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5 Tips For Building Teams with 4-H Clubs or Groups

Youth stacking hands for teamworkJoining a new group of individuals can be nerve-wracking for some that may be shy or intimidated by large groups. Incorporating team-building activities into your 4-H clubs and activities is a great way for 4-H members, new and returning, to form a connection with each other and will help set the tone for that particular group setting and/or event. In this post, we’ll provide tips to bring engaging team-building activities into your 4-H clubs and events. In addition, we will share some of the most popular team-building activities for various age groups that you can use to support your work with 4-H youth.

Together Everyone Achieves More

Teambuilding has been proven to have many benefits. Two of the most powerful benefits of team building are increased group morale and individual confidence. Having a new group of individuals learn to work collectively as a team builds rapport and trust. Teambuilding allows individuals to contribute their strengths to the team and also gain additional skills learned from others within the group. This allows for personal growth and development… However, teambuilding does not happen on its own- teams are formed over time with good leadership.

Bruce Tuckman’s Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing model (1965) is arguably the most recognized model for team development, and includes four stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning:

  1. Forming: The leader shares goals, but there is no commitment yet; individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. Very leader driven at this point. This stage is essential to help reduce anxiety new members might feel joining a 4-H club or group and will help foster a sense of belonging. 
  2. Storming: Trust hasn’t been established and decisions are difficult to make. Team members try to establish credibility with the group toward the end of this stage.
  3. Norming: The group is establishing trust—agreement is easier to reach, commitment to goals is evident, and decisions are being made.
  4. Performing: The group could function on its own without the leader because of the trust, commitment to goals, clarity, and ease of making decisions.
  5. Adjourning: Recognition and sensitivity to the break-up of the group is important as the team dissolves and members move on to other tasks.

Five Team Building Tips for 4-H Clubs or Groups

Below are five helpful tips for incorporating hands-on activities into your 4-H clubs and events in order to have successful teambuilding interaction:

  1. The teambuilding process can be longer for some groups than others- it really depends on the needs of the group and how often they meet or interact. If your group meets once a month, it might take longer than if your group is in the same cabin all week at camp.
  2. Select activities that will address the current needs of your group- if the group is already formed, move on to activities that promote storming.
  3. If you see a club or activity struggling with a group activity or plan of action, have them take a break and let them participate in a fun Hula hoops on the ground teambuilding exercise like “Helium Stick
  4. Check out our Northwest 4-H Volunteer Google Site for more team-building activities and resources.
  5. Team building isn’t just for the youth! Consider planning a teambuilding workshop or a night of minute-to-win-it games with your youth vs volunteers or even a 4-H Family night with youth, parents/guardians, and volunteers. This will become a request for an annual event guaranteed!

Five Team Building Activities for “Forming”

The new 4-H year kicks off in just a few days, which means that most 4-H clubs or groups are in the “forming” stage. To help, below are five fun and easy activities you can do with your team to promote “forming.” For more activities and ideas to support all five stages of team building, download our free 4-H Team Building Handbook for a quick reference tool!

  1. Start your meeting with an easy get-to-know-you icebreaker like “The Superlative Game” in which youth line up based on their birthday, height or age without talking.
  2. Who’s in the Bag? Ask each person to select an object that represents something about themselves. You can have a variety of objects available for them to select from, or they can bring an item with them. Have each person place their item in the bag, then let each person take turns explaining why the object represents something about themselves.
  3. Common & Unique- Ask everyone to form a circle. Tell them that you will ask a series of questions, and if the question applies to them, they are to stand inside the circle. Ask questions like “I am the oldest child in my family,” or “I play a sport,” or “I have lived in another state.” This helps members of the group get to know things about other members that they can’t see with their eyes.
  4. Introductions- Pretend you are hosting a party where no one knows anyone else. Have everyone standing in no particular order. In a party spirit, walk up to one of your “guests” and introduce yourself by name. For example:
    1. “Hi, I’m Karly. What’s your name? Gabrielle? Hi, Gabrielle, glad to meet you. Come on, there’s someone I want you to meet.” You then take Gabrielle to meet another “guest.”
    2.  “Hi, what’s your name? Paul? Hi, Paul; this is Gabrielle. Gabrielle, this is Paul.” Gabrielle and Paul play it up. They smile, shake hands and say “Glad to meet you.”
    3. Try to “introduce” everyone in three minutes.
  5. If you need to meet virtually, don’t skip the team-building activity. Try this activity, “Where Am I?”

By incorporating teambuilding activities into your 4-H delivery, you will be delivering enhanced educational experiential learning in order for our youth to engage in mentally, physically, and socially, fostering the development of essential life skills.  To learn more about joining 4-H as a member or volunteer, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.

SOURCES:

Building A Team Within A 4-H Club. Ohio State University. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.230.6481&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Team Building Activity: Helium Stick. Guide, Inc. 2021. https://guideinc.org/2017/08/21/team-building-activity-helium-stick/

The Superlative Game. North Dakota 4-H Recreation Games & Activities. Page 11. https://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/4h/ClubMaterials/FJ825_Games___Activities.pdf

Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384–399.

 Why Icebreakers? (2:17) – 4-H Military Partnerships Website – University of Florida/Florida 4-H. https://youtu.be/zWIkGgdEekM

 

Celebrate with Safety in Mind!

