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Natasha Makes a Comeback: 4-H Alumni Spotlight

Natasha Makes a Comeback: 4-H Alumni Spotlight

Headshot of female, Natasha Roberts.

Natasha Roberts was a member of Leon County 4-H for over 10 years

Leon County 4-H was fortunate to have veteran 4-H member, Natasha Roberts, return this past summer to work as a University of Florida Intern. “I was a member of this program for much of my childhood, so it was exciting to be a part of it again, except as an intern this time!” said Natasha. She is currently attending the University of Florida, majoring in Agricultural Education and Communication.

Natasha remarked “because of my major, I got to apply a lot of what I’m learning in school during the internship. Becoming an Extension Agent is my dream career, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to work with Extension over the summer and learn from the people who have been mentoring me my entire life”. Natasha’s assigned project for the internship was to develop educational teaching tools for 4-H members with the goal of increasing participation in the North Florida Fair Horticulture ID Contest. She did a phenomenal job and we could have not asked for a better intern!

 

Natasha was able to use the life skills she developed through her years in 4-H to successfully teach youth about horticulture. She developed a variety of study materials, including an electronic identification tool and an interactive bingo game. Natasha led educational workshops for 4-H members in Leon and Washington Counties with the materials she developed. In addition to the development of materials, Natasha created an entire program that can be implemented by Extension Agents and Program Assistants now that her internship is complete.

 

Picture of classroom with projection screen

Natasha teaches a workshop on Plant ID

Natasha put her 4-H leadership skills to work by helping lead multiple days camps and 4-H activities over the summer. She helped lead Plant Science Camp, Culinary Camp, and Mindfulness Camp. She worked with Extension Agents to develop activities for each of the camps. When I asked her what her favorite part about returning to Leon 4-H was she answered “My favorite part of coming back to Leon 4-H as an intern was getting to design educational materials that I had wanted to make while as a member, but simply hadn’t found the time to. It was wonderful to play a part in preparing kids for the competition I had looked forward to every year as a child. I particularly loved getting to play the plant ID bingo games with kids in our county and watching them get excited about horticulture”.

 

Natasha Roberts leads an activity during Plant Science Camp

During her time with 4-H as a youth, Natasha won the State Horticulture Contest and traveled to St. Louis Missouri where she placed 7th in the National Horticulture Contest. When a 4-H member from Wakulla County wanted help preparing for the State Horticulture Competition, Natasha was delighted to help her fellow 4-H member prepare. She dedicated an entire day to helping her peer prepare and they went on to compete at both the State the National Horticulture Contest!

Natasha attributes her experience in 4-H to inspiring her to become a future Extension Agent. She desires “to help provide the same opportunities to others that the 4-H program gave me.” Natasha attributes her passion for community service and leadership to her involvement with 4-H. We cannot wait to see what is next for veteran 4-H member, Natasha!

Inspired by Natasha?  Consider becoming a 4-H Volunteer today!  The process to become a volunteer is simple: visit http://florida4h.org to apply online or visit your local UF IFAS County Extension Office for assistance.

It’s The LAW (Leadership Adventure Weekend)

It’s The LAW (Leadership Adventure Weekend)

Social media flyer regarding Leadership Adventure Weekend information

In a world of acronyms, 4-H has a lot of them.  Many of our 4-H youth are getting very excited about LAW.  Leadership Adventure Weekend, or more commonly referred to as LAW, is a Florida 4-H state event that allows youth ages 13-18 to learn excellent leadership and communication skills through hands-on activities and experiences.  

Each year, 4-H youth from around the state plan the weekend full of exciting workshops and funshops designed to teach youth the skills they need to excel in today’s world of leaders.  This year’s theme is  “Leadership through the Arts and Communication.”  Teens will be exposed to in-depth activities to develop their leadership in club, county, & district officer responsibilities as well as further life skills development in the areas of teamwork, decision making, responsibility, and communication.  Workshop activities will center around painting, music, dramatic arts and theater, and team building games.

4-H members that have previously experienced LAW said that they learned how to improve interview skills and even how to write a resume.  Take note that it’s not all work and no play.  Youth leaders that have created the event and designed the schedule have made sure to include lots of fun!   For those not experienced with this 4-H program, LAW weekend is an excellent introduction to many of the benefits that 4-H has to offer.  Many of our 4-H youth bring a friend to help introduce them to 4-H.  

This year, LAW will be held in the Florida Panhandle at 4-H Camp Timpoochee in Niceville, Florida, from December 6th though the 8th.  Registration cost is $115, and youth can register from October 21st to November 15th. Late registration will NOT be accepted.  

Not a 4-H member yet?  Not to worry!  Join the 4-H family today.  The process to become a 4-H member or 4-H Volunteer is relatively simple:  visit http://florida4h.org to apply online or stop in to your local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet with your 4-H Extension Agent for assistance. 

Special thank you to Prudence Caskey, UF/IFAS Santa Rosa Extension 4-H Agent, for providing this article.

