Healthy Living is one of the 4-H’s. While your club may not specifically focus on what is traditionally considered to be “healthy living” activities, you might be surprised about much your 4-H club is contributing to the mental and physical well-being of youth members. After we recognize that all our clubs have a role to play in implementing healthy living strategies across the county 4-H program, we can start to consider ways to be intentional in how we incorporate healthy living into 4-H activities and projects.
What does a 4-H Healthy Living program include? A 4 H Healthy Living program or strategy is any activity or program component that can help youth lead lives that balance physical, mental, and emotional health.
According to the National 4-H Council, 4-H Healthy Living programs include objectives that can help “empower youth to be healthy – body and mind – with the skills to make healthy decisions and lead healthy lifestyles. Having the confidence and skills to lead healthy lifestyles not only improves overall well-being; it enables youth to tackle life’s challenges today and become leaders in their lives, careers, and communities as they grow into responsible adulthood” (National 4-H Council, 2021). Your club focus might fit into one of the following program areas: mind, body, leadership, or mentorship.
As a club leader, you may encourage your youth to adopt goals and projects that will cover multiple program areas. Introducing healthy living during club meetings is another way to incorporate these concepts and help youth develop healthier habits.
With so many possible topics to consider, it may seem overwhelming to choose a starting point. In this article, a few suggestions will be explored.
It may be surprising to learn that youth, like adults, are not getting enough sleep. Regularly missing hours of sleep or experiencing poor sleep quality can contribute to a variety of issues for youth. The Sleep Foundation is one resource to use for tips on how to encourage our 4-H members to adopt better sleep habits (Pacheco, 2021).
Some ideas for helping your 4-H youth learn about the importance of sleep and how to develop better sleep habits include the activities and lessons listed in the links below this paragraph. Consider challenging your youth to set healthy sleep goals for one month. Discuss the potential benefits during your goal setting activity. At the end of the month, discuss how youth felt on days when the sleep goals were met and how they felt on days when they did not meet their goal.
Activity for Teens (Intermediates and Seniors)
University of Wisconsin Extension. 2007. “4-H Get Fit, That’s It. Lesson 2: Are You Getting Enough Sleep.” Link to activity: https://api.ag.purdue.edu/api/DepotWS/File.ashx?t=f&i=98730
Activity for Elementary School Age (Juniors 4-H Members)
The Nemours Foundation. 2015. Sleep. Kids’ Health in the Classroom.
One way to incorporate a healthy living strategy into your 4-H program is offering water at all your meetings and limiting the inclusion of other beverages. A 4-H lesson on hydration can include STEM principles as youth can calculate their daily water needs based on their body weight. A fun way to encourage water consumption is to personalize reusable water bottles as a club activity and to award points to youth who remember to bring their bottles to meetings and activities.
All Ages Lesson and Activity
National 4-H Council.2020. How Much Water Do You Need? 4-H Healthy Living Activity Guide.
Other Ways to Incorporate Healthy Living into Your Club Programs
Activities designed to improve sleep and hydration are only two of many possible ways to incorporate healthy living into your 4-H program. Healthy Living activities can incorporate exercise, nutrition, and ways to improve and maintain mental health.
Caruso, L.; Shelnut, K.; Kauwell, G. 2017. Hydration Myths. UF/IFAS Extension. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FY1409.
National 4-H Council. 2021. Healthy Living. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://4-h.org/parents/healthy-living/.
Pacheco, D. 2021. Children and Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep.
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program. 2022. Sleep for Better Living. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://4h.ucanr.edu/Projects/HealthyLiving/Sleep_for_Better_Living/
Have you ever wondered why 4-H clubs do fundraisers or what the guidelines for fundraisers are? The purpose of this post is to answer why we fundraise, how we fundraise (guidelines), and we will also include some fun ideas for club fundraisers.
Why do 4-H Clubs Fundraise?
To support a robust youth development program, you need money! There are a few different sources of funding that we rely on to support 4-H at the state, county, and club level:
- Tax Dollars– The cooperative extension service is a three-way partnership between federal, state, and county governments. This partnership provides salaries for county faculty and staff, as well as office space and meeting facilities. Unfortunately, this support does not cover all the expenses to keep our educational programs affordable for families.
- Grants & Gifts– To bridge this gap, 4-H agents and specialists write grants and work with their county association and IFAS Advancement to secure gifts and donations. IFAS Advancement works with families who want to leave a legacy through endowments and end of life gifts. At the state level, our foundation has five priority areas- residential camping, national award trips for youth, 4-H University,
- Fundraising– Fundraising is done at all levels of Florida 4-H. At the University level, we have a “Day of Giving” where alumni and friends can donate online. Our state foundation and county associations often hold large fundraising events to support state and county-wide programs. At the club level, 4-H clubs often raise money to support club activities such as club supplies, field trips, or transportation to state events and contests.
