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Hitting the Mark – 4-H Shooting Sports Volunteers Ready to Lead!

4-H Volunteers learn and practice the pre-shot routine so they can teach it to their youth.

4-H Volunteers learn and practice the archery pre-shot routine so they can teach it to their youth. Photo: Julie P. Dillard

Ready to Lead

Sixteen 4-H volunteers joined ranks with one of Florida 4-H’s largest projects by earning their Level One Shooting Sports Instructor certification September 8.  Training participants included 4-H volunteers and UF/IFAS Extension staff from Escambia, Holmes, Jefferson, Marion, Wakulla, Walton, Union and Alachua counties.  What sets 4-H instructor training apart from other shooting sports trainings is the focus on youth life skills and positive youth development as opposed to focusing only on skill mastery.

About Florida 4-H Shooting Sports 

The 4-H Shooting Sports Program teaches young people safe and responsible use of firearms, principles of archery and hunting basics.  Lifelong skill development is one of the main benefits of involvement in the 4-H Shooting Sports Program and applies to both youth and adults involved in the program.  Specifically, the 4-H Shooting Sports Program is designed to:

  • Provide youth proper training in the use of firearms, archery equipment, and other areas of shooting sports.
  • Provide thorough instruction in shooting sports safety.
  • Develop life skills such as self-confidence, personal discipline, responsibility, and sportsmanship
  • Create an appreciation and understanding of natural resources and their wise use.
  • Provide volunteer instructors safe and proper instructional techniques.
  • Show volunteer leaders how to plan and manage 4-H Shooting Sports Clubs.  (Culen et al, 2018).

Resources for Success

Establishing eye dominance is one of the first tasks of new member.

Establishing eye dominance is one of the first tasks of new member. Photo: Julie P. Dillard

It’s important to equip agents, volunteers and youth with the tools they need to succeed in the Florida 4-H Shooting .  To assist you in organizing the county shooting sports program, here are some resources from the 4-H State Shooting Sports Committee and Environmental Sciences Action Team:

State Match Information, Rules and Risk Management

Youth Project Books

Getting Organized

To learn more about your county shooting sports program, contact your local 4-H agent.

Wakulla 4-H Shooting Sports Club Leader, David Pienta, takes aim during shotgun instruction.  Volunteers practice peer teaching to get ready to teach 4-H youth.

 

The Subtle Differences Series: Diversity

I recently the privilege to attend a national training conducted by Washington State University called Navigating Differences. The goal of the program was to help people become culturally competent.  No magic pill exists to make us instantly culturally competent.  We have to be willing to engage in and grow through the process.  According to a policy brief from the National Educator’s Association, “when applied to education, cultural competence centers on the skills and knowledge to effectively serve students from diverse cultures.”

Topic: Diversity

When most people hear or read the word diversity, they automatically think of the race and gender.  Some may think of social economic status or religion.  The Ohio State University Extension defines diversity as “the differences among people with respect to age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practices, and other human differences” (https://hr.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/diversity/DR_Sec1_Guide06.pdf), which is also the same definition used by the Washington State Extension’s Navigating Differences curriculum.

The training challenged me in my thinking in many ways.  One of my “aha” moments came when it was shared that there are more differences within a cultural group than between groups. Do you question this statement?  If so, here is your first challenge:  Look up the Diversity Wheel.  What is a diversity wheel?  It is the dimensions that make us, well, us.  You will discover there are somethings that are core to you and permanent – located at the center of the wheel. All other dimensions, which develop over a lifetime, are found on the outer rings of the wheel.

credit: Oregon State University

The next phase of your challenge is to look at your group (family, organization, or ethnic group) and examine factors including the following: age, gender, income, physical capacity, health status, beliefs, meal practices, size, height, educational background and hobbies.

These are just a few areas, but you will discover more after you look up a diversity wheel model.

Why should we examine diversity?

Working with people, whether in a personal or professional setting, is complex. The better your understanding of yourself and others is, the more productive your interactions will be.  Remember, we are unique and come from different experiences that we bring that to the table with us.

For additional reading, visit the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source:

Here are links to a few other Diversity Wheel models:

http://web.jhu.edu/dlc/resources/diversity_wheel/index.html

https://www.ncu.edu/about-ncu/diversity/diversity-wheel#gref

 

PARENTS WANT TO KNOW: How to Choose a Safe and Fun-Filled Summer Camp for your Child

Gulf and Franklin County campers shooting rockets at Camp Timpoochee in June 2017.

