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4-H University is 4 U!

Yes, 4-University is 4 U!  4-H University is one of the premiere state events in Florida 4-H.  Teens get the chance to participate in leadership workshops, explore career opportunities, interact with other 4-Hers from across the state, and have fun while learning how to better successfully engage in their community, country, and world.  Below you will find useful information as well as why you should attend this flagship state 4-H event.

WHY PARTICIPATE?

2018 Gadsden County 4-H University Delegation

  • Fun: We like all things we sign up for to be fun but sometimes they turn out not to be. We assure you, this IS a FUN event.
  • Network:  Connect with like-minded teens from across Florida.
  • Focused learning: Subject matter focused workshops offered are interesting and engaging.
  • Explore:  Visit an awesome college campus!  There are many things to see and do at UF.  It is your chance to visit a college campus.
  • Dorms:  Sleep in a college dorm.  Yes, you and your roomies get a little taste of future dorm life.
  • Leadership: True leaders know that leadership and learning is an on-going process.
  • Service Learning:  Giving back to others feels good.  Fresh ideas keep us focused and committed.
  • Goal Setting: Goals help us to expand our visions.  4-H U helps you set some goals for the future.
  • Being Supportive:  Fellow attendees are competitors and/or candidates running for State 4-H Officers we want to support.
  • Fun: Yes, I mentioned this twice! My Gadsden County 4-H senior youth have enjoyed 4-H U for many years for all the reasons above.  They stress FUN twice!

IMPORTANT REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Dates: July 29-August 1, 2019 (multi-day overnight state 4-H event)
Location: University of Florida, Gainesville
Who: Youth who are 4-H age 14-18
Registration: Opens on May 1 and closes June 30 at 11:59 pm Eastern. The cost is $275.00 for full week. Special one-day only registrations are available. Check out the website for more information.
How: Contact your local 4-H office
Learning opportunities: You do not want to be late registering so that you can have a better chance of getting your choice of track workshop: http://florida4h.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/4HU_2018_Workshop_Descriptions.pdf
More information: For more information, please visit this http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/4-h-university/


CALL TO ACTION:

  1. Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office
  2. Begin the journey as a 4-H Member
  3. Engage in local programs as well as district and state: http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/
  4. Read and share the other great 4-H In The Panhandle blogs by my colleagues
  5. Follow us on Facebook

Making Forever Memories at 4-H Summer Camp

Making friends at 4-H Camp in the early 1990’s (Melanie Taylor, Gulf County 4-H Agent, on right)

4-H Summer Camp preparations are in full swing all over the state. As a 4-H agent preparing for our week of county  4-H camp, my days are busy with phone calls and emails from parents, teen counselor training, adult volunteer screenings, paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork. Although it’s busy time for me as a 4-H agent, it also allows me to reflect why I chose this career path and why there is a sense of nostalgia as I prepare for 4-H camp.

Camp Memories

I grew up in Virginia and attended 4-H camp every year from age 9-18.  I was a camper that grew into a counselor-in-training and then a full-fledged counselor. Those weeks of 4-H camp were filled with hot days and warm nights, but it was worth it all for the memories I’ll have for a lifetime.  I can still smell the cafeteria food and hear the sounds in the gymnasium as kids played basketball and pounded at their leather-craft projects. I still get the chills when I think about our entire camp singing around the campfire circle and patiently waiting for a canoe, filled with camp staff, to land on the lakes edge.  The staff would enter the campfire circle carrying the flame and ceremoniously light the fire.  I’m still connected with my 4-H camp friends through social media and/or as close friends, and we continue to share our old, blurry camp pictures from the 1990’s each year on Facebook.

4-H Flag raised

Memories to Last a Lifetime…

This is why I work hard to prepare camp for my county campers and teen counselors – I want to create similar memories for them. In 10, 20 or 30 years from now, I want them to think back on the fun moments they experienced in the Florida 4-H camping program. I want them to form friendships and make camp connections for a lifetime, whether it’s learning to kayak, fish, making arts and crafts, cooking over a campfire, singing camp songs and much more.

With all of this said, I hope you as parents will consider giving your child(ren) these special moments.  The days are long, but fun, and nights are filled with campfires and hanging out with friends. When they arrive home on Friday, they’ll be exhausted but so excited to share all of the camp songs with you (prepare yourself for lots of loud, enthusiastic singing).  They’ll have new friends they want you to meet and tell you camp stories they’ll always cherish.

When is Your County Camping?

In northwest Florida, there are two 4-H Camps:
4-H Camp Timpoochee in Niceville and 4-H Camp Cherry Lake in Madison.
Each county in these camping districts has one week of camp each summer.  Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office now
to find out the details and register your child for a week of fun and memories!

Purple Up! for Military Kids

Child hugging his military parent

Purple Up! on Friday, April 12th

Most people think of the color green when they think of 4-H, but on Friday April 12, 2019, 4-H youth and volunteers in Florida will Purple Up! to show support for our military kids and families.  Join us in showing support and celebrate our young heroes! Participation in the 10th annual Purple Up! day is easy – wearing purple and take photos to share on social media using #fl4h and #purpleup.

