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2024 Chick Chain Show Results

Cloverbud participants

On Saturday, April 20, 2024, the Washington County Ag Center came to life with 64 4-Hers and 141 chickens for the 2024 Northwest District Chick Chain show. The show was the culmination of the seven-month Northwest District 4-H Chick Chain project.

In September 2023, at the beginning of the 4-H year, 4-Hers took ownership of day-old chicks and began their journey in the 4-H poultry science project. They learned about poultry nutritional and (more…)

Secure your Future with Florida 4-H Scholarships

Not only does Florida 4-H teach life skills that make our youth members competitive scholarship applications, our organization also provides several opportunities to help youth pay for education beyond high school. Another benefit of our scholarship program is that it sets youth up for success when applying for other scholarships outside of 4-H. Parents- you are going to want to bookmark this article, because it covers which programs offer scholarships and how to apply for them in three simple steps! Another benefit of our scholarship program is that it sets youth up for success when applying for other scholarships outside of 4-H.

Step 1: Become Familiar with the Types of Scholarships we Offer
Florida 4-H offers two types of scholarships- scholarships for 4-H events, and scholarships for college or trade school. Some of these scholarships are tied to our Scholarship Application (formerly known as the 4-H Portfolio) and some are tied to competitive events, such as our 4-H Tailgating Contest where the first place winner receives a $1,500 scholarship! Many of our other state events offer opportunities to compete at national contests and provide a travel stipend. For information on which events offer monetary or travel scholarships, download a copy of our Florida 4-H Events and Activities Handbook.

Step 2: Decide which Scholarships you want to Either Compete or Apply for
If you are applying for a scholarship that is tied to a competitive event, you will want to enroll in that project and event through 4Honline. Your local UF IFAS Extension Office will be able to connect you with opportunities to learn and practice the skills and knowledge you need to compete successfully. This could include a project club, workshop, or a project mentor or coach.

More than $65,000 in monetary scholarships are given each year as part of our Scholarship Application Process. This process includes an interview during 4-H University, and the checks are presented during our 4-H University Awards Banquet. Youth can apply for multiple scholarships. Check out our 4-H Scholarship Summary Page for the full details, but here is a short list:
UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences- Four (4) $1000 Scholarships (potential to renew each year)
Fred and Mabel Barber Scholarship- Two (2) $1000 Scholarships
T.G. Williamson Scholarship- Two (2) $1000 Scholarships
Thomas Greenawalt Scholarship- One (1) $400 Scholarship
Platt Memorial Scholarship- Two (2) $500 Scholarship
Nettie Ruth Brown Scholarship- One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Terry Floyd Statewide Scholarship-One (1) $500 Scholarship
Jared Padgett 4-H Excellence Scholarship-One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Florida Cattlewomen’s Association 4-H Scholarship-One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Alden Hilliker Memorial Scholarship- One (1) $500 Scholarship
Dr. Bobby Damron Scholarship-One (1) $500 Scholarship
Ruth Milton Scholarship-One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Teki Hinton Ericson 4-H Scholarship- One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Hal Porter 4-H Scholarship-One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Langley Bell 4-H Legacy Scholarship Endowment-One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Tampa Bay Kennel Club Dog Scholarship-One (1) $1000 Scholarship
Lakeland Winter Haven Kennel Club 4-H Scholarship-Two (2) $1000 Scholarships
Horseman of the Year- One (1) $800 Scholarship and $200 Award
Dallas C. Osborne 4-H Horsemanship Scholarship- One (1) $500 Scholarship

Step 3: Work with your local UF IFAS Extension Agent to Prepare
If you are applying for a scholarship that is part of our state scholarship application process, you will prepare a cover letter and resumé to submit along with your application. We have lots of resources to help you!

Florida 4-H Scholarship Packet

How to Submit

How to write a cover letter

How to write a skills- based resumé


National Pretzel Day

Who doesn’t love a warm, soft pretzel? Did you know they are fast and easy to make? Pretzels are a yummy way to introduce youth to the science of bread baking. Following a recipe can also help them practice following directions and measuring ingredients. Plus….it’s just fun! In honor of National Pretzel Day, we are sharing our tried and true soft pretzel recipe, which is perfect for your next 4-H club meeting or a fun family night. Of course, be sure to note any youth with food allergies and plan accordingly! This recipe makes 12 pretzels, so you may need to double (or triple) the recipe depending on the number of people you have.

You can demonstrate making the dough, or divide youth up into groups of 4-5 to make a recipe of dough each. In addition to the ingredients below, you will need either a stand mixer or a bowl and spoon for each group, measuring spoons, a liquid 1-cup measuring cup, 1-cup measure for solids, baking sheets, parchment paper, pastry brush, oven, and pot-holders.

