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Bring a Little Zen to Volunteers and Youth with 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs

Bring a Little Zen to Volunteers and Youth with 4-H Spa and Relaxation Clubs

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

Ladies making homemade beauty products.

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.

Two women preparing homemade beauty products.

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 

The 4-H Culture

Every organization has its own culture, and 4-H is no exception.  Here are the ones that make 4-H unique!

What is 4-H?

4-H is the youth development outreach program of Land Grant Universities, the Cooperative Extension system, county government, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

4-H members are actively involved in educational projects that are fun but also instill life skills while working with caring adult leaders. 4-H projects use quality curriculum incorporating the most current research and knowledge available through the Land Grant University system.

4-H Pledge

The 4-H Pledge states what we want youth to achieve  as a result of their involvement in the 4-H Youth Development program. It reminds members of the four areas of growth 4-H targets and reinforces the importance of mastery of life skills.





4-H Colors

The 4-H colors are green and white.  White symbolizes purity and high ideals.  Green, nature’s most prominent color, represents growth.

Motto: “To Make The Best Better”

The motto’s intent is to inspire young people to continue to learn and grow and to make their best efforts better through participating in educational experiences.

Slogan: “Learning By Doing”

This sums up the educational philosophy of the 4-H program. Young people learn best when they are involved in learning. The intent is for youth to become engaged in learning by doing, reflecting on their experiences, and applying it to future situations.

4-H Name and Emblem

The 4-H Youth Development Program is represented by a popular, recognizable image that consists of a green four-leaf clover with a right turned stem and the letter “H” in white on each leaflet.

The text, 18 U.S.C. 707, appears with the emblem.The name and emblem are held in trust by the Secretary of the USDA and are protected by Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 707 (18 U.S.C. 707).  This means it is afforded the same status and regard as the White House and Presidential Seals and may only be used as authorized by the statute, regulations and guidelines, and according to the authorization of the Secretary or designated representative.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the culture of 4-H. Use of the 4-H name, motto, slogan and emblem signifies youth, adult leaders and 4-H Agents agree to the principles of youth development promoted through    4-H. To find about more about 4-H in your county, click here.

Want to learn more?

Making a Difference by Fostering Independence

Make a Difference Monday is an online volunteer training series.

Make a Difference Monday is an online volunteer training series.

Most youth have started back to school, and soon we will roll over onto a new 4-H year as well!  We are excited to kick off our Make a Difference Monday series next month.  Make a Difference Monday is a online training series for both new and experienced 4-H volunteers.  This year’s series will focus on the concept of Independence. There are two Essential Elements for Positive Youth Development related to Independence: Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future and the opportunity for self determination.

The first session will help volunteers perfect their processing skills as they facilitate 4-H learning in their club.  Learning how to lead youth through the process of learning and discovery can be easier said than done.  Sarah Hensley, our state curriculum and evaluation specialist, will provide simple resources and tips so that volunteers can become experts in our Learn by Doing Model.

The second session will really help us fine tune our skills at forging youth adult partnerships.  How we as adults see youth sets the tone of our club and county program.  This session will help us examine our own beliefs and attitudes towards youth (and how it impacts our success as leaders) and will also help us teach youth how they can have an impact on their own life rather than passively submitting to the will and whims of others.  In short- it is about empowering youth to make decisions and prepare them to be leaders to make a positive difference.   One of the most powerful ways that club leaders can foster this Essential Element is by engaging youth in the club programming planning.  4-H Agent Karen Miliffe and myself will help guide you through that process.

One of the most difficult tasks for youth is learning how to set SMART goals.  For example, this year for my daughter’s very first 4-H demonstration, she wanted to demonstrate how to make home-made pasta.  Although that was an excellent idea, I felt that that would be a difficult demonstration for an 8-year old to pull off (to be honest, making home-made pasta is a bit of a challenge for most adults).  Instead, I helped her choose a more realistic and age-appropriate goal- demonstrating how to make her favorite batch of cookies.  Success in setting a achieving goals gives youth the confidence to aspire to more challenging goals in a safe way.  This session, taught by our Positive Youth Development Specialist Dr. Kate Fogarty and 4-H Agent Sonja Crawford, will also help us better understand the ages and stages of positive youth development to guide us as we support different age groups of youth.

Sessions will start promptly at 7 PM Eastern/6 PM Central.  You can join at home on our computer, phone, or tablet or if you prefer a group setting, you can contact your local UF IFAS Extension office for the nearest location available to you.  More information is available at 

September 19 Fostering Independence with Learning by Doing Sarah Hensley
October 17 Nurturing Independence through the Club Program Karen Miliffe and Heather Kent
November 21 Encouraging Independence through Project Work Kate Fogarty and Sonja Crews

Navigating 4-H Events and Activities

compassFlorida 4-H offers hundreds of events and activities to support 4-H clubs and members. 4-H events are specialized programs designed and conducted to SUPPORT a 4-H members projects at the club, county, district, state, and national levels. Events and activities are typically tied to a project (or curriculum) area and help the youth develop and demonstrate mastery; one of four essential elements that must be present in a young person’s life in order for positive youth development to occur.  Last month, Tracey Tesdall and Travis Shepard shared resources and tips for navigating Florida 4-H Events and activities to help parents and volunteers guide their 4-H members. You can watch the 45-minute presentation online, but here are some key points and pieces of information that they covered:

What resources are available?

