Youth shows and fairs provide a valuable opportunity for young people to develop a wide range of life skills. From responsibility and communication to planning and organization, these events offer a unique learning experience that can help young people build important skills for success in all areas of life.
Can a youth’s participation in County fairs and Shows help to develop them into responsible adult? The answer is yes! The Florida 4-H Program seeks to be inclusive to all youth by using a variety of vehicles to teach youth life skills in traditional and non-traditional settings. A recent article in The Journal of Extension by Oregon State professionals found that “having fun” “spending time with friends” and “teamwork” were the highest-rated motivators for youth that participated in fairs.
The study also revealed that participation in fairs through 4-H had a significant positive effect on participants’ levels of caring, contribution, and character. These characteristics are also part of the Essential Elements of 4-H that youth experience by being in an active 4-H program throughout the year. Those elements are Belonging, Independence, Generosity, and Mastery.
One of the most important skills that youth learn through participation in youth shows and fairs is responsibility. Whether they are caring for animals, plants, or other projects, youth must take on the responsibility of ensuring that their projects are healthy, well-cared for, and ready to be presented to judges and visitors.
Communication is another key skill that youth develop through participation in youth shows and fairs. Through active participation youth learn the ability to articulate complex ideas, listen actively, and respond thoughtfully to questions and feedback.
In addition to these skills, youth shows, and fairs also emphasize important values such as sportsmanship and fair play. Participants are encouraged to respect their competitors, accept both victories and defeats graciously, and uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior. This helps young people develop important social skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with others and build positive relationships.
Finally, participation in youth shows and fairs can help young people develop resilience and perseverance in the face of challenges and setbacks. These events can be competitive and stressful, but they also offer opportunities for young people to learn from failures, bounce back from disappointments, and remain motivated to achieve their goals.
A few of the Florida 4-H Shows and Fairs are as follows:
- State 4-H Dairy Show Okeechobee March
- 4-H Chick Chain Show Chipley April
- Area North Horse Show Green Cove Springs May
- North Florida Fair Tallahassee November
*For additional opportunities to participate in 4-H Shows and fairs please contact your local 4-H office.
In conclusion, participation in youth shows and fairs can offer a unique and valuable learning experience for young people. By developing important skills such as responsibility, communication, planning, and organization, as well as important values such as sportsmanship and fair play, youth can build the foundation for success in all areas of life.
More information on this study can be obtained by visiting the Journal of Extension at www.joe.org and viewing volume 45, number 6.(Arnold, Meinhold, Skubinna, and Asthton)
Life skills for youth are defined as a set of abilities and competencies that enable young people to successfully navigate their daily lives and achieve their goals. These skills are essential for personal and professional development and help “prepare youth to be responsible citizens and productive members of the workforce.” Florida 4-H provides many opportunities for young people to obtain life skills through project work, community and afterschool clubs, workshops, and leadership programs.
As a state-wide organization, Florida 4-H prioritizes the development of communication, higher-order thinking, and appreciation of differences. These three life skills are infused throughout our educational activities and programs because they are essential workforce skills. Below are a few examples of local programs that focus on helping youth develop life skills:
- Communication: 4-H provides opportunities for youth to develop their communication skills through the Florida 4-H Public Speaking Contest, demonstrations, and presentations at County/District and 4-H University. These activities help youth learn how to articulate their ideas clearly and confidently.
- Higher Order Thinking: this includes both decision-making and problem-solving.
- Decision-Making: 4-H offers various programs, such as judging contests at fairs, 4-H event planning committees (district/state council), and club activities that help youth develop their decision-making skills. These activities help youth learn how to make informed decisions and evaluate the outcomes of their choices.
- Problem-Solving: 4-H offers various programs, such as STEM projects and engineering challenges, that help youth develop problem-solving skills. These activities encourage youth to think creatively and find innovative solutions to complex problems.
- Appreciation of Differences– 4-H helps youth learn how to respect and communicate with people who might be different from themselves. Many of our programs offer opportunities for youth to meet new people and explore different cultures. We also help youth learn how to address conflict in a positive way through civil discourse. Older youth can participate in exchange programs with 4-Hers from other states and countries (4-H is in all 50 states and 32 other countries!).
- Teamwork: Through 4-H club projects, counselor training, and community service activities, youth learn how to work collaboratively with others towards a common goal, which helps them develop important teamwork skills.
- Responsibility: 4-H club projects and community service activities encourage youth to take responsibility for their actions and to learn the importance of following through on commitments.
- Leadership Development: 4-H offers various programs, such as officer training, public speaking, county/district councils, and community service projects, that help youth develop their leadership skills.
- Self-Confidence: 4-H programs provide a safe and supportive environment where youth can build their self-confidence through public speaking, leadership roles, and community service activities.
- Service Learning: Through 4-H club work, obtaining a Florida 4-H Community Pride Grant, and active membership on county/district councils, youth members take part in projects and experiences that help them how to become active participants in the communities and apply their experiences to real-life situations.
