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2017 National Youth Science Day

As part of National 4-H Week, 4-H’ers participate in 4 H National Youth Science Day (NYSD), the world’s largest youth-led science experiment. This year’s 4 H NYSD event will take place on October 4. The 2017 4‑H National Youth Science Day Challenge is called Incredible Wearables!  This year’s challenge was developed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln and incorporates the fast-evolving field of wearable technology, teaching kids to not only use technology but to create it and understand how it works.

From watches and eyewear to fashion and virtual reality headsets, wearable technologies are fast becoming the must-have accessory for forward-thinking people around the world. Wearable technologies didn’t start out as trendy however – one of the world’s first wearable technologies was the hearing aid! Wearable technologies are now used in industries around the globe, from education and sports, to health, fashion, entertainment, transportation and communication. In this year’s challenge, youth use the engineering design process to build a prototype wearable technology that will gather data to help solve a real-world problem. They will design and build their own low-cost wearable health monitor following the engineering design process. This process includes defining the problem, designing and building prototypes (solutions) then systematically testing and evaluating enabling them to redesign for optimization of wearability and functionality.

During the innovative, hands-on project, these future engineers must work together to design, build and refine a wearable health-tracking device that is easy-to-use and aesthetically appealing. In fact, youth from Bay County have been training with their adult leaders to teach this challenge to other youth in their community on National Youth Science Day. Jason Scott, from Scott Innovative Solutions and an engineer at NSA PC, teamed up with the Bay County 4-H Agent to teach youth and adult partner teams about this project enabling them to be able to share their knowledge with others on October 4. When participants will attempt to solve the problem of people not staying active enough to lead healthy lives. In fact, youth will build a prototype fitness tracking device that could ultimately be marketed and sold to consumers to positively affect fitness behaviors.

After completing the challenge youth will have had an experience of using the engineering design process to build a device to help them monitor their health so they can gather data to make better decisions. They will understand more about how wearable technologies like FitBits, Smartwatches and other wearable devices are made.

The field of wearable technologies continues to grow in both quantity and quality. New technologies are being developed and put on the market on a regular basis, including virtual reality and augmented reality devices, clothing and accessories, as well as health monitoring devices. The future of wearable technologies is limited only by the imaginations of those designing them. By studying STEM and participating in this National Youth Science Day Experiment, youth could use technologies to develop products and mechanisms we haven’t even thought of, but definitely desire! To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this or volunteer your time to work with youth, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

Comparing device to prototype

 

Grow Confidence with Blue Ribbon 4-H Public Presentations

4-H has given Cass Dillard the confidence to deliver his first illustrated talk at the Washington County 4-H Events.

4-H has helped this Washington County youth develop confidence to speak in front of groups.  Photo credit: Julie Dillard, UF IFAS

A 2001 Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans suffer from glossophobia, or fear of public speaking.  This statistic inspired the famous joke by stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld that at most funerals, “the average person would prefer to be the one in the casket rather than the one delivering the eulogy.”  Fortunately, 4-H offers an easy antidote through our public speaking program.  4-H public speaking helps youth:

  • Demonstrate mastery of a subject
  • Practice quality communication
  • Increase self-confidence when speaking in front of others.

How and where would you find a 4-H volunteer teaching public speaking? Almost anywhere you’ll find 4-H activities! Here are some examples:

The main public speaking education program supported by your 4-H Office is called County Events.

What is County Events?

County Events is a venue in which 4-H’ers can share what they have learned in their project work though several different contests, including demonstrations and illustrated talks. These are show-and-tell type presentations lasting 3-12 minutes in which a 4-H member shows mastery of a subject matter area. Some contest regulations include:

  • Talks must fall between 3-12 minutes for juniors and intermediates, and 5-12 minutes for seniors.
  • Team demonstrations must show active, equal participation of both members.
  • Presentation must fall under an approved category.

Creating a Presentation

  1. Topic Selection- should be age appropriate and preferably related to their 4-H project.
  2. Organizing Thoughts- points should be logical and support the main theme.
  3. Visuals- neat, attractive and easy to read
  4. Practice Strategies- club meetings are a great place to practice and practice makes perfect!

Creating Buy in

Last month our Make a Difference Monday online volunteer training addressed ways for club leaders and parents to get their youth excited about public speaking.  Regional Specialized 4-H Agent Stacey Ellison shared some creative ideas to encourage youth and families to “buy in” to the idea of public speaking:

  • Set expectations
  • Have older youth mentor younger youth
  • Use the team approach
  • Approach it as a game show or cooking show where they can highlight their knowledge or skills

Awards and Recognition

County Events combine two forms of achievement and recognition for youth. These are:

  • Peer Competition (a panel of judges subjectively identifies, in a concrete time and place, the best teams or individuals through ranking)

Through this dual recognition system it would be possible for a blue ribbon presentation to place third in peer competition. All 4-H’ers who achieve blue ribbon standard at the county level move forward to the district level of competition.

