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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 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/

NW District Youth Compete at the FL 4-H State Tailgating Contest

NW District Youth Compete at the FL 4-H State Tailgating Contest

A youth competing in the NW District Tailgating Competition carefully prepares her protein.

Did you get to do any grilling this summer?  Over 110 youth from throughout the Florida Panhandle participated in 2019 4-H summer day camps that taught them how to grill, food and fire safety, and cooking skills.

Ten different FL Panhandle counties provided nine unique day camps on grilling.  Then, on July 20, 2019, 37 youth from eight counties participated in the Northwest District Tailgating Contest at the Washington County Ag Center.  Youth participated in competitions in beef, pork, poultry, and shrimp divisions and were judged on their food and fire safety skills around the grill and the taste of their chosen protein.  In all, $3,200 was awarded to Panhandle youth for placing 1st– 4th in their competitions.

Now, the top two youth in each protein category will compete at the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest in Gainesville on September 28th.  They will compete against youth from across Florida for an opportunity to win college scholarships.  For the state contest, the first place winner in each protein area receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the second place winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship.  September 28th is also the 4-H Day with the Florida Gators.  You can get tickets for the football game for just $20 and sit with 4-H members from around the state.  For more information, visit http://florida4h.org/blog/4-h-day-at-florida-gators-football-vs-towson/.

Join us as we cheer on the following NW District 4-H participants as they represent us at the Florida 4-H State Tailgating Contest:

  • Beef Division
    • Colton Serpas-Washington County
    • Alan B.-Escambia County
  • Pork Division
    • Lillian Sparks-Washington County
    • Brent Young-Holmes County
  • Poultry Division
    • Sarah Crandall-Jefferson County
    • Rylee Sweat-Walton County
    • Jamison Scheffer-Washington County
  • Shrimp Division
    • Claire Diamond-Escambia County
    • Evelyn Moyers-Bay County

If you are interested in furthering your grilling skills, please check out the Florida 4-H Tailgate Series of EDIS documents at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_series_florida_4-h_tailgate.  If you would like more information on the Tailgating Contest so you or youth that you work with can participate next year, please visit http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/animalscience/4-h-tailgating-contest/.

 

4-H Summer Camps: A Great Vehicle For Youth Development

4-H Summer Camps: A Great Vehicle For Youth Development

Summertime is typically associated with summer vacations, sleeping late, fast foods, rainy days, hot afternoons, and one 4-H camp after the other.  Some would argue that summer camps are simply an advanced “day care” program for parents to drop their kids off to “play” so they can be productive at work without worrying about their children. However, research shows that youth who attend camps during the summer come away with so much more than what camping programs are given credit for.

Teenagers interacting in a team game outside.

Camp Counselors at Wildlife Camp doing a team building activity.

For many youth, traditional summer camp means no homework, no tests, lots of recreation, camp songs, crafts, and lots of swimming. While these are typical camp activities that normally take place during a week of camp, these experiences have a two-fold purpose in that they also serve as a vehicle for significant learning to take place. Many parents are concerned about the amount of knowledge that kids lose during the summer. There has been substantial research that shows students can lose up to 3 months of what has been learned during the school year. By keeping young people’s brains active, acquiring new skills and knowledge, camp offers the chance to decrease the typical summer learning deficit.  How is this done??……I’m glad you asked!

4-H is intentional in providing critical components of a successful learning experience as part of all its summer camp curriculum. These Essential Elements are: Belonging, Independence, Mastery, and Generosity.  They are designed to meet the developmental needs of youth.  Let me give you some examples.

Youth casting a net (seining) in Lake Lafayette for aquatic specimens

4-H campers seining in Lake Lafayette for aquatic specimens

4-H Camp attendees experience a sense of Belonging, the first Essential Element, during cooling off time at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, while being cared for by camp staff, counselors, and 4-H Youth Development Professionals. Campers enjoy being in a safe place with their peers without a fear of being bullied.  4-H accepts youth where they are and helps them ignite the spark that exist within them, enabling them to reach their potential.

With no parents on the camp grounds telling their children what to do and when to do it, Independence, the second Essential Element, is a key element that a residential or day camp provides for its attendees.  Providing the opportunity for youth to be independent thinkers and to better understand themselves develops at camp as youth learn to make decisions based on experiences and knowledge obtained during camp.

In order to develop the self-confidence needed for youth to feel they can be successful, camp provides many opportunities for Mastery, the third Essential Element, to take place. Whether it is passing the swim test, learning a new skill, or leading a game, having that “I can do this” moment for a camper can make a positive impact on a young person’s life.

Lastly, 4-H camps provide opportunities for youth to learn the importance of Generosity, the fourth Essential Element, by learning and working with campers from diverse backgrounds and different socio-economic levels. Camp could very well be the first time they have spent an increased amount of time with people whose background, race or religion is different from their own. Through planned program curriculum consisting of team building and get acquainted activities throughout the week, the campers learn to focus on what they have in common and to value the contributions of others who may not look or act like them.

Youth jumping off boat into water

Cooling off time at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake

So being away from home, making new friends, being a part of a team, and trying new things are key building blocks to obtaining a successful experience to meet the developmental needs of youth. 4-H summer camp provides youth the platform to create great memories and lasting relationships that can last a lifetime.

For more information on how your youth can participate in 4-H camps, find your local UF IFAS Extension Office and contact your 4-H Agent to explore what programs are offered in your area.

