After a year like 2020, there is lots of excitement and anticipation around the arrival of 2021. Here at 4-H in the Panhandle, we have been making plans to grow together with our 4-H families and volunteers over the next several months. This past year has been tough, but 4-H members, volunteers and families are resilient! We have decided to go back to the basics and focus on building skills that every 4-H agent, staff, volunteer and member needs to be successful in 2021 and beyond. The Volunteer Knowledge and Research Competencies are six essential skills that every youth and adult needs to be successful 4-H leaders. The skills include: communication, organization, 4-H program management, educational design and delivery, positive youth development strategies, and cooperative interpersonal characteristics. Each quarter will focus on a different skill. Our blog articles, social media posts, and webinars will all focus on building that skill into our personal, professional and most importantly- 4-H culture! Each week will will have tools and videos to help our 4-H community across the panhandle grow.
We are kicking our series off with communication skills- one of the most basic, but most important skills to have! Over the next few weeks, we will dig deep into cultivating listening skills, speaking skills, writing skills, advocacy skills and how to use social media effectively (and safely) to communicate the value of your 4-H club or project. To take advantage of this series, you will want to make sure you are signed up. We have intentionally provided several different ways you can receive materials (and it is all free of course!).
- Follow us on Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest (Twitter and Instagram coming soon!)
- Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, 4-H in the Panhandle, with links to all of our blogposts, videos, checklists and tools
- Sign up for our monthly webinar, where we meet to network, share and develop our skills
We hope that you will join us on our journey this year to build strong 4-H clubs, programs and communities across the panhandle of Florida! For more information about your local 4-H program, please contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.
Volunteers are a vital part of the Florida 4-H program, and we want to provide our volunteers with the tools needed to be a successful volunteer with your county 4-H program. 4-H Agents in the Northwest District developed a Volunteer Resource Site this year to assist volunteers in their roles. A large part of volunteer success comes from training and preparation, as well as, having access to relevant resources and materials to assist you in your role. The Volunteer Resource Site contains valuable information to prepare, train, and provide support in your role. There are three main sections to the site and you can explore what you will find in each section below. A virtual tour of the site is also available and can be accessed by clicking here.
Not a volunteer, but interested in how to become one? This section is where you want to start! There is a short video available on how to become a 4-H volunteer along with more detailed step-by-step instructions. You will also find a link to five volunteer orientation videos provided by Florida 4-H. After making contact with your county 4-H Agent to learn what volunteer roles are available in your area, come back to the volunteer site for a direct link to create your volunteer profile in 4-H Online.
Florida 4-H offers a variety of ways you can volunteer with the program. Under this section of the site you will find a short video discussing the potential volunteer roles. The Serve page also contains direct links to position descriptions of each role for you to further explore each volunteer opportunity. Each position description lists the purpose of the role, your duties and responsibilities, basic qualifications you will need, the resources we will provide you, benefits of volunteering, and the time commitment. The different types of volunteer roles can vary by county and it is recommended to contact your county 4-H agent to learn about the role opportunities in your community.
This section contains critical resources on specific topics related to your role as a volunteer. We understand that volunteers have busy schedules, therefore, each training item has the completion time listed with it. This allows 4-H volunteers to plan their trainings based on their own schedules. You will find resources on 4-H club management, events, risk management & safety, club meetings, and more in this section.
The Northwest District Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy training and resources can also be found in this section. You can review the training schedule for the Volunteer Leadership Academy, register for trainings, and watch previously recorded webinars. The Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy is offered to volunteers and those interested in becoming a volunteer. This series provides monthly webinars to learn new information and skills that will positively impact 4-H youth.
It also allows you to network with other volunteers in the NW Extension District and participants have the potential to earn a social media digital badge!
4-H judging teams are a wonderful way to help youth learn life skills such as decision making, teamwork and public speaking. These events are also a way for youth to demonstrate mastery of subject matter skills. Florida 4-H offers a wide variety of judging contest opportunities. Because there are so many contests, it can be a little overwhelming for 4-H volunteers, however, there are simple strategies you can learn to teach any type of judging contest. While the subject matter changes from contest to contest, how you prepare young people to learn the material and compete is the SAME! One you master these simple strategies, you can coach any type of judging team. Join us Thursday, October 15th at 6PM central/7PM eastern to learn how to incorporate judging teams into your club program. Brian Estevez and Aly Schortinghouse, 4-H agents in Escambia County, will present the program as part of our Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy Series. For more information, or to register, visit http://bit.ly/4HVVLA.
Also, check out some of our previous blog posts about the impact of our judging programs…
The new 4-H year kicks off September 1st and that means our Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy will begin our fall series. Based on volunteer feedback, we have made some exciting changes! The biggest change is that our live sessions will be offered in the evenings instead of the middle of the day. An email notification has been sent to all our registered participants about the time change. Hopefully, this will allow more people to attend the live sessions.