It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already upon us!

youth in front of charcoal grill

Youth learning to grill during 4-H tailgate program

Many of us will be celebrating with picnics, cookouts, and family get-togethers. One of my colleagues in Clay County, Samantha Murray, did a great article about preventing food poisoning while celebrating. Our youth have also been attending grilling summer camp programs and learning many of these tips plus lots more. The youth have learned about how to use a grill safely, how to prepare food safely and prevent cross-contamination or food-borne illness, and the nutritional benefits of animal protein in diets. Our district will have its annual competition to advance to the state-level competition on July 30 at the Washington County Extension Office, in Chipley, Florida.

I just wanted to take a moment to recap the tips Samantha gave to keep all of us safe and healthy while celebrating.

  • Keep raw meats in a separate cooler than ready-to-eat items or beverages.
  • Foods with mayonnaise are less acidic creating a better environment for bacterial growth
  • Chicken and ground beef needs to be cooked to 165°F
  • Wash hands if soap and water are not available use hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of contaminating food.
  • Use different tongs or spatulas for cooked and uncooked meat or wash them after being in contact with raw meat.
  • It is recommended to refrigerate leftovers within two hours unless it’s really hot, then the window shrinks to about an hour.

Other items you may want to think about.

  • Keep beverages in a separate cooler from other foods, people will be going in and out of beverage coolers much more keeping the temperature higher and allowing bacterial growth.
  • Cook cuts of pork, beef, or shrimp to 145°F
  • Don’t sit charcoal grills on plastic tables and make sure the area is free from debris that can catch fire, including limbs or tents overhead.
  • Clean up after yourself leaving only footprints in the area you were in!
  • Enjoy time with friends and family safely!

For more information about educational programs, check out our webpage or contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.

Outdoor Fire Safety

Being in the great outdoors is a great way to spend your time with family! What are some ideas for activities you can do outdoors with your friends and family? Some of the best outdoor activities could include going for a hike, swimming, hunting, kayaking, or even building a campfire. With the weather still cool and a little dry here in Northwest Florida, sitting around a campfire sounds like the right kind of fun!  However, it is extremely important to be sure that your campfire does not put anyone at risk of wildfires or burns.

Check out some of the fire safety tips below!

  1. Use a designated fire pit, if available. If this is not an option, clear a space on the ground, removing any grass or needles that could potentially catch fire.
  2. Build your fire downwind and away from tents, houses, or anything that is flammable. What does flammable mean? Anything that can easily set fire is flammable. The USDA suggests a minimum of at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire.
  3. Have water or something to douse the fire nearby. In the event of fire escaping its designated area, you will need to be able to put it out swiftly to prevent a wildfire. Consider a water hose that is hooked up to a water source or a fire extinguisher. Also, before leaving your fire site, make sure the fire is extinguished!
  4. You know the drill! Stop, Drop, and Roll! Make sure that everyone present knows how to put out a clothing fire with these three simple steps.
  5. Never leave children unattended around a fire. As the adult, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone is safe! Also, store matches, lighters, and lighter fluids out of children’s sight and reach.
  6. Think about what you are wearing. Do not wear open toed shoes, as a spark could come off a flame and burn your toe. Instead, wear closed toed shoes while around the fire. Do not wear loose fitting clothing. If you lean over a fire with a baggy t-shirt on, chances are your shirt could catch on fire. Wearing snug-fitting clothing is an easy way to prevent this from happening.

Another “hot” topic is grilling! As we all know, fire and charcoals are extremely hot. Make safe cooking a priority, especially when it comes to outdoor grilling. With summer coming, grilling will become a more popular activity!

A great way for you youth to learn about safe grilling practices is for them to attend a 4-H Tailgate Grilling Camp! This summer,

Young man grilling pork chops

Youth learning to grill pork safely!

Calhoun and Liberty County 4-H Agents, Claire Reach and Marie Arick will be teaming up to offer this program to area youth. Youth will not only learn about the importance of fire safety, but also how to mix rubs or marinades for their meats, and how to grill different animal proteins!

If this is something you think your child or a youth you know might be interested in, stay tuned for upcoming date announcements for summer camps. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please give us a call at the UF/IFAS Extension Calhoun County Office: (850)-674-8323.

An Equal Opportunity Institution. 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.firesafekid.org/family-fire-safety/outdoor-fire-safety/

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/fief/outdoor_fire_safety.pdf

4-H Club Chartering Clarified

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.

A list of the four steps to charter a 4-H clubWhen 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!

4-H MISSION POSSIBLE

4-H MISSION POSSIBLE

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

A picture containing an adult helping a youth

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?

A picture containing a child working on a robot

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!

  1. Get Involved as a 4-H Volunteer if you aren’t already (If you are, kudos to you!)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
A picture containing 4-H youth and volunteers helping clean up their community.

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/.

Make Mindfulness a Resolution for 2021!

Holidays can be stressful under normal circumstances, but 2020 has been far from normal!  Mindfulness can help you improve your focus, manage stress, develop a positive outlook, and resolve conflict. Together, these all help you do a better job regulating emotions. Developing a mindfulness practice could be a great new year’s resolution as we look forward to 2021!  Last month’s Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy webinar focused on helping volunteers develop a mindfulness practice.

There are three key features of mindfulness:

  • Purpose- intentionally directing your attention rather than letting it wander
  • Presence- being fully engaged and attentive at the present moment
  • Acceptance- being nonjudgmental about whatever arises in the moment. In other words, not fretting over what you should be doing or what you should have done, rather focusing on what you can do in the present.

To learn specific strategies for developing a mindfulness practice around these features, watch our webinar below, or check out some of the resources linked below.

UF IFAS Extension Factsheet “Introduction to Mindfulness”

National 4-H Council’s Kids Guide to Mindfulness