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Meet the 2018 4-H Camp Timpoochee Staff!

2018 4-H Camp Timpoochee Staff: from left to right – Savannah, Jessie, Mason, Zach, Miles, Teagan, Jesse, Jack

Your 2018 4-H Camp Staff has just finished a week of training where they learned all the skills they need to make your camp week the best ever!  Ms. Ariel, 4-H Camp Timpoochee’s Director, interviewed the staff so you could find out a little bit more about them.  She asked them their favorite song, favorite camp activity and had them finish this sentence:  “I wanted to be camp staff because….”

Jesse J. is from LaGrange, GA, and is a 3rd year staffer.  Her favorite song is What Can Make a Hippo Smile.  Her favorite camp activities are archery and outdoor skills.  Jessie says, “I have always enjoyed leading people and helping them grow in their own way. By becoming staff I can really impact children by being a positive staff.”

Teagan is from Madison, FL, and is a 2nd year camp staff member.  Her favorite camp song is Herman the Worm and her favorite camp activity is OMC – Organized Mass Chaos!  Teagan says, “I wanted to be that person I looked up to at camp.”

Jack is all the way from Swansea, Whales, so you’ll notice his accent is quite different from ours!  He’s a 2nd year staffer who loves to sing Baby Shark and dance.  Jack says, “Waking up and loving what I do-it doesn’t feel like a job. I get to impact others in positive ways and help children grow.”

Zach is from Bonifay, FL and is a 1st time staff member.  His favorite song is Princess Pat and his favorite camp activity is kayaking.  Zach says “I wanted to impact kids in a positive way.”

Miles is from the west coast – Santa Rosa, CA – and this is his 1st year as a camp staff member.  His favorite song is Yogi Bear, and his favorite camp activity is kayaking.  Miles says “I wanted to be camp staff to help guide kids to be leaders.”

Matt, a 1st time staff member from Pensacola, FL, loves to sing The Coconut Song and play Capture the Flag most of all.  Matt says he wanted to become camp staff “to offer kids the same experience I had as a kid.”

Jessie M., a 1st time staff member, is from Chipley, FL.  Her favorite camp song is Tarzan.  If you’re looking for her on camp and can’t find her, she’ll probably be in the Arts and Crafts room because that’s her favorite camp activity.  Jessie says, “I wanted to help give kids a sense of belonging.”

Mason is from Cottondale, FL, and it’s his 1st time being camp staff.  His favorite song is Five Little Muffins, and his favorite camp activity is kayaking.  Mason says, “I wanted to positively impact youth.”

Savannah, from Trenton, FL, is a 1st time staff member.  Her favorite song is Pink Pajamas.  She’ll probably get you to sign it lots of times during her favorite camp activity – campfire.  Savannah says, “I wanted to help make a positive impact.”

Thanks to 4-H Camp Timpoochee’s Resident Director, Ariel Blanton, for interviewing her staff for us.  Next week, we’ll learn about Ms. Neva’s staff at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake.  If you’d like to learn more about 4-H Camp and its positive impacts, contact your 4-H Agent:  http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/.

Meet the 2018 4-H Camp Cherry Lake Staff!

2018 4-H Camp Cherry Lake Staff from left to right: Linda, Ashley, Jordan, Shelbie, Maddie, Ben, Daniel, Sam, Josh

Can you believe the first week of 4-H Camp is right around the corner?  Your 4-H Camp Cherry Lake staff has been training hard getting ready to make your camp week the best ever.  Ms. Neva Baltzell, 4-H Camp Cherry Lake’s Resident Director, is proud to introduce you to her camp staff.

Sam, in his 4th year staffing 4-H Camp, is from Christmas, FL.  His favorite song is Princess Pat, and you’ll find him on the waterfront doing his favorite camp activity – kayaking.  Sam says, “I wanted to make a difference bigger than just myself.”

Linda is from Douglas, GA, and this is her 3rd year being a staffer.  Her favorite camp song is 5 Little Muffins.  Her favorite camp activity is Marshmallow Paint War!  Linda says, “I wanted to make a positive impact on youth at camp this summer.”

