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5 Tips For Building Teams with 4-H Clubs or Groups

Youth stacking hands for teamworkJoining a new group of individuals can be nerve-wracking for some that may be shy or intimidated by large groups. Incorporating team-building activities into your 4-H clubs and activities is a great way for 4-H members, new and returning, to form a connection with each other and will help set the tone for that particular group setting and/or event. In this post, we’ll provide tips to bring engaging team-building activities into your 4-H clubs and events. In addition, we will share some of the most popular team-building activities for various age groups that you can use to support your work with 4-H youth.

Together Everyone Achieves More

Teambuilding has been proven to have many benefits. Two of the most powerful benefits of team building are increased group morale and individual confidence. Having a new group of individuals learn to work collectively as a team builds rapport and trust. Teambuilding allows individuals to contribute their strengths to the team and also gain additional skills learned from others within the group. This allows for personal growth and development… However, teambuilding does not happen on its own- teams are formed over time with good leadership.

Bruce Tuckman’s Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing model (1965) is arguably the most recognized model for team development, and includes four stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning:

  1. Forming: The leader shares goals, but there is no commitment yet; individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. Very leader driven at this point. This stage is essential to help reduce anxiety new members might feel joining a 4-H club or group and will help foster a sense of belonging. 
  2. Storming: Trust hasn’t been established and decisions are difficult to make. Team members try to establish credibility with the group toward the end of this stage.
  3. Norming: The group is establishing trust—agreement is easier to reach, commitment to goals is evident, and decisions are being made.
  4. Performing: The group could function on its own without the leader because of the trust, commitment to goals, clarity, and ease of making decisions.
  5. Adjourning: Recognition and sensitivity to the break-up of the group is important as the team dissolves and members move on to other tasks.

Five Team Building Tips for 4-H Clubs or Groups

Below are five helpful tips for incorporating hands-on activities into your 4-H clubs and events in order to have successful teambuilding interaction:

  1. The teambuilding process can be longer for some groups than others- it really depends on the needs of the group and how often they meet or interact. If your group meets once a month, it might take longer than if your group is in the same cabin all week at camp.
  2. Select activities that will address the current needs of your group- if the group is already formed, move on to activities that promote storming.
  3. If you see a club or activity struggling with a group activity or plan of action, have them take a break and let them participate in a fun Hula hoops on the ground teambuilding exercise like “Helium Stick
  4. Check out our Northwest 4-H Volunteer Google Site for more team-building activities and resources.
  5. Team building isn’t just for the youth! Consider planning a teambuilding workshop or a night of minute-to-win-it games with your youth vs volunteers or even a 4-H Family night with youth, parents/guardians, and volunteers. This will become a request for an annual event guaranteed!

Five Team Building Activities for “Forming”

The new 4-H year kicks off in just a few days, which means that most 4-H clubs or groups are in the “forming” stage. To help, below are five fun and easy activities you can do with your team to promote “forming.” For more activities and ideas to support all five stages of team building, download our free 4-H Team Building Handbook for a quick reference tool!

  1. Start your meeting with an easy get-to-know-you icebreaker like “The Superlative Game” in which youth line up based on their birthday, height or age without talking.
  2. Who’s in the Bag? Ask each person to select an object that represents something about themselves. You can have a variety of objects available for them to select from, or they can bring an item with them. Have each person place their item in the bag, then let each person take turns explaining why the object represents something about themselves.
  3. Common & Unique- Ask everyone to form a circle. Tell them that you will ask a series of questions, and if the question applies to them, they are to stand inside the circle. Ask questions like “I am the oldest child in my family,” or “I play a sport,” or “I have lived in another state.” This helps members of the group get to know things about other members that they can’t see with their eyes.
  4. Introductions- Pretend you are hosting a party where no one knows anyone else. Have everyone standing in no particular order. In a party spirit, walk up to one of your “guests” and introduce yourself by name. For example:
    1. “Hi, I’m Karly. What’s your name? Gabrielle? Hi, Gabrielle, glad to meet you. Come on, there’s someone I want you to meet.” You then take Gabrielle to meet another “guest.”
    2.  “Hi, what’s your name? Paul? Hi, Paul; this is Gabrielle. Gabrielle, this is Paul.” Gabrielle and Paul play it up. They smile, shake hands and say “Glad to meet you.”
    3. Try to “introduce” everyone in three minutes.
  5. If you need to meet virtually, don’t skip the team-building activity. Try this activity, “Where Am I?”

