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Graduating Senior: Trent Grimes

Male youth in cap and gown

Trent Grimes, 4-H Senior

Trent Grimes joined 4-H in 2012 to be able to spend some extra time with his friend, Kyle.  Trent joined the Santa Rosa County 4-H Club, Bockin’ -N- Eggs 4-H when he was 11 years old.  What began as a poultry club quickly became a livestock club focused on community service, so Kyle and Trent had a fascinating first community service project assisting the Panhandle Equine Rescue with a no-cost castration clinic.  On that first community service project day, Trent and his club helped with 28 procedures that day!  There’s a story to tell about that event, for sure, but we will  leave that for another time. From that day on, Trent has had a passion for 4-H and community service.

Trent has been a vital part of many events on the county, district, and state levels.  Trent has even participated in a community service project for youth in foster service in Tennessee for the last three years. When asked about his time in 4-H, Trent replied, “My experience in 4-H has been awesome. I have been able to see places and meet people that I wouldn’t have normally been able to.  I have always enjoyed 4-H University, and I have mowed a lot of grass to be able to go every year!”

Trent is referring to one of the primary skills membership in 4-H has given him.  Trent is a young entrepreneur and has been able to finance many of his statewide 4-H trips by mowing the neighbors’ lawns.  As the years have gone by, Trent has been able to increase his clientele of Grimes Grass, his landscaping company.  Currently, Grimes Grass has 31 clients.

Trent Grimes has always had a heart for service.  He serves with his 4-H club and family to assist with the annual Veteran’s Day Cookout, where together, Santa Rosa County 4-H holds a cookout for 400-500 Veterans and their families.  Trent also serves on the Florida 4-H State Executive Board, where he can help plan multiple statewide events.  His heart of service does not end with 4-H; he serves his senior class at West Florida Baptist Academy as the Senior Class President.  Through 4-H, Trent has learned public speaking skills, communication skills, and excellent organization skills.  After graduation, Trent will continue to pursue more customers for Grimes Grass and build his business.  As any true fan of the University of Florida, he hopes to fulfill his dreams of someday working at a gator farm.

Trent is just one of the many outstanding 4-H members in Santa Rosa County and across the state of Florida that has served his 4-H club and community well.  Where his 4-H journey has brought him over the course of eight years will help him to navigate along the new path for the many years to come, confident with the various essential life skills he has learned along the way.

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office.

Special thanks to Prudence Caskey, UF/IFAS Santa Rosa County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.

Graduating Seniors: 4-H Years In The Making

Graduating Seniors: 4-H Years In The Making

We all agree that the last three months have been unusual and, for the most part, the majority of the population has done a great job of handling the challenging situation in the world fairly well, considering.  I say this as I lead into the fact that, as the Holmes County 4-H Agent, I have had the honor of working with many and great youth and families in my career.  And, of those youth and families, they have handled the COVID-19 pandemic well.  Included in these youth are our graduating Senior 4-Hers, who have missed out on quite a few 4-H traditions that typically close an important chapter, their final 4-H year, in their life’s book, only to introduce many new chapters in the coming months.  These graduating senior 4-H members in Holmes County 4-H (and surrounding 4-H counties) have handled this disruption with grace and maturity, which lets me, volunteers, and parents know that they have truly learned and applied the essential life skills taught throughout the many club meetings, workshops, events, and activities along the 4-H journey!

In the closing of their senior 4-H year, three Holmes County 4-H graduating senior 4-Hers share some of their 4-H wisdom with us…

Female youth in blue dress

Issi Teck, graduating 4-H Senior


Isabela “Issi” Teck has been a member of Holmes County 4-H for eight years.  Issi transformed from a young, shy 4-H member into the bright, confident young woman that she has become today as she prepares for college in the fall.  In addition to being a 4-H member, Issi also serves in the role of a teen volunteer and camp counselor.  Issi shared that one of her favorite 4-H memories is when she went to camp for the very first time and her camp counselor was Emily Shelby.  She stated remembering how Emily helped her to feel like she belonged and how much she loved camp and it made her want to come back the next year and become a counselor.  Issi did in fact become a camp counselor every camp year until this year, when COVID-19 occurred.

Issi shared advice for fellow 4-Hers – “Never be afraid to step up and get involved.  You’ll miss out on so much if you wait to try something new.”  And when asked about advice for those not in 4-H, Issi said she wants to tell them, “4-H helps you become someone better because you get out of your comfort zone and you make new memories.”

Male youth in purple suit

Seth Smith, graduating 4-H Senior


Seth has been a 4-H member of the Holmes County 4-H program for nine years, joining as an extremely shy kid.  He grew up in the 4-H program with teen leaders that took him under their wings and groomed him to be a great leader himself, filling local and district 4-H club officer roles for several years, and grooming the next set of 4-H teen leaders.