These are not the only life skills youth in Florida can learn and practice through 4-H- but they are part of almost every program we offer. These are examples of the priority life skills that Florida 4-H promotes among youth, with a focus on cognitive development, interpersonal skills, leadership, civic engagement, and practical skills. Florida 4-H aims to provide a comprehensive youth development program that equips young people with the skills they need to succeed in their personal lives, careers, and communities. Active involvement in 4-H will help members to connect life skills obtained through their 4-H involvement to real-life experiences. For more information on these youth leadership opportunities please contact your local 4-H office.
If you would like to help Florida 4-H teach life skills, or get your child involved in our program, reach out to your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office. There is an office in every county in Florida. Spring is a great time to get involved, because 4-H offers several summer programs for youth to develop life skills!
Marilyn N. Norman and Joy C. Jordan.2018.Targeting Life Skills. EDIS document #4HSFS101.9
Hendricks, P.(1988). Developing Youth Curriculum Using The targeting Life Skills Model
Michigan State Extension. 2016. 4-H Head Life Skill Sheets.(4-H1679)
Happy Earth Day Everyone! 4-H has a wonderful recycling project for you to do with little ones as an activity for Earth Day. The exciting part is that you will most likely have the materials around your house!
The activity is the creation of a recycled paper pot. This is a great way to start seeds inside to watch them grow. Then, you can transfer the pot and all into the ground when the plant is bigger.
Great way to start seeds and recycle
Of course, you can buy special seed trays. You can recycle old nursery trays and pots if you clean them properly with a mild solution of bleach and water and rinsed well. You can also use disposable cups, or you can sow seeds in old deli trays, rotisserie chicken containers, milk jugs, almost anything that will hold a couple inches of soil.
However, the 4-H paper pot is another fun recycling project that is easy to do. These are biodegradable pots that will last about 6 weeks before they disintegrate. This project is an easy seed starting activity for all ages! It’s a great way to teach responsibility, record keeping, teamwork, and care for living things. Plus, you can save money and resources by making your own paper pots to start your seeds.
For this project, you will need
- Newspaper or other paper cut into strips (not glossy inserts)
- A Container, bottle, can or jar that can be wrapped in paper (not glass)
What to do:
- Cut strips of newspaper or regular paper about 4” wide.
- Wrap strip of newspaper around an empty container and roll fairly tight.
- Scoot paper down so the paper will reach the half way point and when folded. It should overlap the open end of the container.
- Fold the ends of the paper against the bottom of the container, starting where the paper meets the on the outside.
- Push the bottom of the container against a flat, hard surface (such as a table) to seal the bottom of your pot.
- Pull the container out and you have a finished paper pot. Fill with soil and plant your seeds.
- When the seedling is ready to transplant, simply drop the entire pot into the ground.
The newspaper will biodegrade in your garden or pot. Your plant will never be uprooted and continue to grow undisturbed. When planted make sure the paper is not sticking out of the ground. If the paper is above ground it will wick water away from the plant.
Photo of succulent garden at entry of NSA-PC Youth Center Created by 4-H Garden Club
You can print a PDF version of the instructions for this activity.
Other great gardening resources include:
• Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide
• Florida Planting Calendar by Region
• Florida AG in the Classroom
• Junior Master Gardener Program
If you have a green thumb, consider becoming a 4-H gardening volunteer! 4-H needs caring adults like you to share their knowledge and passion for gardening with the next generation. Through the 4-H gardening project or other environmental focused programs.To get involved, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit Florida 4-H. We hope you will consider making the best better with 4-H.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, IFAS, FLORIDA A & M UNIVERSITY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PROGRAM, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING.
Mill Pond, Marianna, Fl. Photo credit Marie Arick
Grab your favorite soft cotton sweatshirt, jeans and those nice leather sneakers or boots … these all require agriculture! Kayaking in your favorite spring? Springs are considered a part of agriculture, labeled as a natural resource and are managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Agriculture touches our lives daily. It would be quite impossible to navigate our world without the assistance of agriculture. Timber farms produce the lumber to build homes and make paper, cotton is used not only for clothing, but also in the creation of our paper monies. And we have not even discussed the foods we eat, and numerous other products created utilizing agricultural products.
Agricultural insight into the production and management of agricultural resources is why we in Extension promote and teach Ag Literacy. It is this basic knowledge that celebrates those who work hard daily to not only produce items to be consumed, but also manage those agricultural resources not only on the farm, but also our forests and waterways. This management can even rely on public policies for protection of these resources to ensure proper usage for generations to come.
Still not convinced? Did you wash your hair this morning and brush your teeth? Thank a farmer. Agricultural and the related industries contributed more than $1.1 trillion to the gross domestic product of the United States in 2019 and also provided 19.7 million jobs in 2020 per the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That is a small insight into how much agriculture impacts your life every day.
Everyone is dependent on agriculture in numerous forms each day. Celebrating Ag Literacy Day is a great way to expand your agricultural insight and awareness. Look around and appreciate the beauty of our land and waterways. Explore agriculture and all the ways to be a good steward of these natural resources, after all we all depend on them every day.
