In today’s fast-paced digital age, it’s essential for young minds to engage in activities that foster creativity, practical skills, and personal growth. Summer day camps with 4-H provide an excellent opportunity for youth to explore their interests and develop new talents while having “sew” much fun! Thanks to the Florida 4-H Foundation’s Clothing, Textiles, and Fashion Mini Grant, supported by JOANN Fabric and Craft, Holmes County 4-H Sewing Summer Day Camp was made possible. In this post, you will discover the enriching experiences and valuable lessons that 4-H members gained while immersing themselves in the world of sewing, textiles, and fashion.
At the heart of the sewing summer day camp lies the spirit of creativity. Through hands-on projects and guided instruction, participants discovered the joy of transforming fabrics into unique and stylish creations. From selecting patterns and colors to sewing intricate details, campers were encouraged to let their imagination soar. The camp provided a safe and supportive environment for young minds to explore their creativity, leading to the development of innovative designs and personal style.
Building Practical Skills:
Sewing is a practical skill that cultivates patience, precision, and problem-solving abilities. Throughout the camp, youth were introduced to the fundamentals of sewing, including understanding different fabrics, operating sewing machines, and mastering essential stitching techniques. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, participants progressively honed their skills, learning how to read patterns, measure and cut fabric, and assemble garments with finesse. These newfound skills empowered the youth to embark on independent sewing projects beyond the camp.
Fostering Teamwork and Collaboration:
The sewing summer day camp fostered an environment of teamwork and collaboration, where participants worked together to complete various sewing projects. Whether assisting each other with challenging stitching or providing creative input during design discussions, campers learned the value of cooperation and the power of collective effort. Through these interactions, they discovered that the world of sewing extends beyond individual endeavors and that sharing knowledge and skills can enhance everyone’s experience.
Cultivating Attention to Detail:
Precision and attention to detail are crucial aspects of sewing. Throughout the camp, participants were encouraged to carefully measure, cut, and sew fabrics to achieve flawless results. They learned the importance of meticulous planning, double-checking measurements, and maintaining focus throughout the sewing process. Cultivating this attention to detail not only improved their sewing outcomes but also instilled in them a valuable life skill applicable in various contexts.
Navigating Fashion Trends and Sustainability:
Through engaging discussions and interactive sessions, campers explored the concepts of fashion, upcycling, and sustainable fabric choices. They gained an understanding of the environmental impact of fast fashion and discovered how they can make a positive difference by embracing sustainable practices in their own sewing projects and daily lives.
The Holmes County 4-H Sewing Summer Day Camp, made possible by the Florida 4-H Foundation’s Clothing, Textiles, and Fashion Mini Grant supported by JOANN Fabric and Craft, offered an incredible opportunity for youth to explore the world of sewing, textiles, and fashion. Participants not only developed practical sewing skills, but also nurtured their creativity, fostered teamwork, honed attention to detail, and gained insights into sustainable fashion practices. Through this enriching experience, 4-H youth were empowered to express their individuality, explore their passions, and embark on a lifelong journey of creativity and self-discovery.
For more information about upcoming youth programming related to sewing, textiles, and fashion with Holmes County 4-H, visit the UF IFAS Extension Holmes County 4-H Facebook page or contact the Holmes County 4-H Agent at 850-547-1108.
To learn more about how JOANN can support 4-H programming in your county, visit 4-H | JOANN Discount Program.
As summer approaches and the days grow longer, it’s the perfect time to engage 4-H youth in outdoor activities that blend fun, learning, and teamwork. One exciting way to accomplish this is to organize a tailgating (grilling) camp and grilling exhibition in preparation for your District 4-H Tailgating Contest. 4-H Agents and volunteers have a unique opportunity to guide young participants in the art of grilling while instilling valuable life skills and fostering a sense of camaraderie. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of incorporating a tailgating (grilling) competition into your summer programming.
Building Life Skills: Grilling is not just about cooking delicious food; it also teaches various life skills that are essential for personal and professional growth. By incorporating a tailgating competition into your summer programming, you can help young participants develop skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication, time management, and problem-solving. These skills are valuable in all aspects of life and will benefit them in the long run.
Fostering Creativity: Tailgating competitions offer a platform for youth to unleash their creativity. Encourage participants to come up with unique recipes, experiment with flavors, and showcase their grilling techniques. This will not only boost their confidence, but also stimulate their culinary imagination. Remember to emphasize the importance of food safety and hygiene throughout the process.
