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November is National Role Model Month!4-H Volunteer Dedication:  A Decade and Counting

November is National Role Model Month!4-H Volunteer Dedication: A Decade and Counting

November is National Role Model Month

4-H Volunteer Dedication: A Decade and Counting

4-H volunteers are the vital precious gems of our 4-H programs.  Each volunteer brings his/her own unique perspective, skills, and resources to the club or event they are working in.  Whether a volunteer’s role is long-term as a 4-H Club Leader, or short-term as an episodic volunteer, they each donate an immense number of hours annually to ensure the youth of our Nation receive the best positive youth development opportunities. 

A woman wearing a cowboy hat smiles for the camera

Missy attending graduation at UF

Walton County 4-H is extremely fortunate to have a 4-H Club Leader that has dedicated 12 years to her Naturally Balanced Homesteading Club.  Missy Bolen had only attended two club meetings as a youth because she didn’t have a project horse to be able to fully participate in club activities.  This may have been the initial spark that led Missy to develop her own 4-H club decades later, in which youth get the opportunity to experience a broad spectrum of activities.  Within Naturally Balanced Homesteading, a homeschool (in-school) club, youth have completed projects and demonstrations in leather working, gardening, sheep shearing, leadership training, conservation, and numerous educational field trips to name a few.  Due to Missy’s passion towards 4-H, she currently has the largest club in our county, with more than 30 youth in attendance each month!

As a veteran 4-H volunteer and Club Leader, Missy’s advice to new volunteers is, “If you have a passion for youth and there isn’t a club already established, follow that passion; start a club and try to reach as many youth as you can!  If you’re doing something that you’re passionate about, you won’t get bored and you will remain energetic and enthusiastic.”

A mother and son pose for a picture together.

Missy and son, Jesse, attending Bee College at UF

Volunteering in 4-H gives you the opportunity to be a role model to upcoming generations by providing them with activities and resources that target development of life skills.  The life skills youth gain in 4-H programs afford them the foundation to build on as they become productive adults in society.  When asking Missy to share the most rewarding part of being a volunteer, and what keeps her going after 12 years, she states, “My children are a huge factor because they have a club where they can do what they love alongside other youth with the same interests.  It’s very rewarding to see them graduate, go on to great universities, and become productive adults!  They recognize 4-H as the main reason for their accomplishments because many of their most valuable skills were developed through their clubs such as social skills, leadership skills, networking and confidence.” 

A group of youth stand in a circle outside, listening to a law enforcement officer teach.

Missy’s club learning about careers in Law Enforcement.

Volunteers are truly the HEAD, HEART, HANDS, and HEALTH of the 4-H organization.  As Missy would say, “Most importantly, you must keep your focus on one thing:  It’s all about helping the children.”  If you are a new or current volunteer, club leader, or even 4-H Agent, the resources below are an excellent source of information as an orientation to 4-H or an annual refresher:

·       Volunteer Orientation

·       Volunteer Resources

·       Volunteer Training Series

If you would like to learn more about how to get involved as a 4-H volunteer in your 4-H community, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org

 

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

 

Welcome, National 4-H Week!

Welcome, National 4-H Week!

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

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

National 4‑H Week is October 6 – 12. Take advantage of this important week to highlight the remarkable 4‑H youth in your communities.  The Northwest 4-H District recognizes the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people and the remarkable 4-H youth in our community who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them.

The theme of this year’s National 4-H Week is Inspire Kids to Do, which highlights how 4-H encourages kids to take part in hands-on learning experiences in areas such as health, science, agriculture and civic engagement. The positive environment provided by 4-H volunteers ensures that kids in every county, from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities, are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles and are empowered with the skills to lead in life and career.

WHAT IS 4-H EXACTLY?

 

4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization which cultivates youth to become confident individuals that can tackle difficult issues in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Currently, Florida serves over 230,000 4-H members in the state.  Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Florida 4-H is the youth development program of Florida Cooperative Extension, a part of the University of Florida IFAS.


4-H STANDS BY THE CLOVER

A volunteer is helping a child with a hammering craft project.

