a new county, in a new state. Soon her mother reached out to Santa Rosa County 4-H to help Sydney make connections and allow her to feel part of something.

Prudence Caskey, the current Santa Rosa County 4-H Agent, met Sydney and her family at the county fair. Shortly thereafter, Sydney was enrolled in 4-H and attended her first meeting in hopes of finding some new friends in her new hometown. Over the next few years, Sydney would find many friends and even find herself.

One of the first events that Sydney attended was 4-H Day at the Capitol. Sydney was enamored with the Legislative process as well at the respect of the elected positions. Sydney decided she would attend 4-H Legislature as soon as she was old enough. Elected as a district officer, Sydney also became a member of the 4-H Executive Board. This was a time in her life where she had to make a tough decision.  She wanted to serve on the Executive Board, but would be unable to due to her volleyball practice obligations.  After much thought, Sydney told her parents, “I have decided to step down from the volleyball team.  I have been thinking about it and I thought, what would volleyball do for me in the years to come?  4-H will do a lot more for me! I’m gonna stay in 4-H.”

Now, all these years later, Sydney has given more to 4-H than she could know.  She has served as a camp counselor and mentor for over 50 youth from across her 4-H district.  Sydney also had the distinction of representing the entire Panhandle of Florida as a 4-H State Officer, serving as Sergeant-at-Arms.   This summer, she is excited to have the role as Camp Staff at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake.  As she plans for graduation, Sydney hopes to attend law school and become a political attorney. 4-H has made her who she is and with her service, she is helping to make Florida 4-H even better!

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, goal setting, and decision making to your children so that they will grow up to become successful leaders like Sydney, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office, or follow us on Facebook.

 

Graduating Senior:  Gentle Giant, Giant Impact

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.