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Volunteer Spotlight: Stacey Warden

Volunteer Spotlight: Stacey Warden

It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week!  Our 4-H volunteers invest their time into our community’s most valuable resource – our future!

Today we want to thank Stacey Warden who has led the Jackson County 4-H Livestock Club for the past six years. Stacey coaches our livestock, meats, and poultry judging teams and helps us host poultry and livestock workshops. A former 4-H national champion poultry judge herself, Stacey has coached teams that have competed successfully at the local, state, and national level.

Stacey loves to compete, but her dedication to her club members isn’t limited to just driving them to judging contests. She goes above and beyond to help her club members learn new skills, meet their goals, and chase their dreams. When asked about the impact that Stacey has made, Jackson County 4-H Livestock club member Taylor Yoder said, “Mrs. Stacey has done so much for me since I met her. She has taught me a lot about livestock and has grown my love for it. She is always pushing me to be the best I can be without overwhelming me.”  Stacey’s service to her community has earned her statewide respect, but what’s truly special is that she’s captured the hearts and minds of her club members right here in Jackson County. Thank you for your service, Stacey!


Are you interested in volunteering with 4-H?  Learn more about volunteering with Florida 4-H or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension to learn about 4-H in your county!

A Legacy Always Begins Somewhere

A Legacy Always Begins Somewhere

Anne Peterson, recipient of the 2019 Elaine Keir Memorial Outstanding Volunteer Award.

For over 40 years, Anne Peterson has served as a volunteer for Escambia County 4-H. Anne began at an early age taking riding lessons in a barn led by a local 4-H horse club leader. That barn was where she began to adopt the knowledge and culture she would strive to emulate for the remainder of her 4-H volunteer career. Anne’s early years largely impacted her path in life, and ultimately led her to volunteer with 4-H.

Many Roles

Anne began volunteering with a club as a young adult, and from there. pursued every opportunity to continue her service. From volunteering at county events to volunteering at sleep over camps like Camp Timpoochee during the summer, she took the opportunities she believed in most and supported them whole-heartedly. Anne has served on multiple committees and boards at the local, district, and state levels with the goal of sharing her experiences and looking for ways to make the 4-H program stronger and better. From the horse program to the legislative program, Anne has participated in the planning and execution of county, district and state wide events. Ms. Anne even volunteers on the Area North 4-H Horse Show Committee and State 4-H Horse Advisory Committees, even though she does not have any youth who compete in the events.

A Legacy

Anne has not only invested years of volunteer service in 4-H, but she also shares with others her dedication and passion for 4-H and youth development, which continues to inspire the youth and families she works with. Anne’s impact has been felt in the projects she has taken on, but her ever-steady impact on the individuals she encounters, reaches far beyond what is immediately observable. Anne has never strayed far from her passion that was sparked in that barn, and as she continues to serve others, she is leaving her fingerprints
on their lives as well as the 4-H program. Anne has also received multiple awards for her service over the years, some of which include the 2019 Florida 4-H Horse Program Elaine Keir Memorial Outstanding Volunteer Award, and an induction to the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame.

A Lesson for Us All

While Anne has demonstrated an astounding longevity in her volunteer career, we must remember that she too was once a new volunteer. We all serve a role, however little or large we perceive the role to be, every role is important as that is the only way we can continue to offer quality programs. The saying “it takes a village” holds true to 4-H programming. To be an extraordinary 4-H volunteer, one need not do every role, but do one role to the best of their ability, as it is through the team of volunteers and agents that an extraordinary and impactful program is created. One role builds to other roles, and it is left to you to decide what role you will take. Regardless of the role, you have the chance to positively impact youth in your community, so ask your county 4-H agent how you can help “make the best better.”

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

Escambia 4-H Judging Team Places at National Contest

Escambia 4-H Judging Team Places at National Contest

Escambia County 4-H Meat Judging Team
Places Fourth at National Contest

One man and 4 youth holding awards for winning competition.

Escambia County 4-H is proud to announce that their meat judging team placed fourth at the Western National Roundup 4-H Meat Judging Contest.  The team represented Florida 4-H at the contest held on January 11, 2020 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.  Participants had to identify 30 retail cuts, place six retail, wholesale, and carcass classes, and give three sets of oral reasons.

The team was comprised of youth, ages 14-18, included Jessica Conti, Hannah Schnupp, Ethan Thorne, and Hannah Thorne.  The team earned the opportunity to compete at the national level contest after placing second at the state meat judging contest in April 2019.  The team was coached by Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension 4-H Agent.

Youth review meat for meat judging contest.

The Escambia County 4-H Meat Judging Team reviews pork loins with Coach and 4-H Agent, Brian Estevez.

