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Make Mindfulness a Resolution for 2021!

Holidays can be stressful under normal circumstances, but 2020 has been far from normal!  Mindfulness can help you improve your focus, manage stress, develop a positive outlook, and resolve conflict. Together, these all help you do a better job regulating emotions. Developing a mindfulness practice could be a great new year’s resolution as we look forward to 2021!  Last month’s Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy webinar focused on helping volunteers develop a mindfulness practice.

There are three key features of mindfulness:

  • Purpose- intentionally directing your attention rather than letting it wander
  • Presence- being fully engaged and attentive at the present moment
  • Acceptance- being nonjudgmental about whatever arises in the moment. In other words, not fretting over what you should be doing or what you should have done, rather focusing on what you can do in the present.

To learn specific strategies for developing a mindfulness practice around these features, watch our webinar below, or check out some of the resources linked below.

UF IFAS Extension Factsheet “Introduction to Mindfulness”

National 4-H Council’s Kids Guide to Mindfulness 

4-H Celebrations in October

National 4-H Week Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

October is an extraordinary month of celebration for UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H Programs. We start with National 4-H Week October 4th – 10th. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week is Opportunity4All. This campaign was created by National 4-H Council to rally support for Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and identify solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America.

With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, can play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youth, families and communities across the country. In 4-H, we believe every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe every child should have the skills they need to make a difference in the world.

It is amazing how many youth are growing up with 4-H in Florida with over 230,000 youth involved. 4-H is open to all youth, ages 5-18, determined as of September 1 of the current 4-H year for everyone in the State of Florida. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs and project work. 4-H is at schools, community settings, virtually, military bases, and in combination with afterschool programs. There are also special workshops, camps and individual and family learning opportunities. We also have state-wide virtual club opportunities including Dairy, Horse, Poultry, Teen Life Ready and Young Leaders clubs. The Northwest District also offers 4-H virtual projects. These include: Chick Chain, Backyard Livestock, Honeybees, Wildlife, Baking, Culinary Arts, Leadership, Plant Science, Tailgating, sewing and shooting sports.

National 4-H Week Events Include:

Monday, October 5, 2020 join us at 1:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM CST for a webinar on How to Teach Kids to Prepare Healthy, Fun Snacks. Register Here

Tuesday October 6, 2020 Shout Out Day & Hall of Fame
Take to social media to share a 4‑H memory, express how 4‑H shaped who you are today, describe what 4‑H means to you, post an old 4‑H photo, or shout-out your 4‑H club or use our photo frame for sharing on Social Media be sure to include following hashtags #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!

6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– 4-H Hall of Fame  (FB Live Event) @florida4h

Wednesday, October 7, 2020, National 4-H Week Spirit Day image showing 4-H Spirit Day OCtober 7, 2020
We want to invite you to help celebrate by wearing green or the 4-H clover. You could also wear a 4-H or Green facemask. We even have a photo frame you can use for sharing on Social Media and tag #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!

Thursday, October 8, 2020, Support the FOURWARD Fund, and Trivia Night
The forward fund helps ensure kids and families in need have access to educational resources and support all year long.

4-H Trivia Night from 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– (via FB) @florida4h

Youth exploring 4-H STEM Challenge-Mars Base Camp Challenge

Are you ready for the 4-H Mars Base Camp Challenge?

On Friday October 9 Florida 4-H at 4 and Camp Night

Join Florida 4-H at 4 online at 4:00 PM EST 3:00 CST as we blast off on a mission to the Red Planet – MARS! We’ll be learning about the process that NASA goes through when sending a rover to Mars. We’ll learn about the stages of launching from earth, attempting to land on Mars, and discovering the key features of the Martian surface. Using real images and data Generated from NASA missions we’ll be introduced to some of the key characteristics of Mars and how we have discovered these features through decades of scientific exploration. Bring your supplies and join us. Click to Register

4-H Camp Night 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST Come hang out with our camping team via zoom Click to Register and celebrate National 4-H Week.

Saturday October 10 #Opportunity4All Forum at 6:30 pm EST / 5:30 CST @florida4h  (FB Live Event) Kids face a widening opportunity gap in America. Nothing should hold them back.  Not Now.  Not Ever. For more information about the national Opportunity for all Campaign materials and PSA

October 7-18 Tractor Supply Paper Clover Fundraiserimage from 4-H Tractor Supply Paper Clover CampaignThe paper clover campaigns help by providing funds to conduct hands-on learning experiences through projects in STEM, agriculture, healthy living, and civic engagement locally and nationally.

