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It’s not too late to apply for Community Pride Funds!

4-H Guide to Community Pride Grants4-H clubs and individual members of all ages are eligible to participate in a Community Pride Project. This project is a great way to directly impact your community through a special service learning project of your choice. Service learning is an experiential learning activity and you can read more about what service learning is here or here.

Community Pride is a service learning program. The objectives of the Community Pride Program are:

  • Youth learn about their community and the impact the community has on their lives.
  • Youth understand how to relate to their community as individuals and through group cooperation so they can effectively work in community activities, programs, and organizations.
  • Youth develop skills and knowledge in community leadership.
  • Youth gain experience carrying out community projects to improve their environment.
  • Youth develop an interest in and love for their community.

How Does Community Pride Work?

4-H member setting up trap for feral cat in community

4-H member in Martin County sets up a trap for feral cats as part of the Community Pride Project Photo by: Natalie Parkell

During the project a community issue is identified, a service project is selected, a plan is implemented by the group, and reflection and reporting take place.

What types of projects can you complete through the Community Pride Grant?

That is up to you! The best thing about the project is that you get to select your service learning project based on you community’s need. There are five main steps to the Community Pride Project and those are listed in detail below. Martin County 4-H members received a Community Pride Grant to help combat feral cats in their neighborhood and you can read more about it here. Broward County 4-H members have completed a variety of projects through this program and you can see the variety of projects here. If you would like to receive a Community Pride Grant to complete a service project of your choice, follow the steps below and contact your county 4-H Agent for assistance.

Cat that was captured and released after being neutered through a Martin County 4-H Project

One of the cats that was captured, neutered, and released as part of Martin County 4-H’s Community Pride Project combating feral cats. Photo by: Natalie Parkell

Step 1: Community Needs Assessment

A Needs Assessment might sound intimidating and complicated, but it is a very simple step. Think of a needs assessment as a brainstorming session with the club members. They will share their input from their personal experiences in the community to figure out what project should be selected. It is important for this part to be youth-led because you want to select a project that has a community need and an interest from the youth. During the brainstorming session you will also come up with potential solutions to the problem.

Step 2: Creating a Project Plan

The next step is to create a project plan based on the ideas that were generated during the brainstorming session. Youth will select a solution that they can work towards and this solution will be the project. It is important to consider what steps will need to be completed to make the solution a reality (i.e. supply needs, work days, locating community partners, and more).

Step 3: Submit a Project Proposal 

Your next step is to submit a proposal. All 4-H groups (or individual members) who would like to participate in this program must submit a proposal for funding of their Community Pride Project. Proposals accepted from the county must be emailed to 4hcontests@ifas.ufl.edu at the State 4-H Headquarters by the January 11, 2021 deadline date to be considered for the current 4-H years funding. Groups that are awarded funding will be notified via email in February with further instructions on your n

Step 4: Implement your Project

Now for the fun part! This is where you get to put your project plan into action and complete your community project. You will create your own timeline and schedule for the project and it will need to be completed between February through May 2021.

Step 5: Evaluate and Report

After your project is complete, it is time for you to reflect on all your hard work. During this time you will also evaluate the project and submit an official report to the state office by June 1, 2021. The state 4-H Office will conduct judging of all the completed projects during the first week of June. Participants in the Top Five Projects will be invited to a recognition breakfast!

2021 Community Pride Grant Important Dates:

  • January 11th, 2021 – Project Proposals Due
  • February 2021 – Grant Monies Disbursed
  • February to May 2021 – Project Implementation
  • June 1st, 2021 – Project Reports Due

Looking for COVID-19 “friendly” Service Project Ideas?  Check out this earlier post for suggestions!

New Volunteer Resources Site

Volunteers are a vital part of the Florida 4-H program, and we want to provide our volunteers with the tools needed to be a successful volunteer with your county 4-H program. 4-H Agents in the Northwest District developed a Volunteer Resource Site this year to assist volunteers in their roles. A large part of volunteer success comes from training and preparation, as well as, having access to relevant resources and materials to assist you in your role. The Volunteer Resource Site contains valuable information to prepare, train, and provide support in your role. There are three main sections to the site and you can explore what you will find in each section below. A virtual tour of the site is also available and can be accessed by clicking here.