Policies, Rules, and Guidelines for 4-H Events:

  • General 4-H Policies on membership and participation can be found online. Note that the 4-H Age policy did change this year on September 1st. Rules related to specific contests and competitive events can be found on the events page.
  • Overnight Events Policy- 4-H Members “real age” 19 have elevated risks associated with their attendance as a participant. Members “real age” 19 will not be housed with youth age 18 or younger. Otherwise members are housed within 2 years of age. Members who are real age 18+ are considered an “adult” in all illegal activities and conflicts.General Tips and Reminders:
  • State Level Competitive Event Rules– Youth must be enrolled in 4-H at least 30 days prior to the events and they much have completed at least one year of 4-H work including the current year, as established by the 4-H Agent. 4-Hers on a state level winning team may not compete as FFA members the next year or vice-versa.
  • Cancellation policy– Participants who register for an event and cancel before registration closes will receive a full reimbursement of any associated fees. Once registration has closed, no refunds will be awarded unless a documented medical emergency or natural disaster inhibits a participant from attending.

General Tips and Reminders:

  • Pay close attention to state event deadlines
  • Payment should always come from your county, unless otherwise specified (contact your local 4-H Office to be sure!)
  • Make sure that your participation form is updated and current before an event (in case of an emergency). This applies to both youth and adult chaperones and volunteers. Forms can be updated electronically in 4HOnline or you can print and complete a paper participation form.
  • Make sure you are familiar with event schedules, directions, dress codes, and what to pack (if overnight). Your local 4-H Office is a great resource. State-level event information can be found online and is updated often.

We hope that this information will help you and your 4-Hers plan a successful project this year in 4-H. If you have any questions, please contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or view the Make a Difference Monday presentation. On November 16th, join us at 7PM Eastern/6PM Central to learn about Mastering 4-H Project Records, Portfolios and Awards. For more information about Make a Difference Monday, our online volunteer training series, visit our website at


Understanding the 4-H Project

4-H Projects are about developing blue ribbon youth rather than blue ribbon projects.

4-H Projects are about developing blue ribbon youth rather than blue ribbon projects.

Make a Difference Monday, our online volunteer training series, kicked off this past Monday night!  This year’s series focuses on helping youth develop a sense of Mastery, one of the Essential Elements of a positive youth development.  Mastery is all about building knowledge and skills and being able to demonstrate those skills and knowledge effectively. Mastery is developed over time through intentional 4-H project work, events and activities.  The main goal of the 4-H Project is to help youth develop life skills, regardless of the subject matter content.  Some of the important components of a project include:

  • The use of quality educational materials to guide youth through a planned sequence of learning activities (4-H curriculum and project guides)
  • Project work is guided and validated by supportive, trained, caring adult project mentors or leaders (4-H project leaders and resource leaders)
  • Youth have opportunities to share what they have learned with others through club or county demonstrations, exhibits, shows, and other contests.  (Hint: tune in October 19th for an overview of 4-H events and activities and how they can support the project work of your club members)
  • Provide youth with opportunities to self-evaluate and gain a sense of accomplishment through project reports and the Florida 4-H awards and recognition model (Hint: tune in November 16th for an overview of our awards and recognition system and how project reports can help members with their portfolios for scholarships).

Here are some additional resources about 4-H projects, and how to use experiential learning to help develop life skills through 4-H project work:

In case you missed our live session, it was recorded and can be viewed online at  You can also check out our entire series schedule and find out how to connect from the comfort of your own home.  We hope to “see you” online in October as we work together to “Make the best better!”


New 4-H Youth Protection Policy in Place

Volunteer helping 4-H'er learn how to make jelly

4-H Volunteers strive to provide safe and secure learning environments.


From time to time new laws regarding youth protection are considered by federal and/or state lawmakers.  As these new laws and regulations are passed their effects are wide-felt, and often they reach into the 4-H program.  One such federal regulation on youth protection was recently passed, and while the new protection that it affords our youth is much welcomed, it does mean that 4-H volunteers will be seeing some changes in their county’s volunteer screening procedures.




What are the major changes?

  • All club leaders must be “435 Level 2” screened.  This means you will be fingerprinted.
  • All volunteers who work with youth 10 hours or more in a month, even if they are not club leaders, will be “435 Level 2 screened.  This means you will be fingerprinted.
  • All camp counselors will be “435 Level 2” screened.
  • All volunteers working directly with youth will be “Level 1” screened regardless of the number of hours spent with youth.  This means you will be background checked, but may not fingerprinted.

What can new and existing volunteers expect?

  • Existing volunteers may have completed some of these steps under our former system for volunteer screening.  They will be asked to complete the steps that are new.  New potential volunteers will need to complete each of the following steps in order before they should work directly with youth.
    • 435 Level 2 screening:
      • Register in 4HOnline (
      • Interview with your 4-H agent (Your 4-H agent will also obtain at least two letters of reference.)
      • Complete the online youth protection training (YCS800)
      • Return a notarized Affidavit of Good Moral Character to your 4-H agent
      • Schedule livescan finger printing (Your 4-H agent will help you with this.)
      • Be finger printed for 435 Level 2 screening
      • Receive a letter of appointment from your 4-H agent
    • Level 1 screening
      • Register in 4HOnline (
      • Interview with your 4-H agent (Your 4-H agent will also obtain at least two letters of reference.)
      • Complete the online youth protection training (YCS800)
      • Be background screened (Your 4-H agent will complete the screening.)
      • Receive a letter of appointment from your 4-H agent
  • The new policy also places an emphasis on accurate and timely record keeping, so your agent may require additional training on this subject.

This policy is new for agents and volunteers alike, so please be patient with your local extension office as they try to work as quickly and efficiently as possible to get all of their volunteer screenings up-to-date.

A copy of the new UF/IFAS Youth Protection Policy can be found at:*

*The official policy takes precedence over any discrepancies which may be found in this article.