JOANN stores also support 4-H by providing local 4-H Clubs with resources and tools to run impactful programs. JOANN even provides current & alumni members, parents of members, and volunteers with a 15% off total in-store and online purchases every day with a 4-H Rewards Card. You can register for this card at https://www.joann.com/4-h/ . They also run a paper clover campaign in the spring similar to Tractor Supply.

Please, help us celebrate National 4-H Week 2020 and participate in as many activities as possible. Also, Be sure next time you are visiting one of our sponsors locations to thank them for their continued support of 4-H Youth Development Programs. I cant wait to see your photos on social media please be sure and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!

To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this or volunteer your time to work with youth, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office. As you can see October is a wonderful month to be involved with and join Florida 4-H An Equal Opportunity Institution.

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Unmasking the New 4-H Year

Unmasking the New 4-H Year

face mask with 4-H clover on it

Photo credit: Marie Arick

I recently saw a meme of the Jetsons™ cartoon relating to how we are living our lives utilizing telemedicine, videocalls, online classes and our home office…how ironic. Well, 4-H has embraced these unprecedented times and is preparing to provide 4-H youth programming for the upcoming year. Nothing is more important than our youth and their health.  Despite the fact things look a bit different and may require a few adjustment, such as masks, social distancing and some virtual club meetings, the 4-H Agents in the panhandle are ready for the year ahead.

While we realize that computer usage and screen time has increased due to the pandemic, it will be a part of our 4-H clubs and/or projects. Over the spring and summer months, Florida 4-H created an array of virtual summer camp experiences that taught agents we can still engage and provide wonderful learning experiences without being in person. So, we will move into the new 4-H year with our newfound tools and skills to create engaging experiences. For example, livestock and shooting sports and the associated club meetings surrounding these programs may be a hybrid of small in-person groups with safety measures and virtual meetings, but they will take place.  Additionally, there will be a variety of virtual 4-H clubs offered.

Check out the list of 4-H offerings the Northwest District 4-H Agents put together for 4-H youth across the district:

#HoneyBees 4-H Club                   W.O.L.F. 4-H Club                Baking Buddies 4-H Club              Culinary Artists 4-H Club

Lead with 4-H Club                        Farm to Table 4-H Club       Chick Chain 4-H Club                    Backyard Livestock 4-H Club

TailGators 4-H Club                       Sew Much Fun 4-H Club     Range Ready 4-H Club

4-H Agents will be here to support these clubs and projects. Please understand that we will be taking extra precautions and measures to ensure all experiences, whether in person or virtually, meet all Florida 4-H requirements. We look forward to our temporary ‘new normal’ and invite you to click here to enroll in the 2020-2021 4-H year. For questions to navigate the enrollment process click here for additional information.

Unmask your child’s potential by enrolling today!

Citizenship/Leadership Through Science

Citizenship/Leadership Through Science

Image of Fishstory website

The Fishstory website where you will do your citizen science activities.

4-H members and volunteers are always seeking new ideas for hands-on learning experiences as service activities to positively impact our communities.  With covid-19, some community service opportunities have been limited due to social distancing and other restrictions.  However, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Florida Sea Grant have a new opportunity for 4-H members to get involved virtually.  This opportunity is a citizen science project that would be a great way to build your community service hours and learn something new about fish in the process!

Are any of you into history, helping with research, and like fish? If you answered “yes” to any of these, please consider working with the FISHstory Project! The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Florida Sea Grant needs help with a citizen science project to help fill gaps in fisheries data using historical dock photos.

Who can participate? Families and youth ages 16+, or younger youth with an adult mentor who is working with them for the sessions. If you are under the age of 16, you will need your parent to register with you. It is a very simple registration process. First, register for FISHstory at https://scistarter.org/fishstory. Then, click on the https://safmc.net/safmc-fishstory/ link to begin helping count and identify fish in the historical photos.

This project will train you as a citizen scientist to identify and count fish using historic fishing photos from the 1940-1970s, prior to when dedicated catch monitoring began. This is a two-part project. The first part is to simply count the number of fish in the photo. The second part is to identify the fish in the photo. Everything is done online using Zooniverse, so there would be no travel or cost to participate in this project.