Why Purple Up?
Military youth have unique challenges. Imagine how you would feel about having long and repeated separations from your parent.  Imagine your mom or dad missing important events like birthdays, holidays, and school events. How would you feel about frequent relocation or moves, having to make new friends, get familiar with new schools, and find new 4-H clubs and teams to join? These are all common experiences for military youth!

Many military children take these changes in stride, but it’s also hard to rebuilding a world every time they move. UF/IFAS Extension and 4-H are proud to be a part of the military family – 4-H works with military youth centers across the nation and overseas to create some consistency for youth in these situations.

Why the Color Purple?
Purple symbolizes all branches of the military and is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue.  By wearing purple and sharing in a visible way, you can show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices.

Did You Know?
Florida has the fifth highest number of school-age military children in the country according to the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center. We also have over 50,000 active and reserve military members whose families worry that they are in harm’s way when they deploy.

Be creative….the goal is for military youth to see the support in their school, youth groups, and the community! If you don’t have or own a purple shirt, wear a purple ribbon, tie or headband. Just show your support and let our youth know we care about them!  Can’t make the Purple Up! date? Then do something another day in April, the Month of the Military Child!

Remember, take pictures of your group wearing purple and share them on social media using #fl4h and #purpleup.
This allows us to:

  • collectively honor military children and their families
  • let military kids see the support of their community
  • thank military kids for their commitment and sacrifice

For more information on Purple Up!, contact Dr. Paula M. Davis at UF/IFAS Extension Bay County at 850-784-6105.

For more information on 4-H in your county, follow us on Facebook, and contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

By Paula Davis, Janet Psikogios and Jennifer Simms

Summer 4-H Camp Registration is Open!

youth at Camp TimpoocheeSummer camp…memories cherished and never forgotten.  Camp fires, swimming, canoeing and kayaking, roughing it old-school in cabins and bunk beds, camp songs and skits around the fire, life-long memories and friendships…these are some of the experiences your child can have at 4-H Camp Timpoochee or 4-H Camp Cherry Lake this summer!

Time to Unplug

4-H summer camps are places for youth to unplug and get some fresh air while gaining valuable skills that last a lifetime.  A core philosophy of 4-H camp is “letting kids be kids” by utilizing the learn-by-doing approach with a balance of routine and unstructured time within a nurturing environment where youth feel a sense of community and belonging.

Explore & Discover

Campers are encouraged to get out of their comfort zones to discover and explore their interests, talents, and values. Classes including creative dramatics, marine exploration, air rifle, mad science, and many other programs allows them to explore and excel.  Campers gain confidence, empowerment, and resiliency through these new experiences.  A sense of community and belonging grows from the traditional camp songs and dances they learn.  New friendships are formed from the multi-county dynamic that the 4-H summer camp provides where youth meet kids from other counties and walks-of-life.

NW FL Camp Schedule 2019

Who: Campers (8-13 years of age) & Counselors (14-18 years of age)

Where: Camp Timpoochee- 4750 Timpoochee Lane, Niceville, Florida 32578

Camp Cherry Lake- 3861 NE Cherry Lake Circle, Madison, Florida 32340

For more information, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension county office. 
Youth in life jackets and snorkeling gear.

Youth volunteers, like our 4-H Camp counselors, are a great asset to the county 4-H program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of Gas: Helpful Tips for Busy People

Woman with her face down on a desk

Are you physically or mentally running on E?

Are you racing “90 to nothing” in your daily life?   until something forces us to hit the brakes or the emergency brake is applied. Instead of clearing our plates, we add sideboards onto them so that we can accept more.

We wear many hats outside of work such as a family member, caregiver, volunteer, student, etc. Some days we find ourselves in foul moods where we lack comprehension, patience, and focus. Is it because we are hangry (hungry + angry) or just plain ole tired?  You’ve heard the saying; “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip”… or is that a beet?…LoL, you get the point. How do we avoid the breakdown that can and will happen if we keep pushing ourselves without intentional refueling?

Here are several tips to help you stay fueled and refreshed:

  • Block scheduling: I shared a photo of a tool that I use, but you use what works for you. The key thing is for you to understand where you can capture time for yourself to refuel.
  • Rest: Sleep on a regular schedule and take breaks during the day.
  • Eat well: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Have some fun: You are encouraged to have fun. Adulting is tough.
  • Take lunch: Go visit a local library, museum, or sit in your car at a local park.
  • Vacation: Plan for it, and take it. But leave some recovery time, so you are not rushing back to work the next day. Another option is weekend trips or a day-cations while kid(s) are at school.
  • Nurture your hobbies: When was the last time you ____________?
  • Guard your time: Once you’ve blocked it out, it’s yours.  Don’t let others guilt you into giving it back.

Slowly implement some of these tips into your life, and remember an empty tank is just that. Empty. You will be more productive by taking care of you, and you’ll be better able to wear all those hats.