Quincee Messersmith serves as the Wakulla 4-H Advisory Council chairwoman and as co-leader of the 4-H IncrEdibles Cooking Club. When she is not volunteering with Wakulla 4-H, her duties as a Wakulla County Commissioner keep her busy.
This devoted volunteer and public servant is a wife, mother, and a cancer survivor. There are few events in Wakulla where Quincee cannot be found making a difference. She is just as likely to don an apron to wash dishes in the kitchen as she is to be acting as mistress of ceremonies.
Quincee, along with other 4-H volunteers distributed supplies after Hurricane Michael.
What is a role model?
According to Quincee, “A role model is someone who shows passion and inspires, has a clear set of values, demonstrates commitment to the community, is selfless and accepts others, and has the ability to overcome life’s obstacles.” Quincee believes role models can make a big difference in a child’s life. She believes that “role models, like goals, can truly be the emotional or intellectual bridge to a child’s future. A child who finds an adult who “lives-out” the selfless image they portray, and who engages in hands-on activity with that child to help them accomplish something by their own efforts, no matter how simple, then has a mental picture of whom they want to be when they grow up.”
Why Volunteer with 4-H?
In Quincee’s own words, “Children need direction, discipline, leadership and something positive to guide their lives and to help them pick the right path as they go and grow.”
Quincee believes that the youth in 4-H programs are no different from youth involved in any other service club. Each has different passions and interests, and each also has different economic structures and parental involvement..”
She explained, “The common goal for me with regard to being a 4-H role model is that we all are in need of an adult or mentor to whom we can look to for help and direction. If children find someone assisting them at their level that has a community reputation for leadership, someone who is involved at high levels of neighborhood activity and the daily conversations of their communities, they are not only interested, but also often fascinated. Situations such as this can make the positive difference in a child’s life.”
Living the 4-H Way
The four “H’s” have inspired Quincee in her approach to service and being a role model.
She said, “for me personally the 4-H Head, Heart, Hands and Health embodies something that we could all use more of in our lives, I believe that concentrating on these four H’s can help make our communities stronger and more sustainable for the future
Quincee led 4-H youth in serving cake at the county’s founding day celebration on “Wakulla Wonderful” Day.
Participants cutting cheese curds at the 2019 Agri-Science Youth Summit, National 4-H Convention Center. Photo credit: Marie Arick
Are you interested in an in-depth exploration focused on agriculture, animal sciences, and wildlife biology? The National Youth Agri-Science Summit is an experience for teens in 9-12 grade where you’ll explore different agricultural aspects through hands-on workshops and activities. Held January 9-12, 2020, you’ll travel to the National 4-H Conference Center just outside of Washington, DC, for the event.
Ted McKinney, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs, US Department of Agriculture, will kick off the event. Also featured is a Career Fair panel that includes Park Rangers, Community Garden Specialists, Veterinarians, and various University Extension personnel. A small sample of session titles are:
- The Magic of Digestion
- Teens Teach Environmental Science
- Exploring Dairy Science Say Cheese
- Entomophagy: Food for the Future.
The experience wouldn’t be complete without being treated to trips into Washington DC – a trip to the Smithsonian and an evening tour of the National Mall.
This opportunity for teens in grades 9-12 will be held at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The youth participant cost begins at $610 per participant. Chaperone costs begin at $725. These costs cover all materials, activities, lodging, and meals. Other travel costs should also be considered. If you are interested in attending this event, contact your 4-H Agent.
People often ask- “what do the “H’s” in 4-H mean? A great way to answer this question is with the 4-H Pledge. Our pledge describes what each “H” means. The first line of the pledge is “I pledge my head to clearer thinking.” It is a simple yet profound statement. How much better would the world be if we all thought clearly, more often? 4-H programs intentionally provide opportunities for youth to learn how to make decisions and solve problems. We do this through the “learning by doing” technique. Youth learn by doing- not just listening or watching. During a typical club meeting, workshop or camp, youth will be getting their hands dirty learning about building robots, food safety or how to care for an animal. Participation in contests and judging teams also help youth think on their feet with a clear head. Another way 4-Hers learn to problem solve is through service to their community. 4-Hers are asked each year to identify a problem in their community and develop a plan to solve that problem in the form of a service learning project. As 4-Hers learn new knowledge and skills, they are given challenges to solve, which means that they not only have to have a clear head, they have to work as a team.
Our 4-H volunteers are essential to helping youth develop the first “H.” Our volunteers use 4-H curriculum and learn-by-doing teaching techniques to help youth learn cooperation and problem solving skills. If you are interested in inspiring the next generation of youth people, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office to find out about opportunities to share your knowledge, skills and passion to develop future leaders, scientists and citizens to think with a clear head!
Purple Up! on Friday, April 12th
Most people think of the color green when they think of 4-H, but on Friday April 12, 2019, 4-H youth and volunteers in Florida will Purple Up! to show support for our military kids and families. Join us in showing support and celebrate our young heroes! Participation in the 10th annual Purple Up! day is easy – wearing purple and take photos to share on social media using #fl4h and #purpleup.
Why Purple Up?
Military youth have unique challenges. Imagine how you would feel about having long and repeated separations from your parent. Imagine your mom or dad missing important events like birthdays, holidays, and school events. How would you feel about frequent relocation or moves, having to make new friends, get familiar with new schools, and find new 4-H clubs and teams to join? These are all common experiences for military youth!