By incorporating teambuilding activities into your 4-H delivery, you will be delivering enhanced educational experiential learning in order for our youth to engage in mentally, physically, and socially, fostering the development of essential life skills.  To learn more about joining 4-H as a member or volunteer, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.

SOURCES:

Building A Team Within A 4-H Club. Ohio State University. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.230.6481&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Team Building Activity: Helium Stick. Guide, Inc. 2021. https://guideinc.org/2017/08/21/team-building-activity-helium-stick/

The Superlative Game. North Dakota 4-H Recreation Games & Activities. Page 11. https://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/4h/ClubMaterials/FJ825_Games___Activities.pdf

Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384–399.

 Why Icebreakers? (2:17) – 4-H Military Partnerships Website – University of Florida/Florida 4-H. https://youtu.be/zWIkGgdEekM

 

Heading into Summer with 4-H Fun and Sun Safety

Summer is right around the corner. As much as we all love the sunshine feeling on our face and body, too much of a good thing can be harmful!  It is always important to remember our family’s well-being, take responsibility for our personal safety, and make healthy decisions, even while having a fun time. Here are some short sun safety reminders to make your summer a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your family members!

SUN SAFETY

Plan Your Day Around the Clock

The sun shares its most harmful rays in the middle of the day so plan this time for indoor use. The sun’s rays are most harmful between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM so make outdoor time in the early morning or early evening when it is less intense.  This also keeps your food at safer temperatures as well so your ice (or you) won’t melt as fast.

Protect Your Body

Spraying sunscreen on arm

Look for SPF 30 or higher sunscreen.

One of the easiest defenses against the sun is sometimes one of the most forgotten, sunscreen! Be sure to lather up in sunscreen BEFORE you go outside.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends liberally applying a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher, as these formulas will block UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to going outside.  Once outside, continue to apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming.  Not sure what kind of sunscreen blocks UVA and UVB rays?  Look for a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher with the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these ingredients will do the job.  Remember to coat your ears, neck, tops of feet, etc.

Remember to grab your sunglasses too!  Your eyeballs are just as sensitive as your skin so blocking UVA and UBA rays from your eyes are important to.  Fashionable sunglasses are great if you are into that but being able to protect your eyes is the goal.

Limit Time

dog wearing sunglasses

Remember to keep your pets cool too!

Most everyone enjoys getting outside this time of year to soak up some sunshine and enjoy the beautiful day. In fact, it’s true that some amount of sunlight is healthy for your body and mind. However, as we know all too well sometimes, too much exposure can be detrimental and lead to sunburn, heat exhaustion and more. Thus, it is a good idea to find balance by setting a time limit on sun exposure, if possible. If time slips past you because you and your family are having too much fun, set an alarm as a friendly reminder. Make this your “shade time” for a water break, game of cards, or a brief nap. Be sure to always have an umbrella or tent on hand in case no shade is available.

Hydrate

It is very easy to get dehydrated in the summertime.  Drink water throughout the day.  Don’t wait until you get hot and thirsty. Drink water to maintain your hydration before it is depleted.  This will help avoid those nasty summer headaches and tummy aches.  Taking your pet with you?  Don’t forget Fido’s water bowl too!

4-H PROGRAMMING  

UV Bead Activity

Looking for a really cool lesson to teach your children about the risk factors associated with sun exposure and UV rays? Check out this 4-H activity  4-H + Me = Health: Sun Safety from Minnesota Extension Service’s Exploring Your Body, Helper’s Guide. In this activity, children can make their own beaded bracelets that change colors when exposed to UV light. This is a great way for children to understand UV light, cloud coverage, sunscreen SPFs and more!

UV Beads with no sun

UV Beads with no sun exposure.

4-H has plenty of educational programming, both outdoors and indoors, to keep your children engaged this summer!  From gardening to robots, archery to grilling, 4-H has something for everyone.  If you are looking for fun, educational activities during the summer while maintaining a safe environment for your child, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org

 

UV Beads with sun exposure

UV Beads with sun exposure.