Shelbie, from Cairo, GA, is a 1st time staff member.  Her favorite camp song is Rattling Bog and she enjoys shooting sports the most at camp.  Shelbie says, “I wanted to be able to make a difference and give the kids an opportunity to embrace themselves.”

Josh is from Trenton, FL, and is a 1st time staffer.  Josh’s favorite camp song is Linger, and his favorite camp activity is Marshmallow Paint War!  Josh says, “I want to impact kids in a way I’ve been impacted before.”

Maddie, a first time staffer, comes all the way from Chelmsford, England!  Her favorite camp song is Baby Shark, and her favorite camp activity is healthy lifestyles.  Maddie says, “I wanted to be camp staff to gain experience before I train to go into teachig and to learn how to promote positive development.”

Ashley is from Lake City, FL and is a 1st year staffer.  She loves to sing Long Johns and her favorite camp activity is Stand.  Ashley says, “I choose to come to camp in search of gaining a new experience in life.”

Jordan, from McClenny, FL is a 1st time staff member.  Her favorite camp song is Osh Kosh Nooga, and you’ll find her teaching the latest moves in dancing.  Jordan says, “I wanted the opportunity to make an impact on kid’s lives by creating a loving and supportive environment for the kids to grow in. I also wanted an opportunity for my own personal growth.”

Thanks to 4-H Camp Timpoochee’s Resident Director, Ariel Blanton, for interviewing 4-H Camp Cherry Lake’s staff.  We can’t wait to meet them in person!  If you’d like to learn more about becoming a 4-H Camp Staff member during next year’s camping season, contact your 4-H Agent:  http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/.

Stretch your child this summer

There are only 11 days before my boys will be home all day, luxuriating in the A/C, gaming, sleeping and eating everything in the pantry.  Or so they think.  I just can’t stand the thought of them doing that, so I’ve booked them for a couple of day camps, overnight camp and lined them up to work for my parents.  Now don’t get me wrong; I believe in down-time, me-time and quiet-time, but I also believe in making sure they’re brains don’t turn to mush, they love learning, develop a strong work ethic and experience some new things.

Because your 4-H Agents are youth development professionals, (folks who know how to provide programs and experiences that help youth reach their full potential), you can bet that 4-H day and overnight camping programs will benefit your child.  Activities and experiences are tailored to meet the developmental needs of your child while they experience success but are also challenged to think.  Don’t be afraid to give them a little push to try new things.

Take a look at this excerpt from an article by the American Camping Association:

“In recent years camps have put a greater emphasis on what leaders in the child development field have been saying about the needs of children today. Camp activities and group living in a natural environment are the tools used to create camp communities that provide for successful, healthy development and a place where having fun is a daily criterion. In such a structured environment, children interact with positive role models who have time to listen, talk, relax, and reflect. They learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, develop creative skills, build independence and self-reliance, and gain confidence. All are necessary steps on a child’s path to a healthy, productive life.”

Read the full article here:  https://www.acacamps.org/press-room/benefits-of-camp/psychological-aspects

In the Northwest Extension District spanning from Escambia to Jefferson counties, we have several district-wide programs that may be offered in your county.  Each county may also offer more camps in addition to these.

To find out about summer programs in your county, visit http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/.

The Three Dysfunctions of a Club Meeting

Youth should run the business portion, which should be only 1/4 of the meeting time

The very word meeting makes me sigh and roll my eyes.  I’ve been to so many that are a waste of time and energy and, let’s face it, boring!  Are they ever really productive?  Can’t they (please) be more interesting?

Meeting is just another word for get-together, assembly, encounter, engagement, rally or reunion.  When 4-H Clubs follow the club meeting model, meetings can actually be fun!  The 4-H Club meeting has three distinct parts:  business, recreation and educational program.  Business should take up 25% of the agenda, the educational program 50% and recreation 25% of your meeting time.  The order of your 4-H Club meeting isn’t set in stone; club officers and leaders can be creative in how they set up the agenda for each club meeting.

Dysfunction #1 – Adults Lead the Business Meeting

There’s no way around it; 4-H Clubs have business that needs to be dealt with including roll call, secretary and treasurer reports, committee reports, old and new business and announcements.  It’s tempting for club leaders to take over and do this part of the meeting, but our youth learn nothing from this!  Some of the most useful skills youth develop come from getting ready for the actual meeting and leading their peers in an organized setting, and as an adult, it’s really cool to see youth get things done efficiently.  It’s also important to remember that business doesn’t have to be conducted at every 4-H Club meeting.