The second change is that we have adjusted some of the topics based on COVID-19 transition needs. Here is our updated schedule, as well as a description of the session:
|Time is 6PM Central/7PM Eastern on the third Thursday of the month
Making Virtual Meetings Fun
|Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 4-H club year looks different right now. As we move through phase 2 and phase 3 of our transition to “normal” virtual programs are still encouraged. Join us to learn simple strategies for making virtual and socially distanced programs fun and engaging for youth. This session will provided resources for:
1. Virtual and socially distanced icebreakers
2. How to lead hands on activities in a virtual or socially distanced setting
||4-H Judging Teams
||Judging contests are a great way for youth to learn decision making skills, public speaking and teamwork. This session will:
1. Give an overview of judging opportunities in Florida 4-H
2. Provide resources for getting started coaching a judging team (virtually or in person)
||Mindfulness for the 4-H Volunteer
||For many counties in the Northwest District, the past few years have been extremely stressful. Between Hurricane Michael and now COVID-19, our 4-H volunteers are burning the candle at both ends. This session will help you learn strategies to relieve stress through the science of mindfulness.
|| No session- enjoy time with family and friends!
If you are not registered, there is still space (and registration is free). Register once, and you will be signed up for all the sessions. If you can’t make a session, you will receive a link to the record so that you can participate at your convenience. While these sessions are geared towards 4-H club leaders, anyone interested in helping with a club or eventually becoming a volunteer is welcome to attend.Attend at least three live sessions in 2020, and you will receive a digital badge! We also have some exciting doorprizes as we gear up for our 4-H Volunteer Retreat in January 2021. If you have questions, or would like to suggest topics for 2021, please contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.
April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy on April 16, 2020 was on the importance of awards and recognition. We learned that recognition is important feedback that every individual needs as it helps to give a sense of belonging when a task or achievement occurs. Recognition builds self-esteem and allows for self-reflection and personal growth.
In 4-H, youth members, volunteers, parents, and community partners all want to know that they have been successful in their participation and/or contribution to the program and that they belong in 4-H. All members need to experience recognition for their efforts and that recognition is more meaningful when it occurs soon after it is earned. April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy webinar explained that the National 4-H recognition model is based on five areas for recognition: participation, progress toward goals, standards of excellence, competition and cooperation. It also shared helpful tips on creative, low cost ways of recognition that will still send a meaningful message of value and importance to members in the program.
If you were unable to join us for April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy, it is not too late to register for future webinar sessions. And, as a registered participant, you will have access to all of the sessions available, including missed sessions, which can be viewed on demand.
Registration is required and can be found at http://bit.ly/4HVVLA Once registered, you can join each session live through Zoom. In addition, if you are unable to connect live, all monthly webinars will be available to you on demand as they are recorded. Register early – seats are limited to the first 100 registrants.
Future 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy Webinars
- May – Club Tools for Online Use
- September*- Judging Contests
- October*- Preparing for Exhibits & Shows
- November* – Club Organization Basics
*Fall session registration will be available July 1, 2020.
Webinar Viewing Information
Join each live session simply with one click from your phone, tablet or computer, using the Zoom app. Once you have registered, you will receive email communication regarding the Zoom session links, dates and times.
4-H is one of the largest youth development programs in America with more than 6.5 million young people, ages 5-18, and 540,000 youth and adult volunteers. A variety of fun, educational, engaging activities are offered to teach the fundamental 4-H ideal of practical, “learn by doing” experiences which encourages youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. For information on how you can get involved with 4-H as a youth, volunteer, or supporter, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county.
Making lotions and bath scrubs, practicing relaxation and doing yoga…doesn’t this sound like a great 4-H club program? Discover 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs are a great way to learn about homemade body products while learning relaxation techniques. Youth create a day at the spa by making lotions, soaps, scrubs and lip balms while learning methods to relax like tennis ball massages, creating a happy list, doing yoga and creating a zen garden. An added bonus is homemade products are a fraction of the cost of purchasing and make great gifts for friends and family.
Make your own Luxurious Bath Salts
Naval Support Activity-Panama City staff learning how to making calm bags.
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup powdered milk
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1 cup Epsom salt ( scented or plain)
- Use 3-5 drops fragrance oil designed for soaps or diluted essential oil for plain Epsom salt
- Mix ingredients
- Spoon the mixture into storage containers (wide mouth jars, bowls or zip style bags work well)
- Label your container with ingredients and direction for use – Pinterest has several cute label designs
Caution: Essential oils are very strong and can be a skin irritant if applied directly to your skin. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends diluting essential oils with a carrier oil: use 1 teaspoon of coconut, almond, olive, sunflower or jojoba oil with 2 – 12 drops of the desired essential oil. Then, mix 3-5 drops of the diluted oil to your bath salt mixture. Bath salts are generally safe for most when used properly, but you should talk to your doctor before using bath salts if you have medical conditions such as skin diseases, heart disease or diabetes.
How to Use Your Bath Salts: Fill your tub halfway with warm to hot water, and pour in about 1/2 cup (120 g) of bath salts. For a stronger concentration, you can always add more. If you prefer showers, take a handful and rub over desired area. Bath salts are great to exfoliate by removing dead skin cells leaving the skin smooth and fresh. Tired achy feet or hands? No problem! Add salts to warm water in a dishpan, and immerse your feet or hands and soak away the pain.
NSA-PC staff learning the 4-H Spa & Relaxation Curricula they will use in their 4-H programs.
For more information on 4-H and other programs like this, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office, or visit Florida 4-H.
Are you an adult looking for ways to coach, teach and mentor youth? Contact the 4-H Agent in your county and enroll as a volunteer in 4-H Online. Volunteering not only strengthens the 4-H club, but also shows young people how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination, compassion, responsibility and resiliency – skills that will help them succeed in life.
Discover 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs curriculum