Tips for baking with youth:

  1. Create stations with all the supplies (including the recipe) needed. If possible, have a teen or adult for each station.
  2. Demonstrate how to measure ingredients
  3. Demonstrate how to knead and shape the dough


1 1/2 cups of warm water (around 100 degrees Farenheight
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (this is about 1 packet)
1 tablespoon of sugar or honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little more for kneading)
3 tablespoons of melted butter

This is optional, but you can have a variety of toppings for youth to try:
  • Traditional-course sea salt
  • Cheesy- nutritional yeast (if allergic to dairy), or cheese-flavored seasonings (like the kind you use for popcorn)
  • Ranch, or any other seasoning you prefer
  1. Stir the yeast into warm water and sugar (or honey).  Allow to sit for 1 minute. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If the dough is sticky, continue to add flour (a small bit at the time) until it is no longer sticky. This will depend on how much humidity is in the air (this is a great science discussion!).
  2. If using a stand mixer, keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 5 full minutes. If mixing by hand, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead with clean hands for 5 full minutes. If the dough becomes too sticky during the kneading process, sprinkle more flour on the dough as needed. After kneading, the dough should slowly bounces back when you poke it with your finger.
  3. Shape the kneaded dough into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  4. After the dough has rested, use a knife to cut it into 12 even portions. Give one portion to each youth, and show them how to roll the dough into a rope, or “snake” shape. Form a circle with the dough bringing the two ends together. Twist the ends and bring them back down over the circle to form the pretzel shape. Place pretzels onto the baking sheets and brush with melted butter and the topping of your choice.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and enjoy!

Further Engagement:

Youth who enjoy this activity may also enjoy the 4-H Breads Project. Youth can enter their baked goods in their local county fair or the North Florida Fair. Youth can also do a demonstration on breadmaking for county events, district events, or 4-H University.

Spring Outside: 3 Ways to Move Club Meetings Outdoors

As the days grow longer and the weather warms up (but isn’t too hot), it’s the perfect time to take your 4-H club activities outdoors! Outdoor activities offer unique opportunities for hands-on learning, team building, and exploration of the natural world. Whether you’re in a rural setting or an urban environment, there are plenty of fun and engaging outdoor activities to enjoy with your 4-H group or as a family. This article shares five ways you can shake things up by taking it outside!

Nature Scavenger Hunt: Embark on a nature scavenger hunt to discover the wonders of the great outdoors! Create a list of items for participants to find, such as leaves of different shapes and sizes, animal tracks, bird feathers, or specific types of flowers. Divide the group into teams and set them loose to explore the surrounding area. Encourage participants to use their observation skills and work together to check off items on their list. The team that finds the most items within a designated time wins a prize!

  • There is a native plant scavenger hunt as part of the Florida 4-H Bluebird project on page 9 of the Leader’s Guide.
  • To make this even more engaging with youth, you can use iNaturalist. It is a free app from National Geographic that uses crowdsourcing to identify plants. You can create your scavenger hunt for your club in the app, and then families or teams of youth use their phone to take a picture, document, and identify plants or animals.
  • If youth enjoy this type of activity, you might want to consider the Florida Friendly Landscaping Project or the Florida Youth Naturalist Project. Both projects guide youth through learning about Florida’s native plants and environments.

Outdoor Games Day: Organize a fun-filled outdoor games day for your 4-H club members to enjoy friendly competition and physical activity. Set up stations for classic games like sack races, tug-of-war, relay races, and frisbee throwing. You can also introduce lesser-known sports or activities such as disc golf, ultimate frisbee, or orienteering. Tailor the games to accommodate different skill levels and abilities, and encourage teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play among participants. Don’t forget to provide plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks to keep everyone energized throughout the day!

Wildlife Watching: Take a walk on the wild side and explore the fascinating world of local wildlife! Visit nearby parks, nature reserves, or wildlife sanctuaries with your 4-H club and embark on a wildlife-watching adventure. Bring along binoculars, field guides, and notebooks to help identify and record sightings of birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Encourage participants to observe animal behavior, habitat preferences, and adaptations to their environment.

  • Consider inviting a local naturalist or wildlife expert to join you on your excursion and share their knowledge and expertise with the group.
  • Visit a state park to look for signs of wildlife. You can request a letter from your Local UF IFAS Extension Office to waive the state park entry fee.
  • Clover by 4-H offers several easy activities to support projects that are grab-and-go. Wildlife Signs is an activity that is appropriate for a variety of ages. This activity helps youth make observations about the wildlife around them, and can be a great introduction to the 4-H Wildlife project! To access the materials, you need to create a free account.

Fostering Further Engagement
Florida 4-H supports several project areas that foster a love of the outdoors. If you know a young person with a spark for the outdoors, encourage them to explore a project related to Wildlife, Forestry, Shooting Sports, or Sportsfishing. We also have a Forest Ecology Contest and a Wildlife Ecology Contest.