Apply

Not a volunteer, but interested in how to become one? This section is where you want to start! There is a short video available on how to become a 4-H volunteer along with more detailed step-by-step instructions. You will also find a link to five volunteer orientation videos provided by Florida 4-H. After making contact with your county 4-H Agent to learn what volunteer roles are available in your area, come back to the volunteer site for a direct link to create your volunteer profile in 4-H Online.

Serve

Florida 4-H offers a variety of ways you can volunteer with the program. Under this section of the site you will find a short video discussing the potential volunteer roles. The Serve page also contains direct links to position descriptions of each role for you to further explore each volunteer opportunity. Each position description lists the purpose of the role, your duties and responsibilities, basic qualifications you will need, the resources we will provide you, benefits of volunteering, and the time commitment. The different types of volunteer roles can vary by county and it is recommended to contact your county 4-H agent to learn about the role opportunities in your community.

Learn

This section contains critical resources on specific topics related to your role as a volunteer. We understand that volunteers have busy schedules, therefore, each training item has the completion time listed with it. This allows 4-H volunteers to plan their trainings based on their own schedules. You will find resources on 4-H club management, events, risk management & safety, club meetings, and more in this section.

The Northwest District Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy training and resources can also be found in this section. You can review the training schedule for the Volunteer Leadership Academy, register for trainings, and watch previously recorded webinars. The Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy is offered to volunteers and those interested in becoming a volunteer. This series provides monthly webinars to learn new information and skills that will positively impact 4-H youth.
It also allows you to network with other volunteers in the NW Extension District and participants have the potential to earn a social media digital badge!

Make your Voice Heard: Join the Team

Make your Voice Heard: Join the Team

group of teens posing for picture

Members from the 2020 Teen Retreat Planning Committee.

The Northwest District Teen Retreat is an event for teens that occurs every year in the Northwest District. The retreat is held at either 4-H Camp Timpoochee in Niceville or 4-H Camp Cherry Lake in Madison. This event is unique because it is planned by the teens who attend! 4-H members age 14 – 18 get to decide on all the major details of the event by attending the Teen Retreat Planning Meetings. During the Northwest District Teen Retreat, a variety of educational workshops, funshops, activities, and a community service project occur. Teens are the main voice in planning the event. The more planning meetings you attend, the more influence you have on the program planning of Teen Retreat.

 

What Happens During Planning Meetings?

 

The meetings take place via Zoom allowing you to join from home. 4-H Agents and teen members throughout the panhandle will be on the call. The meetings take place via Zoom and you will have the chance to interact with teens across the Northwest District. The call is guided by 4-H Agents, but the dialogue is led by the teens. Each person in the meeting will have an opportunity to share their ideas and input. Votes take place to decide key items such as the theme, meals, workshop topics, and more. One on of the most important decisions is the t-shirt design. Everyone has an opportunity to submit a t-shirt design and a vote is conducted during the meeting to decide on the design and design colors. Another important decision is what we will eat at meal times and what the evening activities will be. Want to plan a fun event for you and your friends? Attend the Teen Retreat Planning Meetings! Contact your county 4-H Agent If you are not a current 4-H member and you would like to join and attend the Northwest District Teen Retreat.

Why Attend?

 

When you attend the planning meetings this allows your voice to be heard on how you would like the event to run. Participating in the planning meetings will automatically put you on the Teen Retreat Planning Committee.  Participating in the planning committee meetings helps teens increase their leadership skills through their use of organizational skills, decision making, planning, and teamwork.  In addition, those who are on the committee will have various leadership opportunities they can take part in throughout the event which can include helping with registration, leading activities, and helping with event set-up, etc.