 

4-H MISSION POSSIBLE

4-H MISSION POSSIBLE

A mission statement is an organization’s goals and the method(s) to achieve those goals. An organization’s vision statement is where that organization sees their position in society in the future.  These two statements may be written separately or combined into one statement.  Regardless, they actually refer to two separate facets of the organization and both are equally important.  In this post, we’ll define both the 4-H Mission Statement and the 4-H Vision Statement and then share some ways how you can support 4-H in your local communities.

NATIONAL 4-H MISSION & VISION

A picture containing an adult helping a youth

Photo By National 4-H Council

National 4-H states its mission as “to provide meaningful opportunities for all youth and adults to work together to create sustainable community change.” 4-H uses caring adults to engage youth in educational activities through a learn-by-doing approach to provide positive youth development programming in order to introduce and strengthen essential life skills needed to be productive responsible citizens.  This powerful mission has been achieved by 4-H across the globe by the employment of highly esteemed experts in the field of positive youth development trained in the application of successful volunteer management and program implementation.  National 4-H sets forth to achieve their stated mission by employing these staff and volunteers to concentrate on three specific areas of focus, i.e. civic engagement and leadership, healthy living, and science.

National 4‑H commits its future success to serving millions more youth through the Cooperative Extension Service.  In fact, National 4-H specifically states 10 million youth to be served by the year 2025.  This vision is to be carried out by participating in the hands-on, learn-by-doing approach youth programming that 4-H has been successfully known for for over 100 years.

FLORIDA 4-H MISSION & VISION – A CLOSER LOOK

Florida 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach to help youth learn essential life skills in order to be successful leaders of tomorrow.  This mission is accomplished by utilizing the expertise and resources of the University of Florida (UF) and Florida A&M (FAMU) Cooperative Extension Services, the state land-grant universities of Florida, to recruit and train caring adults into quality volunteers that can create safe and inclusive learning environments for youth.

Florida 4-H’s vision states that it will support the National 4-H mission to create positive change in youth, families, and communities.  Although Florida 4-H does not specifically set a number of youth to be served by a specific time frame in its vision statement, it does set a goal in the future to be the leading youth program in the nation.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

A picture containing a child working on a robot

Photo By National 4-H Council

Mission and vision statements, in general, help to guide organizations through a structured plan to reach important short term and long-term goals, make great impacts, and be efficient in operations.  They also hold the organization accountable to its stakeholders, clientele, supporters, etc.  Without written mission and vision statements, organizations may not reach their full potential.

With 4-H, the mission and vision statements ensure that our organization remains true to the foundation on which it was built, to make the best better when it comes to positively and consistently impacting youth to be leaders of tomorrow.  According to the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development conducted by Tufts University young people in 4-H, “the structured out-of-school time learning, leadership experiences, and adult mentoring that young people receive through their participation in 4-H plays a vital role in helping them achieve success.” Research supports 4-H youth are more likely to:

  • Attend college.
  • Contribute to their communities.
  • Participate in STEM programs.
  • Make healthier choices.

WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT THE 4-H MISSION & VISION:

As a parent, volunteer, and/or community member, below are five ways that you can get involved to support the 4-H mission and vision in your local community with little effort.  You will feel good knowing that you gave a helping hand to make the best better!

  1. Get Involved as a 4-H Volunteer if you aren’t already (If you are, kudos to you!)
  2. Encourage other positive adult role models to get involved with their local 4-H.  Set a goal to recruit this # of adults to volunteer in 2021-2022.
  3. Support your local 4-H through monetary contributions or in-kind donations. They are always in need of supplies to implement their hands-on programs.
  4. Share your 4-H experiences and successful impacts with your local community as often as you can so others are exposed to the wonderful world of 4-H.  Speaking at your local civic clubs, church functions and other community events really helps 4-H reach as many youth and families as possible.
  5. As a 4-H parent or volunteer, set a goal to help recruit at least five new 4-H youth members in the 2021-2022 4-H Year for your local club or program to help 4-H achieve its vision of 10 million true leaders by 2025!
A picture containing 4-H youth and volunteers helping clean up their community.

