Paula Davis is the 4-H Youth Development Faculty in Bay County, Florida since 2000. She earned her doctoral degree in Adult Vocational Education from Auburn University, master’s degree in Ruminant Nutrition from the University of
Tennessee and her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Berea College. Her work has focused on 4-H youth development, plant science, military programming and camping. She worked with the military partnership program since 2004, and became the state liaison in 2015. She has been a part volunteer training teams, both stateside and internationally throughout her career.
Paula grew up in 4-H in Eastern Kentucky, interned while in college with Kentucky Extension, she has also held Extension positions in Illinois, Alabama and Ohio before moving to the Florida Panhandle when she married her husband Jim Moyers and began her family. Now both of their daughters are in high school. The family resides in Panama City.
Paula works in Bay County with Families, Faculty and local community organizations to build a strong 4-H program. She works with military and afterschool programs to enable youth to find their passion while building life-skills to help them become productive citizens. As the state military liaison, she also trains Air Force Staff in Europe and Navy Staff in Cuba. It has been a very rewarding career working with volunteers to make the best better with 4-H. For more information on 4-H, please contact your local 4-H office. You can find your local office here.
If you can’t Purple Up on the 15th Choose another day!
Not all heroes wear capes. How many times have we heard this phrase over the last year referring to healthcare workers, first responders, and essential personnel? What about kids – specifically kids with one or both parents serving in the military?
According to Webster, a hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” Upon reflection, we thought about what we see in military kids. The kids of military families have make many sacrifices, they move often, lose time with family members serving, and often don’t get to celebrate events with deployed family members. Military-connected kids experience many challenges that make them resilient, but they also take their toll. We are civilians serving military youth using 4-H as the vehicle to help make them more resilient. In fact, UF/IFAS Extension and 4-H are proud to be a part of the military family working with youth centers across the nation to have some consistency for youth in these situations.
Jen also lives in a neighborhood full of active duty military members and their families. She sat down and chatted with a teen and his dad who is active duty Navy and one of her neighbors. Their conversation was so enlightening and inspiring about being a military kid that we had to share it with you!
The conversation started with me asking the teen to tell me what he thought a hero was. His response? Someone who does for the greater good; a person who possess courage, honesty, integrity, and kindness. I followed up by asking if he thought of himself as a hero. Immediately, he said, “no, I’m just a military kid. It is nothing special, just a title.” His answer really resonated with me. Adults who sign up for military life know what they are signing up for, military kids are just handed the cards they are dealt. The kids of military families have no say in the sacrifices of time, family, and opportunities as well as the uncertainty that comes along with the job of one or both parents serving in the military. How could this teen not see how special he is? I could not believe that his perception was that military kid just a title!
As we continued our conversation, we discussed how his role changes when his dad is gone for 7 to 14 months on deployment. He has to step up as the “man of the house” to help his mom with household duties and help with his younger brother. Then when dad comes back his role to changes again. These role changes can be challenging, but he consistently steps up without complaint. This young man has also experienced a big move that involved making all new friends, adjusting to life in the south. His parents report that he has also kept a positive attitude. When ask about this his response was “that is just what you do.”
Purple up for military Kids
Military kids experience change frequently – some little and some big- starting early in their lives. Their ability to adapt and overcome is admirable. This teen was so nonchalant about his abilities and skills as a military kid that I had to stop and remind him that what he possesses is something truly special. To put it into perspective, on top of everything that comes with being a military kid, he has dealt with a big move relocating to Florida, the devastating effects of Hurricane Michael, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioned to virtual school. Compared to his peers, and many adults, he has handled the change with grace and confidence. By the end of our conversation, I asked again, “Do you think of yourself as a hero?” This time his answer was much different than when we started our conversation, “yes, I guess I am.” I thanked him for his service, which supports his dad to carry out his duties to protect our country every day. He replied thank you for caring!
Now we need your help! Being a military kid is so much more than a title. Please join us in celebrating the Month of the Military Child throughout April and Purple Up! for Military Kids on April 15. This is one way to recognize these youth and show them we care! It’s simple, wear purple and take photos to share on social media using #fl4h, #purpleup, #virtualMOMC, #4heverywhere
I encourage you to visit our website (https://sites.google.com/ufl.edu/4-h-military-partnership-4-h-m/home) and follow us on Facebook (@bayifas) to learn about how you can join the celebration and support Extension programs like these. Next time you see a military member out with their family, I urge you to not just thank the service member for their service, but also thank their kids as they serve, too. For more information on Purple Up; contact your local county 4-H Agent. 4-H is one of the nation’s most diverse organizations and includes people from all economic, racial, social, political, and geographic categories. There are no barriers to participation by any young person. Participants are given the opportunity to engage in activities that hold their personal interest, while being guided by adult volunteers.