If you have a passion for public speaking, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer.  We are in need of judges for our speech contests as well as speech coaches.  For more information on County Events please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

Family Friendly Ideas to Ring in the New Year

Enjoy a high-energy game of exercise bingo as you race other teams to see who can win! This game is available at your local extension office.

Enjoy a high-energy game of exercise bingo as you race other teams to see who can win! This game is available at your local extension office.

The New Year is upon us, and it is so fun to celebrate its coming with our families.  Do you have a favorite New Year’s Tradition? If not, there is still time to plan one for this year!  Here are a few fun and easy ideas to inspire you:

  • New Year’s Eve Bonfire– roast hotdogs and marshmallows and enjoy hot chocolate by the fire.  More family friendly campfire recipes
  • Game Tournament– set up a tournament of games. You can play Minute to Win-It Style games, board games, or even electronic/video games.   Each hour until midnight, let a family member choose their favorite game to play.
  • Balloon Countdown– You will need a balloon for each hour of the countdown, depending on when you start. I recommend starting at 6PM, so you would need six balloons. Place a slip of paper with a craft, game or activity written on it. Place a slip in each balloon, then blow up the balloons and label each one with a number, representing each hour in the countdown until midnight. For example, at 6PM, have a family member pop the balloon with the number six on it, and then the family would do the activity listed on the slip of paper. Continue to pop balloons until midnight! Some of the activities you might include are: make paper hats, write down New Year’s Resolutions, make noisemakers, enjoy fireworks, etc.
  • Progressive Hors d ’Oeuvres– this sounds fancy, but is really simple. Just prepare your family’s favorite snacks. Each hour, enjoy a different snack until midnight.
  • Family Movie Night is another inexpensive favorite.  Make homemade pizza or pop popcorn and enjoy a night in with your family.
  • Fireworks can also be a fun activity, but be sure to read our tips on firework safety beforehand.
  • Balloon Drop– a nice alternative to fireworks. Use masking tape to tape together 2 lengths of netting.  Extend the tape to make a “rip cord.”  Fill with balloons and confetti and tape to the ceiling (use painter’s tape so you do not damage the paint).  At the stroke of midnight, pull on the rip cord and enjoy a cascade of celebratory balloons and confetti!
  • And finally, you can go all in and recreate your favorite game shows.  Imagine win-lose-or draw, family feud, the price is right…the possibilities are endless.

Do you have a favorite family New Year’s Eve tradition? If so, share in the comments!  We want to thank you for another great year in 4-H! If you are not currently a 4-H member or volunteer, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office for more information, or visit http://florida4h.org for more information.

Tips for Healthier Holiday Cooking

Tips for Healthier Holiday Cooking

Holiday MyPlateThe holidays are often filled with time-honored traditions that include some of our favorite meals and foods. As you celebrate, think of little changes you can make this holiday season to create healthier meals and active days. An added bonus, these small changes may help you to avoid those extra holiday pounds we all fear each year. Happy Cooking!

In the Kitchen:
• For gravies or sauces — if you are making pan gravy, first skim the fat off pan drippings. For cream or white sauces, use fat-free (skim) milk and soft tub or liquid margarine.
• For dressings or stuffing — add low-sodium broth or pan drippings with the fat skimmed off instead of lard or butter. Use herbs and spices and a whole grain bread for added flavor.
• For biscuits — use vegetable oil instead of lard or butter and fat-free (skim) milk or 1 percent buttermilk instead of regular milk.
• For greens — use skin-free smoked turkey, liquid smoke, fat-free bacon bits, or low-fat bacon instead of fatty meats.
• For sweet potato pie — mash sweet potato with orange juice concentrate, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, and only one egg. Leave out the butter.
• For cakes, cookies, quick breads, and pancakes — use egg whites or egg substitute instead of whole eggs. Two egg whites can be substituted in many recipes for one whole egg.
• Use unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter.
• Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half.
• Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt.
• Try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie.
• Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

For meats and poultry (chicken and turkey):
• Trim away all of the visible fat from meats and poultry before cooking.
• Take off poultry skin before eating.
• Broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil meat, poultry, or fish instead of frying.
• Drain off any fat that appears during cooking.
• Chill meat and poultry broth until fat becomes solid. Skim off fat before using the broth.
• Skip or limit the breading on meat, poultry, or fish. Breading adds fat and calories. It will also cause the food to soak up more fat during frying.
• Choose and prepare foods without high fat sauces or gravies.

When Shopping:
• Start with a lean choice.
• The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (round eye, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
• The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
• Boneless skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choice.

