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10 Ways to Continue to Celebrate and Promote 4-H

September 1st serves as the start of the new 4-H year and the first week of October serves as National 4‑H Week each year.  Throughout Florida and especially in the Panhandle, the first month of the 4-H year is full of events, activities, and social media posts to celebrate the impact of 4‑H.  Once the start of the new year and National 4-H Week are over however, momentum for the program can ebb and flow.  Here are 10 ways that you can continue to celebrate and promote 4-H in your club and county.

  1. Give Back

Local programs are always looking for resources to continue growing their programs.  From serving food, to collecting essential items, to making a donation, 4-H members can help provide resources and serve their communities.

  1. Wear your 4-H Gear

Nothing says 4-H pride like wearing a 4-H clover.  Dress yourself (or the entire family-including your pets) in 4-H green and 4-H gear, available at Shop 4-H.

  1. Set up Informational Booths

If your local grocery store or hardware store allows, set up a table to share information about your local 4-H program or club.  You can display 4-H posters, hand out flyers, or showcase the work of local 4-H members.  4-H has long-standing partnerships with Tractor Supply Co. and Joann Fabric and Craft Stores.

  1. Highlight your 4-H Members

Share social media posts about your 4-H members and their accomplishments.  4-H clubs, counties, and even the NW 4-H District all have social media pages that showcase 4-H accomplishments.  Take to social media to share a 4-H memory, express how 4-H shaped who you are today, describe what 4-H means to you, post an old 4-H photo, or shout-out your 4-H club.

  1. Become a 4-H Volunteer

If you are a 4-H alum, you might be looking for ways to reconnect with 4-H.  Consider giving your time to a local 4-H club by becoming a volunteer.

  1. Showcase Your 4-H Work at a Local Fair

The Fall is Fair Season in the NW District.  4-H members can submit booths, entries, livestock, and a variety of other things into local and regional fairs.  Even if you don’t submit anything, many of our local fairs have judging contests to participate in.

  1. Prepare for Judging Teams and Competitive Events

4-H has a variety of judging teams and competitive events that are offered year-round.  These opportunities are great ways to learn a specific skillset and work on teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.  While many of these teams and events are in the springtime, you can start to prepare now to be ready when they start.

  1. Have a 4-H Reunion

4-H alumni often credit 4-H for the connections they have made, remembering the friends they made and those who they may still keep in touch with today.  Gather your old 4-H friends and spend some time together reminiscing on your 4-H experience or recreate your 4-H project together.

  1. Send a 4-H “Thank You”

We all have a reason to thank our local 4-H leaders and volunteers.  Whether you grew up in 4-H, you have kids in 4-H, you are in 4-H, or you’ve witnessed the positive work of 4-H in your community, send a “thank you” note to your local Extension Office to show your appreciation.

  1. Try Something New

4-H is an organization that helps youth start a new skill or allows them to try a different interest.  Do you want to dabble in fashion? Get a taste of cooking? Build a Lego robot?  Ride a horse?  4‑H is the place to where all these things are possible.


Getting Started with 4-H Public Speaking

Getting Started with 4-H Public Speaking

Public speaking is a beneficial and important project that all 4-H youth can do, but many youth and adults are shy about getting started. 4-H provides several “low-risk” opportunities for youth to develop confident communication skills. The necessary skills associated with being a good public speaker have always been an important part of the 4-H experience and 4-H clubs are encouraged to foster a positive, learning-oriented environment for youth regarding this subject. Helping young people develop a growth mindset toward their communication skills is one of the top priorities of the Florida 4-H Program.

Why Public Speaking?

Learning to be a good public speaker is something that will be useful throughout a 4-H member’s lifetime. Members who feel comfortable speaking in front of others have a greater sense of self-confidence, a feeling of respect for themselves and others, and generally have a solid feeling of accomplishment.  Good public speakers are more apt to do well in a job interview or a presentation in college or in a future career.

Girl Giving Speech

Escambia County 4-H member Madelyn gives a demo on bicycle safety at 4-H County Events.