Seth participated in numerous local, district, and state 4-H events throughout his 4-H involvement, including 4-H University week, which he states was where one of his favorite 4-H memories took place.  He said attending 4-H University week was one of his favorite 4-H experiences because he stayed at the University of Florida dorms for the first time, got to see the Gainesville area, met new 4-H friends and participated in new and different 4-H workshops and activities.  It was an overall 4-H experience he enjoyed very much.

Seth’s take on 4-H is simply join 4-H for those that are not already members.  For those that are 4-H members?  Seth’s advice is plain and simple and 180 degrees from when he started nine years ago –  don’t be bashful, get involved!  He explains that 4-H has volunteers that are good role models that take the time and are dedicated to helping us.

Female youth in blue dress

Kiley Music, graduating 4-H Senior


Kiley Music has been a member of the Holmes County 4-H program for six years.  Kiley, not known to be shy, brought the silly smiles to our club meetings and activities every month!  Thus, it was no surprise when she shared that her favorite memory was having fun playing Marshmallow Paint Wars at Camp Timpoochee and was able to sneak up and tag me, her 4-H Agent, with all the colors of the rainbow, while I was innocently taking pictures, outside the game borders, I might add!  It was a fun day full of sunshine, laughter and good memories.

Kiley’s advice to those friends still in 4-H is to not be afraid to be who you want to be and try something new in 4-H that you have not tried to do before.




4-H agents, peers, volunteers, parents and community partners are proud of these three 4-H seniors and the many more seniors across the state and nation that have fulfilled their 4-H journey as successful youth members.  We look forward to the many accomplishments they will continue to make as young adults in their future endeavors.

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Brake

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Brake

Picture of a young woman

Sara Brake, Santa Rosa Volunteer

Sara Brake has been a Santa Rosa County 4-H volunteer for over ten years. She remembers her first experience with 4-H as an eight-year-old, stating, “My mom was a fourth-grade teacher who helped organize the Tropicana Public Speaking program at Jay Elementary. My first 4-H experience was in the summer of 1990 at a summer education program held at the Jay Civic Center; we learned about solar energy.”  All of her energy goes toward the youth in the 4-H program now.

Sara is passionate about summer camp and camping at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville.  She explains, “Camp meant a lot to my family and to me as my grandfather had gone to Camp Timpoochee in the 1930s, and my mom went to Timpoochee in the 1960s.”

She also remembers, “4-H Legislature was my first summer program as a Senior 4-Her.” She devotes much of her time to planning the state-wide event that teaches youth civics in a week-long, hands-on atmosphere in Tallahassee, Florida, each summer.  When asked about her dedication of so much time to 4-H Legislature, she replied, “My favorite thing about Legislature as a volunteer is seeing how excited youth get when a bill they are passionate about goes the way they want.”

Sara Brake gives so much back to the 4-H program because 4-H gave so much to her.  She said, “My 4-H experiences helped me become the person I am. I know there are parents today who cannot take time to take youth to events and programs. I have the flexibility to give time. Helping youth have access to programs that meant so much to me when I was a youth is what keeps me volunteering.”

Santa Rosa County 4-H and youth from across the state of Florida, thank you, Sara Brake, for all of your hard work and dedication to our youth.

To learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county.

Volunteer Leadership Academy: Awards & Recognition

Volunteer Leadership Academy: Awards & Recognition

April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy on April 16, 2020 was on the importance of awards and recognition. We learned that recognition is important feedback that every individual needs as it helps to give a sense of belonging when a task or achievement occurs.  Recognition builds self-esteem and allows for self-reflection and personal growth.

In 4-H, youth members, volunteers, parents, and community partners all want to know that they have been successful in their participation and/or contribution to the program and that they belong in 4-H.   All members need to experience recognition for their efforts and that recognition is more meaningful when it occurs soon after it is earned.  April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy webinar explained that the National 4-H recognition model is based on five areas for recognition:  participation, progress toward goals, standards of excellence, competition and cooperation.  It also shared helpful tips on creative, low cost ways of recognition that will still send a meaningful message of value and importance to members in the program.


Green flyer with white text explaining the Virtual Volunteer Leadership AcademyRegistration Information

If you were unable to join us for April’s 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy, it is not too late to register for future webinar sessions.  And, as a registered participant, you will have access to all of the sessions available, including missed sessions, which can be viewed on demand.

Registration is required and can be found at  Once registered, you can join each session live through Zoom.  In addition, if you are unable to connect live, all monthly webinars will be available to you on demand as they are recorded.  Register early – seats are limited to the first 100 registrants.

Future 4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy Webinars

  • May – Club Tools for Online Use
  • September*- Judging Contests
  • October*- Preparing for Exhibits & Shows
  • November* – Club Organization Basics

*Fall session registration will be available July 1, 2020.

