The Importance of Club Involvement

The Importance of Club Involvement

pledge 2With summer approaching, you might be asking, “What am I going to do with my children while they are out of school?” One solution is to get them involved in a club. 4-H is the youth organization of the Land Grant University System, of which the UF/ IFAS Extension Service is a part. 4-H and other clubs offer many benefits to youth who participate.

For many children, they need to get out and do something. Research has pointed out many negative effects of spending too many hours in front of a television or on the computer. It is much healthier to be actively involved in activities, especially with other people.

I have said many times that idle time was detrimental to my children. Out of school time can be dangerous, as many children are exposed to drugs, alcohol, crime, and the list goes on. Clubs are a constructive way to spend their time.

Clubs offer a wonderful opportunity for children to meet new people and make new friends. Oftentimes, 4-H clubs are centered on a specific project or topic. Therefore, friendships or acquaintances are built around a common interest.

Life skill development is one of the greatest advantages of belonging to a 4-H club. Self-confidence grows as a result of obtained life skills. You can see from the chart below the four life skill areas and how the club leaders address the life skills through club involvement:


4-H Life Skill Area Targeted Life Skill(s) Suggested Activity
Head (thinking) Critical thinking, problem solving Use team-based activities with positive interdependence such as creating a group presentation on livestock disease
Head (managing) Goal setting, planning/organization, wise use of resources, keeping records, resiliency Assign individual roles such as leader, recorder, or materials manager to meet group goals
Heart (relating) Communications, cooperative, social skills, conflict resolution, accepting differences Provide youth with a means to assess group work skills and reflect on student performance independent from the other learning objectives
Heart (caring) Empathy, sharing, nurturing relationships Create long-term groups youth work within to share materials such as textbooks or tools
Hands (giving and working) Contribution to group, teamwork Successes and failures are shared by all members equally. Individual members can be randomly selected for assessment that will reflect on the knowledge/skills of the entire group.
Note: 4-H life skill areas and targeted life skills are from Norman and Jordan (2006), available at


Many clubs have a great emphasis on teamwork. Members are encouraged to work toward a common goal. This can be done in a variety of ways including community service, group projects, or during camp, just to name a few. Youth develop independence as they gain these skills to carry throughout life.

Last, but not least, leadership and responsibility can be obtained with club involvement. Youth are allowed to make their own decisions, elect officers, and learn to lead, follow, and carry out their responsibilities.

What better way to learn these skills during their childhood in a safe environment than through club involvement in 4-H or other youth organizations? If your child is not involved in a club, use the summer to see what is offered in your community that will meet your family’s needs.

If you are interested in learning more about 4-H, go to


Thank you from the UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District

Thank you from the UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District

Thank You for a Wonderful Year!

As we come to the end of our 100th year of serving the citizens of Florida, the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Faculty located in the 16 county offices of the Florida Panhandle thank you for making 2014 another great year!

Extension has come a long way assisting farmers and their families with relevant information since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, 100 years later, UF/IFAS Extension continues to provide science-based information to the citizens of Northwest Florida.

This year our County Extension Faculty provided valuable information and educational programs to 1000’s of individuals, families, businesses, and agricultural producers across the panhandle. As you know, our educational programming includes topics in areas such as Agriculture, Natural Resources, Horticulture, Family and Consumer Sciences, and 4-H Youth Development. UF/IFAS has a Solution for your Life!

We are excited about, and dedicated to providing our clients the most recent and science-based information on a wide range of topics such as:

  • agricultural production and marketing,
  • providing youth with exciting opportunities that develop life skills, teamwork, and responsibility
  • food preservation, cooking
  • helping individuals and families with health and wellness, parenting and manage budgets,
  • consumer assistance within the home,
  • wildlife and land management,
  • coastal and inland fishery management,
  • home gardening and commercial landscaping,
  • acquiring Continuing Education Units for a variety of licenses.

Though the first 100 years of UF/IFAS Extension have been very productive we do not plan on sitting back and resting on the accomplishments of the past. We will continue to provide you and your family the best information and education available to provide “Solutions for Your Life!”

Thank you once again for participating in our Extension programs! We look forward to seeing you in 2015, and as always, if you have a question on any topic, or a suggestion to help us help you better, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can find your local County Extension office on the web at or Facebook at

Happy Holidays & Best Wishes for the New Year!


Dr. Pete Vergot III, Professor, and Northwest District Extension Director and your County Extension Faculty and Staff of the UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District serving Panhandle Florida