Encouraging Healthy Eating: While contest participants are limited to pork, beef, chicken, and shrimp during the actual competitions, you can use the tailgating competition as an opportunity to promote healthy eating habits among youth. Encourage participants to incorporate nutritious ingredients such as lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and whole grains into their recipes. Teach them about the benefits of balanced meals and provide resources on how to make healthier choices when grilling.
Creating a Sense of Community: Organizing a tailgating competition brings people together and creates a sense of community among participants. Encourage teams or individuals to share their grilling experiences, techniques, and recipes with one another. This fosters a supportive environment where everyone can learn from each other and build lasting connections.
In June 2023, Holmes County 4-H added another element to their annual 4-H Tailgating Summer Day Camp by including a public grilling exhibition and competition. The event was held in conjunction with Peppertown Market, a monthly community-wide street market in downtown Bonifay. Holmes County 4-H youth had an opportunity to hear constructive criticism and words of encouragement from judges and volunteers as they competed for a spot at the Northwest District Tailgating Contest. The grills and youth were strategically placed to create a high impact opportunity to boost awareness of Holmes County 4-H. Event attendees had the opportunity to speak with 4-H volunteers and the 4-H Agent to obtain resources and learn more about Holmes County 4-H. Volunteers also utilized the event as a fundraising opportunity by selling peach cobbler made in a Dutch oven on location near our 4-H youth that were grilling. Proceeds were used to offset the costs associated with the Tailgating Camp and Grilling Exhibition.
Incorporating a tailgating camp and grilling exhibition into your summer programming offers numerous benefits for youth development. By teaching grilling skills, fostering creativity, promoting healthy eating, and creating a sense of community, you can inspire young participants to embrace outdoor cooking as a lifelong hobby. Remember to prioritize fire safety, provide access to reliable resources, and encourage participants to explore various grilling techniques. With your guidance, they will light the fire for grilling success and create memorable experiences that extend beyond the summer months.
The 2023 Florida 4-H Northwest District Tailgating Contest will be held in Chipley, Florida on July 22, 2023. Winners from the each of the District contests will be invited to compete at the State Contest on Saturday, September 23, 2023 in Gainesville, Florida.
Contact your local 4-H Agent and visit Tailgate Contest – Florida 4-H – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu) to explore a wide variety of informative resources that can help “spark” a passion for food science and fire safety.
- Region 1 | Northwest District Contest
|Saturday, July 22, 2023
|Washington County Agricultural Center, 1424 Jackson Ave, Chipley, FL 32428 Counties
|May 5 to July 15, 2023
|Grill setup will be from 9:15 a.m. CDT to 10 a.m. CDT with grills starting at 10:15 a.m. CDT.
|Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, Washington
|Mark Mauldin, firstname.lastname@example.org, & Brian Estevez, email@example.com
Many 4-H clubs take a break during the summer months. Club leaders and youth may travel, have different summer schedules, or choose to participate in camps during the summer months. 4-H volunteers can help play a role in helping youth and families transition to summer activities. Furthermore, the transition from the club year to summer activities is an opportunity for volunteers to help lay a foundation for youth retention in the next 4-H year.
Research shows that summer activities can play an important role in youth development:
Out-of-school and summer programs can play a variety of important roles in supporting healthy development during childhood. First, out-of-school and summer programs provide a setting for children to experience supportive social relationships with both adults and peers, relationships that foster emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development. Second, such programs offer an opportunity for both structured and unstructured play, as well as a child’s choice in activities. This may be particularly important as schools increasingly focus on structured academic learning, even in the early grades (Bassok et al., 2016), and as other societal changes, such as increased parental employment and greater digital engagement decrease opportunities for unstructured play (Yogman et al., 2018).
(Hutton R. & Sepúlveda MJ, 2019)
Club Year Transitions
Club leaders may choose to close out the club year when the school year ends. This ending may involve a celebration, a recognition of achievement, or it may take the form of electronic communication with parents. It is important to close the club experience with an invitation for future 4-H engagement. This engagement may be day or residential camp, the next club year, a 4-H Open House event. Other club leaders may change the meeting schedule or offer different activities during the summer months. Youth may transition to an older age group with the new club year or may choose switch clubs as interests change. The summer months offer opportunities to help youth choose the next step in their 4-H experience. It is helpful to follow up with a club year recap email that includes summer resources and suggestions. Adding in the date of the fall 4-H Open House event and preview information about the next club year can help increase member retention from year to year.
Opportunities for Senior 4-H Youth
4-H youth receive awards recognizing achievements during 4-H University event.