Through the competition process, the team has developed life skills through activities to understand the processing of beef, pork, and lamb, including retail identification, factors relating to meat quality, and cookery.  Meat judging participants acquire knowledge and skills in meat identification and grading techniques and then apply those basic skills to the selection process.  Participants then develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic scientific principles involved in eating and cooking quality, nutritional value, and consumer appeal of meat.  4-H members on the team also learn life skills such as decision making, problem solving, and goal setting.

During the trip to the national contest, the meat judging team participated in a mock contest at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY.  The team also toured Colorado State University and visited with Dr. Katie Abrams, Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication.  The Western National Roundup 4-H Meat Judging Contest was held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.

The meat judging teams would like to thank the many sponsors that helped make this trip a reality for our team. This kind of community support helps the Escambia County 4-H program remain successful.  Thank you for supporting the youth in Escambia County and helping us place fourth at a national contest!

For more information on 4-H meats judging, 4-H Judging Teams, or other 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit

Special thanks to Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Escambia County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.

Register Now for State Marine Camp!

Register Now for State Marine Camp!

by Laura Tiu | Jan 10, 2020 | Laura is a UF/IFAS Sea Grant Agent in Okaloosa and Walton Counties in the Panhandle of Florida

Discovery in the bay is one of the highlights of Marine Camp.

Are you interested in learning about marine life, going fishing, or exploring the underwater world with a mask and snorkel? If so, Marine Camp is the camp for you! This opportunity for budding marine scientists will be happening this summer at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville, FL.   Marine camp enables participants to explore the marine and aquatic ecosystems of Northwest Florida; especially that of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Campers get to experience Florida’s marine environment through fishing, boating snorkeling, games, STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) activities and other outdoor adventures. University of Florida Sea Grant Marine Agents and State 4-H Staff partner to provide hands-on activities exploring and understanding the coastal environment.

If Marine Camp sounds interesting to you or someone you know, visit the Camp Timpoochee website at for the 2020 dates and registration instructions. The camps fill up quickly, so early registration is encouraged. Marine Camp is open to 4-H members and non 4-H members between the ages of 8-12 (Junior Camp) and ages 13-17 (Senior Camp). In the summer of 2020, there will be the following Marine Camps:

2020 Marine Camps:

  • Senior Camp – June 22-26
  • Junior Camp – July 13-17
  • Junior Camp – July 20-24

The cost for Senior Camp is $350 for the week and $300 for Junior Camp. A daily snack from the canteen and a summer camp T-shirt are included in the camp fees, along with three nutritious meals per day prepared on site by our certified food safety staff. All cabins are air-conditioned. So many surprises await at Marine Camp, come join the fun!

Valentine’s Day
Marine-Themed Craft 

Just in time for Valentine’s day, this site has some free, printable, marine-themed Valentines!

For more information on the 2020 State Marine Camps, your county’s residential summer camp, or other 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit

This article was adapted from Laura’s original post to the Panhandle Outdoors website.  To read the original article click here:

4-H Judging Teams

4-H Judging Teams

Judging teams are a part of the 4-H curriculum that helps to build life skills.  Arising as part of the early 4-H club work, judging teams were noted to have begun prior to 1921.  In fact, 4-H Clubs were originally called corn clubs, because youth were taught how to grow a better crop of corn and in turn, would bring their corn into town to be judged.

4-H judging teams are short-term, intensive trainings in a particular subject area.  The goal of the trainings is to compete at judging team competitions.  Judging teams are typically comprised of three or four youth in the same age division, from the same county.

According to the Florida 4-H website (, the following are sanctioned state-wide judging teams:

  • 4-H Consumer Choices/LifeSmarts
  • Insectathon
  • Dairy Judging
  • Dairy Quiz Bowl
  • Dairy Goat Judging
  • Dog Quiz Bowl
  • Forest Ecology
  • Hippology
  • Horse Quiz Bowl
  • Horse Judging
  • Horticulture ID and Judging
  • Livestock Judging
  • Land Judging
  • Meat Judging
  • Poultry Judging

For our panhandle 4-H members, the North Florida Fair has the following contests:

  • Consumer Choices
  • Agriculture Judging
  • Horticulture Judging
  • STEM Challenge
  • Wildlife Ecology

Each judging contest has its specific rules and activities; however, the basic components of a judging contest include identification, judging classes, and oral reasons.  A good judging team member has the following characteristics:

  • A clear idea or mental picture of an items characteristics
  • Quick and accurate observation skills
  • The ability to weigh objectively and evaluate what is seen
  • The ability to defend choices made

Now we want you to try your hand at judging.  We will use the meat judging contest as an example.  The following is a class of pork sirloin chops.  A high quality sirloin chop has lots of meat, little fat, and little bone.  A poor quality sirloin chip has little meat, lots of fat, and lots of bone.  The sirloin chops are labeled 1, 2, 3, 4.  Your job as a meat judge is to rank them in order of best to worst.