The 4-H public speaking program provides opportunities for 4-H members to learn skills in articulating a message.  The objectives are to:

  • Develop leadership talents and work toward character development and effective citizenship;
  • Recognize the value of obtaining all information on a given topic;
  • Encourage careful organization of material to be presented;
  • Develop a pleasing personal appearance before an audience;
  • Acquire the ability to speak convincingly in public.

There is no “right” or “best” way to speak, except to be yourself and to show you are interested in your topic. It is only when you are natural that you communicate your real self—and all speeches need the personality you can give them.

Here are some suggestions to help 4-H youth (and adults) be at their best when giving a speech:

  • Get plenty of rest before you meet your audience. Do not eat much before you speak—this can keep the butterflies in your stomach from bothering you too much;
  • If you are nervous, breathe deeply and slowly several times just before you are introduced. Relax your arms, legs, and body as much as possible;
  • When you are introduced, walk briskly to the lectern, smile, and look at the audience as though you are glad to be there;
  • Stand tall—don’t lean on the table, podium, or lectern;
  • Be confident from the beginning—first impressions are important. Be sure you speak loudly enough to be heard by all.
Boy gives speech at podium

Escambia County 4-H member Reid gives a speech on Scorpions at 4-H County Events


Florida 4-H offers many different types of public speaking opportunities for youth to participate in (and adults to judge!).  These opportunities can vary from leading a pledge, to giving a demonstration about your pet, to speaking on stage in front of hundreds of people.

Basic public speaking opportunities in 4-H:

  • Becoming a club officer;
  • Giving a committee report at a meeting;
  • Leading pledges;
  • Making a motion.

Advanced public speaking opportunities in 4-H:

  • Demonstration or illustrated talk at a club meeting;
  • County and District Events presentation;
  • Health and Safety talk or skit;
  • Food preparation talk;
  • Speaking to civic groups and local government about 4-H;
  • Teaching a 4-H workshop or clinic;
  • Camp counseling.

The signature Spring 4-H speaking event is 4-H County Events hosted by individual county 4-H programs.  County Events provide youth an opportunity to share their projects through friendly competition.  Youth can prepare for 4-H County Events in their 4-H clubs by giving demonstrations and talks to practice this valuable life skill.  Contact your local 4-H Agent to learn more about 4-H County Events being offered in your county.

Girl cuts an avocado

Escambia County 4-H member Tucker gives a food prep demonstration at 4-H County Events

At 4-H County Events, Cloverbuds (ages 5-7) may participate but are NOT judged.  They will receive feedback and a participation ribbon.  Juniors (ages 8-10), Intermediates (ages 11-13), and seniors (ages 14+) are judged in their respective age divisions. 4-H County Events consists of the following communication venues:

  • A Demonstration or Illustrated Talk is a “show and tell” presentation in a specific curriculum area, using posters, props, and/or PowerPoint to communicate your presentation content.
  • The Public Speaking program is designed to give 4-H members experience in the preparation and delivery of a 4-H related speech. This contest requires 4-H members to recognize, organize, and present information on a given topic. The timed speech must be orderly and thorough. 4-H members must acquire the ability to speak convincingly in public, expressing ideas effectively with poise and confidence
  • The 4-H Share-the-Fun program is designed to help 4_H members discover their talents, develop them, and have opportunities to share those gifts with others.
  • The Florida 4-H Photography program encourages self-expression and allows youth to demonstrate skills learned in the area of photography, including the use of photographic equipment and editing tools.
  • The Graphic Design Program gives 4-H members an opportunity to use their creativity and artistic ability to promote their project areas or 4-H program. 4-H members are encouraged to develop their visual communication skills by also identifying locations to display their created materials as a means to communicate with external audiences about the 4-H program.

In 4-H, youth learn by doing, and the best way to learn about giving a speech is to get up in front of others and give one. To always “Make the Best, Better,” encourage youth to give a speech at their next 4-H meeting, in their classroom, or wherever an audience is gathered.  The goal of becoming a better public speaker starts with that first speech.