If your county offers summer day camps, your 4-H agent may be able to engage high school age senior 4-H youth as volunteers. The summer volunteer camp counselor experience can play an important role for rising ninth through twelfth graders who are looking to develop valuable workforce skills and experience. An added plus for youth is that 4-H volunteer hours can count toward fulfilling the Bright Futures service hours requirement.
4-H Summer Camps
Your local Extension office likely offers a variety of themed 4-H day camps that focus on life skills. The state 4-H program also offers residential camps. Senior 4-H youth can also attend overnight events such as 4-H Legislature, 4-H University, and 4-H Grilling Camp. Intermediate youth have the option of participating in the iLead weekend. The county 4-H agent can help volunteers become well-versed in the many summer options offered by 4-H that are available for youth locally and around the state.
For more information, contact your local Extension office and bookmark the state 4-H page.
At 4-H summer day camp, youth learn about farms and design their own dream farm.
Resources for Additional Reading
Ellison, S., & Harder, A. (2018). Factors Contributing to the Retention of Senior 4-H Members: From the Youth Perspective. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 6(3), 10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.54718/LCJZ7328
Hutton R. & Sepúlveda, MJ, editors. (2019). Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019 Sep 26. 3, The Effects of Summertime Experiences on Children’s Development. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health, and Safety. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK552668/
Lewis, K. M., Hensley, S., Bird, M., Rea-Keywood, J., Miller, J., Kok, C., & Shelstad, N. (2022). Why Youth Leave 4-H After the First Year: A Multistate Study. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 10(3), 5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.55533/2325-5226.1429
Newby, L. & Sallee, J. (2016). 4-H Membership Recruitment/Retention Problems: A Meta-Analysis of Possible Causes and Solutions. Journal of Youth Development. 6. 37-46. 10.5195/JYD.2011.163.
We know that younger youth look up to older youth and like to model their behaviors. We see it in siblings all the time, absorbing behaviors of their older brothers or sisters like sponges. Often times, younger youth find the attention and encouragement of older youth more relatable due to the closeness in age. Peer teaching fosters a more engaging and even symbiotic learning experience as this gives teens the opportunity to share and reinforce their own knowledge. In addition, by pairing the two age groups together in a learning environment, a sense of comradery can develop, creating a greater sense of belonging within the 4-H community. In this post, we will define peer teaching, share a few examples of how to utilize your teens as teachers and provide tips for getting peer teaching started in your clubs and other 4-H events and activities successfully.
WHAT IS PEER TEACHING?
What do we mean by peer teaching exactly? It is the process of youth learning together and from each other through engaging, hands-on activities. In 4-H, we have the wonderful ability to utilize teens as volunteers and positive role models for our younger youth in our positive youth development programs. Empowering our teens as teachers for our younger members allows life skills to develop among our youth being instructed and also the instructors. The teen instructors are teaching specific topics to their peers at the same time they are strengthening their own leadership, communication, and social skills.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PEER TEACHING?
As stated previously, one of the greatest outcomes is that the teacher and the student both gain knowledge and skills. It creates a mutually beneficial environment in which all youth can achieve personal growth and development if implemented and managed correctly. In addition, there are many other benefits of peer teaching such as:
- Peers being taught may form a quicker and better connection with teens due to communication, technology and other trends.
- An increase in peer confidence as they may feel more comfortable in asking questions, discussing topics with others closer to their age.
- Greater creativity as teens may have more innovative or modern ideas to bring to the activities.
- An increase in volunteers as teens have the ability to recruit more teens easier than typical adult volunteers.
- An increase in retention of youth as peers stay in the program and become the next generation of teen volunteers/teachers.
WHAT DOES PEER TEACHING LOOK LIKE IN 4-H?
Below are just a few programs for teens to practice the method of peer teaching in their 4-H county:
- New Members – When new youth join 4-H, it can be overwhelming at times to learn some of the 4-H activities, customs, and such. This would be a great opportunity for peer teaching. Have teens assigned to new members that join in order to teach them the 4-H pledge, motto, club expectations, member names, etc. This creates a greater sense of belonging and fosters a supportive environment within the club for new members to engage more quickly and successfully.
- Cloverbud Club Meetings – Utilizing your teen members in club meetings involving Cloverbuds (members ages 5-7) is a great way to incorporate peer teaching in your 4-H program. Younger members thrive off of creativity and enthusiasm which teens often portray easily. Teens can funnel this energy into teaching lessons to Cloverbuds that are engaging and interactive in a simplistic way.
- Summer Day Camps – 4-H programs often times need additional volunteers during the summer to assist with the volume of programming and youth participants. Therefore, summer is a great time to recruit teens to become peer teachers. Having teens as peer teachers helps with supervision and instruction while at the same time, allows them to stay involved in 4-H, continue to apply their life skills learned, and help the program teach life skills to other youth in the community.