Four cuts of siloin chops from poor to superior quality.

Your job as a meat judge is to rank meat in order of best to worst.

This class of pork sirloin chops are ranked 4-3-1-2, with cuts of 3-4-4. Four was placed first because it had the best combination of meat and little fat/bone.  Three was placed second because it most resembled number four and had more edible meat than number one.  Number one was placed in third because it had less fat and more meat than number two.  Number two was placed last because it was the fattest sirloin chop with the least amount of meat.

Each judging class is worth 50 points.  If you ranked this class 4-3-1-2, then you received 50 points.  If you placed it another way, then you dropped points based on cuts.  To learn more about how cuts work, please visit

A 4-H meat judging team member would mark their 4-H judging card as seen below.

An example of a 4-H meat judging score card.

An example of a 4-H meat judging score card.

4-H judging teams provide a safe, positive environment for individuals to learn and develop life skills. Judging teams emphasize experiential activities, organization, allowing youth to take part in leadership activities, and providing opportunities for volunteers to act as mentors to youths.

Benefits of 4-H Judging Teams

  • Build self-confidence and problem solving skills
  • Communication and public speaking opportunities
  • Meet new friends
  • Travel the state and country
  • Receive a scholarship for college
  • Learn observational and critical thinking skills
  • Find a new career
  • Selecting an animal for a 4-H project

Participating on 4-H judging teams offer many benefits to participants.  Team members are exposed to team work, effective communication skills and analytical thinking.  Team members also build self-confidence as they become comfortable with all components of judging and evaluation.  Development of these skills benefits every area of the 4-H judging team member’s life.  An additional benefit from participating on a judging team is having the opportunity to travel to new places and meet and interact with industry leaders.  Many times these relationships will aid 4-H members in the future as they choose career paths in any industry.

Many of our 4-H judging contests have national contests associated with them.  If you are willing to put in the time and effort to develop skills in one of our contests, then you have the opportunity to travel across the country with 4-H and interact with industry leaders.  Locally, several 4-H judging teams from the panhandle have recently participated in national 4-H contests.  Members from Jackson County 4-H have been to the national poultry judging contest and national livestock skill-a-thon contest in Louisville in 2019 and the Escambia County 4-H meat judging team will be competing in Colorado in January 2020.

For more information on 4-H judging teams, please visit  Good luck and happy judging!

Special thanks to Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Escambia County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.


Florida 4-H Horse Shows: Important Dates and Forms

Florida 4-H Horse Shows: Important Dates and Forms

Two youth riding horses

Photo Credit: Julie Andrews Photography Youth at the 2019 Area North Horse Show in Clay County, FL on May 11, 2019.

As 2019 is drawing to a close, there are a few things we want to remind you of before the holidays set in. As many people are aware, the Florida Horse Program offers many opportunities for youth to get involved with their horses, and a few are coming up quickly in the New Year. Each year, Florida 4-H hosts Area Shows to qualify for the State 4-H Horse Show. If you want to compete at your Area Horse Show, you need to be aware of the following items:

December 31, 2019

The Florida 4-H Horse Certification Form should be submitted to the county 4-H on or before December 31, 2019 to qualify to participate in the Area North Horse Show and the State 4-H Horse show. This form must be completed each year, even if you are using the same horse as a previous year. A youth should do this for each horse they intend to show or use to participate in 4-H shows with.

Find the form here:

Horse Lease Form should be completed and submitted if a youth wants to participate with a horse that is not owned by the youth. Even if you are borrowing the horse without a fee, youth must have a Horse Lease Form on file with the local county 4-H office.

Find the form here:

Youth posing with horse at horse show.

Youth at the 2019 Area North Horse Show in Clay County, FL on May 11, 2019.

Horse Project Book

The Florida 4-H Horse Project Record Book is a great way to track and demonstrate your growth throughout the year.

Find the project book here:



Important Reminders

Youth on horses competing in area at horse show.

Youth compete at the 2019 Area North Horse Show in Clay County, FL on May 11, 2019

Each county has their own specific guidelines and requirements. Please be sure to check when your county offices are closed for the holidays as they may not be open on the final day the form is due. Contact your county office if you have any questions or concerns regarding county specific requirements. For more information about Florida 4-H Horse Project opportunities visit the State 4-H Horse Events site (

If you would like to learn more about the Area North Horse Show or more 4-H activities and events, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit

Photo Credit: Julie Andrews