4-H Virtual Plant Science Camp Bingo Game
July 6th of this year was supposed to be the first day of our 4-H Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Day Camp with Leon and Jefferson Counties participating. Due to the pandemic, all of our Florida 4-H face to face camps were cancelled this summer due to safety concerns for the students and the instructors.
In spite of everything that has taken place since March of this year, there is still some good news! Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, there is an outdoor classroom in YOUR backyard that has plenty of room for young people and parents to explore. While most youth have spent more time than they probably want to with their families confined, within the four walls of their home, there is no time like the present to explore wildlife and gardening opportunities that await just outside the door. Youth that spend time outside exploring the great outdoors have the unique opportunity to stimulate their senses while engaging in “hands on” educational activities without even knowing it.
4-H provides countless opportunities for youth to gain a better understanding of how all organisms are interrelated and how they can become environmental stewards at home, school, and in the communities in which they live. What are some of the benefits of converting backyards to outdoor classrooms?
I’m glad you asked…here are just a few!
1. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged –
Youth planting an orange tree after participating in Virtual Plant Science Camp
Active time spent outside may help address some of the health issues we are seeing in children today such as obesity, attention deficit disorders, and depression.
2. Nature deficit disorder decline –
Exposing students to nature and allowing them to learn and play outside has shown to foster sensitivity, appreciation, and respect for the environment. It combats “nature deficit disorder” …and it can be a lot of FUN!
3. Critical-thinking skills enhanced –
Exploring what is in the backyard and starting a garden provides opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom and enables students to make connections that can be applied to the real world.
4. Responsible action is taken to better the environment –
By exploring outdoors either by planting or just observing nature, youth begin to understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment. It is from this point they can begin to obtain the skills necessary to address complex environmental issues as well as ways we can take action to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future.
So even though we are in the midst of a pandemic, there may be opportunities to make lemonade out of the COVID-19 lemons we find ourselves in by unmasking the opportunities that await in our backyards!
For more information about 4-H in your county, find your local UF/IFAS Extension office or visit http://florida4h.org.
*“Please note some pictures were taken prior to our challenges with Covid-19 and we remind people to social distance and wear a mask for the personal safety of self and others.”
It’s finally here! Like many of us, you’ve probably been counting down the days since Christmas break for the next hiatus from the chaotic school day routine. Now, with Spring Break upon you…what are you going to do with the kids while working or running errands that have piled up and marking off that “to do” list? It’s time to “phone a friend,” your Positive Youth Development friends (aka 4-H Agents) that is!
Set yourself up for success this Spring Break by planning some fun projects to complete with your youth. Many of these projects they can do independently, or with a group of friends, or tackle with the whole family. 4-H makes learning FUN through experiential learning opportunities the whole family can enjoy!
4-H PROJECT LEARNING
Walton County 4-H’er during his container gardening Demonstration at County Showcase!
4-H members can choose from more than 50 projects that focus on science, engineering and technology, animals and agriculture, food & nutrition, outdoor adventures, marine science, public speaking, art and wildlife. 4-H learning is experiential- or “hands on learning,” where youth get to interact with the curriculum or subject matter being taught/explored.
Ultimately, youth learn life skills and use these skills to give back to their communities. Youth set goals, keep records and can participate in events and activities on a county, district, state, and national level to expand their learning! They can explore the various projects and programs 4-H offers and choose one that interests them.
4-H has three major priority programs: Science, Citizenship & Leadership, and Healthy Living. Please check out the resources available in each of these areas and consider exploring other aspects with your local 4-H program. Your local 4-H office may be hosting “day camps,” or daytime activities over Spring Break which youth can register for and spend the day in a safe, inclusive environment exploring with youth their age!
Below are a few projects youth can dig into with many simple household items. For a greater challenge, expand on these projects so that youth can create their own demo to share with their local 4-H program during club meetings or County Showcase to earn more credit, experience, and leadership within their clubs!
A perfect project for youth of all ages…the newspaper pot! Not only are you recycling, but you can learn about propagating plates, soil science, and so much more with some extra research. Turn it into a family challenge to see who can make theirs the fastest, the most decorative, the largest…the possibilities are endless with this project!
In the midst of all the wacky weather lately, take some time to explore different aspects of one of our H’s…Health! The links below are just a few within a series of activities focused on Healthy Living. In the “Let’s Go Green” series, youth will learn how to create safe alternatives to chemical cleaning solutions and YOU (the guardians) get to benefit as they “test” the effectiveness of these cleaners throughout the house. Make it a challenge…encourage them to test different areas, the kitchen, the bathroom, the windows…have you caught our major hint yet? Additionally, youth can expand on their learning by using the link below to create their own newspaper to showcase their findings. Utilize the “Headlines for Health Introductions” to explore more activity options like “Let’s Go Green.”
Make a Newspaper: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/4H/4H28000.pdf
4-H is one of the nation’s most diverse organizations, open to all youth, ages 5-18, and available in every community. For more information on how youth can join or the many 4-H projects available, contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org today.