A teen volunteer helps a Cloverbud member during a summer workshop

 

4-H is known best by its emblem, the four leaf clover, one of the most recognized logos in America.  Our emblem represents a standard of quality in youth development which is experiential in nature, meaning that young people learn all kinds of things through 4-H in a hands-on way.  The four leafs depict four Hs, representing the following:  “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.”  For a better overview of the meaning of the four H’s and our iconic clover, be sure to review a great article from the past, What Do The Four H’s Mean Anyway? written by Heather Kent (http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/4hn/2017/06/30/what-do-the-four-hs-mean-anyway/).  This week, we will be touching more on our iconic emblem as we spotlight each H of our four leaf clover to inspire kids (and families) to do!  Be sure to check back daily for more during National 4-H Week!

 

So Happy #National4HWeek! The Northwest 4-H District is proud to #InspireKidstoDo, and we invite you to celebrate with us all week by showing your @4-H spirit on social media and in your community!  Visit your  local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet your 4-H Extension Agent for additional information on a variety of 4-H topics and activities that can benefit you and your family.

 

Not a member?  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.  There is no better time to join us then during National 4-H Week!

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.

Three Family-Friendly Activities to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Hurricane Michael was the first ever Category 5 hurricane on record to impact the Florida Panhandle.

Are you ready?  The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season began June 1. The official hurricane weather season continues until November 30, 2019. For Florida residents, it is never too early and not too late to prepare for this year’s hurricane season.  NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released a forecast prediction reporting a 40% chance of a “near-normal” Atlantic hurricane season and a 30% chance “above normal” indicating a range of 4-8 hurricanes, including 2-4 hurricanes of category 3 or higher.  With this information provided as a means to increase disaster preparedness awareness, it is imperative that our families take action now to minimize the anxiety, stress, and hardships that occur when a disaster strikes. The following information details three family-friendly disaster preparedness activities to complete during the month of June to be hurricane ready for the 2019 season followed by useful informational links.

 

Build a Disaster Preparedness Bucket

complete disaster bucket

The contents of a disaster bucket assembled by Wakulla County Emergency Management Director Jennifer Nagy.

One annual activity that families can do together is “build a disaster preparedness bucket.”  Families may prepare large plastic storage containers with lids for hurricane snacks and other necessary items. In a storm situation where conditions may require you to move to safety, preparing a 5 gallon bucket with a lid full of recommended essential items will provide a portable, easy-to-store alternative that the whole family can use. Buckets may be purchased at local hardware or home improvement stores. In your area, organizations like your local city or county emergency management department or the Red Cross may offer a bucket giveaway program with pre-stocked disaster preparedness kits.


Talk About Your Communications Plan

As a family, decide who will be the point of contact for all members to contact in case of emergency.  This activity is an excellent way to engage your child in critical thinking and problem solving. The person or people should be located outside the impacted area – a grandparent or other relative or family friend in another state would be one possibility. Provide each family member with a laminated contact list – with emails, phone numbers, and addresses – that can be kept in disaster preparedness kits, saved in phones, or stored in wallets and backpacks.  Local business supply stores, mail or copy centers in your area may offer laminating services to make waterproof contact lists for safe storage and easy reference.


Have a “Meals To Ready” Taste Test Dinner

After a disaster, your family may be without power for several days or longer. To enjoy safe, hot meals, one option is “meals ready to eat” also known as MREs.  MREs are a complete, filling & nutritious way to feed your family. MREs can be purchased online or in the camping section of stores like Bass Pro or Wal-Mart. These meals have a long shelf life and can be stored for months until needed. Some MREs include built-in heaters while others require boiling water to prepare. Camping MREs tend to be an entrée only. Military style MREs will have most, if not all, of the following components: entrée, side dish, bread, spread, dessert, cold drink mix, instant coffee, spoon, condiments, napkin, moist towelette, and a flameless ration heater.

Completing an MRE taste test as a family planning activity will help you determine which products your children will eat when the time comes to use the MREs. The taste test can be fun for the whole family – have everyone taste and then rate each meal or meal component on a scale of 1 to 5 – with 5 being the best possible in flavor and food quality. When you get ready to purchase a supply of MREs, you will know whether your family is going to prefer lasagna to white chicken chili and can shop with confidence!

For more information about hurricane season preparation or 4-H programs in your county, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.


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.