Many military children take these changes in stride, but it’s also hard to rebuilding a world every time they move. UF/IFAS Extension and 4-H are proud to be a part of the military family – 4-H works with military youth centers across the nation and overseas to create some consistency for youth in these situations.
Why the Color Purple?
Purple symbolizes all branches of the military and is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. By wearing purple and sharing in a visible way, you can show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices.
Did You Know?
Florida has the fifth highest number of school-age military children in the country according to the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center. We also have over 50,000 active and reserve military members whose families worry that they are in harm’s way when they deploy.
Be creative….the goal is for military youth to see the support in their school, youth groups, and the community! If you don’t have or own a purple shirt, wear a purple ribbon, tie or headband. Just show your support and let our youth know we care about them! Can’t make the Purple Up! date? Then do something another day in April, the Month of the Military Child!
Remember, take pictures of your group wearing purple and share them on social media using #fl4h and #purpleup.
This allows us to:
- collectively honor military children and their families
- let military kids see the support of their community
- thank military kids for their commitment and sacrifice
For more information on Purple Up!, contact Dr. Paula M. Davis at UF/IFAS Extension Bay County at 850-784-6105.
For more information on 4-H in your county, follow us on Facebook, and contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.
By Paula Davis, Janet Psikogios and Jennifer Simms
Imagine this…an appointment runs long, you skip lunch and end up snacking the rest of the day. That leads to eating dinner very late and you feeling like your whole diet and commitment to eating better in 2019 is blown! Don’t toss in the towel and give up; each new morning brings a new day and a fresh start and a chance to start over.
One of the most important skills youth learn and practice in 4-H is goal setting behavior. Here are some ways to help make goals more achievable for you and the youth in your life:
Youth are most motivated when they set their own goals.
Make goals S.M.A.R.T.
- Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Tangible
- Develop an Action Plan
- Write goals down
- Have an action plan to track progress
- Reflect along the way
- Make your goals present in your daily activities
- Put a reminder note on your mirror
- Set a reminder alarm on your phone
- Get an accountability partner
- Find someone you can trust to report your progress
- Check in an chat
Nothing matches the look on a face when a goal is reached!
My son is my physical activity accountability partner, and he and I walk together. Sometimes he has to drag me out of the house, and sometimes I have to get him motivated to go – whatever it takes to meet your goals.
Remember, every day is new with the opportunity to start fresh each day. Make a New Day Resolution to achieve your goals. If you fell off the wagon yesterday, let it go. Best wishes for a great new year and for every new day you have!
For more information on 4-H in your county, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.
Resources: How Setting Goals Helps Teens Succeed
A happy 4-H member’s smile is contagious in this face-friendly clover costume.
While Walmart has already jumped to Christmas season, many parents are still scrambling to figure out their children’s costume for October’s Halloween party. Now, all of us have the cutest pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, but none of our children want to dress up as pumpkins anymore! Gone are the simple days of our generation when white sheets with eye holes were the extent of our Halloween attire.
With the hectic schedule of the world and the complicated costumes of today, here are a few guidelines to follow when helping children choose Halloween costumes (and keep them safe safety during the spooktacular holiday season).
This little pumpkin has comfortable walking shoes for trick or treating.
If it Fits, it Flies Past Inspection
While cute or scary may be what the children are striving for, well-fitting costumes should be the goal for all parents. Ill-fighting costumes are a disaster waiting to happen. Costumes that hang loosely become a distraction. Capes, gowns, or any material in length that drags the ground can be a tricky thing to maneuver at any age so be sure to trim above the ankle. Speaking of ankles, shoes that are too high can cause unexpected hospital visits so keep shoes low to the ground and comfortable to walk in. Children (and parents) do a lot of walking to collect their candy treats. Shoes that are too large or too small can cause blisters and cranky children, all things to avoid on a fun night.
Can You See Me Now?
One of the scariest things about Halloween is not what you can see but what you can’t see! Not being able to see children in costume in poorly lit areas of the neighborhood can be scary for adults. Parents, remedy this by using inexpensive reflective paint or tape to make children’s costumes visible or giving them glowsticks to wear or flashlights to hold.
Be sure to think about if your children can see well in their costumes. Masks can be difficult to wear if they don’t fit well. Be sure that eye and breathing holes are extra-large. If a costume can be complete without a mask, consider skipping it and use makeup. If costumes are come with hats, scarves, or capes, secure them down with velcro to keep from hitting others.
Does my Makeup Look OK?
Children love face paint and makeup, and hair dye appears to be the latest trend. Halloween seems a good fit for these outlets, but use them with caution. More and more children are sensitive to pigments found in everyday items – makeup included. Your children may be going for the spooky look but not at the risk of it being itchy and painful. If your children will be using face paint, makeup and/or hair dye, do a simple test run at least a week before use to ensure there are no allergies to the ingredients.
Accessorize Everything…Or Not
Makeup that does not obstruct children’s view is essential to their safety.
You’ve probably heard that “accessories make the outfit,” but in the case of Halloween and children, accessories can be highly overrated. Parents usually end up carrying the accessories that went with their children’s costumes before the night is over. But if children insist their outfits are not complete without a Ninja sword or Katniss Everdeen’s bow and arrow, be sure they are easily distinguished toys. Those accessories should be soft and flexible.
Spooktacular Adventure Awaits!
Whether you get into Halloween with costumes or not, these tips are good reminders for all of us to look out for children and keep them safe. Enjoy the upcoming holiday seasons!
To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills to your children or to volunteer your time to work with children in your area, please contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.