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Graduating Senior: Amanda Hachtel

Graduating Senior: Amanda Hachtel

Youth posing with her horse

Amanda Hachtel, 4-H Senior

Amanda Hachtel joined Santa Rosa County 4-H in 2012 at the age of ten.  Her mother, Wendy, started the Southern Stars 4-H horse club in Santa Rosa County.  Her love of horses and animals was a perfect fit for 4-H and Amanda.

Amanda said she has learned a lot in 4-H.  She also says 4-H has meant courage and commitment to her.  Her first summer with 4-H meant 4-H camp and since she was timid and nervous about going to camp her first year, she felt she needed courage to attend camp.  Amanda attended that first year, and the next year, and many years thereafter.  In fact, she has celebrated many of her birthdays during camp weeks at 4-H Camp Timpoochee over the years.

In time, as Amanda got older and became a counselor for new campers, she remembered her first year at camp and how friendly everyone was to her.  She said it was then that she wanted to be a camp counselor so she could “make a difference in kid’s lives the same way my counselors affected mine.”  Amanda has been one of the top counselors every year at camp and also trained many new counselors.

“4-H has given me the courage and ability to make decisions that will benefit me as well as committing myself and my work, not to back down from those plans.”

All of us staff and volunteers here at Santa Rosa County 4-H thank you, Amanda, for all of your years of hard work and dedication to the program.  We see how you have used the skills you have learned through 4-H to set goals for yourself.

As Amanda graduates with honors from Jay High School, she begins a new journey with service still on her mind.  Amanda will be joining the United States Army Reserves.  Her plans include graduating from AIT in Texas and then attend the University of West Florida as an ROTC member and obtain her prerequisites for her veterinarian degree that she will pursue at Auburn University.  Congratulations to you, Amanda.

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF/ IFAS County Extension Office.

 Special thanks to Prudence Caskey, UF/IFAS Santa Rosa County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.

 

Camp Helped Wakulla 4-H Graduating Senior Become a Leader

Camp Helped Wakulla 4-H Graduating Senior Become a Leader

On the boat at Camp Timpoochee

Leah with other counselors at Camp Timpoochee

Leah Lewis has been a devoted 4-H camper for the last ten years. She attended her first week of summer at the age of eight and was hooked. Leah counted the days and years until she could join the ranks of her heroes – the 4-H camp cabin counselors.

Since ninth grade, Leah has served as a camp counselor – leading a cabin of 4-H youth during a week or more of residential camp. Her service in this capacity has been exemplary. Leah’s accomplishment as a counselor earned her an invitation to serve in a leadership role for the annual Marine Camp. This invite-only opportunity is only given to the best of our 4-H camp counselors.


From 4-H Camp to County and State Leadership Opportunities
Youth sitting at a desk

Leah in the FL House of Representatives chamber in Tallahassee

In eleventh grade, Leah took her 4-H involvement to another level when she became part of our Teen District Leadership Council. She served as president for the Wakulla 4-H Teen Leadership Club and led the club to apply for and complete a 4-H Pride Grant Project to do county clean up after Hurricane Michael.

During her senior year of high school, Leah also served on the 4-H State Executive Board. In this role, she planned the annual Legislative Day at the state capitol. Her efforts helped produced a successful 4-H Day at the Capitol experience for over 800 youth and their families from throughout Florida.

Leah had this to say about the impacts of 4-H on her personal development, “4-H has prepared me for what it’s like to be away from family and being independent for yourself. It’s taught me to think outside the box and allow me to grow as a person.”

Her favorite 4-H experience was attending the Southern Region Teen Leadership Conference. Leah said, “My favorite experience so far has been SRTLC. I enjoyed meeting all kinds of people in the south and I loved giving back to the community with our bag pack project.”

Reflecting on her time in 4-H, Leah’s message to other youth thinking about 4-H offered this advice, “I would tell them that 4-H is a safe place and a second home to anyone. They could learn many activities to help with everyday life and find lifelong friendships!”


Perspective from a Proud Parent

Leah’s mother, Angela, said being part of 4-H did wonderful things for her daughter, “Without a doubt, one of the best decisions I have made was allow Leah to be part of 4-H. The leadership, work ethic, responsibility and team building skills she has learned, will help her in her future endeavors. 4-H has given Leah the confidence and the ability to be able to meet more people and form many friendships. She has obtained important leadership skills and is now confident with public speaking and leading group projects. 4-H has instilled a great work ethic into Leah with projects that require time management, dedication, and hard work. Leah has been a camp counselor for the past 4 years and has worked as a gymnastics coach at IGG for the past 2 ½ years. Leah has really enjoyed being on many committees including 4-H Day at the Capital and CCS. Leah will truly miss being part of 4-H and going to summer camp when she starts college this fall.”

Wakulla County 4-H is proud of Leah Lewis.  From organizing service projects to planning teen retreats for her peers, Leah has shown she has the capacity to lead others. Her work ethic has enabled her to hold a job, play sports, continue an active role in 4-H, and maintain her grades.  We look forward to the many successes she will make in her future endeavors.

To find out more information about 4-H programs that can offer essential life skills such as independence, organizational skills, and goal setting, to your children or to volunteer with 4-H, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.