Use the food label to help you choose
• Choose extra lean ground beef. The label should say at least “90% lean.” You may be able to find ground beef that is 93% or 95% lean.
• Processed meats such as hams, sausages, frankfurters, and luncheon or deli meats have added sodium. Check the ingredient and Nutrition Facts label to help limit sodium intake.
• Fresh chicken, turkey, and pork that have been enhanced with a salt-containing solution also have added sodium. Check the product label for statements such as “self-basting” or “contains up to __% of __.”
• Lower fat versions of many processed meats are available. Look on the Nutrition Facts label to choose products with less fat and saturated fat.

De-Saturate
• Use a nonstick pan with vegetable cooking oil spray or a small amount of liquid vegetable oil instead of lard, butter, shortening, or other fats that are solid at room temperature.

Enjoy the Food, Fun, Friends and Family!
Cheers to Good Health
• Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices. Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

Be the Life of the Party
• Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

Give to Others
• Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season. Giving back is a great mood booster.

Make Exercise a Part of the Fun
• Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal. Give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits such as workout DVDs, running shoes, and reusable water bottles.

Enjoy the Leftovers
• Create delicious new meals with your leftovers. Add turkey to soups or salads. Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews. The possibilities are endless!

Be sure your family and friends enjoy the food and fun, but focus on the time together. Remember this season is all about the memories, not just the food. You will feel better and enjoy your holiday time with less worry if you focus on staying healthy this season.

Source: USDA United States Department of Agriculture – www.MyPlate.gov

Meaningful Recognition in Florida 4-H Clubs

Florida 4-H Recognition Model

Florida 4-H Recognition Model

Recognition is a basic human need and can help build positive self esteem if handled in the right way and is an important part of the Florida 4-H Program.  Whitney Cherry and Karen Miliffe shared tips for club leaders on showing recognition in 4-H clubs during the March Make a Difference Monday session earlier this month.  If you missed it, you can view the recorded session at http://florida4h.org/madmondays.

Recognition is more meaningful when it occurs soon after it is earned and is related to a specific task.  It can take multiple forms– appropriate recognition varies depending on age, past experience, family lifestyle, community and cultural heritage.  Recognition motivates people to excel and take risks and in 4-H, it is the acknowledgement and affirmation of personal growth of an individual or group (such as a club).   Awards are simply the things we give people or groups to symbolize our recognition of their accomplishments or effort.

The Florida 4-H Recognition Model includes five types of accomplishments or goals. The five types of accomplishments that 4-H measurers for recognition are:

  1. Participation in educational experiences (certificates, t-shirts, participation ribbons).  The requirements for recognition for participation in a 4-H event are well publicized and easy to achieve.  These types of recognition can be earned many times and are usually not expensive, but valued.
  2. Progress toward self-set goals.  It is important for youth to learn to set goals and work towards them.  4-H project books are one way that we provide feedback on self-set goals.  The club annual program is a tool for setting the collective goals of the club.  As volunteers, we can assist youth with this by reviewing their goals frequently during the 4-H year, identifying what they have accomplished so far and helping them determine their next steps toward a goal.
  3. Achieving standards of excellence. In 4-H standards are used in two ways:
    1. Standards are established by subject matter and youth development specialists to provide a basis for young people to plan and work toward their goals
    2. Professional staff and /or volunteers and young people work together to establish standards– such as dress code at 4-H University, expectations of 4-Hers in club meetings, desired behavior at 4-H events/ camp
  4. Excelling in peer competition (judging contests, speaking contests, exhibits, animal exhibits and shows, portfolios, project book contests).  Competition has long been a component in the 4-H program. 4-H strives to make competition an educational process and an opportunity to teach youth life skills.  Peer competition is competing against one another’s peers.  Numerous competition exist form the local club level, county, district, state, regional and national.  4-H also provides opportunities for clubs to compete against other clubs with the Club Standards of Excellence and Community Pride programs.  Keep in mind that competition is not suitable for all ages (members 5-7 years old) and competition rules and procedures should be clear.
  5. Excelling in cooperation within a group (team or club awards or media recognition for service projects).  From the beginning 4-H has encouraged young people to work together to learn. Cooperation engages young people in group experiences that are interdependent– face-to-face interactions, individual and group responsibility, group skills development.  Cooperation involves everyone in the group and uses mutually agreed upon goals.

Recognition is a significant incentive to further learning. When properly used, it inspires young people to belong. Through caring adults and peers, in an inclusive and safe environment, recognition helps meets the needs of young people. Youth become and stay active in 4-H because they benefit.  4-H provides many opportunities for volunteers to make a difference in the lives of young people.  If every young person could step into 4-H, imagine all the resourceful problem solvers, skilled workers, and capable leaders they’d become.  That future is in our reach if we all lend our time and talents to guide the young people who will create it.  Make the investment of a lifetime- become a 4-H volunteer, and inspire the next generation!