Youth grooming a horse. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.
Across Florida, 4-H clubs have adopted creative ways to stay connected while social distancing
practices are in place. The Wakulla 4-H Bits and Bridles Horse Club, like other 4-H clubs across Florida, ceased in-person activities in mid-March. During the regular program year, the Wakulla 4-H Bits and Bridles Club met monthly for a club meeting that included activities focused on equine science, leadership development, and hands-on skill building. While horseback riding was not a part of every club meeting, most club meetings included some sort of hands-on activity with horses. Club leaders who already had an active Facebook group for their club families, considered how to stay engaged in the face of a prolonged pause in hands-on, face-to-face meetings.
In Wakulla, the 4-H Bits and Bridles Horse Club has established a welcoming, inclusive environment for both youth with and without horses of their own. After the pause on in-person programming went into effect, Bits and Bridles volunteer leader, Julie Dennis, communicated with youth members and their families via email, sending the following message: “Given the current need to promote safety in our community, we’ll be taking a pause from in-person Bits and Bridles Meetings. Don’t worry though, as soon we can, we’ll get back to our monthly meetings. In the meantime, let’s use our Facebook group as a way to stay connected!”
Julie’s communication was followed by a series of video and photo sharing by adult volunteers and youth members in the private Facebook group for the club, including a challenge to demonstrate a horse-related skill with or without a horse at home. Youth were asked to post, with parent permission or assistance, at least one thing to the Facebook group that they were doing while at home to learn more about horses. The instructions urged youth to post a picture or video engaged in an activity to learn more about horses.
Group members responded by sharing videos demonstrating how to practice several skills with items they had at home: roping livestock and how to use different types of tack. Other youth shared videos demonstrating how to properly care for horse hooves and how to groom a horse. Several youth demonstrated riding activities.
Four Ideas to Stay Engaged with 4-H at Home
Activity ideas were provided to parents to share with youth members. The ideas below were collected by club leader, Julie Dennis, and reviewed by 4-H Agent, Rachel Pienta. Each activity is shared below using language close to or similar to what was shared with 4-H families via email.
Learn a new drill or pattern.
If you have a horse, work on riding in a circle and just the same steps every time at a walk, trot and then collected lope. Dirt lots make a great place to do this because you can retrace your steps and see where your horse has been. Once you master this exercise, work on a serpentine or start by making a small circle and then gradually get bigger. For ideas, get your parents to help you use Pinterest and type in “Horse Drills.” The possibilities are endless. Get someone to take a video and share with us on Facebook!
If you don’t have a horse, you can participate too! Now is the time to get that barrel pattern down. This website has a great summary of the barrel pattern. You can also try your hand at the pole bending pattern. Find some objects at your house (rocks, chairs, whatever you can find outside) and set up these patterns. Then run them yourself & ask a parent to take video for you!
Learn how to clean your tack while practicing the parts of a saddle.
Dry leather can get cracked and brittle.
Spring cleaning! Break out your tack with some good saddle soap and get to cleaning. Remember, this is an important part of being safe when you ride. Dry leather can get cracked and brittle. Anyone who has been around horse shows long enough has seen what happens when an off billet strap breaks. You wind up in the dirt! Not only is this a safety hazard but it can cost you an otherwise very nice run. These are two very good reasons to make sure your tack stays clean.
If you don’t have a horse – there are still ways to learn! There are videos that you can learn from online. Ask a parent to help you search for videos on YouTube.
Start your 4-H Horse Project Record Book!
Now is the time to start on horse projects. A very popular and great project for all kids whether or not you own a horse, is to complete the 4-H Horse Project Record Book. This can be downloaded online. If you don’t have a horse, you can still participate. Make up your horse’s name and then research the information you’ll need to complete each section.
In the case of our club youth, members were encouraged to use online resources to research prices for supplies. Youth without a horse were offered a match with a 4-H Bits & Bridles mentor.
Youth coloring a horse diagram activity sheet.
Build Horse Curriculum into Homeschooling.