As the school year wraps up, you’re likely trying to fill up your child’s summer with fun and educational programs.  Fortunately, you’ll find a variety of day and residential summer camps out there.  Does the thought of  sending your child to camp cause anxiety for your or your child?  If so, let’ me give you some tips to eliminate those concerns.

First, summer day camps and residential camps can be some of the most memorable events in a child’s life.  Some children make memories and friends that last a lifetime. But  as a parent, you need to feel comfortable about the camp you send your child to.

When starting the camp selection process, begin with your child’s interests. Make sure you know the camp will provide activities that will enhance your child’s personality and maturity level.  Including your child in the process will help them feel more secure and excited about what camp will offer them.  This will also help get rid of some of their anxiety because they’ll know what to expect (especially if they have never attended camp before).

Here are questions recommended by the American Camping Association (ACA) to help you make the best summer camp decision.

Questions to Consider in Selecting a Residential Camp:

  1. What locale do I want to consider? (mountains, oceanfront, distance from home, etc)
  2. Do I want a traditional camp that gives my child a wide variety of experiences, or do I want to select a specialty camp that focuses on a particular activity or set of skills?
  3. What size enrollment will make my child feel comfortable?
  4. How rustic do I want the camp to be?
  5. How structured do I want the program to be? Does my child like to have lots of choice in the activity schedule?
  6. Is my child ready to sleep away from home for an extended stay? (This will help you to select either a resident or day camp setting.)
  7. What session length will appeal to my child and to our family plans for the summer? (One week? Eight weeks? Length of day?)
  8. How can I stay in touch with my child during camp? Does the camp allow mail, phone calls or e-mail? Does the camp have parent visitation days?
  9. How will the camp meet my child’s special dietary or physical needs?
  10. What is my budget for camp tuition? (Remember, many camps offer financial aid.)

Questions to Consider in Selecting a Day Camp:

Day camps offer experiences unique from residential camps. Because of this, there are specific points to consider when choosing a day camp – transportation, overnights, swimming lessons, food service, horseback riding, group pictures, t-shirts, extended care, field trips, etc.

  1. Does the American Camp Association accredit the camp? (ACA has specific standards applicable only for day camps.)
  2. What training does the staff receive on safety, supervision, counseling, problem solving and other issues unique to working with young children?
  3. Is the price all-inclusive or are there extra charges?
  4. If transportation is offered, where is the closest pick-up location?
  5. Does the camp have an “express bus” which transports children quickly?
  6. If before and after-camp extended care is offered, who is with the children and what activities take place?
  7. Is lunch served, or do campers bring their own sack lunch? Are snacks and drinks provided?
  8. If the camp offers swimming, are there swimming lessons, or is it simply recreational swimming?
  9. Are campers in a group with a counselor all day? Or, are campers free to go from one activity to another with appropriate supervision? In this case, who would you talk to if you had a question or concern about your child?
  10. Is an open house offered before camp starts where you can meet your child’s counselor and van/bus driver?
  11. Are parents allowed to drop by for visits or is there a special parent visitation day?

Along with the above questions, you should also know that in the state of Florida, summer camps are not inspected or regulated by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  This makes it even more important for parents to gather information about the quality and safety of the program on their own. Parents should check to see if they are welcome to visit and observe the camp in action or attend activities with their child at any given time including water activities.

DCF suggests you ask these questions:

  1. What the programs health, safety and nutrition policies and procedures?
  2. Is the staff screened?
  3. What are the staff/child ratios and group sizes of the program?
  4. Is the staff well-trained?
  5. Is the program licensed or accredited?
  6. Are parents welcome to visit? Are family activities offered?
  7. Is there a daily lesson plan?
  8. Is the facility adequate for the number of children enrolled?
  9. What are the hours of operation, fees and payment procedures?

Download the Selecting Summer Care for School-Age Children: A Quality Checklist at http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/childcare/docs/SummerChecklist.pdf.

Because you should know – Florida law does require summer camps to conduct background screenings of all camp personnel, including owners, operators, employees and volunteers. Volunteers providing less than 10 hours of service per month do not need to be screened as long as they are always within sight of a person who meets the screening requirement.  In the state of Florida, the camps supported by UF/IFAS Extension meet each of the standards above.

The above questions and items to consider should help you in the camp selection process.  Always feel confident in asking any questions – as the parent, you have the right to feel confident in your child’s camp selection.

As you begin your summer camp search, remember to check out the day and residential camping programs offered by your local 4-H program.    We are confident in our volunteers and staff competency and would love to have your child participate in our safe and fun-filled summer camps.  Contact your local Extension Office for more details.