With a little creativity and enthusiasm, the possibilities for outdoor activities with your 4-H club are endless! Whether you’re exploring the wonders of nature, , engaging in friendly competition, or observing wildlife in its natural habitat, outdoor activities offer valuable opportunities for learning, growth, and connection. So, grab your sunscreen, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to make lasting memories with your 4-H club members and families in the great outdoors!

Write a blog article about 5 activities to teach 4-H youth about gardening

Planning a Safe and Engaging Paddling Adventure for Youth Part 2

As we continue with part two of our series ‘Planning a Safe and Engaging Paddling Adventure for Youth,’ our goal is to highlight the key elements that make these excursions both memorable and educational. You will be introduced to the essentials of group dynamics, communication strategies, and incorporating educational components to your trip. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a multi-day camp, the information in this blog will help you navigate the challenges and delights of introducing young paddlers to the wonders of the great outdoors.

Paddling is a Group Activity

A successful paddling trip depends greatly on strong group dynamics and clear communication. Prior to getting on the water, it’s essential to conduct a thorough on-land training session that covers the basics of paddling, maintaining balance, and methods for recovering from a capsize. Turning these drills into interactive and enjoyable activities can greatly alleviate any nervousness and boost the confidence of your youth participants. For those organizing multi-day camps, scheduling this training a day in advance can be particularly beneficial—the more familiar youth become with these practices, the better.

group of youth surrounding an adult as she gives instructions before the paddling trip.

A successful paddling trip fosters solid group dynamics, clear communication, and teachers essential on-land training that covers paddling fundamentals, balance maintenance, and capsize recovery techniques.

Before setting out, it’s important that designated adult volunteers take on the specific roles, such as the lead and sweep, to maintain order and ensure the group’s safety throughout the adventure. The lead is responsible for navigating the route, monitoring for hazards, being mindful of other waterway users, and setting a pace that accommodates the entire group. The sweep boat, positioned at the end of the group, ensures that no one falls behind. This position requires experience with rescue situations, the capability to offer aid during capsizes or emergencies, and typically includes the responsibility of carrying a first aid kit along with having certifications in first aid, and CPR.

Effective and clear communication is essential when on the water. All paddlers should stay within earshot of each other to facilitate this. However, if distance makes verbal communication challenging, hand, paddle, and whistle signals become crucial tools for conveying messages. For instance, holding a paddle horizontally above your head signals others to stop paddling. Raising your arms vertically signifies an all-clear or prompts others to proceed. Waving your paddle overhead indicates a need for assistance in emergencies. To direct paddlers, use your paddle to point in the intended direction of travel, avoiding using it to point out hazards.

Whistle signals also play a key role in communication:

  • One whistle blast calls for attention, urging the group to stop and wait for further instructions.
  • Two blasts instruct paddlers to stop and remain in their current location.
  • Three blasts signal an emergency, indicating that help is needed.

By creating clear communication among experienced adults, the trip not only becomes safer but also serves as an opportunity to demonstrate responsibility and leadership to youth on the trip. This structure provides a secure environment where youth can focus on refining their paddling skills and fully engage in the educational aspects of the activity. Modeling teamwork within the adults fosters a sense of unity throughout the team, enabling everyone to navigate challenges more effectively.

In case of a Capsize

When someone capsizes, it’s essential to remember your rescue priorities. The safety of people is always the most important. First, make sure everyone is safe. Then, collect boats and paddles. After securing the larger items, you can retrieve smaller gear like water bottles and dry bags.

If you’re the rescuer, it’s crucial to stay calm and control your boat to avoid becoming a casualty yourself. Ask for help if needed, giving clear instructions to the victim or other group members. If you’re witnessing a capsize, sometimes the best action is to stay clear unless the rescuer calls for assistance. If asked to help, follow their instructions while keeping yourself and your boat under control.

As a potential rescuer, remember the sequence talk – reach – throw – paddle – go.

  1. Talk: Start by getting the attention of the capsized paddler using your voice, whistle, or another sound device. Often, simply talking them through staying calm and performing a self-rescue is enough.
  2. Reach: If more than verbal guidance is needed, use the reach method. Extend your paddle or arm to help. Guide them to the front of your kayak for safety, avoiding having them hold onto the side, which could destabilize your kayak.
  3. Throw: When the capsized paddler is too far for a reach, throw them a rope or a life float they can grab onto.
  4. Paddle: If neither talking, reaching, nor throwing works, paddle close enough to them so they can be safely pulled to safety using the reach or throw method.
  5. Go: As a last resort, you may need to get into the water to assist, which involves significant risk. Ensure bystanders are calling for help while you swim to the capsized paddler’s aid.

This approach ensures everyone knows their role in a capsize situation, prioritizing safety and effective rescue techniques.

