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.
A youth competing in the NW District Tailgating Competition carefully prepares her protein.
Did you get to do any grilling this summer? Over 110 youth from throughout the Florida Panhandle participated in 2019 4-H summer day camps that taught them how to grill, food and fire safety, and cooking skills.
Ten different FL Panhandle counties provided nine unique day camps on grilling. Then, on July 20, 2019, 37 youth from eight counties participated in the Northwest District Tailgating Contest at the Washington County Ag Center. Youth participated in competitions in beef, pork, poultry, and shrimp divisions and were judged on their food and fire safety skills around the grill and the taste of their chosen protein. In all, $3,200 was awarded to Panhandle youth for placing 1st– 4th in their competitions.
Now, the top two youth in each protein category will compete at the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest in Gainesville on September 28th. They will compete against youth from across Florida for an opportunity to win college scholarships. For the state contest, the first place winner in each protein area receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the second place winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship. September 28th is also the 4-H Day with the Florida Gators. You can get tickets for the football game for just $20 and sit with 4-H members from around the state. For more information, visit http://florida4h.org/blog/4-h-day-at-florida-gators-football-vs-towson/.
Join us as we cheer on the following NW District 4-H participants as they represent us at the Florida 4-H State Tailgating Contest:
- Beef Division
- Colton Serpas-Washington County
- Alan B.-Escambia County
- Pork Division
- Lillian Sparks-Washington County
- Brent Young-Holmes County
- Poultry Division
- Sarah Crandall-Jefferson County
- Rylee Sweat-Walton County
- Jamison Scheffer-Washington County
- Shrimp Division
- Claire Diamond-Escambia County
- Evelyn Moyers-Bay County
If you are interested in furthering your grilling skills, please check out the Florida 4-H Tailgate Series of EDIS documents at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_series_florida_4-h_tailgate. If you would like more information on the Tailgating Contest so you or youth that you work with can participate next year, please visit http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/animalscience/4-h-tailgating-contest/.
Summertime is typically associated with summer vacations, sleeping late, fast foods, rainy days, hot afternoons, and one 4-H camp after the other. Some would argue that summer camps are simply an advanced “day care” program for parents to drop their kids off to “play” so they can be productive at work without worrying about their children. However, research shows that youth who attend camps during the summer come away with so much more than what camping programs are given credit for.
Camp Counselors at Wildlife Camp doing a team building activity.
For many youth, traditional summer camp means no homework, no tests, lots of recreation, camp songs, crafts, and lots of swimming. While these are typical camp activities that normally take place during a week of camp, these experiences have a two-fold purpose in that they also serve as a vehicle for significant learning to take place. Many parents are concerned about the amount of knowledge that kids lose during the summer. There has been substantial research that shows students can lose up to 3 months of what has been learned during the school year. By keeping young people’s brains active, acquiring new skills and knowledge, camp offers the chance to decrease the typical summer learning deficit. How is this done??……I’m glad you asked!
4-H is intentional in providing critical components of a successful learning experience as part of all its summer camp curriculum. These Essential Elements are: Belonging, Independence, Mastery, and Generosity. They are designed to meet the developmental needs of youth. Let me give you some examples.
4-H campers seining in Lake Lafayette for aquatic specimens
4-H Camp attendees experience a sense of Belonging, the first Essential Element, during cooling off time at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, while being cared for by camp staff, counselors, and 4-H Youth Development Professionals. Campers enjoy being in a safe place with their peers without a fear of being bullied. 4-H accepts youth where they are and helps them ignite the spark that exist within them, enabling them to reach their potential.
With no parents on the camp grounds telling their children what to do and when to do it, Independence, the second Essential Element, is a key element that a residential or day camp provides for its attendees. Providing the opportunity for youth to be independent thinkers and to better understand themselves develops at camp as youth learn to make decisions based on experiences and knowledge obtained during camp.
In order to develop the self-confidence needed for youth to feel they can be successful, camp provides many opportunities for Mastery, the third Essential Element, to take place. Whether it is passing the swim test, learning a new skill, or leading a game, having that “I can do this” moment for a camper can make a positive impact on a young person’s life.
Lastly, 4-H camps provide opportunities for youth to learn the importance of Generosity, the fourth Essential Element, by learning and working with campers from diverse backgrounds and different socio-economic levels. Camp could very well be the first time they have spent an increased amount of time with people whose background, race or religion is different from their own. Through planned program curriculum consisting of team building and get acquainted activities throughout the week, the campers learn to focus on what they have in common and to value the contributions of others who may not look or act like them.
Cooling off time at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake
So being away from home, making new friends, being a part of a team, and trying new things are key building blocks to obtaining a successful experience to meet the developmental needs of youth. 4-H summer camp provides youth the platform to create great memories and lasting relationships that can last a lifetime.
For more information on how your youth can participate in 4-H camps, find your local UF IFAS Extension Office and contact your 4-H Agent to explore what programs are offered in your area.
Street view of Hurricane Michael damage. Photo by Melanie Taylor.
Do you enjoy building structures and figuring out problems? If so, the 2019 STEM Day Camp is for you. The day camp theme is Building for Hurricanes: Engineering Design Challenge. The day camp will be held July 22-24 at the Jackson County Extension Office, 2741 Penn Ave. Suite 3, Marianna, FL 32448 from 9am CT – 2pm CT. The cost is $30; space is limited. Pre-registration is required at https://florida.4honline.com/.
In order to prepare for the day camp final competition, teams will become familiar with engineering, hurricane damage and natural disasters. In the engineering design challenge, students build a tower to resist a simulated hurricane.
Jefferson Co 4-Hers and volunteers helping clean up after Hurricane Michael. Photo by Paula Davis.
- The curriculum guide being used to teach the day camp includes, background information, examples and sample activities to help prepare the teams for the final competition.
- Teams will demonstrate their hurricane ready structure for the judges and audience, and then give reasons. They must plan and build a tower as tall as possible that will hold up a tennis ball while resisting the force of wind from a fan. For an extra challenge, a spray bottle will be used to simulate rain. After the towers are built, the group comes together to test them. Adults will not be able to assist members with the design.
- All tools and supplies will be provided.
After the day camp, you can continue this challenge and further expand your engineering skills at the North Florida Fair STEM judging event on 4-H Day at the Fair, November 16, 2019.
If you would like to learn more about this 4-H STEM Day Camp, 4-H Day at the Fair, additional 4-H day camps and programs in your local area, or how to get involved as a 4-H volunteer, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Collecting and pinning insects are just some of the fun things we will be doing at entomology camp.
We’re revving up for the NW 4-H District Exciting World of Insects Day Camp set for July16-18. At this camp, youth from counties across the district will come together to learn everything from what an insect is, to insect parts and orders, and how to collect and pin insects, and create insect art.
This camp is a great springboard to competitions and events later in the year. By participating in this day camp:
- Participants will leave the camp with all of the supplies they need to continue collecting and pinning insects on their own
- Collections and art projects can be entered in local fairs and in the state 4-H contests
- Participants will also be ready to compete in the state 4-H Insectathon insect ID, skillathon, and quiz bowl contests and in county and district demonstration contests
Stay tuned to our Facebook page for pictures and follow-up from camp. If you’d like to learn more about 4-H day camps in your area, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.