Girl gives speech at podium

Escambia County 4-H member Gracie gives a speech about her   4-H career at 4-H County Events.

2022 4-H Tailgate Contest Winners- and Recipe Book!

Did you get to do any grilling this summer?  Many of our 4-Hers did! Over 100 youth from throughout the Florida panhandle participated in 4-H summer day camps that taught them food and fire safety, safe grilling, and proper cooking skills.

Day camps offered unique experiences to youth on grilling techniques all summer and helped youth prepare for our District Competition. On July 30, 2022, 28 youth from eight counties participated in the Northwest District Tailgating Contest at the Washington County Ag Center in Chipley, Florida.  Youth participated in competitions in beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp divisions and were judged on their food and fire safety skills around the grill and the taste of their chosen protein.  In all, $3,200 was awarded to panhandle youth for placing 1st-4th in their competitions.

Now the top two youth in each protein category will compete at the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest in Gainesville on October 1, 2022.  They will compete against youth from across Florida for an opportunity to win college scholarships.  For the state contest, the first-place winner in each protein area receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the second-place winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship.

Join us as we cheer on the following NW District 4-H participants as they represent us at the Florida 4-H State Tailgating Contest:

2022 Seafood Category Winners

  • 2022 Beef Category Winners

    Beef Division

    • Aubrie D.-Escambia County
    • Aidden Y.-Walton County
  • Pork Division
    • Brooke H.-Escambia County
    • Cate B.-Okaloosa County
  • Chicken Division
    • Vanessa E.-Wakulla County
    • Jamison S.-Jackson County
  • Shrimp Division
    • Addie M.-Escambia County

      2022 Pork Category Winners

    • Mason K.-Escambia County

      2022 Chicken Category Winners

If you are interested in furthering your grilling skills, please check out the Florida 4-H Tailgate Series of EDIS documents.  If you would like more information on the Tailgating Contest to prepare for next year, check out our brand new handbook!  Finally, the top two winners in each protein category are sharing their award-winning recipes in this free, downloadable eBook!

UF Summer Interns Serve Florida’s Panhandle

Did you know that UF/IFAS Extension and UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) offer an internship program to UF students?  The internship program’s goal is to benefit interns through a unique service-learning opportunity and mentoring by professional educators while providing support to UF/IFAS Extension faculty and the communities they serve.  This program typically has interns serve in-person at their selected Extension Office.  In 2021, four UF students interned at Northwest District Extension Offices.

Deanna Brock-Escambia County

Deanna Brock is originally from Pasco County and is a current Agricultural Education and Communication undergrad at the University of Florida (UF). As former Florida 4-H member, Deanna has utilized her knowledge of the program to assist with day camps, judging teams, and county council. She has shared her knowledge of the Florida 4-H Tailgating Competition to enhance our Tailgating Day Camp and create a Florida 4-H Tailgating Handbook. While assisting with the day camps, Deanna has experienced different teaching styles, with different age groups, and successfully lead numerous group activities such as baking and flying drones. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge of graphic design and video creation, and honoring youth at the awards banquet.

Zyreshia Jackson-Bay

Zyreshia Jackson is a Family, Youth, and Community Sciences major who will graduate from the University of Florida (FL) in August 2021. During her time at the Bay County Extension Office, she has created numerous educational videos for our day camps and projects, helped facilitate multiple trainings, and has been an integral part of our 4-H program. In May, Zyreshia also presented a training that she worked on as a part of her class project. For this training she developed the curriculum, a presentation, and supplemental material that focused on Social-Emotional Learning and resilience. After graduation, Zyreshia will pursue a master’s degree from Texas A&M in Public Service and Administration.

Taylor Paynter-Bay

Taylor Paynter is a graduating senior with a degree in Environmental Science. Her summer internship at the UF/IFAS Bay County Extension office has been filled with programs, fieldtrips, and learning opportunities. Some highlights of her 8-week program have been assisting with Florida Panhandle Scallop Sitters, artificial reefs, and editing immersive dive videos.