 

2020-2021 Planning Meeting Dates

 

The Teen Retreat Planning Committee needs active teens to get involved! Teens are encouraged to get involved now in the planning process to give creative input for the 2021 Teen Retreat! So, mark your calendars now and save these very important dates! Committee meetings are held via video conference and can be joined online or by phone. To sign up for this committee, please contact your local 4-H Agent for the call-in information.The meetings are held on the following evenings at 5:30 PM CT/6:30 PM ET

  • September 29, 2020
  • October 20, 2020
  • November 17, 2020
  • January 12, 2021
  • February 9, 2021

To find out more information about 4-H programs or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Sheeja George & Missy Briggs

Volunteer Spotlight: Sheeja George & Missy Briggs

Youth sitting at desk

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.”

Three adults standing shoulder to shoulder

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.

Youth in group for photo

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.

Service Learning Versus Community Service

Service Learning Versus Community Service

Valentines Day Cards scattered on a table

Valentines Day Cards for the Tallahassee Senior Center

From participating in a park clean up to sewing dog beds for the local animal shelter, many 4-H members are actively involved in community service projects as part of their 4-H club experience. 4-H members pledge their hands to larger service, making community service an important part of club membership. 4-H has historically given back to the community by encouraging young people and adults to volunteer. Giving back to the community allows members to learn the value of helping others, develop leadership and communication skills, feel empowered, grow their decision-making skills, and much more.

But, are these members involved in service-learning? What is the difference between a community service project and service-learning? How can you turn a club community service project into service-learning?

 

 

A group of teens pose for a picture behind food collected to be donated

Leon Camp Counselors collected over 1,300 lbs of produce.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Community service is work done by an individual or group that benefits others. This work is typically done in your own community, to directly benefit the members in your community. Examples of this type of service are conducting food drives, planting a community garden, creating holiday cards for nursing home residents, or helping serve meals at a shelter.

 

 

 

Leon teens took a break from gleaning to pose for a picture.

SERVICE-LEARNING

Compared to community service projects, service-learning is a method of teaching youth that fosters a deeper connection to the project. Service-learning merges a meaningful community service project with purposeful learning and reflection. Here’s an example: if youth serve lunch to veterans, they are providing a service to the community and that is considered a community service project. For that same project to become a service-learning project, additional learning and reflection opportunities are included. Youth would be involved in the planning process and would work together to select the service-learning project based on the needs of a community. Before serving lunch to the veterans, youth could learn about the challenges and issues facing veterans in the community from a guest speaker or they could conduct research independently to present at a club meeting. After the project, youth reflect on the experience of serving lunch to the veterans and share any feedback or results with the community.

Successful Service-Learning Projects Include Four Steps:
Step 1: Assess

Club members work together to identify and assess needs in their community. Youth can have a brainstorming session or take a club field trip to assess needs in-person. After identifying multiple needs, club members will take a vote on the best option for their service-learning project.

Step 2: Plan

This step will take the most time. It is important to schedule the appropriate amount of time to plan the project. This can occur during a club meeting for small projects or over the course of multiple meetings for larger projects. Use the information gathered during step 1 to develop a plan, timeline, list of supplies and roles and responsibilities for each team member. It is a good idea to identify potential problems that might occur. Safety and risk management procedures will need to be addressed during this step. Club volunteers can guide this youth-led process, but it is important to let club members take the lead in planning.

Step 3: Conduct Service Project

Time to complete your service project! The day of service is rewarding and exciting. Make sure you have the supplies needed and roles are assigned appropriately.

Step 4: Reflection

During and after the service project, it is important to pose reflection questions to the group and individuals. This allows youth to think about their project and draw a connection to the bigger picture. Why is the service being completed important? What have you learned from it? Has it taught you a new skill or changed your mindset about something? Most importantly, now that you have learned from the project, what are you going to with your new knowledge? Reflection can be through group discussion, journal writing, photographs, or multimedia presentations.

For more information on service-learning projects or other 4-H programs that build essential life skills in youth, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.