Dysfunction #2 – Skimping on the Educational Program

For clubs with younger youth, you can have them lead the pledges.

I’ve seen 4-H Club meetings that were literally 15 minutes long and consisted of only running through a business meeting.  It made me cringe, and I know that 4-H parents were thinking the same thing as me… “Did I really leave my house for this?”  “I could be sitting at my house in my PJ’s.”  “I have three loads of laundry I should be folding.” “Is this all?  It took me more time to drive here!”  The educational program is the most important part of our 4-H Club meetings!  After all, 4-H is in the business of providing high-quality educational experiences for its members, and those experiences can be pretty easy to pull together.  Here are a few examples:

  • 4-H Club members share what they’re doing with their projects.
  • Invite a guest speaker.
  • Take a short field trip.
  • Show a video.
  • Practice for judging contests or do a skill-a-thon.
  • Create a fair project.
  • Work on a community service project.

Dysfunction #3 – Forgetting the Fun

My co-worker, John Lilly, has a tag line on his email signature – Jefferson County 4-H is the place where there’s fun in learning and learning in fun!  I firmly believe that the club that plays together stays together.  Why?  Because kids are going to want to come back, volunteers are going to stay engaged and most importantly, the parents will bring their kids back.  Recreation helps kids make new friends and learn important social skills.  Whether it’s through songs, ice-breakers, games, team-building activities or food, don’t forget to inject fun into 4-H meetings.

As a club member, leader or parent, you can help your 4-H Club avoid these three dysfunctions.  Good 4-H Club meetings help youth make new friends, develop social skills, increase confidence and leadership and make decisions.  To learn more about 4-H Club meetings, visit the florida4h.org and explore our Volunteer Training Series.  The information here is great for club leaders but also for youth leaders and parents.

Reflections from Graduating Seniors: Jessica Wells

Jessica credits 4-H with helping her develop leadership and communication skills to help her transition into the workforce.

Super Woman has nothing on Washington County 4-H’er Jessica Wells.  During her 11 years as a 4-H member, she has logged over 500 4-H volunteer hours, started and led a horse project club,  facilitated agriculture judging at the county youth fair, led a highly successful community service project, served on 4-H Executive Board and the district teen retreat planning committee, been my right-hand woman at day camps, the county 4-H Tropicana public speaking contest and awards banquets…I could go on and on!

Through events such as 4-H University and executive board, 4-H involvement has broadened Jessica’s personal skill set.  She has learned about opportunities beyond the county level, stepped out of her comfort zone, looked inside herself to see where she needed to grow and developed teamwork skills that have benefitted her now and will continue to benefit her in the future.

Jessica also shared that “exploring career options has been one of the biggest benefits of my 4-H involvement.”

Jessica’s involvement in the 4-H horse program has led her to start a horse club in her community, so she can share her passion and expertise for the horse industry with other youth.  There had not been an active horse club in the county for several years, so Jessica was able to match her interest to serve a real need in the community.

With leadership development as the focus of her senior 4-H year, she says that 4-H University has been her favorite event that has allowed her to flex and grow her skills as a leader.  Jessica lives a heads, heart, hands and health life:  she has grown her personal skill set, she leads and serves with a giving and caring heart, her work ethic is tremendous and she has begun a club to serve an unmet need in the county.  Jessica has balanced her 4-H life while working at her grandfather’s blueberry farm, working with her horses (even rehabilitating a rescue horse), being an awesome big sister and daughter and serving at church. Jessica is the daughter of Rodney and Karen Wells and big sister to Sarah and Joshua.  She plans to attend Chipola College then transfer to either Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College or the University of Florida and major in agri-business.

Hear what Jessica has to say about what she has gained from her 4-H experience, and why she has remained in 4-H through her high school years:

UF/IFAS Extension Washington County congratulates Jessica on her high school graduation!  We look forward to seeing how you move and shake the world.  Love, Julie, Judy, Mark, Matt, Nikki & Cynthia