Outdoor Education and Stewardship

Enhance your paddling journey by turning it into a comprehensive educational experience, focusing on the local ecosystem and conservation initiatives. By immersing participants in the surrounding natural environment, you deepen their connection and commitment to environmental stewardship.

Teaching and practicing Leave No Trace principles is key to fostering respect for our natural surroundings. Paddling leaders play a crucial role in emphasizing the importance of minimizing our environmental impact, showing consideration for wildlife, and preserving the natural beauty of our waterways. Instilling these values in young paddlers helps them understand the critical role they play in conservation efforts and encourages them to engage in responsible outdoor behaviors well into adulthood.


Incorporating a debrief, or post-trip reflection session, into your paddling adventure is an excellent way to incorporate principles of experiential learning, which values learning through action and reflection. After your trip, taking time for a debrief enables participants to express their thoughts on the activity, confront challenges encountered, and share new insights. Purposeful reflection is essential to the experiential learning process, helping learners to internalize their experiences and apply their insights in future contexts.

Debriefing among adults is also important. Scenarios encountered during the trip may highlight potential opportunities where additional training from certified instructors to improve paddling skills and safety knowledge is needed.


Embarking on a paddling adventure with youth offers more than just a day on the water; it’s an opportunity to foster teamwork, respect for nature, and a commitment to environmental stewardship through experiential learning. By incorporating safety, education, and reflection, we not only ensure a memorable and enriching experience but also instill important values and skills that youth will carry with them long after the trip ends.


Want to learn more? Check out Paddle TV on YouTube which has made great videos in partnership with the American Canoe Association (ACA) by following the link:

Consider using the Paddle Safe Paddle Smart (PS2) curriculum that has been created by ACA when implementing a paddling component during day camps or workshops.

Paddling Trip Checklist for Leaders

This checklist serves as a foundational tool for leaders to ensure that every aspect of the paddling trip is accounted for, from safety to environmental education. By following this guide and utilizing the checklist, leaders can provide a safe, enjoyable, and enriching paddling experience that youth participants will remember for years to come.





10 Ways to Continue to Celebrate and Promote 4-H

September 1st serves as the start of the new 4-H year and the first week of October serves as National 4‑H Week each year.  Throughout Florida and especially in the Panhandle, the first month of the 4-H year is full of events, activities, and social media posts to celebrate the impact of 4‑H.  Once the start of the new year and National 4-H Week are over however, momentum for the program can ebb and flow.  Here are 10 ways that you can continue to celebrate and promote 4-H in your club and county.

  1. Give Back

Local programs are always looking for resources to continue growing their programs.  From serving food, to collecting essential items, to making a donation, 4-H members can help provide resources and serve their communities.

  1. Wear your 4-H Gear

Nothing says 4-H pride like wearing a 4-H clover.  Dress yourself (or the entire family-including your pets) in 4-H green and 4-H gear, available at Shop 4-H.

  1. Set up Informational Booths

If your local grocery store or hardware store allows, set up a table to share information about your local 4-H program or club.  You can display 4-H posters, hand out flyers, or showcase the work of local 4-H members.  4-H has long-standing partnerships with Tractor Supply Co. and Joann Fabric and Craft Stores.

  1. Highlight your 4-H Members

Share social media posts about your 4-H members and their accomplishments.  4-H clubs, counties, and even the NW 4-H District all have social media pages that showcase 4-H accomplishments.  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.

  1. Become a 4-H Volunteer

If you are a 4-H alum, you might be looking for ways to reconnect with 4-H.  Consider giving your time to a local 4-H club by becoming a volunteer.

  1. Showcase Your 4-H Work at a Local Fair

The Fall is Fair Season in the NW District.  4-H members can submit booths, entries, livestock, and a variety of other things into local and regional fairs.  Even if you don’t submit anything, many of our local fairs have judging contests to participate in.

  1. Prepare for Judging Teams and Competitive Events

4-H has a variety of judging teams and competitive events that are offered year-round.  These opportunities are great ways to learn a specific skillset and work on teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.  While many of these teams and events are in the springtime, you can start to prepare now to be ready when they start.

  1. Have a 4-H Reunion

4-H alumni often credit 4-H for the connections they have made, remembering the friends they made and those who they may still keep in touch with today.  Gather your old 4-H friends and spend some time together reminiscing on your 4-H experience or recreate your 4-H project together.

  1. Send a 4-H “Thank You”

We all have a reason to thank our local 4-H leaders and volunteers.  Whether you grew up in 4-H, you have kids in 4-H, you are in 4-H, or you’ve witnessed the positive work of 4-H in your community, send a “thank you” note to your local Extension Office to show your appreciation.

  1. Try Something New

4-H is an organization that helps youth start a new skill or allows them to try a different interest.  Do you want to dabble in fashion? Get a taste of cooking? Build a Lego robot?  Ride a horse?  4‑H is the place to where all these things are possible.