TIPS TO GET PEER TEACHING STARTED IN YOUR 4-H COUNTY
What does it take to get peer teaching started in your 4-H county? Time and patience to start with. Teaching with teens is an ongoing task and will take a little effort on your part. Below are a few tips to get you started on having teens peer teach in your county:
- Identify programming that would benefit by peer teaching.
- Recruit quality teen teachers.
- Train and support teens as peer teachers.
- Assign teens appropriate roles in the peer teacher process.
- Model appropriate teaching methods in 4-H programs.
- Shadow teens in the role as peer teachers to provide support and guidance.
- Evaluate, provide feedback, and continue professional development for continued success.
Remember, peer teaching is a great way to utilize teen members in your 4-H programs. Younger youth need as many positive role models as possible in their lives. By having teen teachers take the lead in instruction in your 4-H programs, you are fostering an environment of learning, inclusivity, empowerment, and leadership.
To learn more about 4-H opportunities where teens can take the lead as teachers for their peers, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Burse, G., Crocker, E. T., Jordan, J., McKinney, M., & Murphy, L. (2021). Teens as Teachers 4-H Project: Curriculum and Resources. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida. Retrieved May 1, 2023, from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/4H432
Eckhoff, A., & Swistock, B. (2011). Staffing with Teenagers and Teens as Cross-Age Teachers. Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
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)
Figure 1: 4-H Life Skills Wheel Sources: (Hendricks, 1998) and (Norman & Jordan, 2018)
The goal of a 4-H program is for youth to learn about and develop life skills that will help them, in both the short term and long term, become contributors to their communities (Norman & Jordan, 2018). Life skills are the competencies or traits that relate to helping individuals’ function and navigate their lives.
When we begin planning 4-H programs with the end in mind, life skills are one of the considerations we should focus on. These skills should be identified during the planning process at the same time you are planning the objectives for each meeting. The life skills wheel illustrated in figure one serves as a tool to help visualize the most common life skills 4-H programs focus on. When we identify these skills, we can intentionally plan our programs to provide experiences that are specific and challenging without being overwhelming.
Often, we use projects and special interests as a hook to teach youth life skills. While some subjects are best suited to developing certain life skills, there are skills to be learned and developed no matter the exact subject being taught.
On the life skills wheel, all the life skills are categorized under the headings of head, heart, hands, and health which relates back to the 4-H pledge. By identifying the skills, you are targeting then planning activities to help you build those skills, you can build impactful programs that will continue to build on each other.
Let’s look at a scenario. We are working with a group of club officers at a training day preparing for the new 4-H year. The objectives for the meeting are for officers to learn their roles and for the youth learn more about each other so they are more comfortable working together. From here, we need to identify the skills we are hoping to build.
When you look at the life skills wheel there are numerous skills which could fit and be developed during this training. While some skills are built passively through experience, identifying three to five skills will help us identify activities and focuses that align with our objectives.
Picture 1: Volunteers participating in the bull ring activity at the 2023 NWD Volunteer Forum in Destin, Florida.
For this scenario, if we identify teamwork, problem-solving, communication, and planning/organizing as the life skills we intend to build, we need to identify activities that will build these skills. When working with activities we need to keep in mind that we need time for the do, reflect, apply model. So, once we do the activity, we need time for reflection, and a discussion on how we could apply what we have learned in the future.
If we look at this scenario a little bit closer, you will notice that some skills can be built during the same activity. An example of this would be if we were to use the bull ring activity, which has a tennis ball balanced on a ring by multiple strings are held by multiple participants standing in a circle as demonstrated in picture one, participants are going to use a bunch of life skills including communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and even planning. All these skills are necessary to successfully move the ball from point A to point B without dropping the ball. It is the intentional reflection and future application discussion of the skills that pulls in the impact and development of a skill beyond the passive learning that occurs.
4-H projects and meetings are an ideal environment for passive learning of life skills. However, it is the intentional planning of club and project leaders that results in active life skill development. So, as you are planning your next meeting, start with the end in mind. Identify your objectives and the life skills you want to develop, then intentionally plan activities and discussions which will lead youth through active thoughts and practice of the skills you are focusing on.
Hendricks, P. (1998). Developing youth curriculum using the targeting life skills model: Incorporating developmentally appropriate learning opportunities to assess impact of life skill development.
Norman, M., & Jordan, J. (2018, July 30). Targeting Life Skills in 4-H. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/4H242