4-H Day at the North Florida Fair celebrated a triumphant return on Saturday November 13. This annual event in Tallahassee took a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic but returned in full force this past Saturday. 4-H Day at the Fair is an event that connects 4-H members and their families with each other from across North Florida. The fair was filled with a sea of green as eager 4-H members joined together to compete in 4-H contests, enjoy fair rides, and sample delicious fair food. The North Florida Fair provides 4-H members and volunteers with special deals on rides for the day. 4-H Member Arvaneh G. shared that her favorite part was “all the rides, especially the Himalaya, and the bounce houses”.
Before the rides and fair are open, 4-H Day Starts in the early morning as members compete in a variety of contests. This year, those contests were the STEM Challenge, Consumer Choices, Agriculture Judging, Horticulture Identification, and Wildlife Ecology. Members put their life skills developed through 4-H to work by displaying critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving during the contests. A total of 116 youth competed in the contests during 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair this year. Participants had the option to compete as individuals or on a team in each contest. Senior 4-H Member Sophia L. shared “it was really great to see the Wildlife Ecology Contest return, we had such a great turn out with a lot of variety in ages”. Sophia expressed how she was excited for the contest to be back, adding “there is something about that friendly competition atmosphere this is really motivating, seeing so many people that are all passionate about similar things”.
4-H members participating in the Horticulture ID Contest
The topic of the STEM Challenge Contest this year involved building a roller coaster using the engineer design process. All youth competing in this contest were placed on a team based on their age division. A limited amount of materials were provided and the teams worked together to create a roller coaster that would carry a marble from the top of the coaster to the bottom with at least two loops and one curve. The teams were judged on creativity, communication, and teamwork. The final designs were put on display in the 4-H Building for the remainder of the fair.
The Consumer Choices Contest measured the ability of youth to be smart shoppers. The item categories this year were cell phone plans, ground transportation selection, wireless portable speakers, and smoothies. 4-H members had the opportunity to compete in this contest as an individual or on a team. Each individual or team was provided with a “situation card”. Based on the criteria provided in the card, members were asked to review four different choices of each item and rank them from best to worst based on the criteria. After they were finished ranking, they would have to justify their selection through an “oral reasoning” section.
During the Agriculture Judging Contest, individuals and teams were tested on their knowledge of beef, poultry, hay, corn, soybean, and oats. Youth competed both as individuals and on teams with their age division. Agriculture judging consists of analyzing a product (i.e. cattle, soybeans) and measuring it against a standard. Members were asked to analyze four different choices of each item and rank them from best to worst based on the standard.
4-H members competing in the Agriculture Judging Contest
The Horticulture Identification Contest tested the ability of members to identify over 60 horticulture specimens. The items were divided into four separate categories. Those categories were ornamentals, fruits & vegetables, flowers, and foliage. The specimens were laid out on tables, each bearing a number that corresponds to a scoresheet, that listed over 100 plant names. This contest replicates the state 4-H Horticulture Contest held each year in June.
Plant specimens in the Horticulture ID Contest
Wildlife Ecology Contest
During the Wildlife Ecology Contest, members were tested on their knowledge of Florida trees, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They identified the various items through pictures, physical specimens, and audio sounds. 4-H Member Joycelyn G. joined 4-H this past year and had the opportunity to participate in two contests this year. When asked what her favorite thing about 4-H Day at the Fair was, she answered “I loved the rides and I loved the competition. Thank you very much for having a special spot for me. I really loved the fair. It was the best day ever!”
4-H Exhibits & Club Booth Building
In addition to contests, members had the opportunity to view exhibits and club booths in the 4-H Building at the fair. 4-H members from across the panhandle submit exhibits that express what they have learned through their 4-H experience. Premiums and special merit awards are issued to members whose exhibits demonstrate outstanding efforts and quality in each class. Club booths are constructed by club members and volunteers. The club booths showcase the various 4-H clubs in North Florida.
Leon County 4-H Insect Club created their booth to highlight the importance of pollinators
UF/IFAS Building at the NFF
The 79th Annual North Florida Fair began with exhibits coming in Monday and being judged on Wednesday. We would love you to come see what our industrious youth have been up to creating artwork, growing plants and sewing to create some one of a kind pieces. Thank you to our judges who volunteered their time to support our youth!
Allison orienting judges for the 4-H exhibit judging.
