It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week! Our 4-H volunteers invest their time into our community’s most valuable resource – our future!
Today we want to thank Stacey Warden who has led the Jackson County 4-H Livestock Club for the past six years. Stacey coaches our livestock, meats, and poultry judging teams and helps us host poultry and livestock workshops. A former 4-H national champion poultry judge herself, Stacey has coached teams that have competed successfully at the local, state, and national level.
Stacey loves to compete, but her dedication to her club members isn’t limited to just driving them to judging contests. She goes above and beyond to help her club members learn new skills, meet their goals, and chase their dreams. When asked about the impact that Stacey has made, Jackson County 4-H Livestock club member Taylor Yoder said, “Mrs. Stacey has done so much for me since I met her. She has taught me a lot about livestock and has grown my love for it. She is always pushing me to be the best I can be without overwhelming me.” Stacey’s service to her community has earned her statewide respect, but what’s truly special is that she’s captured the hearts and minds of her club members right here in Jackson County. Thank you for your service, Stacey!
Are you interested in volunteering with 4-H? Learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county!
Sara Brake, Santa Rosa Volunteer
Sara Brake has been a Santa Rosa County 4-H volunteer for over ten years. She remembers her first experience with 4-H as an eight-year-old, stating, “My mom was a fourth-grade teacher who helped organize the Tropicana Public Speaking program at Jay Elementary. My first 4-H experience was in the summer of 1990 at a summer education program held at the Jay Civic Center; we learned about solar energy.” All of her energy goes toward the youth in the 4-H program now.
Sara is passionate about summer camp and camping at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville. She explains, “Camp meant a lot to my family and to me as my grandfather had gone to Camp Timpoochee in the 1930s, and my mom went to Timpoochee in the 1960s.”
She also remembers, “4-H Legislature was my first summer program as a Senior 4-Her.” She devotes much of her time to planning the state-wide event that teaches youth civics in a week-long, hands-on atmosphere in Tallahassee, Florida, each summer. When asked about her dedication of so much time to 4-H Legislature, she replied, “My favorite thing about Legislature as a volunteer is seeing how excited youth get when a bill they are passionate about goes the way they want.”
Sara Brake gives so much back to the 4-H program because 4-H gave so much to her. She said, “My 4-H experiences helped me become the person I am. I know there are parents today who cannot take time to take youth to events and programs. I have the flexibility to give time. Helping youth have access to programs that meant so much to me when I was a youth is what keeps me volunteering.”
Santa Rosa County 4-H and youth from across the state of Florida, thank you, Sara Brake, for all of your hard work and dedication to our youth.
To learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county.
Missy Briggs, volunteer, helps lead a discussion during Leadership Club
At the beginning of the 4-H year, the Leon County Leadership Club was in need of two new club leaders. Sheeja George and Missy Briggs both stepped up to fulfill the role of club leaders and Leon County 4-H is lucky to have them! Sheeja is an Agricultural Scientist at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. Missy is a Senior Performance Consultant with Capital City Bank in Tallahassee. They both have exceeded expectations and are everything you’d hope for in a 4-H Volunteer. You would never guess this is their first year leading a club!
When asked why she chose to volunteer with 4-H Sheeja expressed, “I feel strongly about using my time and any talent or resources that I have for things beyond self and family. Over the years this is a commitment we have shared as a family. That’s what keeps me motivated to volunteer in general.” Missy shared, “I enjoy volunteering with the 4-H Leadership Club because I am encouraged by the drive, teamwork, empathy, and respect the youth show for themselves, for each other, their community, and their world.”
Volunteer, Sheeja, stands with Allison, 4-H Agent, and Bobby, guest
Leadership Club took on a major project this year with the guidance of Sheeja and Missy. This project was the Leon County 4-H Olympics. At the first club meeting, the members decided they wanted to host a brand-new event called the 4-H Olympics. Sheeja and Missy embraced the idea and successfully guided the members through the planning process. Each member had a specific role and all major decisions were the result of a group vote. During the “411 Teen Talk” radio show on WFSU, club member Stephen Hayes stated the most important thing he has learned from Leadership Club this year is how to work with people who have different ideas. Sheeja and Missy made sure that each club member had a voice in the planning process and during the day of the event. In an effort to raise money for the 4-H Olympics, Sheeja spent an entire Saturday with a few club members hosting a bake sale at the Leon County 4-H/Tropicana Speech Contest. The two club leaders were able to secure a guest motivational speaker during the event, which made the day even more special.
Club members after the 4-H Olympics
The first Leon County 4-H Olympics was a success and that could not have been accomplished without the two wonderful volunteer club leaders, Sheeja and Missy. They exemplify what it means to be a 4-H volunteer by growing true leaders in their community. Sheeja expressed “I thought the 4-H club would be a great avenue to work with youth and impact their lives in whatever little way I can in areas of life that will be important to them as they become young adults. This includes leadership, public speaking, being collaborative and team-players.”
Leon County 4-H is looking forward to see where Sheeja and Missy take Leadership Club next year!
To all of the volunteers in the district, thank you for all you do. Learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county.
Jackson County 4-H Senior Dylan Ziglar
Dylan Conner Ziglar joined 4H Jackson County Livestock Club in 2012. Dylan has had opportunities to participate in poultry judging, meat judging and livestock judging earning many awards and ribbons. Dylan has participated in the Chick Chain project, State Poultry Judging Competition earning 2nd place high individual in 2019 and a spot on the Florida Team at the National Egg Poultry Conference with the Florida Team placing 6th in the country and was on the Florida National Livestock Skillathon Team. He has earned multiple individual and team awards in meat, poultry and livestock judging competitions in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
Dylan has also been a member of Marianna High School FFA participating in FFA poultry and meats judging competitions. He is a volunteer at Evangel Church in the audio/visual department. Dylan is a member of the Jackson County Junior Cattleman’s Association in Florida and currently serves as the secretary. In 2021 he was a vital member of the Jr Cattleman’s Quiz bowl Team placing first in the Cattleman’s convention Quiz bowl competition.
Dylan is a vital part of his family farm, The Lazy Acres Family Farm, in Marianna and is the operation manager of the swine operation and assists his parents in other farm chores and work. Following high school, Dylan plans to enroll at Florida Panhandle Technical College and pursue a certification as an electrician. Dylan’s dream is to one day be an entrepreneur/business owner.
To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office.
Article Submitted by Doug Mayo and Patti Peacock
Sherry Anderson once said, “Volunteers don’t get paid because they are worthless, they are priceless.” One of the most valuable gifts you can give is your time, talent, and knowledge. On any given day, 4-H volunteers are doing just that because they care about their communities. This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and we want to thank the 800+ adults who volunteer with 4-H in the panhandle of Florida. Last year, they reached more than 13,000 school-age youth- which was a challenge given the global pandemic. Volunteers in the panhandle donated more than 12,000 hours of service, which is valued at more than $300,000!
It’s easy to talk about the impact of volunteers in numbers, but the real impact is the investment they make in young people. The 4-H program focuses on training volunteers to build the right environment for youth to thrive. This includes adhering to the eight principles of quality youth programming, facilitating sparks, and developing caring relationships. This setting provides a rich context for youth to grow socially and emotionally. This is not an easy task, and that is what makes our volunteers so special. They are willing to work hard to see youth success in work and life. Read more about the 4-H Thrive Model.
Over the past few years, we have shared dozens of stories about our volunteers and the impact they have on communities and youth. These stories are linked below for your inspiration and to show our appreciation! Also check out our playlist on YouTube for more about how our volunteers are making a difference!