What are the 4-H Fundraising Guidelines?
Fiscal transparency and accountability are priorities at all levels of the 4-H program, therefore we do have guidelines to follow.
- Fundraising Purpose & Specificity– It is a federal policy that any funds raised in the name of 4-H must be for educational purposes. It’s not ok to raise money just for the sake of raising money. In fact, federal guidelines prohibit clubs from raising money for any purpose other than education. Fundraisers should be tied to a specific club goal set at the beginning of the year. For example, the members of a club vote to start a community garden to learn about gardening and donate produce to their local food bank to help their community. As a club, members will need to decide what equipment and supplies they need and create a budget for the garden. Their club fundraising goals will be tied to the budget for the community garden and documented in the minutes of the meeting and the treasurer’s book. In addition to providing transparency, this best practice also helps youth learn about financial recordkeeping and accountability.
- Permission– All 4-H fundraisers need to be approved by your local 4-H agent. To submit your fundraising idea, use the Florida 4-H Fundraising Permission Form. This policy is in place to protect our members, volunteers, and the reputation of 4-H. It also helps 4-H be considerate of businesses and other groups engaged in community fundraising and deters people from using the 4-H name without permission.
- Protecting members and volunteers– Some fundraisers require tax to be collected- particularly if you are selling items. Florida sales tax laws can be complicated, and there are also some weird rules such as you don’t have to charge tax for a car wash if the soap does not include wax. It is important to communicate with your agent about your proposed fundraiser so he or she can help make sure the club follows all the Florida tax rules.
- Protecting the 4-H Reputation– Believe it or not, there are people who try to use the 4-H name and emblem for personal profit. This is not allowed. The club chartering process and fundraising permission form grant clubs permission to use the 4-H name and emblem to fundraise. If you ever see a suspicious fundraiser, you should contact your local extension office immediately. Check out our previous post for information about how to charter a 4-H club.
- Consideration of Others– It is important that 4-H does not have multiple clubs fundraisers running simultaneously in the same community. Too many 4-H fundraisers at one time can prevent clubs from reaching their fundraising goals.
Ideas for 4-H Club Fundraisers
One of the questions often asked by 4-H members, parents, and volunteers is “what are some new ideas for fundraisers?” The list below is not exclusive but will provide some inspiration. If you have an idea to share, leave it in a comment below!
- Sales of products– some clubs have had success selling products like candy, cookie dough, nuts, wrapping paper, meat sticks, and other items. There are several companies that have special offers for 4-H clubs. Your local 4-H agent can provide more information about these types of opportunities.
- Seasonal fundraisers– selling seasonal items such as fruit, holiday décor, and nuts are a popular way to raise money for 4-H clubs. Some clubs also sell a flag service. For holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, and Veteran’s Day, they will put up and take down flags for local businesses and homes. Another seasonal item is Halloween Insurance- individuals or businesses can buy insurance. Should their home or business be rolled or egged on Halloween, the 4-H club cleans up the mess.
- Concessions at community events– Community fairs, festivals, and rodeos are great opportunities to raise money for clubs. Work with your local 4-H agent to develop a relationship with committees or civic groups who sponsor community events and ask them if your club can have a booth to sell water or concessions.
- 4-H nights– there are several local and franchised restaurants that will support 4-H nights. On a pre-determined date, restaurants will donate a percentage of all receipts towards a 4-H program or club. Sometimes this includes having club members present to collect receipts from customers, but not always.
- Crowdsourcing– Crowdsourcing is fundraising on social media. This is a relatively new way to fundraise for 4-H clubs. If your club is interested, work with your local UF IFAS Extension Office to set this up with support from the 4-H Business Services department.
Final Take Away about 4-H Club Fundraising
Fundraising in the name of 4-H should always be done for a specific educational purpose and must be approved by your local UF IFAS Extension Agent.
Keeping youth safe is the number one priority of our 4-H programs. We have both policies and protocol in place to ensure our club meetings are both physically and emotionally safe for young people. These strategies help prevent most accidents, but just in case the unexpected happens, we also have insurance to provide another layer of protection for our members. There are two types of insurance we deal with in 4-H- accident insurance and liability. This post specifically addresses accident insurance, and answers questions such as who is covered, what is covered, and when clubs might want to secure additional insurance.
Who is Covered?
Florida 4-H contracts annually with American Income Life to provide accident insurance for our club members. They have a special division just for 4-H and Extension programs and have been insurance 4-H clubs for nearly 70 years. Club members who are active and enrolled in Florida 4-H are automatically covered by club policy.
What is Covered?
This policy covers accidents that occur during club meetings. The policy does not cover independent practices or project work members engage in between club meetings. It also does not cover any damage to equipment or facilities…or things like broken eyeglasses. Club meetings need to be part of the annual club program, and have adequate adult supervision. This chart is a great tool to ensure club meetings have the correct ratio of youth and screened adults.
What Parents Need to Know
Your child’s safety is our number one priority. We are committed to making sure our faculty, staff, and volunteers are trained in youth protection and risk management. While accidents are not commonplace, when they do happen, we have accident insurance to help our 4-H families. Club policy coverage can be primary for families without personal insurance, but usually, it is treated as secondary and kicks in after the family’s personal insurance to cover things like co-pays, deductibles, and other out of pocket expenses that may be incurred. To be covered by the club policy, members need to be enrolled in 4-H and have a participant form on file. Don’t forget to make sure that your club enrollment in current in 4-H online, and that your participation form is up to date. Parents or guardians need to read and complete this form annually and keep it up to date if there is a change in their child’s medical history.
What Club Leaders Need to Know
In addition to club insurance, American Income Life also offers special event insurance. This type of insurance is recommended for special events like an end of the year party or a fundraiser where there will be lots of non-4-H members present. Event insurance is very affordable, and your local 4-H agent can help you determine if this type of insurance is needed, and handle the request. Our Pre-Event Planning Guide is a helpful tool for accessing the level of risk, and whether or not additional insurance is needed.
Check out this video about 4-H club insurance:
Today is National Trail Mix Day, and we thought it would be fun to offer an activity you can do with your club or county council to practice parliamentary procedure! Not only is this a fun learning activity, it can double as a club snack. Just be aware of any food allergies your club members have and avoid those items.
Supplies Needed (omit any items members are allergic to):
- Dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries
- Candy coated chocolate or chocolate chips
- Large bowl
- Serving spoon
- Paper cups or bowls for serving
Display the ingredients and talk about the importance of using parliamentary procedure to insure a successful business meeting. Review the procedures for how to make a motion and how to vote. Alternatively, you could play these 4-H videos to cover how to make a motion, discuss, and vote on a motion. These infographics on How to Make a Motion, How to Vote, and How to Use a Gavel make great handouts for club members. It is recommended that you print and laminate these ahead of time so they can be used until members feel comfortable with parliamentary procedure.
Explain that by using the process of making Trail Mix, members will learn how to make a motion and vote using parliamentary procedure.
As members go through the process of deciding what ingredients they will put in the Trail Mix, they will need to correctly make a motion for each ingredient
they want to add. (“I move that ____be added to the Trail Mix.”)
The chair should ask for a second, discuss, then take a vote. Don’t forget to tap the gavel once to announce the results of the vote. As items are voted to be added, a volunteer should add them to the large serving bowl, mixing well after each ingredient is added.
Continue the process of making motions, discussing, and voting for each ingredient. If the group gets off topic, or out of hand, the chair can use multiple taps of the gavel to restore order.
Once the Trail Mix has been completed, serve the Trail Mix for a snack.
Permission to use the 4-H name and emblem is granted through our club chartering process. Club charters are granted on an annual basis. 4-H agents meet with club volunteers at the beginning of each 4-H year to make sure clubs meet this criterion, then the information is updated in our online enrollment system. This blog post covers each criterion and includes links to helpful resources for members, parents, and volunteers.
- First, clubs need at least two appointed volunteers who have completed the application, screening, and orientation process. If you are not sure of your volunteer status, ask your local UF/IFAS Extension agent. Our volunteers must be re-screened every five years or in the event they have had a 90 day (or more) lapse in service.
- Second, clubs need to have at least five members from two different families enrolled in the 4-H program. If you need to recruit some new members, word of mouth is a great strategy, but your local 4-H agent would be happy to help. You can also check out a previous blog post about club marketing tips: Facebook Tips for 4-H Clubs, Instagram Tips for 4-H Clubs, Club Marketing Basics
- Third, clubs must have a non-discriminatory name. You don’t want anything in the club name giving the impression that the club is not open to a certain group- such as only males or only females, or only members of a certain religion. It is also important that “4-H” is in the name of the club. For example, instead of the “Clover Bakers,” “Clover Bakers 4-H Club,” or “4-H Clover Bakers” is more appropriate. This fact sheet can help guide clubs when selecting a name.
- Fourth and finally…clubs need to have an established meeting date, time, and location with a minimum of six meetings. In 4-H, we commonly refer to this as the club program. We have several tools to help members and volunteers plan the club year. For younger youth, the Clover Planning worksheet is a great tool. For other youth, the club planning guide is a great resource. You can also download this fillable PDF from Idaho 4-H to plan and share your club program.
When it comes to club chartering, just remember 4 for 4: there are FOUR criteria to charter 4-H clubs. The process is fairly straightforward, but if you need assistance with any of the steps, check out the links in this blog, or reach out to your local UF/IFAS Extension Office– we want your club to be successful and are happy to help!
A mission statement is an organization’s goals and the method(s) to achieve those goals. An organization’s vision statement is where that organization sees their position in society in the future. These two statements may be written separately or combined into one statement. Regardless, they actually refer to two separate facets of the organization and both are equally important. In this post, we’ll define both the 4-H Mission Statement and the 4-H Vision Statement and then share some ways how you can support 4-H in your local communities.
NATIONAL 4-H MISSION & VISION
Photo By National 4-H Council
National 4-H states its mission as “to provide meaningful opportunities for all youth and adults to work together to create sustainable community change.” 4-H uses caring adults to engage youth in educational activities through a learn-by-doing approach to provide positive youth development programming in order to introduce and strengthen essential life skills needed to be productive responsible citizens. This powerful mission has been achieved by 4-H across the globe by the employment of highly esteemed experts in the field of positive youth development trained in the application of successful volunteer management and program implementation. National 4-H sets forth to achieve their stated mission by employing these staff and volunteers to concentrate on three specific areas of focus, i.e. civic engagement and leadership, healthy living, and science.
National 4‑H commits its future success to serving millions more youth through the Cooperative Extension Service. In fact, National 4-H specifically states 10 million youth to be served by the year 2025. This vision is to be carried out by participating in the hands-on, learn-by-doing approach youth programming that 4-H has been successfully known for for over 100 years.
FLORIDA 4-H MISSION & VISION – A CLOSER LOOK
Florida 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach to help youth learn essential life skills in order to be successful leaders of tomorrow. This mission is accomplished by utilizing the expertise and resources of the University of Florida (UF) and Florida A&M (FAMU) Cooperative Extension Services, the state land-grant universities of Florida, to recruit and train caring adults into quality volunteers that can create safe and inclusive learning environments for youth.
Florida 4-H’s vision states that it will support the National 4-H mission to create positive change in youth, families, and communities. Although Florida 4-H does not specifically set a number of youth to be served by a specific time frame in its vision statement, it does set a goal in the future to be the leading youth program in the nation.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Photo By National 4-H Council
Mission and vision statements, in general, help to guide organizations through a structured plan to reach important short term and long-term goals, make great impacts, and be efficient in operations. They also hold the organization accountable to its stakeholders, clientele, supporters, etc. Without written mission and vision statements, organizations may not reach their full potential.
With 4-H, the mission and vision statements ensure that our organization remains true to the foundation on which it was built, to make the best better when it comes to positively and consistently impacting youth to be leaders of tomorrow. According to the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development conducted by Tufts University young people in 4-H, “the structured out-of-school time learning, leadership experiences, and adult mentoring that young people receive through their participation in 4-H plays a vital role in helping them achieve success.” Research supports 4-H youth are more likely to:
- Attend college.
- Contribute to their communities.
- Participate in STEM programs.
- Make healthier choices.
WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT THE 4-H MISSION & VISION:
As a parent, volunteer, and/or community member, below are five ways that you can get involved to support the 4-H mission and vision in your local community with little effort. You will feel good knowing that you gave a helping hand to make the best better!
- Get Involved as a 4-H Volunteer if you aren’t already (If you are, kudos to you!)
- Encourage other positive adult role models to get involved with their local 4-H. Set a goal to recruit this # of adults to volunteer in 2021-2022.
- Support your local 4-H through monetary contributions or in-kind donations. They are always in need of supplies to implement their hands-on programs.
- Share your 4-H experiences and successful impacts with your local community as often as you can so others are exposed to the wonderful world of 4-H. Speaking at your local civic clubs, church functions and other community events really helps 4-H reach as many youth and families as possible.
- As a 4-H parent or volunteer, set a goal to help recruit at least five new 4-H youth members in the 2021-2022 4-H Year for your local club or program to help 4-H achieve its vision of 10 million true leaders by 2025!
Photo By National 4-H Council
Currently, through more than 3,500 professionals, 4-H impacts more than 6 million youth and families and 500,000 youth and adult volunteers, thereby being one of the largest youth development programs in the nation still today. With the delivery method of experiential learning, youth are engaged mentally, physically, and socially, fostering the development of essential life skills towards the role of true leadership.
To learn more about joining 4-H as a member or volunteer, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit https://florida4h.ifas.ufl.edu/.