By: Paula Davis & Jennifer Sims
Help us celebrate our military youth during the month of April on Social Media! Just use using #fl4h, #purpleup, #virtualMOMC, #4heverywhere
UF/IFAS Extension and 4-H are proud to be a part of the military family working with youth centers across the nation to have some consistency for military kids. Here in Florida, we support 4-H programs at military bases in our state, as well as in a few other countries!
We need your help! Being a military kid is so much more than a title. Please join us in celebrating the Month of the Military Child throughout April and Purple Up! for Military Kids on April 15.
It’s simple, wear purple and take photos to share on social media. You can even post a photo of your family as we celebrate the Month of the Military Child while practicing social distancing all wearing purple. If you can’t join us on the 15th just post something on any day in April. Some businesses have committed to wear purple on Fridays for the whole month of April to celebrate military families!
If you are camera shy, you can decorate a door or window; create a red, white and blue dessert, cake or cupcake; to celebrate the Month of the Military Child. Then snap a picture and post on social media using the hashtags below.
These are several ways to recognize these youth and show them we care! Remember, it’s simple, wear purple and take photos to share on social media using #fl4h, #purpleup, #virtualMOMC, #4heverywhere with a statement like “we support our military youth,” tell us something you are grateful for related to our military or relate your own story of being in the military or growing up as a military kid!
Follow us on Facebook @VolunteeringInThePanhandle to learn about how you can join the celebration and support Extension programs like these. Next time you see a military member out with their family, I urge you to not just thank the service member for their service, but also thank their kids as they serve, too. For more information on Purple Up! contact your local county 4-H Agent. 4-H is one of the nation’s most diverse organizations and includes people from all economic, racial, social, political, and geographic categories. There are no barriers to participation by any young person. Participants are given the opportunity to engage in activities that hold their personal interest, while being guided by adult volunteers. Hope you will Purple Up! and share on social media!
Courtesy photo from https://media.defense.gov
When you think of military service, what words come to mind … training, deployments, relocation, freedom, service, and sacrifice? One word that most people overlook is… Family! According to National Child and Traumatic Stress Network “November was first declared as Military Family Month in 1996. Since then, November has been a time to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices our military families make. They contend with separation from their families and make adjustments to new living situations and communities. Military Families embody strength, resilience, and courage. Care of military families and children sustains our fighting force, and strengthens the health, security, and safety of our nation’s families and communities.”
Help 4-H recognize the Military Family this month. Many of us live in a community with active duty military families, and almost every community has a Guard or Reserve family that you may not realize are service members. These individuals have a different job in the community and serve in times of need.
For those of us without a military background, it can be difficult to know how to be supportive. You may want to meet military family’s needs but don’t know where to begin. Therefore, we have put together a few ideas to help you on your supportive journey.
- Create something decorative to cheer up a veteran’s nursing home room. Picture, Mandala, Bookmark
- If you have a new military family come to your community welcome them to the neighborhood or school. Help them find their way around, give them a list of best places in your community and your phone number in case they need help.
- Leave a care package with family friendly activities and self-care items. Operation Gratitude and Operation Care & Comfort are two organizations that do this for military members.
- Volunteer to babysit or take a child to a practice and give the military parent a break especially if one of the parents is deployed. Just having someone they can trust offer help is a big gift!
- Volunteer your time to provide companionship, serve a meal, assemble holiday packages. Veterans’ advantage has a list of trusted organizations and nonprofits if you don’t have a person in mind.
- Deliver a meal or prepare something that they can take from the freezer and put in the oven or microwave as a quick meal.
- Send a thank you note expressing your appreciation for the family’s support of our Military.
- Offer to cut grass, clean, or help with household chores.
- Offer to run errands – doing a grocery run, picking up dry cleaning, and other errands can ease the burden of juggling responsibilities while a military member is deployed.
- Adopt a family for the holidays. Holidays can be hard when a service member is deployed or doesn’t have family in the local area. Include military families in your holiday plans – holiday dinners, festivals, baking, etc. If you do not have a family locally Soldier Angels can help you to adopt a family.
- Treat a service member or veteran to a holiday stocking filled with items to bring them some cheer. If you don’t have someone in your local area, Soldiers Angels Stockings For Heroes is a national organization doing this. https://soldiersangels.org/holiday-stockings-for-heroes/
- Offer to board a military family’s pet while the family goes on vacation or takes a trip. Dogs on Deployment or PACT Military Foster Program
- Donate to local or national military support programs or gift your airline miles to Hero Miles Program. It supports wounded, injured, and ill service members and/or their families who are undergoing treatment at a medical facility.
