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Meet the Author—Marie Arick

Marie Arick

Greetings, my name is Marie Arick and I am the County Extension Director, 4-H and Family & Consumer Sciences Agent in Liberty County. Beginning in 2019, I stepped into this complex, but rewarding position and have worked with volunteers, community partners and other Agents on some amazing projects.

The 4-H program provides a diverse array of opportunities for youth ages 8 to 18. One great example is the Liberty County Livestock Club. This club provides a variety of animal projects and agricultural judging opportunities. As an Agent, I support my volunteers with curriculum, training opportunities and fund raising. This club successfully fund-raised enough money to buy a set of portable livestock scales to aid with animal projects.

School enrichment is a large part of 4-H programming for Liberty County youth. The two most successful are the Ag Adventures and the Embryology in the Classroom programs. Ag Adventures introduces youth to many crops and their uses. While teaching cotton in the field during this program, it surprised me how many youths did not know that our ‘paper’ money contains cotton. With embryology, each year is met with excitement when we enter the classroom with the incubators and eggs. The daily lessons include learning the parts of the egg and following the growth of the chick. Egg candling sessions allow me the opportunity to see how much the kids have learned and there is no shortage of enthusiasm when the chicks hatch. While Covid-19 did inhibit Ag Adventures for 2020, it did not stop Embryology. All incubators and supporting equipment along with the eggs were delivered to the schools. Lesson videos were created and other supporting materials were all placed on a closed Google site for the teachers to utilize.

Embryology Google Site

 

 

 

 

 

4-H University Cheese Making

 

 

As an Agent, one experience that never gets old is to ask a group of 4-H youth if they think they can transform a gallon of milk, using a few additional ingredients and a recipe, into mozzarella cheese. I absolutely love watching the skeptics successfully participate in the workshop and create their mozzarella cheese. In the process, these youth learn about food safety, kitchen safety, recipe literacy and adherence. The ‘learn by doing’ motto drives this experience.

Prior to adding 4-H to my Extension Agent assignment, I still incorporated youth into my Jackson County Family & Consumer Sciences programming, specifically culinary arts. Cooking is a life skill, we all eat! What better way to introduce food safety, kitchen safety, nutrition, and a variety of food preparation methods to youth than through culinary arts. Once I transitioned into a 4-H role, I added cheese making, grilling, food challenge, food preservation and more. Kids are more likely to try a new food, or an old favorite prepared in a healthier manner, if they make it themselves.

Carlos Staley, UF Intern

The above programs have shown great success, but 4-H offers a broad range of programs and there is something for everyone. My reward is each child’s success. It is even more gratifying when a former high school student that participated in the culinary arts school enrichment program for two years is now attending UF studying food science. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is when he becomes your UF summer intern!

I am a Mississippi State University graduate with a BS in Exercise Science and a MS in Health Promotion. After a long stint in the medical field, I transitioned to my second career choosing Extension. I began working with Texas A & M AgriLife Extension prior to transitioning to the University of Florida IFAS Extension in 2015. Extension is extremely rewarding, but in my down time I enjoy kayaking, gardening, and reading.

Exploring the Origin of 4-H

Have you ever wondered how 4-H came to be?  4-H has a rich history that started in the late 1800’s (around the time of the civil war). The Morrill Act of 1862 gave each state in the US land for agriculture research and teaching. This established the land grant university system.  The second Morrill Act in 1890 made racial discrimination illegal for land grant universities receiving federal funds….unless a separate institution was established and maintained. This second Morrill Act gave rise to many of the historically black colleges. However, university researchers struggled to get these new practices adopted by farmers. Adults just didn’t trust new technology, but young people were. So researchers took these new practices into public schools and provided hands on lessons in the hopes that the new concepts would be shared at home and adopted on the farm.  These early 4-H clubs were known as Tomato or Canning Clubs for girls and Corn and Pig clubs for boys.

boy with corn

National 4-H Historic Preservation Project. Marius Malmgren , a member of a corn club in Virginia, grew 209 bushels of corn on one acre in 1912 when national corn yields averaged only 45 bushels per acre.