Data collected with your help will provide a picture of the fishery in the earlier years. This will help scientists understand the fishing industry prior to dedicated monitoring programs.  It will also help improve our understanding of the fishing of several iconic species over the years. This data will be used to help accurately estimate stock productivity from 1940 to 1970 when for-hire fisheries off the Atlantic coast of Florida were gaining popularity. Your help is needed to fill these data gaps to help evaluate assumptions about stock productivity. The historic photos, untapped sources of this important biological data, can help do just that. Analyzing the photos will help provide better information of what people were catching during this time period, seasonality of their catches, and possibly estimate a rough catch per angler, which can provide insights on the health of fish populations during that period.

4-H helps youth to learn the skills needed to lead the positive change in their communities like this one.  This is done through hands-on learning opportunities that explore citizenship, community development, and personal growth.  For more information on community service projects or other 4-H programs that build essential life skills in youth, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.

Finding Treasure by Stepping Outside!

Finding Treasure by Stepping Outside!

Youth holding up picture

4-H Virtual Plant Science Camp Bingo Game

July 6th of this year was supposed to be the first day of our 4-H Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Day Camp with Leon and Jefferson Counties participating.  Due to the pandemic, all of our Florida 4-H face to face camps were cancelled this summer due to safety concerns for the students and the instructors.

In spite of everything that has taken place since March of this year, there is still some good news! Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, there is an outdoor classroom in YOUR backyard that has plenty of room for young people and parents to explore. While most youth have spent more time than they probably want to with their families confined, within the four walls of their home, there is no time like the present to explore wildlife and gardening opportunities that await just outside the door. Youth that spend time outside exploring the great outdoors have the unique opportunity to stimulate their senses while engaging in “hands on” educational activities without even knowing it.

4-H provides countless opportunities for youth to gain a better understanding of how all organisms are interrelated and how they can become environmental stewards at home, school, and in the communities in which they live.  What are some of the benefits of converting backyards to outdoor classrooms?

I’m glad you asked…here are just a few!

 

1. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged –
2 kids planting a tree

Youth planting an orange tree after participating in Virtual Plant Science Camp

Active time spent outside may help address some of the health issues we are seeing in children today such as obesity, attention deficit disorders, and depression.

2. Nature deficit disorder decline –

Exposing students to nature and allowing them to learn and play outside has shown to foster sensitivity, appreciation, and respect for the environment.  It combats “nature deficit disorder” …and it can be a lot of FUN!

3. Critical-thinking skills enhanced –

Exploring what is in the backyard and starting a garden provides opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom and enables students to make connections that can be applied to the real world.

4. Responsible action is taken to better the environment –

By exploring outdoors either by planting or just observing nature, youth begin to understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment. It is from this point they can begin to obtain the skills necessary to address complex environmental issues as well as ways we can take action to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future.

 

So even though we are in the midst of a pandemic, there may be opportunities to make lemonade out of the  COVID-19 lemons we find ourselves in by unmasking the opportunities that await in our backyards!

For more information about 4-H in your county, find your local UF/IFAS Extension office or visit http://florida4h.org.

*“Please note some pictures were taken prior to our challenges with Covid-19 and we remind people to social distance and wear a mask for the personal safety of self and others.”

Graduating Senior: Lawson Mathis

Graduating Senior: Lawson Mathis

Youth posing for portrait

Lawson, Santa Rosa Co Senior 4-H Member

Lawson Mathis joined Santa Rosa County 4-H because her cousin, Amanda, had been a 4-H member for years.  Lawson’s first experience was a state-wide 4-H event known as 4-H University, held in Gainesville,Florida.  She remembers having a broken toe prior to her trip and not knowing anyone but Amanda.  Amanda and Trent, another Santa Rosa County 4-H member, had to help her get around Gainesville all week.  As Lawson recalls, “they never left me behind either!”

Beginning her 4-H experience at such a significant, week-long event, Lawson could have easily been overwhelmed.  Instead, she thrived.  Lawson dived into the 4-H program and learned all it had to offer that week.  Lawson has been in 4-H ever since moving to Santa Rosa County her freshman year of high school.

“Throughout my entire time in 4-H, no one left me out or left me behind for anything.  I have made so many friends and great memories along the way, and I hope I can continue to do so in the future.”

Lawson always been part of the 4-H family.  She served every year as a camp counselor at 4-H Camp Timpoochee and made sure that the same attitude of inclusion continued with her campers.  Because of 4-H, she has made friends from all over the state as well. She has a caring and giving nature that will be hard to replace.  Lawson will be attending Troy University in the fall and majoring in nursing and minoring in American Sign Language.  She plans to be a nurse anesthetist upon graduating with her master’s degree.

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 Lawson’s pictures were taken prior to our challenges with Covid-19 and we remind people to social distance and wear a mask for the personal safety of self and others.*