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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.

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April Showers Us With Generosity

The month of April brings one of my favorite times of the year.  We have the Easter Bunny showering us with treats on Easter and the Earth dancing on its axis for Earth Day.  Pick any type of towering tree for Arbor Day and then there are a gazillion funny pranks and jokes to be told for April Fool’s Day.  Add a week to highlight the wonderful generosity of volunteers giving in organizations around the world and you have one fabulous month of the year!  That’s right!  April dedicates a week each year, National Volunteer Appreciation Week, to recognizing and celebrating individuals that give of themselves to help others.

Kim Gilbert is a 4-H volunteer that values both the impacts she makes and receives from being involved in 4-H.

To help the month of April highlight our NW District’s large green family of fabulous 4-H volunteers, let me introduce you to one of my 4-H volunteers befitting of April, 4-H, volunteering, and bunnies, oh my!  Meet Kim Gilbert, a Holmes County 4-H Volunteer, who has been the Rabbiteers Club Leader for the past two years.  With two daughters in 4-H of her own, she is a true example of a 4-H parent, volunteer, and supporter.  Kim fully supports the idea of 4-H being a big family and continually emphasizes this point in her 4-H club meetings.  She believes in 4-H’s essential elements and strongly stresses belonging and generosity with her club members.  As Kim explains, “You become a big family when you join 4-H and you can count on everyone to help out and pitch in.  I love my 4-H family!”

 

Chloe, learned to show her rabbit before a judge in a local 4-H fair.

Kim is always full of enthusiasm, encouragement, and new ideas that she shares with the youth and their rabbits. Armed with a soft rabbit in each arm and usually sweets for each club member too, Kim hops off to get her club meeting started.  With a background in raising, breeding, and judging rabbits, Kim is knowledgeable in a variety of rabbit breeds including Holland Lops, English Lops, Polish, Lionheads, Angoras, and Giant Angoras.  Not raised in 4-H as a child herself, she is thankful that she is able to provide 4-H opportunities to her own daughters and also give back by volunteering through leading the 4-H Rabbiteer Club.  Since Kim’s involvement with the Rabbiteers, Holmes County 4-H youth have learned how to participate in showmanship in local rabbit shows and fairs. When not leading club meetings, Kim will often times volunteer to work on exhibits and events to help staff and other clubs.

When asked which of the 4 H’s best represented her, i.e. Head, Heart, Hands, or Health, Kim stated that was actually a very hard question.  As a 4-H Agent who has worked closely with her for two years, I had no doubt which one represented her immediately but I patiently waited for her own reply with a secret smile on my face.  After a moment, Kim replies, “I would say it is a tie between Hand and Heart but if I had to choose, I guess I will go with Heart.”  Without a doubt, she nailed the answer perfectly! Kim is definitely one that is always thinking of others first, whether it is a simple note of well wishes or a thoughtful goodie bag of treats for each youth.  She leads the youth and other adults with her heart and demonstrates the role of a 4-H club leader very well, truly encompassing the passion that was founded when 4-H adopted the motto “to make the Best Better.”

Kim is a true advocate of 4-H, firmly believing that not only does she positively impact youth as a 4-H volunteer but that she is being impacted by the organization as well.

According to Kim, “4-H has totally impacted my life in a way that I would not have seen two years ago.  It has changed the way I look at things, how I handle things and has also taught me more things about my own self.  4-H has also brought my own family closer, learning to share more with each other.”  Ah, there’s that generosity component we 4-Hers love to spread so much!

Hop on over to http://florida4h.org/volunteers_/ to join our 4-H family!

With truly caring volunteers in our 4-H family, it’s no wonder that 4-H is one of the nation’s largest youth development organizations in the world.  If you are not a 4-H volunteer yet, what is stopping you?  Hop on over to our website at http://florida4h.org/volunteers_/  to join our 4-H family as a volunteer!  We have something for everyone!

Inspiring the Next Generation: Mrs. Ruth Ann Scurry

Mrs. Ruth Ann Scurry has been a volunteer for the Jefferson County Hickory Hill 4-H Club for 20 years.

Mrs. Ruth Ann Scurry has been a volunteer for the Jefferson County Hickory Hill 4-H Club for 20 years.

What keeps a volunteer motivated to serve for more than 20 years? If you ask Mrs. Ruth Ann Scurry, a Jefferson County 4-H club leader, she will tell you it’s about making a difference in a young person’s life! Mrs. Scurry raised three sons who were active 4-H members. Her son Kenya even competed at the state level with his demonstration on small engines. Her sons benefited so much from the 4-H program that when her youngest son graduated, she decided to start a 4-H club at her local church called the Hickory Hill 4-H Club. Twenty years later, she still leads this club which focuses on healthy living programs, as well as sewing, gardening, fishing, and consumer choices.

When asked what advice Mrs. Scurry has for club leaders, she shared, “you have to remember to keep the lessons you teach practical and hands on. When teaching nutrition, I show them what a portion size is and remind them to each like a king (breakfast), queen (lunch), and pauper (dinner). If you use examples and language they understand, they will remember. You also have to keep it fun. I make sure to plan a fun treat every now and then to keep the kids motivated and surprised and it works every time.  They never want to miss a meeting!”

When asked what is most challenging about being a volunteer today, Mrs. Scurry says, “Many young people today live with only one parent, grandparent, or other relative. These families need help raising their children. 4-H encourages them to make good choices and helps them feel like they belong to an extended family- a 4-H family. 4-H helps them learn how to follow rules and to respect others. Being a good role model is important too. It’s so true that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’”

Mrs. Scurry has helped build a “4-H village” of caring adult volunteers for her club. She offers simple yet sage advice on how to do this: “Get everyone involved.” She involves everyone from 5-years olds to 83 years old as members and volunteers in her club. She empowers them to make a difference in the lives of 4-H youth by finding out what their strength is, and then asking them to share that strength with the club through an activity, field trip, demonstration, or project.

Mrs. Scurry has not limited her service to just her club. She has also volunteered as a chaperone for 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, the North Florida Fair, and even spearheaded a volunteer appreciation luncheon for local volunteers and community leaders.

Mr. John Lilly, the Jefferson County Extension Director stated, “All of Ms. Scurry’s hard work and dedication affects the entire Jefferson County 4-H Program in a positive way. We are fortunate to have such a loyal and faithful volunteer leader.”

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, 4-H in the Panhandle is sharing stories of inspirational 4-H volunteers every day this week. if you find Mrs. Scurry’s story inspiring, consider becoming a volunteer yourself! Nearly 3,000 volunteers in the Florida panhandle are making a difference in the lives of more than 28,000 youth. In 4-H, you can leverage your experience and skills to help a young person find their own passions and interests. 4-H needs volunteers like you to inspire the next generation.  To learn how to become a 4-H volunteer, contact your local Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org/volunteers.

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