Photo By National 4-H Council

Currently, through more than 3,500 professionals, 4-H impacts more than 6 million youth and families and 500,000 youth and adult volunteers, thereby being one of the largest youth development programs in the nation still today.  With the delivery method of experiential learning, youth are engaged mentally, physically, and socially, fostering the development of essential life skills towards the role of true leadership.

To learn more about joining 4-H as a member or volunteer, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit https://florida4h.ifas.ufl.edu/.

Meet the Author-Niki Crawson

image of Niki Crawson

Niki Crawson, Holmes County 4-H Extension Agent

Niki started her Extension career in 2007 as the 4-H Youth Development Faculty in Holmes County. After leaving the position for a short period of time due to a family relocation, she returned in 2012 and has been the 4-H Extension Agent in Holmes County since.  She earned both her Master’s degree in Public and Corporate Communication and her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Florida State University. Niki enjoys the study of personality styles and their affects on interpersonal communication and became a Real Colors Certified Facilitator as a result.  Her work has focused on volunteer management and 4-H youth development to include healthy living, social emotional living, and STEM.

Niki has worked with youth in some capacity since she was eighteen years old.  From working in a juvenile rehabilitation program, teaching high school, advocating for abused children, to 4-H youth development, Niki has worked many years in the field of developing volunteers to champion for youth and providing safe environments in which youth can learn and thrive.

Although Niki did not grow up in 4-H, she believes in its core values and mission to make the best better. There is no better way to work towards a position of leadership than to learn by doing.  She believes 4-H is the perfect environment for youth to feel safe, be successful, and learn those important leadership skills.  For more information regarding 4-H and its wonderful educational opportunities, please contact your local 4-H office.

Are You Ready For The Mars Base Camp Challenge?

Are You Ready For The Mars Base Camp Challenge?

Youth exploring 4-H STEM Challenge-Mars Base Camp Challenge

Are you ready for the Mars Base Camp Challenge?

The 4‑H STEM Challenge, formerly known as 4‑H National Youth Science Day (4‑H NYSD), is an event that we look forward to every year. In the past, this has been a single day event but now the 4-H STEM Challenge typically starts October 1 and continues throughout the month and beyond.  This event is designed to ignite a spark in youth so that they take a stronger interest in science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on learning.  For well over a decade, 4-H has developed creative STEM challenges to engage youth in the engineering design process and assist in the development of essential life skills such as critical thinking and problem solving through teamwork.

This year’s 4-H STEM Challenge, Mars Base Camp Challenge, was developed by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension.  The 2020 4-H STEM Challenge is designed for youth to explore the topic of a mission to Mars. The challenge is appropriate for youth ages 8-14.

Mars Base Camp Challenge consists of four activities, each of which relates to at least one of 4-H’s core areas:  agriculture, STEM, healthy living and civic engagement.  The four activities can be facilitated separately, together or in any combination, making it flexible to incorporate into your schedule.  In addition, most of the activities do not need any form of technology, allowing for internet-free programming.

Up For The Challenge!

Feeling a little nervous about facilitating it in your club or classroom?  Don’t be!  You don’t need prior experience with STEM to bring Mars Base Camp to your 4-H program. All the activities have been designed to make it easy for everyone, including teen leaders to facilitate.  Facilitator guides and checklists are available now to assist in the teaching process.  And remember, since we use a guided approach, we give our youth direction and allow them to use their inquiry skills to find solutions through the experiential learning experience!

Mars Base Camp Challenge Resources

4-H has made the 2020 STEM Challenge accessible for everyone.  If you are unable to participate in the Mars Base Camp Challenge through a club or classroom this year, youth can also participate in the challenge by way of a family kit or online.  At this time, the National 4-H website is even offering $5 off each Mars Base Camp kit, thanks to the support of our 2020 national supporter, Toyota! For more information, visit https://4-h.org/parents/4-h-stem-challenge/#!2020-challenge

Online Activity: Youth can participate with INSIGHT FROM MARS, the online portion of the 2020 STEM Challenge.

Educator Kit: Includes materials for 12 youth to participate in the offline activities at the same time. Kits can be used in spaces where physical distancing can be followed.

Family-sized Kit: Includes materials for 1-4 youth to participate in the offline activities at the same time from inside the home.

We hope you enjoy your mission to Mars!  To learn more about additional STEM 4-H programs and events, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.