The 4-H experience is being showcase right now at the 2021 North Florida Fair in Tallahassee, Florida. The fair is open thru November 14th, we hope you will come by and visit us. Here you will have the opportunity to see the 4-H youth work and meet UF/IFAS Extension Faculty and Staff. There are two areas to visit with Extension professionals.
2021 Award of Merit Exhibits on Display at NFF
The first is the 4-H Building. In this exhibit you will find youth exhibits of artwork, sewing, canning, photography and much more. The second is the UF/IFAS Building where you can check out your marine science knowledge, learn about grains and grasses and amphibians. Youth will be participating in Beef, dairy, goat, poultry, and rabbit shows throughout the week. 4-H Day at the Fair is Saturday, November 13, 2021. From 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon youth will be competing in agricultural judging, horticultural judging, wildlife ecology, consumer choices, stem challenge, sewing contests to demonstrate what they have learned about these specific topics.
The top Award of Merit winners for plants from all three age divisions
4-H teaches youth responsibility, compassion, respect and the value of hard work. It helps youth become a confident kid and caring adult. We provide 4-H programs in every county in Florida. 4-H programs are offered in big cities, small towns, and rural communities, as well as on U.S. military installations. For more information contact your local extension office. Participation shall not be denied on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status, or political beliefs. Persons with disabilities should contact the Extension Office at least 10 working days prior to the event so that proper consideration can be given to the request.
Help support by purchasing a 4-H Specialty Plate
You can help kids have the same great experience – share your #4HGrown story. You can also help your local 4-H program by purchasing a 4-H license plate. Vouchers for a new specialty license plate bearing the iconic 4-H clover is available for purchase at all county tax collector offices and license plate agencies in Florida or online (from anywhere in Florida) through the Escambia County Tax Collector’s Office. The license plate will go into production once 3,000 pre-sale vouchers are sold. The voucher, which includes the $25 specialty plate fee plus processing fees, is $33 total. Please consider purchasing your plate today, it would make a great Holiday present for those who grew up in 4-H!
Have you ever wondered why 4-H clubs do fundraisers or what the guidelines for fundraisers are? The purpose of this post is to answer why we fundraise, how we fundraise (guidelines), and we will also include some fun ideas for club fundraisers.
Why do 4-H Clubs Fundraise?
To support a robust youth development program, you need money! There are a few different sources of funding that we rely on to support 4-H at the state, county, and club level:
- Tax Dollars– The cooperative extension service is a three-way partnership between federal, state, and county governments. This partnership provides salaries for county faculty and staff, as well as office space and meeting facilities. Unfortunately, this support does not cover all the expenses to keep our educational programs affordable for families.
- Grants & Gifts– To bridge this gap, 4-H agents and specialists write grants and work with their county association and IFAS Advancement to secure gifts and donations. IFAS Advancement works with families who want to leave a legacy through endowments and end of life gifts. At the state level, our foundation has five priority areas- residential camping, national award trips for youth, 4-H University,
- Fundraising– Fundraising is done at all levels of Florida 4-H. At the University level, we have a “Day of Giving” where alumni and friends can donate online. Our state foundation and county associations often hold large fundraising events to support state and county-wide programs. At the club level, 4-H clubs often raise money to support club activities such as club supplies, field trips, or transportation to state events and contests.
What are the 4-H Fundraising Guidelines?
Fiscal transparency and accountability are priorities at all levels of the 4-H program, therefore we do have guidelines to follow.
- Fundraising Purpose & Specificity– It is a federal policy that any funds raised in the name of 4-H must be for educational purposes. It’s not ok to raise money just for the sake of raising money. In fact, federal guidelines prohibit clubs from raising money for any purpose other than education. Fundraisers should be tied to a specific club goal set at the beginning of the year. For example, the members of a club vote to start a community garden to learn about gardening and donate produce to their local food bank to help their community. As a club, members will need to decide what equipment and supplies they need and create a budget for the garden. Their club fundraising goals will be tied to the budget for the community garden and documented in the minutes of the meeting and the treasurer’s book. In addition to providing transparency, this best practice also helps youth learn about financial recordkeeping and accountability.
- Permission– All 4-H fundraisers need to be approved by your local 4-H agent. To submit your fundraising idea, use the Florida 4-H Fundraising Permission Form. This policy is in place to protect our members, volunteers, and the reputation of 4-H. It also helps 4-H be considerate of businesses and other groups engaged in community fundraising and deters people from using the 4-H name without permission.