Resources for this article may be found at:  www.acacamps.org and www.myflfamilies.com.

4-H Volunteer Aiming For Success – Randy Adams

4-H Volunteer Aiming For Success – Randy Adams

April is a month of many celebrations.  Included in April’s celebrations is National Volunteer Appreciation Week.  Our aim this month is to recognize some of the many dedicated 4-H volunteers that impact our youth in so many different ways. From robotics to agriculture, we have numerous outstanding volunteers that dedicate many hours and are rewarded with the joys of the impacts they make to our future leaders.

OUR AIM

4-H Shooting Sports is one of the largest youth development programs in the United States.  Our aim is for certified volunteer instructors to teach young people to learn responsibility, self-confidence, and leadership abilities through the skills and disciplines of shooting sports such as archery.  Though arrows are unpredictable and independent from the bow, archers depend on the bow to be the unchanging factor in an otherwise deliberate sport. Aim, draw and stance can determine the trajectory of each shot, but the bow always remains the constant, the foundation in the sport.

THE BOW

As a 4-H Agent, one can parallel archery to life as a 4-Her.  As unpredictable as an arrow can be, it depends on the archer and the bow to make the shot.  Life guides 4-Hers to try new things and take exciting adventures, but they still want and need a positive adult role model to rely on and guide them. Everyone needs a “bow,” that someone they can count on to be consistent in their lives.  This is the relationship between a 4-Her and his or her 4-H volunteers; a sturdy foundation that fosters independence, confidence, and mastery of skills.

Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant.

                                                                                                                                             – Nigerian Proverb

RANDY ADAMS

Meet Randy Adams, a Holmes County 4-H Volunteer, certified 4-H Archery Instructor, Club Leader for the past 4 years, and “archery bow” for many a 4-Her.  Mr. Randy has been working with his 4-H club, the Dead Center Archery Club, on the safe and responsible use of the bow and arrow and believes he is passing on skills that some kids would not have the opportunity to learn otherwise.  He leads his club by example, humor, and with ease.  When asked what he found most challenging about volunteering, Mr. Randy stated having the extra energy to keep up with the kids in the afternoon!

Mr. Randy is an inspiration to his community and his 4-H family.  Not letting some of his own health challenges stop him from his passion to help others, give back to his community and his love for archery and turkey hunting, he has pressed on to ensure that he teaches his hunting and archery skills, lead club meetings, and raise funds to assist youth to attend their first 4-H archery competitions and helped a 4-H family when illness struck.

A true example of 4-H leadership through the four H’s of Head, Heart, Hands, and Health, Mr. Randy teaches local youth many skills in his 4-H archery club.  He reminds us that some of the greatest lessons learned in life are the simple ones – Life is not about winning, it is about succeeding.  It is about a volunteer helping a 4-Her gain the courage to take a first shot and hitting the target.

To find out how you could impact our youth as a volunteer in your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or for more information about programs like 4-H shooting sports, please visit http://florida4h.org.

http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/shootingsports/

http://florida4h.org/programs/Shooting_Sports.pdf

http://www.4-hshootingsports.org/

Ghoulishly Good Practices for Halloween

From candy to pumpkins to the costumes, Halloween is a fun-filled time for kids and adults alike. However, it can pose dangers.  To help make this year’s trick-or-treat a safe and fun time, follow these simple safety tips complied by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

CREATIVE COSTUMES:
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flames.

Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.

Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. The makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant allergies on the big night.

When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are “flame resistant”.

If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by the accessories if he/she stumbles or trips.

Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.

Review with children how to call 911 if they ever have an emergency or become lost.

PUMPKIN CARVING TIME:
Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then adults can do the cutting.

Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.

Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.

HOME SAFETY:
To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.

Adults should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.

Wet leaves and debris should be swept from sidewalks and steps.

Restrain pets so they do not jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

TRICK-OR-TREAT TIME:
A responsible adult should always accompany young children during their neighborhood trick-or-treating.

Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and adults.

If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.

Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters to:

  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
  • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
  • Do not assume the right of way. Motorists may have a hard time seeing Trick-or-Treaters.
  • Just because one car stops, does not mean others will!
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN TIPS:
A good, healthy dinner prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage children from filling up on Halloween treats.

Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books, stickers, or pens and pencils.

Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween to prevent overindulging, which will lead to a stomachache and ruin the night’s fun.

Make sure the Halloween night is fun and safe with the suggested tips above.  These tips will help guarantee you all a ghoulishly good time.

Source:  American Academy of Pediatrics

Happy Halloween!