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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 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 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!


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!


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:

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 today.

4-H Northwest District Teen Retreat….A SUCCESS

4-H Northwest District Teen Retreat….A SUCCESS

2020 4-H Northwest District Teen Retreat Participants

Seventy-four teens from the 4-H Northwest Florida District Teen Retreat took us down memory lane to the 60’s 70’s, and 80’s, on Feb 21-23, 2020, at 4-H Camp Timpoochee. This year’s theme was “4-H Through the Decades”.  This leadership event was planned by senior 4-Hers from the Northwest Extension District for youth ages 13 and up.

People on stage dressed in costumes.

L-R: Chairperson , Whitney Cherry from Calhoun County and 4-Her Sarah Crandall from Jefferson County giving instructions on opening night.

The Teen Retreat kicked off at Friday night check-in with lots of pizza for dinner. The program proceeded with the District Spirit Rally having lots of cheers where participants dressed in bell-bottom pants, tie-dyed shirts, John Lennon style sunglassespeace sign necklaces, and fringe costume vests. Friday night ended with campfire and a movie.

Saturday morning opened with a group picture preceding two educational workshops, “Improv through Leadership” and “Living on My Own.” The Improv through Leadership workshop was more than just making stuff up as it inspired a creative way of advancing leadership skills. Through active listening, youth worked through given challenging situations, adapting quickly to new situations. The participants had many laughs and gained insight on using improv techniques to make them better leaders, team members, and productive citizens.

Teenager pointing to a paper on the wall

Teens from Jefferson County giving instructions in the “Living On My Own” workshop.

Living on My Own (LOMO) teens shared employment aspirations followed by being assigned a make-believe job, a take-home pay, and family size to balance the family’s budget. In theLiving on My Own Simulation, teens learned the basics of writing checks, paying bills, keeping track of spending, credit scores, and what really goes into being an adult. Through the simulation stations, teens chose a home to live in, transportation, paid for insurance, utilities, groceries, childcare, got a second job if necessary, opened a savings and retirement accounts, paid student loans, and packed in entertainment. At the end of the simulation, the teens shared what they learned and what surprised them. Many were surprised by the cost of food and childcare. It gave them a new appreciation of how much their parents do for them!


Youth icing a cake

Cake Decorating was one of the many fun shops offered at the retreat.

The afternoon sessions highlighted fun shops: Play is Really Important, Line Dancing, Next Stop Job, Keep Your Cool, Cake Decorating, 4-H Olympics and a service project. The teens taught most workshops with adult supervision. This year’s service to communities’ project was friendship bracelets to share with special needs youth across the panhandle of Florida.

There is nothing like an entertaining game of kickball with teens versus adults. As always, the game was intense but lots of laughter ensued. Final score: Teens: 6 – Adults: 2.

District and state reports were given by district officers, followed by the dance, board games, and campfire with smores. On the final day, it was rise and shine as youth cleaned up the campground and completed the program evaluations.


Abigail Boyd, a first-time teen retreat participant, was asked what she enjoyed most about the teen retreat.  She stated, “I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones over lunch conversations, nine square competitions, and goofy dance moves.”

Thank You Sponsors!


We were able to keep the cost to a minimum thanks to our awesome sponsors:

  • Gulf Power
  • Club 25
  • Duke Energy
  • Farm Credit of NW Florida
  • Lynn Haven Garden Club
  • Hancock Whitney Bank
  • Career Source Gulf Coast
  • Bay County Farm Bureau
  • St. Joe Community Foundation

All sponsors are printed on the back of the t-shirts and each will receive a 36 X 48-inch banner signed by all the participants.

The Teen Retreat is an exceptional event because county faculty and paraprofessionals have developed a strong youth-adult partnership. This collaboration takes place as teens and adults from the 4-H Northwest District plan, learn, and work together, with both groups sharing in the decision-making process. The dynamic is very different than most programs because teens take leadership roles and the adults take supporting roles. The adults prepare the teens for the workshops they are going to lead. This youth-adult partnership builds on the strengths of adults to mentor the teens in leadership and achieve positive results, as evident by youth surveys each year.