- Protecting members and volunteers– Some fundraisers require tax to be collected- particularly if you are selling items. Florida sales tax laws can be complicated, and there are also some weird rules such as you don’t have to charge tax for a car wash if the soap does not include wax. It is important to communicate with your agent about your proposed fundraiser so he or she can help make sure the club follows all the Florida tax rules.
- Protecting the 4-H Reputation– Believe it or not, there are people who try to use the 4-H name and emblem for personal profit. This is not allowed. The club chartering process and fundraising permission form grant clubs permission to use the 4-H name and emblem to fundraise. If you ever see a suspicious fundraiser, you should contact your local extension office immediately. Check out our previous post for information about how to charter a 4-H club.
- Consideration of Others– It is important that 4-H does not have multiple clubs fundraisers running simultaneously in the same community. Too many 4-H fundraisers at one time can prevent clubs from reaching their fundraising goals.
Ideas for 4-H Club Fundraisers
One of the questions often asked by 4-H members, parents, and volunteers is “what are some new ideas for fundraisers?” The list below is not exclusive but will provide some inspiration. If you have an idea to share, leave it in a comment below!
- Sales of products– some clubs have had success selling products like candy, cookie dough, nuts, wrapping paper, meat sticks, and other items. There are several companies that have special offers for 4-H clubs. Your local 4-H agent can provide more information about these types of opportunities.
- Seasonal fundraisers– selling seasonal items such as fruit, holiday décor, and nuts are a popular way to raise money for 4-H clubs. Some clubs also sell a flag service. For holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, and Veteran’s Day, they will put up and take down flags for local businesses and homes. Another seasonal item is Halloween Insurance- individuals or businesses can buy insurance. Should their home or business be rolled or egged on Halloween, the 4-H club cleans up the mess.
- Concessions at community events– Community fairs, festivals, and rodeos are great opportunities to raise money for clubs. Work with your local 4-H agent to develop a relationship with committees or civic groups who sponsor community events and ask them if your club can have a booth to sell water or concessions.
- 4-H nights– there are several local and franchised restaurants that will support 4-H nights. On a pre-determined date, restaurants will donate a percentage of all receipts towards a 4-H program or club. Sometimes this includes having club members present to collect receipts from customers, but not always.
- Crowdsourcing– Crowdsourcing is fundraising on social media. This is a relatively new way to fundraise for 4-H clubs. If your club is interested, work with your local UF IFAS Extension Office to set this up with support from the 4-H Business Services department.
Final Take Away about 4-H Club Fundraising
Fundraising in the name of 4-H should always be done for a specific educational purpose and must be approved by your local UF IFAS Extension Agent.
Keeping youth safe is the number one priority of our 4-H programs. We have both policies and protocol in place to ensure our club meetings are both physically and emotionally safe for young people. These strategies help prevent most accidents, but just in case the unexpected happens, we also have insurance to provide another layer of protection for our members. There are two types of insurance we deal with in 4-H- accident insurance and liability. This post specifically addresses accident insurance, and answers questions such as who is covered, what is covered, and when clubs might want to secure additional insurance.
Who is Covered?
Florida 4-H contracts annually with American Income Life to provide accident insurance for our club members. They have a special division just for 4-H and Extension programs and have been insurance 4-H clubs for nearly 70 years. Club members who are active and enrolled in Florida 4-H are automatically covered by club policy.
What is Covered?
This policy covers accidents that occur during club meetings. The policy does not cover independent practices or project work members engage in between club meetings. It also does not cover any damage to equipment or facilities…or things like broken eyeglasses. Club meetings need to be part of the annual club program, and have adequate adult supervision. This chart is a great tool to ensure club meetings have the correct ratio of youth and screened adults.
What Parents Need to Know
Your child’s safety is our number one priority. We are committed to making sure our faculty, staff, and volunteers are trained in youth protection and risk management. While accidents are not commonplace, when they do happen, we have accident insurance to help our 4-H families. Club policy coverage can be primary for families without personal insurance, but usually, it is treated as secondary and kicks in after the family’s personal insurance to cover things like co-pays, deductibles, and other out of pocket expenses that may be incurred. To be covered by the club policy, members need to be enrolled in 4-H and have a participant form on file. Don’t forget to make sure that your club enrollment in current in 4-H online, and that your participation form is up to date. Parents or guardians need to read and complete this form annually and keep it up to date if there is a change in their child’s medical history.