The National 4-H program has great curriculum available for all age ranges online. Try building in one horse lesson a week and then keeping a journal about what you’ve learned. This activity can be a great way to keep learning through the summer too!
For more information about 4-H clubs and activities in your community, or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office.
*“Please note the picture was taken prior to our challenges with Covid-19 and we encourage people to social distance and wear a mask for the personal safety of self and others.”
Madison standing in front of some of her award-winning efforts in 4-H
Madison Fendley joined Santa Rosa County 4-H in 2010 at the age of eight. In the beginning, her passion was showing rabbits and chickens. As she grew up, her interest in raising livestock grew as well. After raising show-quality dairy goats for many years, Madison had been in the show ring numerous times. With this experience, Madison shared her knowledge with youth that were new to showing livestock. She could always be seen in the show prep area, working with youth that were inexperienced and nervous. Madison became one of Santa Rosa County 4-H’s best mentors for youth, new to the showing world.
Madison has learned a lot about hard work and dedication through her 4-H goat project. Thinking back, Madison stated, “I feel accomplished for growing my goat herd from just a few brush goats when I started over ten years ago to nearly a completely registered show quality herd now.” She said she always enjoyed helping grow the goat show at the Santa Rosa County Fair and helping teach other youth about showing goats.
“I’ve loved working with the younger kids in our club and watching everyone grow and branch out.”
Madison and her livestock project
Madison has made a difference in the Santa Rosa County 4-H program. Many 4-H day camps had the opportunity to utilize Madison’s leadership skills as she served as a counselor. She has worked very hard while raising livestock and even received Reserve Champion Steer at the Santa Rosa County Fair. She has also received Grand Champion Homegrown Heifer two years in a row. Madison recalls, “4-H has been an excellent opportunity to learn leadership and step out of my comfort zone sometimes. I would say I’ve come a long way since I first joined from showing chickens and rabbits to goats and now cattle.” When asked about her biggest lesson she has learned from 4-H, Madison replied, “I’d say one of my biggest accomplishments in 4-H, that nearly brought me to tears, was placing 1st in Steer Showmanship at the fair because it was the first year I showed cattle and the first show I’d been in with that steer.”
Madison plans to attend the University of West Florida and complete her Associate in Arts degree. She will pursue a degree in an agricultural or animal science-related field. Madison, we thank you for your many years of service to Santa Rosa County 4-H and the Santa Rosa County Fair & Youth Livestock programs. We
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.
*Please note Madison’s pictures were taken prior to our challenges with Covid-19 and we encourage people to social distance and wear a mask for the personal safety of self and others.*
It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week! Our 4-H volunteers invest their time into our community’s most valuable resource – our future!
Today we want to thank Stacey Warden who has led the Jackson County 4-H Livestock Club for the past six years. Stacey coaches our livestock, meats, and poultry judging teams and helps us host poultry and livestock workshops. A former 4-H national champion poultry judge herself, Stacey has coached teams that have competed successfully at the local, state, and national level.
Stacey loves to compete, but her dedication to her club members isn’t limited to just driving them to judging contests. She goes above and beyond to help her club members learn new skills, meet their goals, and chase their dreams. When asked about the impact that Stacey has made, Jackson County 4-H Livestock club member Taylor Yoder said, “Mrs. Stacey has done so much for me since I met her. She has taught me a lot about livestock and has grown my love for it. She is always pushing me to be the best I can be without overwhelming me.” Stacey’s service to her community has earned her statewide respect, but what’s truly special is that she’s captured the hearts and minds of her club members right here in Jackson County. Thank you for your service, Stacey!
Are you interested in volunteering with 4-H? Learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county!
Anne Peterson, recipient of the 2019 Elaine Keir Memorial Outstanding Volunteer Award.
For over 40 years, Anne Peterson has served as a volunteer for Escambia County 4-H. Anne began at an early age taking riding lessons in a barn led by a local 4-H horse club leader. That barn was where she began to adopt the knowledge and culture she would strive to emulate for the remainder of her 4-H volunteer career. Anne’s early years largely impacted her path in life, and ultimately led her to volunteer with 4-H.