We hope you and your family will consider doing something to recognize our military families this month. Also, if you have a family with kids, take them to visit a war memorial and discuss the meaning of service and sacrifice, and that this is something to remind us of the people who served in and died as a result of war. Help them understand the sacrifices of our military families to make our lives better and ensure our basic freedoms. I have been told by friends who are military families that even the “little things” can make a big difference to a military family. Please join us in celebration of National Military Families Month by adopting or supporting a military friend or support organization in 2020.
Written by Jennifer Sims and Paula Davis
October is an extraordinary month of celebration for UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H Programs. We start with National 4-H Week October 4th – 10th. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week is Opportunity4All. This campaign was created by National 4-H Council to rally support for Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and identify solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America.
With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, can play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youth, families and communities across the country. In 4-H, we believe every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe every child should have the skills they need to make a difference in the world.
It is amazing how many youth are growing up with 4-H in Florida with over 230,000 youth involved. 4-H is open to all youth, ages 5-18, determined as of September 1 of the current 4-H year for everyone in the State of Florida. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs and project work. 4-H is at schools, community settings, virtually, military bases, and in combination with afterschool programs. There are also special workshops, camps and individual and family learning opportunities. We also have state-wide virtual club opportunities including Dairy, Horse, Poultry, Teen Life Ready and Young Leaders clubs. The Northwest District also offers 4-H virtual projects. These include: Chick Chain, Backyard Livestock, Honeybees, Wildlife, Baking, Culinary Arts, Leadership, Plant Science, Tailgating, sewing and shooting sports.
National 4-H Week Events Include:
Monday, October 5, 2020 join us at 1:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM CST for a webinar on How to Teach Kids to Prepare Healthy, Fun Snacks. Register Here
Tuesday October 6, 2020 Shout Out Day & Hall of Fame
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 or use our photo frame for sharing on Social Media be sure to include following hashtags #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– 4-H Hall of Fame (FB Live Event) @florida4h
Wednesday, October 7, 2020, National 4-H Week Spirit Day
We want to invite you to help celebrate by wearing green or the 4-H clover. You could also wear a 4-H or Green facemask. We even have a photo frame you can use for sharing on Social Media and tag #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
Thursday, October 8, 2020, Support the FOURWARD Fund, and Trivia Night
The forward fund helps ensure kids and families in need have access to educational resources and support all year long.
4-H Trivia Night from 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– (via FB) @florida4h
Are you ready for the 4-H Mars Base Camp Challenge?
On Friday October 9 Florida 4-H at 4 and Camp Night
Join Florida 4-H at 4 online at 4:00 PM EST 3:00 CST as we blast off on a mission to the Red Planet – MARS! We’ll be learning about the process that NASA goes through when sending a rover to Mars. We’ll learn about the stages of launching from earth, attempting to land on Mars, and discovering the key features of the Martian surface. Using real images and data Generated from NASA missions we’ll be introduced to some of the key characteristics of Mars and how we have discovered these features through decades of scientific exploration. Bring your supplies and join us. Click to Register
4-H Camp Night 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST Come hang out with our camping team via zoom Click to Register and celebrate National 4-H Week.
Saturday October 10 #Opportunity4All Forum at 6:30 pm EST / 5:30 CST @florida4h (FB Live Event) Kids face a widening opportunity gap in America. Nothing should hold them back. Not Now. Not Ever. For more information about the national Opportunity for all Campaign materials and PSA
October 7-18 Tractor Supply Paper Clover FundraiserThe paper clover campaigns help by providing funds to conduct hands-on learning experiences through projects in STEM, agriculture, healthy living, and civic engagement locally and nationally.
JOANN stores also support 4-H by providing local 4-H Clubs with resources and tools to run impactful programs. JOANN even provides current & alumni members, parents of members, and volunteers with a 15% off total in-store and online purchases every day with a 4-H Rewards Card. You can register for this card at https://www.joann.com/4-h/ . They also run a paper clover campaign in the spring similar to Tractor Supply.
Please, help us celebrate National 4-H Week 2020 and participate in as many activities as possible. Also, Be sure next time you are visiting one of our sponsors locations to thank them for their continued support of 4-H Youth Development Programs. I cant wait to see your photos on social media please be sure and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this or volunteer your time to work with youth, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office. As you can see October is a wonderful month to be involved with and join Florida 4-H An Equal Opportunity Institution.