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Meet Jackson 4-H volunteer Terri Hardin

Expanding Horizons and Teaching Work Ethics 

Jackson 4-H Volunteer Terri Hardin.

Jackson County 4-H volunteer club leader Terri Hardin wears many hats.  From working with youth at Golson Elementary School to working on her family ranch in Grand Ridge, Terri is one busy lady!  Somehow though she manages to find time to meet with the youth in the Country Bumpkins 4-H Club she started five years ago.  The club meets monthly at a community center in Cypress in East Jackson County.

Terri moved to Jackson County from Oxford, Texas in 2005 and is married to Jerry Hardin.  They have two daughters and two sons.  Daughter Gerri participated in 4-H and FFA and is now pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Art at Florida State University.  Daughter Faith is a sophomore at Marianna High School and is also in 4-H and FFA.  Son Sheldon is a supervisor at a lumber company and son Tyler manages a recycling facility in Arizona.  Terri is also expecting her first grandchild in August.

Terri did not participate in 4-H or FFA growing up.  However, since coming to Florida, along with her work with Jackson County 4-H, she has volunteered with the FFA Chapter of Sneads, helped start the Grand Ridge FFA Alumni and served as president for three years.  She helped reactivate the Marianna FFA Alumni and currently serves as president.

The youth in Terri’s 4-H club have opportunities to explore any project they want.  Their projects range from poultry and livestock production, exhibition and judging to geo caching.  Terri also makes sure that her youth know the value of giving back.  They do multiple community service projects each year that include tree planting, cleanup of local parks, collecting books and collecting food for local food pantries.  Terri and her club contributed clothing for adults and children during Jackson 4-H’s efforts to help victims of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

When asked what drives Terri to do volunteer work 4-H she shared, “The need to help children expand their point of views, hopefully instill good work ethics, get them outdoors, and show them there is a much bigger world out there.”

Terri’s inspiration is the need she sees to help youth and adults who are less fortunate and to improve the community she lives in.  Terri’s 4-H volunteer work meets the needs of those who might not have that opportunity otherwise. That much is evident in the number of youth who have been a part of Terri’s 4-H club and their accomplishments.

Terri shared that she has seen evidence of growth and development in the youth she has worked with over the past five years in their maturity, their ability to get along with others and the fact that they have stepped outside their comfort zones by exploring and expanding their fields of interest.

Terri sees the need for 4-H volunteers in her community and schools.  She suggests that anyone interested in 4-H consider volunteering at a school to see the needs that young people have and the guidance they need to succeed in today’s world.

Jackson 4-H is fortunate to have Terri working with youth and adults to help “make the best better”!

4-H offers a broad spectrum of projects and activities to serve a variety of interests, skills, and knowledge. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about 4-H, contact your local Extension Office.





4-H Day at the Capitol- A Day for #TRUELEADERS

4-H Day at the Capitol is a unique day where our State Capitol in Tallahassee is overrunning with a sea of 4-H green!  Youth from all 67 counties in Florida will travel to our Capitol on February 22nd to learn about their state government and experience the political process first hand.  Throughout the day, youth will hear from public officials, participate in educational workshops, and see their legislators in actions!  4-H’ers have the opportunity, on this special day, to have their voices heard by the leaders of our government and make an impact with their 4-H story.

The day begins with an address from the 4-H State Officers and from our Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam himself.  Putnam is a 4-H alumni and a leader in our Agriculture Industry.  He takes pride in sharing his story annually to the #TrueLeaders of upcoming youth in 4-H.  Listen to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s interview with Southeast AgNet about how participation in 4-H helped him develop the citizenship, speaking, organizational and leadership skills that he draws on to this day. Listen Here

“(4-H) Shaped my outlook on life and prepared me for the world beyond just county fairs and livestock shows.  Even my exposure to campaigns and elections came through participation in 4-H programs and the State 4-H Council.” – Adam Putnam, Florida Agriculture Commissioner

After the address from Mr. Putnam, youth explore the new and old Capitol buildings, can listen in on an official meeting, and have the opportunity to meet one on one with their legislators.  We do encourage 4-H Agents, Volunteers and youth to make appointments with their legislators prior to 4-H Day at the Capitol to ensure a meeting space and time.  You may be surprised to discover that many of the professionals working throughout the Capitol are 4-H Alumni and continue to utilize the life skills they learned during their 4-H experience to aid them in their careers daily.

Walton County 4-H’ers enjoying their Capitol tour.