Summer Just Isn’t Summer Without 4-H Camp

Summer Just Isn’t Summer Without 4-H Camp

For years, kids and teens have enjoyed a week at 4-H Camp and have participated in day camps in their home counties. But this summer, those traditional activities have been put on hold.

graphic instructions to register for summer programs4-H Agents in the Florida panhandle know that summer just isn’t summer without 4-H camps. So, they are bringing summer camp to you with new camps introduced each week through the end of July! Beginning May 18th, registration is open for these virtual summer camps:

  • Range Ready Shotgun Camp
  • Culinary Arts
  • Tailgate Grilling
  • Lead with 4-H – Civic Engagement and Community Leadership
  • Graphic Design
  • 4-H STEM Challenge – Roller Coaster Science
  • Rabbits and Poultry
  • From Seed to Food and Plant to Plate
  • Having Sew Much Fun
  • #Beekeeper
  • W.O.L.F. Camp – Wildlife & Outdoors Leadership Focus
  • And more…

4-H Summer Adventure Camps are open to youth ages 5-18 years old, and you don’t have to be a 4-H member to participate. They are also free of charge!  Our website, pictured above, will give you a description of the camps, intended ages, and registration link. Click to view the camp description and registration page.

To register, you’ll enter your camper’s information, and choose your camps. Once your camper is registered, you’ll be contacted by email by a UF/IFAS Extension 4-H agent with a direct link to the camp page. All camps are formatted to work on computers, tablets, and smartphones.

For more information about 4-H in your county, find your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Brake

Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Brake

Picture of a young woman

Sara Brake, Santa Rosa Volunteer

Sara Brake has been a Santa Rosa County 4-H volunteer for over ten years. She remembers her first experience with 4-H as an eight-year-old, stating, “My mom was a fourth-grade teacher who helped organize the Tropicana Public Speaking program at Jay Elementary. My first 4-H experience was in the summer of 1990 at a summer education program held at the Jay Civic Center; we learned about solar energy.”  All of her energy goes toward the youth in the 4-H program now.

Sara is passionate about summer camp and camping at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville.  She explains, “Camp meant a lot to my family and to me as my grandfather had gone to Camp Timpoochee in the 1930s, and my mom went to Timpoochee in the 1960s.”

She also remembers, “4-H Legislature was my first summer program as a Senior 4-Her.” She devotes much of her time to planning the state-wide event that teaches youth civics in a week-long, hands-on atmosphere in Tallahassee, Florida, each summer.  When asked about her dedication of so much time to 4-H Legislature, she replied, “My favorite thing about Legislature as a volunteer is seeing how excited youth get when a bill they are passionate about goes the way they want.”

Sara Brake gives so much back to the 4-H program because 4-H gave so much to her.  She said, “My 4-H experiences helped me become the person I am. I know there are parents today who cannot take time to take youth to events and programs. I have the flexibility to give time. Helping youth have access to programs that meant so much to me when I was a youth is what keeps me volunteering.”

Santa Rosa County 4-H and youth from across the state of Florida, thank you, Sara Brake, for all of your hard work and dedication to our youth.

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

“Sew” Generous, She Inspires Others

“Sew” Generous, She Inspires Others

Volunteers inspiring young minds

Every Spring during Walton County Spring Break, a local group of women collaborate with the Walton County 4-H program to deliver a special interest day camp for youth in the area.  This day camp, Stitch Perfect, was developed by the Chautauqua Quilters Guild and Jena Gilmore, the Walton County 4-H Agent.  Stitch Perfect teaches youth participants everything from hand stitching, sewing tools, and equipment, to advanced sewing techniques.

Walton County 4-H has been extremely fortunate that this three-day day camp comes with a small cost, due to the Chautauqua Quilters Guild donating all materials, machines, and volunteer power while 4-H provides no-sew projects, environmental topics, STEM, and alternative sewing activities (crochet, weaving, etc).  Due to the collaboration efforts and strong partnership with the Guild, this program has been one of the highest demanded annually!  To serve more youth, 4-H expanded the reach of this project from 10 to 20 campers by dividing the youth into beginner and advanced classes.

 

Macie’s Masterpiece Headquarters

Four years ago, Macie, a 4-H day camper, attended Stitch Perfect and fell in love with the art of sewing and quilting.  The following year, she was so excited to attend Stitch Perfect and show off what she had been working on, however, her family planned a trip to Disney.  Macie was distraught and actually shared with her mother she would’ve rather attended Stitch Perfect!  While Macie still enjoyed her time at Disney, she has been able to attend Stitch Perfect in following years to gain skills in cross stitching, weaving, and advanced sewing.

 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and shortage of preventative equipment, Macie felt inspired to take action by utilizing the sewing skills she has learned over the years at 4-H Stitch Perfect with the Chautauqua Quilters Guild!  She created her own work space in her bedroom, determined her pattern, secured her supplies and tools and went to work creating beautiful masterpieces in the form of surgical masks, to share with her community.  Macie’s inspiration sparked after her mother, a postal worker, expressed the need and lack of supplies such as hand sanitizer, gloves, and face masks for postal workers.  After all, they are on the front lines dealing with COVID-19 as they directly handle thousands of pieces of mail daily that have been handled tens of thousands of times prior to being delivered to their facility for sorting and delivery!

 

A display of finished sewing project-face masks

Macie’s Masterpieces

Macie is an outstanding example of just how impactful 4-H is on the lives of the youth that participate in 4-H programming.  Like so many other programs available, 4-H Stitch Perfect helped Macie to develop and master essential life skills such as critical thinking, decision making, concern for self and others, etc. With over 70 different 4-H project areas from sewing, gardening, animal science, to computer science and rocketry, there are plenty of topics to work with youth to develop their life skills and make a meaningful impact like the Chautauqua Quilters Guild did on Macie with the 4-H Stitch Perfect program.  If you would like to get involved in your local 4-H program as a volunteer, please visit http://florida4h.org to apply online or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.

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.

Spring Break Boredom Busters with 4-H!

Spring Break Boredom Busters with 4-H!

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:   ScienceCitizenship & 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!

GARDENING

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!

https://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/4hn/files/2015/04/HANDOUT_PottedPlantColorPrint.pdf

HEALTH

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.