The next 4-H Northwest Florida Teen Retreat will be held on February 26-28, 2021 at beautiful 4-H Camp Cherry Lake.  For more information on 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.

Special thanks to John Lilly, UF/IFAS Jefferson County Extension Director & 4-H Agent for providing this article and pictures.

Annual Alumni Day At Camp Timpoochee

Annual Alumni Day At Camp Timpoochee

Second Annual Alumni Day at Camp Timpoochee, Saturday, March 14, 2020

It’s the smell of burning wood and sound of laughter as sweet, sticky s’mores are being enjoyed by hundreds of campers. Singing, dancing, games, friendships and memories made – summer camp!  The highlight of many youths’ summer that they do not soon forget!  What many former campers would do to go back and relive some of those precious memories…

“I won’t never forget it,” Mr. Amos Morris said. “You won’t ever forget Camp Timpoochee.”  Morris, who attended 4-H Camp Timpoochee as a camper in 1947, took a trip down memory lane during camp’s first Alumni Day in 2019, describing his attendance at camp as “a good education. Get away from home, get away from the parents, and meet somebody else.” When describing camps today, he shared, “It’s just good for them (campers). They ought to have more camps than what they have.”   With a need to celebrate Timpoochee’s long, rich history, there is no better way to do so than by bringing together campers, new and old.

During this event, multiple opportunities are offered to explore the campgrounds, play games, fellowship with others while making a delicious s’more. A special station is set up where attendees are encouraged to fill out cards completing the statement “Because of camp…”. Some of last year’s responses include “Because of Camp I found a place where I will always belong,” “I had the confidence to grow and learn and believe in myself,” “I can be myself for a week,” and “I found a home, a family, and a future I’d never dreamed of.”

4-H Camp Timpoochee has set their Second Annual Alumni Day on Saturday, March 14, 2020 from 10 AM – 4 PM CST to celebrate 93 years of camp. This free event will be open to all who wish to come out and enjoy playing camp games and fellowship with other alumni.

4-H Camp Timpoochee is the oldest continually operating 4-H camp in Florida.

Many never dreamed that Timpoochee would be going strong as long as it has. Established in 1926, 4-H Camp Timpoochee is the oldest continually operating 4-H camp in Florida. It sits along the shore of the Choctwhatchee Bay, providing the perfect outdoor living classroom. With more than a third of a mile of shoreline, it has become the perfect escape from the hustle of the outside world offering a place to disconnect from technology and reconnect with people. Serving more than 800 campers each summer, Timpoochee provides multiple opportunities for youth to experience new adventures, step outside their box and make life-long friends and memories.


Open year round, 4-H Camp Timpoochee is more than just a summer camp.  It offers opportunities for rental groups to enjoy its tranquil and multi-purpose facility through retreats, weddings, reunions and more! Offering lodging spaces, meal service, and meeting spaces, it has quickly become a unique location for various youth and adult organizations far and wide to enjoy.


A Timpoochee T-shirt Quilt Drawing to raise funds for our 4-H summer program will be held – Tickets are $5 donation and will be available soon.

Whether you attended as a camper, participated in a rental group retreat or just love summer camp, 4-H Camp Timpoochee’s Second Annual Alumni Day is open to you! We encourage you to bring any pictures you may have of Camp Timpoochee and your best memories and stories to share! We do ask all those wishing to attend to register online so we will have an accurate count of who will be celebrating with us. This year, there will even be a special drawing for a Timpoochee T-shirt quilt to raise funds for our summer program! Tickets are a $5 donation and will be available soon.

To register, please visit Please do not hesitate to contact Resident Director, Ariel Blanton, at (850) 897-2224 or email at with any questions.

Special thanks to Ariel Blanton, Resident Director, Camp Timpoochee, for providing this article and pictures.