Webinar Viewing Information

Join each live session simply with one click from your phone, tablet or computer, using the Zoom app.  Once you have registered, you will receive email communication regarding the Zoom session links, dates and times.

4-H is one of the largest youth development programs in America with more than 6.5 million young people, ages 5-18, and 540,000 youth and adult volunteers.  A variety of fun, educational, engaging activities are offered to teach the fundamental 4-H ideal of practical, “learn by doing” experiences which encourages youth to experiment, innovate and think independently.  For information on how you can get involved with 4-H as a youth, volunteer, or supporter, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county.


4-H Northwest District Teen Retreat….A SUCCESS

4-H Northwest District Teen Retreat….A SUCCESS

2020 4-H Northwest District Teen Retreat Participants

Seventy-four teens from the 4-H Northwest Florida District Teen Retreat took us down memory lane to the 60’s 70’s, and 80’s, on Feb 21-23, 2020, at 4-H Camp Timpoochee. This year’s theme was “4-H Through the Decades”.  This leadership event was planned by senior 4-Hers from the Northwest Extension District for youth ages 13 and up.

People on stage dressed in costumes.

L-R: Chairperson , Whitney Cherry from Calhoun County and 4-Her Sarah Crandall from Jefferson County giving instructions on opening night.

The Teen Retreat kicked off at Friday night check-in with lots of pizza for dinner. The program proceeded with the District Spirit Rally having lots of cheers where participants dressed in bell-bottom pants, tie-dyed shirts, John Lennon style sunglassespeace sign necklaces, and fringe costume vests. Friday night ended with campfire and a movie.

Saturday morning opened with a group picture preceding two educational workshops, “Improv through Leadership” and “Living on My Own.” The Improv through Leadership workshop was more than just making stuff up as it inspired a creative way of advancing leadership skills. Through active listening, youth worked through given challenging situations, adapting quickly to new situations. The participants had many laughs and gained insight on using improv techniques to make them better leaders, team members, and productive citizens.

Teenager pointing to a paper on the wall

Teens from Jefferson County giving instructions in the “Living On My Own” workshop.

Living on My Own (LOMO) teens shared employment aspirations followed by being assigned a make-believe job, a take-home pay, and family size to balance the family’s budget. In theLiving on My Own Simulation, teens learned the basics of writing checks, paying bills, keeping track of spending, credit scores, and what really goes into being an adult. Through the simulation stations, teens chose a home to live in, transportation, paid for insurance, utilities, groceries, childcare, got a second job if necessary, opened a savings and retirement accounts, paid student loans, and packed in entertainment. At the end of the simulation, the teens shared what they learned and what surprised them. Many were surprised by the cost of food and childcare. It gave them a new appreciation of how much their parents do for them!


Youth icing a cake

Cake Decorating was one of the many fun shops offered at the retreat.

The afternoon sessions highlighted fun shops: Play is Really Important, Line Dancing, Next Stop Job, Keep Your Cool, Cake Decorating, 4-H Olympics and a service project. The teens taught most workshops with adult supervision. This year’s service to communities’ project was friendship bracelets to share with special needs youth across the panhandle of Florida.

There is nothing like an entertaining game of kickball with teens versus adults. As always, the game was intense but lots of laughter ensued. Final score: Teens: 6 – Adults: 2.

District and state reports were given by district officers, followed by the dance, board games, and campfire with smores. On the final day, it was rise and shine as youth cleaned up the campground and completed the program evaluations.


Abigail Boyd, a first-time teen retreat participant, was asked what she enjoyed most about the teen retreat.  She stated, “I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones over lunch conversations, nine square competitions, and goofy dance moves.”

Thank You Sponsors!


We were able to keep the cost to a minimum thanks to our awesome sponsors:

  • Gulf Power
  • Club 25
  • Duke Energy
  • Farm Credit of NW Florida
  • Lynn Haven Garden Club
  • Hancock Whitney Bank
  • Career Source Gulf Coast
  • Bay County Farm Bureau
  • St. Joe Community Foundation

All sponsors are printed on the back of the t-shirts and each will receive a 36 X 48-inch banner signed by all the participants.

The Teen Retreat is an exceptional event because county faculty and paraprofessionals have developed a strong youth-adult partnership. This collaboration takes place as teens and adults from the 4-H Northwest District plan, learn, and work together, with both groups sharing in the decision-making process. The dynamic is very different than most programs because teens take leadership roles and the adults take supporting roles. The adults prepare the teens for the workshops they are going to lead. This youth-adult partnership builds on the strengths of adults to mentor the teens in leadership and achieve positive results, as evident by youth surveys each year.

The next 4-H Northwest Florida Teen Retreat will be held on February 26-28, 2021 at beautiful 4-H Camp Cherry Lake.  For more information on 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.

Special thanks to John Lilly, UF/IFAS Jefferson County Extension Director & 4-H Agent for providing this article and pictures.