In addition to meeting with legislators, youth may participate in mock sessions, scavenger hunts around the Capitol and educational workshops!  For example, youth can sign up to take a tour of the Big Bend Farm at the Tallahassee Museum, experience IMAX National Parks and learn about the national parks while completing science labs, or they may visit the Governor’s Mansion to learn about Florida’s First Family’s official residence!  Come take advantage of this annual event that exemplifies how 4-H Grows our future leaders and why “you’re going to need us.”  Sign up on 4honline today through January 31st!


Helpful Resources:

4-H Teen Retreat: Growing Leaders with Help from Farm Credit

Teen retreat participants can earn credits towards their camp counselor certification.

Teen retreat participants can earn credits towards their camp counselor certification.

Each summer Florida 4-H camps are bustling with 4-H volunteers, staff, and youth enjoying their week long residential camping experience. As a significant delivery mode in experiential learning, residential camping annually is home to nearly 4000 youth participants and 250 volunteers and agents. Within this mixture are some very important teens that give up their week as a “camper” and graduate to the role of “Counselors” or “Counselors-in-Training (CIT).” These teens, ages 13-18 sacrifice alone time, electronics, and sometimes their sanity in order to fulfill their leadership role at camp and place their campers needs ahead of their own. We’ve seen them overcome struggles, we’ve seen their growth, and we want to pay them back for all the countless hours they have dedicated to the program!

Therefore, the 2016 4-H Teen Retreat is scheduled for February 19th-21st at Camp Cherry Lake for ages 13 to 18! This is no ordinary camping experience for Counselor and CIT age teens. There will be no responsibility of campers but definitely the responsibility of having fun while teambuilding with other teens across the Northwest District. In doing so, teens will participate in workshops, fun-shops, listen to a key note speaker to inspire the leader within them, and then finish up the weekend with dancing, fun activities, and more. All camp rules and dress codes apply for the weekend. This fun-packed weekend costs $90 (scholarships may be available) and you can send payment and registration forms to your local 4-H Agent at the county Extension Office. This program would not be possible without the generous support of Farm Credit of Northwest Florida.  Teen Retreat is just one of the ways that Farm Credit is helping 4-H grow future leaders.  NWFL-BLACK LARGE with Tagline

Furthermore, within the 4-H Teen Retreat mini camping experience, teens will have the opportunity to discover the spark within themselves, ignite that spark, and see personal growth with the guidance of 4-H through activities that foster Leadership, Confidence, Compassion, Curiosity, and Creativity. Teens will gain leadership skills and confidence in their abilities as leaders and productive members of their community through workshops focusing on teamwork and personal goal setting. Next, teens will experience growth in compassion as they work together to complete a service project by contributing to “Sole Hope,” an organization that helps place closed toed shoes on the feet of children in third world countries. Lastly, teens will express and grow their curiosity and creativity in “fun-shops” offering projects in photography, videography, nine-square, and para cord bracelet making.

Teens that participate in the 4-H Teen Retreat will leave camp with an arsenal of leadership skills, problem solving strategies, community service ideas and much more to take back to their counties. Teens may also expand their leadership potential by participating in some of UF/IFAS 4-H Priority Programs such as community clubs by becoming an officer or enhancing their current position; participation in citizenship and leadership through 4-H Legislature (June 27-July 1) participation in county events and attending 4-H University (July 25-29th.) Below are links to the State Events page where youth can customize their 4-H experience and tailor participation in events to fit their own personal leadership goals.

MorgancabinBy participating in 4-H, youth are reported over twice as likely not to participate in risky behavior and are over 3 times more likely to contribute to their communities as compared to non-4Her’s (Florida 4-H: Facts & Impacts.) In the 2014 4-H Common Measures Statewide Survey of 4-H Seniors, 92% reported they know how to deal with stress in positive ways, 84% agree they learned things that helped them make a difference in their communities, 98% agreed they respect people from other cultures, and 95% agreed they can apply knowledge in ways that solve real-life problems through community service. These statistics show that through participating in 4-H activities and events, youth are becoming more competent, productive citizens in their communities. This in turn leads 4-H youth to be better prepared for leadership roles within the workplace.

Take advantage of everything 4-H has to offer by kick-starting 2016 with the 4-H Teen Retreat! For more information on how to sign up for the 2016 4-H Teen Retreat contact your local 4-H Agent and complete the registration form below. For resources on leadership please visit these EDIS publications referenced in this article.

  • Teen Retreat Registration & Medication Forms:

  • Florida 4-H Camping Facts & Impacts:

  • Florida 4-H Facts & Impacts:

  • 4-H Common Measures Statewide Survey: