A variety of yummy treats in jars to give as gifts for the holidays.
The Holidays hold some of my fondest memories! Our family would often make special presents for friends and family members. We made things like cookies, candies, breads, and soups that could be shared with others. This can be a fun tradition for your family or 4-H Group to create together!
These gifts usually are not super expensive but can let everyone know you are thinking about them. A lot of times we would make a treat and deliver it along with a container of pre-made mix they could use later to make another serving. That way they know what they are getting and are more likely to make another batch. If this sounds like a fun tradition you may want to incorporate it but remember to be safe while making these special treats. You don’t want to prepare these delights and cause someone to have an allergic reaction or become sick from eating them.
If you like crafting you can decorate bags, jars, spoons, clean ornaments, mugs etc. A bow, ribbon, piece of fabric, dried flowers, sprigs of fresh flowers, holly or pine can make beautiful packages. Remember a little decoration can go a long way and make your gift giving more economical and festive.
Some of our Extension Colleagues from Kentucky KY1 and KY2, Maine, North Dakota and Iowa have some great recipes to share for gifts in a jar, on a spoon or in a mug. Many of these already have premade tags you can download and attach to the item. It also has the individual recipes you can follow and use to make your own special gifts. If you want to make a chocolate cocoa bomb, Maine had the cocoa mix recipe you can use with your molded chocolate! These are definitely yummy treats your friends and family will enjoy!
4-H offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities to fit your interests, skills, and schedule. For more information about Volunteering with 4-H, or to sign up to help youth develop their life skills, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit Florida 4-H Website
We love our Military Families!
November is a month many of us celebrate our families and have traditions we enjoy annually. November is also designated as the National Military Family Appreciation Month. For our military families it is a time when the country recognizes the nearly 5.2 million service members and their families. UF/IFAS Extension and 4-H are proud to be a part of the military family working with youth centers across the nation to have some consistency for military kids. 4-H works will military programs worldwide to support our military youth at bases and in local communities. We recognize that our military youth must cope with many circumstances while their parent or sibling is working often away from home. Causing a hole created by the absences during many life events. Military life imposes unique demands on the family, from a change in family structure to the stress of someone missing from events, to the worries of a family member being hurt while working.
Since many of us have a little extra time during the holidays there are several things you can do to show your support of our military members and their families. We as non military families celebrate with each other at family/friend gatherings etc. and sometimes forget that our military friends are away from home and missing these traditions. We can help celebrate, recognize, acknowledge, and show gratitude for those sacrifices our military family’s make so each of us can enjoy freedom by sharing our love.
You can do simple things to demonstrate your appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifice, resiliency, and courage.
Show your support by:
Celebrate our Freedom and express your appreciation to military families!
- Expressing Gratitude and appreciation: You can take a moment to thank military families for their sacrifices and service to the nation. You can send cards, write letters, if you do not know anyone here is a local organization that can help get them to the troops. December 1 is the deadline for Holiday themed cards to go out. You can give shout outs on social media using the hashtag #MilitaryFamilyAppreciation
- Sending care packages to veterans and military families overseas or donate to to Military Support Organizations.
- Giving the gift of time by: visiting a local veteran, spending time with a military family, or volunteering at a veterans organization (contact your local VFW, American Legion, VA hospital or veteran’s shelter).
- If you know a military family, open your doors to share the holidays with you by offering help with tasks like childcare, home maintenance, or meal preparation.
- You can also show your support by participating in community events and initiatives that celebrate and support military families in your area.
I hope you will join Florida 4-H #Florida4H and our Nation #MilitaryFamilyAppreciation to celebrate Military Family Month, by doing simple things to demonstrate your appreciation and gratitude to our military members and their families! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
First meeting is Sept 26th at 5:30 EST
I am so thrilled to let you know about a new endeavor with Florida 4-H. We are trying a virtual Food Challenge cooking club this year. This is so exciting for me because some of my fondest memories are cooking with my grandmother and Mom. I got to learn how to prepare foods and be creative as I was growing up pulling on their apron strings. I also enjoyed teaching and sharing these skills with my own children. What makes this even better is now I get to share and learn with all of you who join our program.
Paula and Madelyn Cooking together
By joining the new Virtual 4-H Food Challenge Club, you will embark on a fun, yet challenging, food-focused adventure right from the comfort of your kitchen! The club adventure will provide a fun atmosphere for you and your children to have a family time experience building lasting memories together. With the help from Florida 4-H Youth Development Faculty, you will get to unleash your culinary creativity and try delicious recipes while learning kitchen skills from safety, nutrition, and other food related life skills. Families will learn about competitive events related to foods like the Florida Food Challenge Competition. Families will also have the opportunity to make friends with fellow 4-H members across the state.
The virtual club is open to youth members ages 8-18 and will meet once a month starting in September. The club will meet via ZOOM on the following Tuesdays: September 26th, October 24th, November 28th, December 19th, and January 23rd from 5:30 – 6:30 PM ET. We request that adult supervision is present with the youth during the meeting and home practice sessions. The participants will be asked to gather a list of supplies for each monthly meeting as we focus on a new skill for each meeting.
Paula’s family working with herbs to prepare a dish.
During this course we will help families enjoy preparing food, provide you with opportunities to problem solve together and work as a family team as practice preparation for the Florida 4-H Food Challenge! If you join us, your family will learn how to prepare and create yummy dishes with a predetermined set of ingredients. By the end of the program, your family should have some new recipes for your cooking toolbox, learned essential cooking skills and created wonderful memories from your time together. Do not miss this flavorful opportunity – sign up now via Florida 4-H Online and get cooking with 4-H! If you are not a member of a current 4-H Club there is a $20 membership fee associated with this club. If you are unable to join our virtual club, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office to see if there is an active Food Challenge group that you can join. If not, work with your 4-H or FCS Agent(s) to identify two caring adults who could fill this role.
Enroll, Grab your ingredients, and get ready to join us via Zoom on September 26th@ 5:30 EST
Youth shows and fairs provide a valuable opportunity for young people to develop a wide range of life skills. From responsibility and communication to planning and organization, these events offer a unique learning experience that can help young people build important skills for success in all areas of life.
Can a youth’s participation in County fairs and Shows help to develop them into responsible adult? The answer is yes! The Florida 4-H Program seeks to be inclusive to all youth by using a variety of vehicles to teach youth life skills in traditional and non-traditional settings. A recent article in The Journal of Extension by Oregon State professionals found that “having fun” “spending time with friends” and “teamwork” were the highest-rated motivators for youth that participated in fairs.
The study also revealed that participation in fairs through 4-H had a significant positive effect on participants’ levels of caring, contribution, and character. These characteristics are also part of the Essential Elements of 4-H that youth experience by being in an active 4-H program throughout the year. Those elements are Belonging, Independence, Generosity, and Mastery.
One of the most important skills that youth learn through participation in youth shows and fairs is responsibility. Whether they are caring for animals, plants, or other projects, youth must take on the responsibility of ensuring that their projects are healthy, well-cared for, and ready to be presented to judges and visitors.
Communication is another key skill that youth develop through participation in youth shows and fairs. Through active participation youth learn the ability to articulate complex ideas, listen actively, and respond thoughtfully to questions and feedback.
In addition to these skills, youth shows, and fairs also emphasize important values such as sportsmanship and fair play. Participants are encouraged to respect their competitors, accept both victories and defeats graciously, and uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior. This helps young people develop important social skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with others and build positive relationships.
Finally, participation in youth shows and fairs can help young people develop resilience and perseverance in the face of challenges and setbacks. These events can be competitive and stressful, but they also offer opportunities for young people to learn from failures, bounce back from disappointments, and remain motivated to achieve their goals.
A few of the Florida 4-H Shows and Fairs are as follows:
- State 4-H Dairy Show Okeechobee March
- 4-H Chick Chain Show Chipley April
- Area North Horse Show Green Cove Springs May
- North Florida Fair Tallahassee November
*For additional opportunities to participate in 4-H Shows and fairs please contact your local 4-H office.
In conclusion, participation in youth shows and fairs can offer a unique and valuable learning experience for young people. By developing important skills such as responsibility, communication, planning, and organization, as well as important values such as sportsmanship and fair play, youth can build the foundation for success in all areas of life.
More information on this study can be obtained by visiting the Journal of Extension at www.joe.org and viewing volume 45, number 6.(Arnold, Meinhold, Skubinna, and Asthton)
One of the things I love about 4-H is that it offers so many different opportunities for youth to learn leadership skills while pursuing and exploring their sparks. And leadership roles are not confined to the club level- there are opportunities for youth to serve at the district, state, and even national levels. Youth leaders are grown, not born. And just like any living thing, they must be nurtured over time in an intentional way to develop strong leadership skills. This article will describe what a strong youth leadership team looks like and provide some resources to help grow your team. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with some amazing youth leadership teams at all levels of the 4-H organization. But it was something that we had to cultivate over time- we didn’t start out as a high-functioning team. A strong youth leadership team can be identified by the following five characteristics (download this graphic):
Clarifying the roles of each team member
It’s essential that everyone in the group understands their role and that they have something valuable to contribute to the team. Youth are usually pretty quick to understand their role- often it involves planning an event or solving a community issue through service learning. But the roles of the adults are much vaguer. Some adults view the role as advisory the same way they would a dictator. They want to tell the youth what they should do when they should show up, and how to do everything. But as advisors, our role is to empower youth- make sure they understand their role, and that they are cohesive, or have ground rules for how the group will function.
Establishing a sense of cohesiveness
Once everyone is clear about their roles on the team, the group needs to establish ground rules, or group norms to create a sense of cohesiveness. If the adult mentor sees the group wandering away from the group norms, then it is their job to call the youth out on it and bring them back to a more cohesive state. Not too long ago, I was working with a group of teens to plan a retreat. We had a new member who was constantly putting down other youth’s suggestions. The group got quiet except for the outspoken youth. It was my job to remind everyone that one of our group norms is that each person gets an opportunity to speak, and we don’t put down others’ ideas. Holding the group accountable for these group norms keeps the group cohesive and focused, which is essential for building the next characteristic, communication.
Leadership teams are a great place for youth to practice communication skills- particularly if they are nervous about speaking in front of large groups. Typically the youth leading the team is responsible for making sure everyone is recognized and heard. However, some youth might need encouragement to speak up- that’s when the adult advisor can help! It is also important to discuss how the team wants to communicate outside of meeting times- reminders about meetings, or any other issues that might come up in-between meetings. As the advisor, make sure everyone comes to a consensus on how and how often the team wants to communicate within meetings (and outside of meetings). As youth become more comfortable with communicating, their confidence will grow.
When the members of your youth leadership team are clear about their roles, are cohesive in their approach to leadership, and communicate well with each other, they will be empowered to lead. Teams that are empowered understand that every person on the team has something to contribute. As adults, it’s often easier to just “do it ourselves,” but instead we need to empower youth to take responsibility for a different part of the program the youth are leading. However, we do need to make sure they have the information and tools they need to be empowered. For example, if they want to do an activity they have little experience with, such as sewing dog toys for a pet shelter, connect them with people who have experience and expertise with that type of activity.
The ultimate characteristic of a strong leadership team is collaboration. It is the combined effect of the other four characteristics working together in unison. The collaboration stage is also when youth become role models- not only for other youth but for adults as well. And that is when organizations begin to grow. People will be curious about why and how your youth are working so well together.
The UF IFAS publications listed below are free downloads that include hands-on, experiential activities you can do with your youth to help build a strong leadership team:
The best-selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens written by Stephen Covey is a must-read for any 4-H faculty, staff, or volunteer working with teen leaders.
- Covey, S. (1998). The 7 habits of highly effective teens: the ultimate teenage success guide. New York Simon & Schuster.
We are excited to announce registration for our 2023 Northwest Florida 4-H Volunteer Forum will open on October 15th! This post contains all the details about our event- who, what, when, where, and how. We hope you will plan to join us for an inspirational Friday night and Saturday as we connect with each other, learn together, and share our successes. Our theme is “Navigating the World of 4-H.” Together, we will learn about empowering youth, inspiring hope, and helping young people reach their full potential.
|Our volunteer forum is for teen and adult volunteers leading and supporting 4-H clubs, groups, or programs in the northwest Extension district.
|A weekend (Friday night and Saturday) event full of inspirational speakers, hands-on workshops, and opportunities to connect with and support other volunteers! Topics were identified based on last year’s forum participants’ feedback. Feel free to download the agenda and informational flyer. This post highlights some of the activities you won’t want to miss:
Friday night kicks off with our “Make and Take” Fair. Try out a wide variety of fun and exciting 4-H activities you can use with the clubs or groups you work with. Each time you visit a station, you can get your “passport” stamped! There will be selections to support all three 4-H pillar project areas- Healthy Living, STEM (science), and Citizenship/Leadership. During the Make and Take Fair, heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served and you will have the opportunity to test out the activities and take home samples and instructions to share with your youth, parents, and other volunteers.
After the make-and-take fair, we will have a fun icebreaker, and Dr. Stacey Ellison, our 4-H Program Leader, will speak and give a “state of 4-H” update and share strategies for inclusion and diversity. Volunteers are encouraged to network and mingle after her address.
Saturday morning will inspire! Gulf County 4-H Alumnus and best-selling author, Cedric Lennox, will share how his Florida 4-H experiences taught him about youth empowerment and how we can all be “Dealers of Hope.”
Following the keynote address, volunteers will be able to select from a variety of workshops:
- Road Map to Parliamentary Procedure
- Charting a Successful Sports Fishing Project
- Culinary Adventures with the 4-H Food Challenge
- Trek through Teambuilding
- Tour of 4-H Gardening Project
- Smooth Sailing with Cloverbuds
During lunch, connect with other volunteers who have similar interests as you to start building a community of practice for your 4-H clubs and groups! Dr. Jenny Jordan will share expert tips for Experiential Learning (or learn-by-doing).
After lunch, there will be more workshop selections for volunteers to choose from:
- Guide to 4-H Awards, Recognition, & Portfolios
- Voyage through the 4-H Clothing & Textiles Project
- Hike through the “Big Book of Cloverbuds”
- Survey of Service Learning
- Expeditions in Entomology
- A Mindfulness Pilgrimage
We will close our forum by sharing some exciting new resources- including a fundraising toolkit for 4-H volunteers (and more door prizes!).
|Embassy Suites in Destin, Florida. No need to make a reservation- your registration is your hotel reservation confirmation!
|Registration opens in 4Holine on October 15th. The deadline to register is Friday, January 6th. Check with your local UF/IFAS Extension office to inquire about carpooling to and from the event. Dress for the weekend is casual (and comfortable)- we will be at the beach!
|Thanks to donations from the Florida 4-H Foundation and other partners, the registration fee for individuals sharing a suite with another volunteer is $100. The registration fee for a private suite is $150. The registration fee includes the room fee, a conference welcome bag, magnetic name tag, heavy hors d’oeuvres Friday night, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, plus workshop and make-and-take supplies. Many counties are offering scholarships, so please check with your local UF/IFAS 4-H Extension Agent about additional funding.