 

Happiness in a Hammock at Camp

Happiness in a Hammock at Camp

Exploring New Activities with 4-H Club and Camp

When Chase Weston arrived at a meeting of the Panacea 4-H Explorers Club for the first time, he was not sure he wanted to be there. Chase’s normal activities of choice included reading and playing video games. He rarely played with other children and did not usually enjoy playing outdoors.

The Panacea 4-H Explorers Club meets weekly and offers youth the opportunity to sample activities ranging from painting and cooking to outdoor skills. Members march in parades and volunteer together at community events.

Getting Active With Archery

Chase receives archery instruction from Club Leader Trena Gooding.

From that first day attending an Explorers Club meeting, during his time with 4-H, the once very reserved and quiet boy has undergone a dramatic transformation. This summer, Chase had the opportunity to participate in a two day archery summer camp. On the first day, he did not want to participate and asked to go home. On the second day he started to warm up to archery and by the end of the day he did not want the camp to end!

Club Leader Rhonda Lundy said, “I have seen a drastic change in Chase through his participation in 4-H. He is definitely trying things outside his comfort zone and his parents couldn’t be happier.”  Chase accepted the opportunity to attend Camp Timpoochee with support from a 4-H state scholarship. During his week at camp, Chase enjoyed activities like dance class and kayaking. He was able to continue with his newfound love for archery during residential camp.

 

 

 

Happiness in a Hammock at Camp

A boy laying in a hammock at camp.

Chase enjoys free time in a hammock at Camp Timpoochee.

While he has stepped outside his comfort zone and tried many new activities during the week, Chase declared his favorite thing at Camp Timpoochee was enjoying the view from the vantage point from one of the many hammocks strung between trees throughout camp.

Links to Resources

For more information on how your family can participate in 4-H, find your local UF IFAS Extension Office and contact your 4-H Agent to explore what programs are offered in your area.

Benefits of Summer Camp

Camp Choices with 4-H

Youth Development Outcomes of Camp Experiences

Breaking Norms and Building Youth through 4-H Camping

Breaking Norms and Building Youth through 4-H Camping

Five boys appear happy together at camp.

Campers make lasting friendships at camp.

4-H camp week is the sacred week of the summer that many youth look forward to every year.  The 4-H residential camping program features a week-long, overnight stay at one of the various 4-H camps in Florida (Timpoochee, Cherry Lake, Cloverleaf) and is generally shared with at least one other county.  During this week, youth venture out with their peers and explore their environment through a wealth of activities ranging from snorkeling, kayaking, shooting sports, crafts, creative dramatics, aquatic sciences, STEM, and so much more!  Laced within the camp program of activities are life skills these youth may acquire and build on throughout their lives such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, empathy for others, and confidence to name a few.

Large group of youth and adults outside at 4-H camp, all wearing blue shirts .

Holmes and Walton counties at Camp Timpoochee, June 10-14, 2019.

Walton and Holmes counties camped at 4-H Camp Timpoochee June 10-14, 2019.  Amongst record setting numbers for each county’s camp history, the Agents also observed many opportunities for growth in their campers and counselors.  One specifically was a male camper who initially seemed to have difficulty adjusting to camp life.  He is an only child, had never stayed away from home and thus, prior to camp, had set a day limit for himself because he was so anxious.  Once the counselor noticed his camper’s struggle, he immediately began working with his fellow counselor team to devise a plan tailor made for his camper to ensure he felt a sense of belonging and stayed at camp all week.  By day two, the camper’s attitude toward camp life had flipped from negative to positive and he even shared with his parents, “Camp is awesome!  Please don’t come pick me up yet.  I’m having so much fun!”  Within another day’s time, the male counselor team had this camper (and nearly all other boy campers), motivated to hold the door for others simply by turning it into a game of “pass it on,” the door that is.  It was truly a sight for the Agents to see their counselor team solving problems cooperatively for the benefit of the camp family and building confidence in their campers.

A group of girls celebrating a win after an outdoor game at 4-H camp.

Cabin teamwork conquers Organized Mass Chaos!

Counselors are the front lines during county camp week.  They are the leadership within the cabins and group activities alongside camping staff.  These teens are trained by their 4-H Agents for a minimum of 6 hours prior to camp to prepare them to handle various situations.  Each teen comes with their own set of skills and their own “treasure chest” of problem-solving abilities they contribute to the counselor team each year.  This camping season, one female counselor capitalized on her training and created an actual “treasure chest” for her campers within her cabin.  She utilized this as a positive reinforcement strategy where her campers could win coins for doing great things throughout the week.  The campers then could turn in their coins to gain a treasure from the chest!  Within this cabin, this strategy worked wonders to motivate the girl campers to keep their cabin clean, sing together for meals, show appropriate behaviors throughout camp, and participate in all activities. 

 

A camp counselor walking with his camper on a dock, at 4-H camp.

Serving by leading others.

Often times camp is described as “the safe place,” a place where youth can come to drop the stereotypes, drop the stressors of home life or school life, and just be themselves.  While 4-H Agents, 4-H Camp Directors and staff are the adult leaders, these campers and counselors teach us lessons daily during county camp week that we store in our own “treasure chests” for the next camping season to make our best years even BETTER!

For more information on how your family can participate in 4-H, find your local UF IFAS Extension Office and contact your 4-H Agent to explore what programs are offered in your area.

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.