Carlos Staley-Liberty

Carlos, a Food Science undergrad at UF, has been a true asset to the summer program. He has created numerous educational videos for our virtual culinary day camp, actively taught lessons at a food preservation workshop, grilling day camp and as part of a nutrition lesson at a local library. Additionally, as part of his class project, he has created a closed Google site field to fork day camp that will be part of the Liberty County 4-H toolkit for future day camps.

The Northwest District thanks Deanna, Zyreshia, Taylor, and Carolos for all of their hard work with our clientele and we hope to see them soon as colleagues.

For more information on the UF/IFAS CALS student internship program, visit

Meet the Author- Brian Estevez

Brian is part of the Escambia County UF IFAS Extension Team

Brian Estevez is a 4-H Extension Agent in Escambia County, Florida. He grew up in Archer, Florida and went to school in Williston.  While Brian was not a 4-H member as a youth, he did participate in Williston FFA and won the state meat judging contest in 2000.  His involvement with the meat judging program propelled him to study meat science at the University of Florida. As a college student, Brian worked at the UF meat lab. After graduation, Brian met Dr. Nick Place who introduced him to the UF master’s program in Agricultural Leadership.

Brian didn’t realize that a career with Extension was possible, even though he had graduated from UF’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. After graduating with his Master’s degree, he volunteered with his youth group at church and found that he really enjoyed working with young people. Brian wanted to purse a job with college student development, but had not been successful in securing a position. He decided to apply for the Alachua agriculture extension position. While he did not get that position, he was encouraged to apply for some open 4-H extension agent positions. He applied for and was offered the 4-H agent position in Suwannee county. Initially, Brian viewed his 4-H position as a “stepping stone” to help him get the student development job he really wanted. However, after more than 12 years with 4-H, it is a career that he loves!

One of Brian’s favorite 4-H programs is the meats judging contest

While a 4-H agent in Suwannee County, Brian used his expertise in meat science to work with UF/IFAS Extension Animal Science specialist  Chad Carr to create, develop, and deliver the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest.  This contest teaches youth to safely grill in an outdoor setting, while incorporating food and fire safety with public speaking opportunities.  In all, 348 youth from 39 different Florida counties have participated in this annual program which includes four district competitions culminating in a state contest in Gainesville.  Scholarships from corporate sponsors are awarded to district and state winners, with over $86,000 being awarded to youth winners since 2016.  Estevez has also coached 4-H meat judging teams, where youth learn meat retail identification, quality factors, and cooking methods.  He has coached 14 state winning 4-H meat judging teams and has led five teams to national 4-H contests.  His 2020 team placed second in the nation, with one team member being recognized as the national high individual. His team members learn communication, decision making, and critical thinking skills and have gone on to participate in collegiate judging teams.

Brian transitioned to Escambia county three years ago and is Brian is passionate about making 4-H available to all youth. In three short years, the program has grown to engaged more than 25% of the school age population in Escambia.  The quality of his programs have been recognized and awarded at the National level, including the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) Excellence in Animal Science 4-H Programming Award and the NAE4-HA Communicator Promotional Piece Award, both in 2011, the Achievement in Service Award in 2014, and most recently, the NAE4-HA Military Partnership Award in 2019He was also elected by his peers to serve Florida Association of Extension 4-H Agents in 2014, serving in statewide leadership positions including president.  Another aspect of his scholarship is his commitment to mentoring early career colleagues by sharing his work through district, state and national conferences.

(Pre-COVID photo) Brian worked with UF specialists to develop the Florida 4-H Tailgate Contest to teach youth about meat science and food safety.

Brian lives in Cantonment with his bride Mindy and sweet baby boy Eli Thomas.  They teach the 1 and 2 year old class at their church, have season tickets to Gator football games, and like spending time at Pensacola Beach.

Empowering youth to succeed is what Brian finds most fulfilling about his job as a 4-H Agent.