What Club Leaders Need to Know
In addition to club insurance, American Income Life also offers special event insurance. This type of insurance is recommended for special events like an end of the year party or a fundraiser where there will be lots of non-4-H members present. Event insurance is very affordable, and your local 4-H agent can help you determine if this type of insurance is needed, and handle the request. Our Pre-Event Planning Guide is a helpful tool for accessing the level of risk, and whether or not additional insurance is needed.
Check out this video about 4-H club insurance:
4-H offers a variety of ways for youth and volunteers to get involved!
4-H offers one of the most dynamic youth development experiences- not only are there different types of 4-H membership, but also a wide spectrum of topics youth can explore. This post will break down the types of 4-H membership, topics youth can learn about, and what to expect during a 4-H club meeting.
4-H Membership Types
- Community and project clubs are the most traditional membership. Community clubs serve specific geographic areas and offer a wide variety of projects. Project clubs focus on one specific project area, such as sewing, horses, or robotics.
- 4-H also partners with schools and afterschool programs to provide 4-H experiences for youth. Check with your child’s school or afterschool provider to find out what is available. 4-H also offers some in-school programs like public speaking, agriculture awareness, and embryology to teach science career development.
- Youth can also participate as camp members. Most counties offer day and residential camp experiences.
- Some youth also participate in special interest projects or events. This could include Teen Retreat, judging teams, 4-H Legislature, or workshops.
4-H Topics Youth Can Explore
4-H offers multiple ways for youth to explore their sparks. We have three pillar programs- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Healthy Living, and Citizenship and Leadership. You can find out more about each of the projects by clicking the links below.
What to Expect during a 4-H Program
- A Sense of Belonging– Icebreakers, teambuilding, and get-to-know you games are intentionally part of 4-H programs to help youth (especially new youth) feel like they belong and are welcome. Read more about making meetings welcoming…
- 4-H Ceremonies are part of our culture- most 4-H programs begin with the pledge to the American and 4-H flags. Annually, we have officer inductions for our youth club and council offers. For many of our overnight events (such as camp) we will also have flag ceremonies.
- Youth~adult partnerships– we view youth as resources. That means that youth voice is important, and youth are encouraged to participate in decision making and goal setting. Club programs are driven by what youth want to learn and do through 4-H, and meetings are led by youth officers.
- Opportunities to Learn– educational programs and workshops are taught by adult and teen volunteers. Programs are hands-on, and allow youth to “learn by doing.”
- Opportunities to share– 4-H uses the experiential learning model, meaning that volunteers ask questions to help youth reflect and process what they have learned, and how it will help them in future situations. Sometimes youth will give demonstrations or presentations about their project work- especially when they are preparing for a completion.
For more information about 4-H club meetings, check out these previous articles:
Enrollment for the 2021-2022 4-H year opens August 20th. For more information about opportunities for youth and volunteers in your area, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.
Nothing says summer better than a gooey, yummy s’more! They are the ultimate summer campfire dessert. In celebration of National S’mores Day, we are sharing a history of the s’more, a how-to video, and recipe card with our readers. You can make s’mores the traditional way over a campfire, but you can also make them in a microwave or also turn them into a science lesson by making them in a solar oven!
While you are hanging around the campfire with friends and family, here’s a little history of the s’more:
- Marshmallows were invented by the ancient Greeks and Romans for medicinal purposes (specifically to relieve inflammation and constipation). The first marshmallows were made from the plant Althaea officinalis.
- The French added egg whites and sugar, and marketed marshmallows as a treat with healing properties.
- In the 19th century, confectioners began substituting gelatin for the plant juices, which made it much easier to produce marshmallows in mass.
- The graham cracker was invented by a Presbyterian minister, Sylvester Graham, who believed eating plain, simple food prevented immoral behavior.
- Marshmallow roasting parties became fashionable during the Victorian era.
- We have the Girl Scouts to thank for bringing together chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers! The first recipe for s’mores appeared in the 1927 Girls Scout Handbook, and was called S’mores because they were so good, everyone would ask for “some more”
Nearly 100 years later, s’mores continue to be a favorite treat at 4-H camps. If it’s too hot for a campfire this summer, you can also make this yummy treat in the microwave:
You can also download and share this recipe card:
Making solar s’mores can be a fun 4-H club activity- National 4-H Council turned our previous solar s’mores post into a “4-H At Home” activity that you can also download and share.