The Fourth “H” is for HEALTH

The Fourth “H” is for HEALTH

In continuing this week’s theme and celebration of National 4‑H Week, we want to highlight our last “H” in 4-H, Health.  As the 4-H pledge states, I pledge my…health to better living.”  Just living a healthy lifestyle in general is a huge endeavor for anyone to accomplish and it takes a lot of awareness of self to accomplish it well.  As a 4-Her, not only are we committing to make healthy choices for our own mind, body, and spirit but we are also striving to make healthy choices and conduct ourselves in a manner that is healthy for our club, community, country, and world.

Our agents and volunteers do an amazing job in guiding and inspiring our 4-H youth to learn just how to be aware of and make decisions that lead to such healthy living.  Through hands-on learning activities and the experiential learning model, these positive adult role models engage youth to challenge themselves and apply critical thinking skills in order to gain additional essential life skills that aid in balanced physical, mental and emotional health.  From healthy living clubs to competitive events such as the Consumer Choices Contest to enrichment programs such as Health Rocks, 4-H brings real life situations and choices to the forefront and teaches youth to be empowered in their healthy decision making.

 

HEALTH FOR YOU, HEALTH FOR ME

 

Are you looking for certain areas to help inspire your children or neighborhood youth to make healthy decisions?  Is there a particular area in the healthy living realm that you feel your children need some hands-on learning?  The Northwest 4-H District have shared some wonderful publications over the recent years, highlighting varying aspects of 4-H Healthy Living.  From inspiring youth and volunteers to helpful tips and resources, the articles below are short reads that give great overviews of the 4-H healthy living lifestyle.

National 4-H Week's theme is Inspire Kids to Do.

The Application of Healthy Living

Healthy Living Tips & Helpful Hints

Inspiring Healthy Reads

Would you like to become a volunteer that inspires youth to invest in their future?  Visit your  local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet your 4-H Extension Agent for additional information on how to become a 4-H Volunteer today to inspire youth to make healthy decisions and conduct themselves in a manner that is healthy for their club, community, country, and world!

RESOURCES

 

The Second “H” is for HEART

The Second “H” is for HEART

These young 4-H’ers are learning all that 4-H has to offer right in their schools through 4-H school clubs and school enrichment programs.

Heart is the second of the four H’s in the 4-H Pledge: head, HEART, hands and health.  You can measure things of head, hands, and health, fairly simply.  But to take the measure of a person’s heart is a little more tricky, and it is in my estimation, their truest measure.  Your heart determines how you think, act, and respond to others.  It’s the influence of your character.

In 4-H, we strive to give young people the opportunity to build character through a number of activities. Through service learning, we teach 4-Hers to consider others before themselves.  Through democratic decision making, we teach them to be fair, even when it doesn’t mean equal.  Through club membership, they learn loyalty.  Through projects and fair entries, they learn patience with themselves and others.  Through competition, how to be humble winners and gracious losers.  And through awards and recognition, they learn the satisfaction of reaching a goal through hard work.  We write thank you letters to learn gratitude.  And above all, through teamwork, we teach that respect means being kind to others even when we don’t agree, and that all people deserve respect.

At a time when current events may leave us feeling discouraged, I encourage you to consider this instead.  Just as a farmer’s fields of green inspire hope for a fruitful harvest, whenever I look out on my own fields of green – young people in 4-H shirts of course – ready to go to work for themselves or others, I too feel hope for a bright and promising future.  These young people aren’t just learning to show hogs, shoot targets, sew, bake, or build a robot.  They are learning to care about something larger than themselves.  And that is, in fact, the promise of youth – which is exactly the stuff 4-H is made of.

For more information on how your family can learn more about 4-H, its enriching opportunities and the positive impacts made on young people, find your local UF IFAS Extension Office and contact your 4-H Agent to explore what 4-H programs are offered in your area.

Join the 2020 NW 4-H District Teen Retreat Planning Committee!

Join the 2020 NW 4-H District Teen Retreat Planning Committee!

The start of the new 4-H year means it’s time to start gearing up for the 2020 NW District Teen Retreat!  All teens ages 13-18 as of September 1, 2019 are invited to be on the Planning Committee. Teen Retreat is a high-energy weekend of learning, skill building, and networking with teens from across the 16 counties that make up the Northwest 4-H District of Florida. Planning Committee members set the agenda, choose the theme, activities, and workshop topics, and serve in leadership and teaching roles of their choice during the retreat.

Committee meetings are held via video conference and can be joined online or by phone at home, on the road, or from your local Extension/4-H Office. To sign up for this committee, please contact your County 4-H Agent for the call-in information. Our goal is to make Teen Retreat 2020 the best one yet, and we can’t do it without you!

 

DATES TO KNOW:
  • Teen Retreat 2020: February 21-23, 2020 at 4-H Camp Timpoochee, Niceville, FL
  • Planning Committee Meetings: (for agents and teens)
    • Tuesday, September 24, 2020 via Zoom @ 5:30 CT/6:30 ET
    • Tuesday, October 22, 2020 via Zoom @ 5:30 PM CT/6:30 ET
    • Tuesday, November 19, 2020 via Zoom @ 5:30 PM CT/6:30 ET
    • Tuesday, January 14, 2020 via Zoom @ 5:30 PM CT/6:30 ET
    • Tuesday, February 11, 2020 via Zoom @ 5:30 PM CT/6:30 ET

RESOURCES:

Get the
Zoom app here

Questions?  Contact your 4-H Agent & get involved with 4-H!

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.