Before there was 4-H, agriculturally based youth clubs began in 1902 as a result of these hands on agricultural learning experiences, years before Cooperative Extension was created! Specifically in Clark County, Ohio and Douglas County, Minnesota, youth clubs were born. The Corn Growing Club for example, was an after-school club. Fairs also began in this same year allowing a venue for youth to share what they had ‘learned by doing.’ To honor youth’s efforts, Jessie Field Shambaugh created a four-leaf clover pin to honor the efforts of the youth. In 1910, the H was added on each leaf of the clover and shortly thereafter the title ‘4-H Club’ was born.

The original mission of the 4-H club was to introduce school aged youth to the agricultural community in which they lived with the intent of helping youth to gain practical, hands on experiences and aid with becoming productive members of their communities. These clubs empowered youth by teaching them valuable life skills enabling them to be better prepared for their transition to adulthood.

Cooperative Extension was born as a result of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. As a result, 4-H became a nationwide club opportunity, and the clover emblem was adopted. Otis Hall, a state leader from Kansas created the 4-H pledge that was adopted in 1927 at the very first National 4-H Camp held in Washington DC. The motto ‘to make the best better’ was also proposed by Miss Carrie Harrison and adopted that same year. The 4-H pledge is still used today with one small addition in 1973, the words ‘and my world’ added to the end.

In less than 50 years, specifically in 1959, the National 4-H Center was opened and provided trainings and experiences for volunteers, youth, and professional staff. Eventually, the National 4-H Foundation and the National 4-H Service Committee merged to create today’s National 4-H Council. This rapid growth is a testament to the important positive youth development role 4-H has provided. Sadly,

4-H will celebrate it’s 120-year anniversary in 2022! Today, 4-H proudly serves youth from rural to urban areas and everything in between. Experiences still include school enrichment, agriculture, and livestock related projects, but have also branched out to include science, robotics, food safety, healthy living and more. From such humble beginnings, 4-H has grown and adapted to remain relevant while continuing to offer educational opportunities to teach concepts and skills guiding today’s 4-Hers to become productive citizens.

4-H and Extension have had (and continues to have) a huge impact on our country. Teaching today’s 4-her’s about the rich legacy of our organization can help develop a sense of belonging and connection. Focusing on 4-H history can also build excitement and anticipation for our 120th anniversary next year. Here are a few ways you can incorporate some 4-H history into your club meetings this fall:

  1. Share this video at your next club meeting. What was different about 4-H back then?  What is the same?

2. Design a fair booth highlighting 4-H History in your county

3. Ask 4-H alumni from different decades to come speak with your club. Ask them to bring photos, record books, and memorabilia to share with youth. Help youth prepare questions in advance about what alumni did and learned when they were in the program. Talk about what is different, and what is the same.

4. Host a 4-H history quiz bowl. The National 4-H Historic Preservation Project has lots of information. You can also refer to Florida 4-H: A Century of Youth Success (your local 4-H office or library most likely has a copy you can borrow).

5. Work with your 4-H agent to form a committee to plan your countywide 120th anniversary celebration.

Unmasking the New 4-H Year

Unmasking the New 4-H Year

face mask with 4-H clover on it

Photo credit: Marie Arick

I recently saw a meme of the Jetsons™ cartoon relating to how we are living our lives utilizing telemedicine, videocalls, online classes and our home office…how ironic. Well, 4-H has embraced these unprecedented times and is preparing to provide 4-H youth programming for the upcoming year. Nothing is more important than our youth and their health.  Despite the fact things look a bit different and may require a few adjustment, such as masks, social distancing and some virtual club meetings, the 4-H Agents in the panhandle are ready for the year ahead.