Anne began volunteering with a club as a young adult, and from there. pursued every opportunity to continue her service. From volunteering at county events to volunteering at sleep over camps like Camp Timpoochee during the summer, she took the opportunities she believed in most and supported them whole-heartedly. Anne has served on multiple committees and boards at the local, district, and state levels with the goal of sharing her experiences and looking for ways to make the 4-H program stronger and better. From the horse program to the legislative program, Anne has participated in the planning and execution of county, district and state wide events. Ms. Anne even volunteers on the Area North 4-H Horse Show Committee and State 4-H Horse Advisory Committees, even though she does not have any youth who compete in the events.
Anne has not only invested years of volunteer service in 4-H, but she also shares with others her dedication and passion for 4-H and youth development, which continues to inspire the youth and families she works with. Anne’s impact has been felt in the projects she has taken on, but her ever-steady impact on the individuals she encounters, reaches far beyond what is immediately observable. Anne has never strayed far from her passion that was sparked in that barn, and as she continues to serve others, she is leaving her fingerprints
on their lives as well as the 4-H program. Anne has also received multiple awards for her service over the years, some of which include the 2019 Florida 4-H Horse Program Elaine Keir Memorial Outstanding Volunteer Award, and an induction to the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame.
A Lesson for Us All
While Anne has demonstrated an astounding longevity in her volunteer career, we must remember that she too was once a new volunteer. We all serve a role, however little or large we perceive the role to be, every role is important as that is the only way we can continue to offer quality programs. The saying “it takes a village” holds true to 4-H programming. To be an extraordinary 4-H volunteer, one need not do every role, but do one role to the best of their ability, as it is through the team of volunteers and agents that an extraordinary and impactful program is created. One role builds to other roles, and it is left to you to decide what role you will take. Regardless of the role, you have the chance to positively impact youth in your community, so ask your county 4-H agent how you can help “make the best better.”
To learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office to learn about 4-H in your county.
Escambia County 4-H Meat Judging Team
Places Fourth at National Contest
Escambia County 4-H is proud to announce that their meat judging team placed fourth at the Western National Roundup 4-H Meat Judging Contest. The team represented Florida 4-H at the contest held on January 11, 2020 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Participants had to identify 30 retail cuts, place six retail, wholesale, and carcass classes, and give three sets of oral reasons.
The team was comprised of youth, ages 14-18, included Jessica Conti, Hannah Schnupp, Ethan Thorne, and Hannah Thorne. The team earned the opportunity to compete at the national level contest after placing second at the state meat judging contest in April 2019. The team was coached by Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension 4-H Agent.
The Escambia County 4-H Meat Judging Team reviews pork loins with Coach and 4-H Agent, Brian Estevez.
Through the competition process, the team has developed life skills through activities to understand the processing of beef, pork, and lamb, including retail identification, factors relating to meat quality, and cookery. Meat judging participants acquire knowledge and skills in meat identification and grading techniques and then apply those basic skills to the selection process. Participants then develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic scientific principles involved in eating and cooking quality, nutritional value, and consumer appeal of meat. 4-H members on the team also learn life skills such as decision making, problem solving, and goal setting.
During the trip to the national contest, the meat judging team participated in a mock contest at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. The team also toured Colorado State University and visited with Dr. Katie Abrams, Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication. The Western National Roundup 4-H Meat Judging Contest was held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.
The meat judging teams would like to thank the many sponsors that helped make this trip a reality for our team. This kind of community support helps the Escambia County 4-H program remain successful. Thank you for supporting the youth in Escambia County and helping us place fourth at a national contest!
For more information on 4-H meats judging, 4-H Judging Teams, or other 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Special thanks to Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Escambia County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.
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 http://florida4h.org/camps_/specialty-camps/marine/ 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! https://livingporpoisefully.com/2016/01/26/ocean-valentines-day-greetings-freebie/
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 http://florida4h.org.
This article was adapted from Laura’s original post to the Panhandle Outdoors website. To read the original article click here: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/2020/01/10/camp-timpoochee-summer-marine-camps/