While we realize that computer usage and screen time has increased due to the pandemic, it will be a part of our 4-H clubs and/or projects. Over the spring and summer months, Florida 4-H created an array of virtual summer camp experiences that taught agents we can still engage and provide wonderful learning experiences without being in person. So, we will move into the new 4-H year with our newfound tools and skills to create engaging experiences. For example, livestock and shooting sports and the associated club meetings surrounding these programs may be a hybrid of small in-person groups with safety measures and virtual meetings, but they will take place.  Additionally, there will be a variety of virtual 4-H clubs offered.

Check out the list of 4-H offerings the Northwest District 4-H Agents put together for 4-H youth across the district:

#HoneyBees 4-H Club                   W.O.L.F. 4-H Club                Baking Buddies 4-H Club              Culinary Artists 4-H Club

Lead with 4-H Club                        Farm to Table 4-H Club       Chick Chain 4-H Club                    Backyard Livestock 4-H Club

TailGators 4-H Club                       Sew Much Fun 4-H Club     Range Ready 4-H Club

4-H Agents will be here to support these clubs and projects. Please understand that we will be taking extra precautions and measures to ensure all experiences, whether in person or virtually, meet all Florida 4-H requirements. We look forward to our temporary ‘new normal’ and invite you to click here to enroll in the 2020-2021 4-H year. For questions to navigate the enrollment process click here for additional information.

Unmask your child’s potential by enrolling today!

Celebrating A 4-H/Tropicana First!

Tropicana Speech Contest

Liberty County 4-H’s Annual 4-H/Tropicana Public Speaking Contest included a special guest speaker with a uniquely delivered speech!

Ms. Delmy Pineda, a sixth grader at W.R. Tolar School, suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Delmy shared with her therapist, Kara Bradley, her desire to participate in the Tropicana Speech Contest. Delmy knew this was her last chance to participate being a sixth grader, so together, the two set out to make this happen.

So why is this so different? Delmy’s primary vehicle of communication is via a speech assist device. Yes, a computer-generated voice provided through a computer program. A first for any competitor.

Delmy wrote her speech, “Who Runs the World”, presented it and won in her class! Although she did not win in her school competition, Delmy embraced the opportunity and really championed the spirit of the competition. With that spirit in mind, the school administration asked if she could present at the County Competition as an honorary speaker. Of course, Delmy was added to the program without hesitation. Delmy presented her speech utilizing her speech assist device, a first for the Tropicana Competition. Delmy received a standing ovation. At that moment, Delmy was running the world.

For more information about the 4-H/Tropicana Public Speaking Program, or any other opportunities for your child, please contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.  

Introducing the 4-H Food Challenge!

Introducing the 4-H Food Challenge!

basket covered with a cloth

4-H Food Challenge Mystery Basket 

Being creative in the kitchen…using a surprise set of ingredients…making a tasty dish…frequent watcher of The Food Network?  Then the 4-H Food Challenge camp is the summer day camp for you!

Take a Sneak Peek 
Here’s a sample list of possible ingredients in the Fruit & Vegetable category:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup of celery, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups green bell pepper strips
  • 1/3 cup onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons of canola oil, divided
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of cornstarch

Any idea what you’d prepare? What would you name your dish?

Participants in the 4-H Food Challenge camp will work in teams with 3 to 4 members. Teams will be presented with:

  • a food category
  • a set of mystery ingredients
  • 40 minutes to create a dish, prepare a presentation about their dish, and clean their work area

When time is up, teams will present their creation to a panel of judges describing their collaboration in creating the dish, food safety practices used by the team, how they worked together, and finally, a description of the dish including some nutrition information.

We all eat, so food safety and preparation are skills that we all need. 4-H Food Challenge campers will learn those skills along with nutrition knowledge, teamwork and presentation skills.  Look for this day camp opportunity in your local UF/IFAS Extension 4-H program this summer, and join us in putting our skills to the test!

*The 4-H Food Challenge is loosely based on The Food Network show “Chopped” and adapted from the Texas 4-H Food Challenge Contest.