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/.
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
October is an extraordinary month of celebration for UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H Programs. We start with National 4-H Week October 4th – 10th. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week is Opportunity4All. This campaign was created by National 4-H Council to rally support for Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and identify solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America.
With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, can play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youth, families and communities across the country. In 4-H, we believe every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe every child should have the skills they need to make a difference in the world.
It is amazing how many youth are growing up with 4-H in Florida with over 230,000 youth involved. 4-H is open to all youth, ages 5-18, determined as of September 1 of the current 4-H year for everyone in the State of Florida. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs and project work. 4-H is at schools, community settings, virtually, military bases, and in combination with afterschool programs. There are also special workshops, camps and individual and family learning opportunities. We also have state-wide virtual club opportunities including Dairy, Horse, Poultry, Teen Life Ready and Young Leaders clubs. The Northwest District also offers 4-H virtual projects. These include: Chick Chain, Backyard Livestock, Honeybees, Wildlife, Baking, Culinary Arts, Leadership, Plant Science, Tailgating, sewing and shooting sports.
National 4-H Week Events Include:
Monday, October 5, 2020 join us at 1:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM CST for a webinar on How to Teach Kids to Prepare Healthy, Fun Snacks. Register Here
Tuesday October 6, 2020 Shout Out Day & Hall of Fame
Take to social media to share a 4‑H memory, express how 4‑H shaped who you are today, describe what 4‑H means to you, post an old 4‑H photo, or shout-out your 4‑H club or use our photo frame for sharing on Social Media be sure to include following hashtags #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– 4-H Hall of Fame (FB Live Event) @florida4h
Wednesday, October 7, 2020, National 4-H Week Spirit Day
We want to invite you to help celebrate by wearing green or the 4-H clover. You could also wear a 4-H or Green facemask. We even have a photo frame you can use for sharing on Social Media and tag #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
Thursday, October 8, 2020, Support the FOURWARD Fund, and Trivia Night
The forward fund helps ensure kids and families in need have access to educational resources and support all year long.
4-H Trivia Night from 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– (via FB) @florida4h
Are you ready for the 4-H Mars Base Camp Challenge?
On Friday October 9 Florida 4-H at 4 and Camp Night
Join Florida 4-H at 4 online at 4:00 PM EST 3:00 CST as we blast off on a mission to the Red Planet – MARS! We’ll be learning about the process that NASA goes through when sending a rover to Mars. We’ll learn about the stages of launching from earth, attempting to land on Mars, and discovering the key features of the Martian surface. Using real images and data Generated from NASA missions we’ll be introduced to some of the key characteristics of Mars and how we have discovered these features through decades of scientific exploration. Bring your supplies and join us. Click to Register
4-H Camp Night 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST Come hang out with our camping team via zoom Click to Register and celebrate National 4-H Week.
Saturday October 10 #Opportunity4All Forum at 6:30 pm EST / 5:30 CST @florida4h (FB Live Event) Kids face a widening opportunity gap in America. Nothing should hold them back. Not Now. Not Ever. For more information about the national Opportunity for all Campaign materials and PSA
October 7-18 Tractor Supply Paper Clover FundraiserThe paper clover campaigns help by providing funds to conduct hands-on learning experiences through projects in STEM, agriculture, healthy living, and civic engagement locally and nationally.
JOANN stores also support 4-H by providing local 4-H Clubs with resources and tools to run impactful programs. JOANN even provides current & alumni members, parents of members, and volunteers with a 15% off total in-store and online purchases every day with a 4-H Rewards Card. You can register for this card at https://www.joann.com/4-h/ . They also run a paper clover campaign in the spring similar to Tractor Supply.
Please, help us celebrate National 4-H Week 2020 and participate in as many activities as possible. Also, Be sure next time you are visiting one of our sponsors locations to thank them for their continued support of 4-H Youth Development Programs. I cant wait to see your photos on social media please be sure and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this or volunteer your time to work with youth, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office. As you can see October is a wonderful month to be involved with and join Florida 4-H An Equal Opportunity Institution.
Photo credit: Marie Arick
I recently saw a meme of the Jetsons™ cartoon relating to how we are living our lives utilizing telemedicine, videocalls, online classes and our home office…how ironic. Well, 4-H has embraced these unprecedented times and is preparing to provide 4-H youth programming for the upcoming year. Nothing is more important than our youth and their health. Despite the fact things look a bit different and may require a few adjustment, such as masks, social distancing and some virtual club meetings, the 4-H Agents in the panhandle are ready for the year ahead.
While we realize that computer usage and screen time has increased due to the pandemic, it will be a part of our 4-H clubs and/or projects. Over the spring and summer months, Florida 4-H created an array of virtual summer camp experiences that taught agents we can still engage and provide wonderful learning experiences without being in person. So, we will move into the new 4-H year with our newfound tools and skills to create engaging experiences. For example, livestock and shooting sports and the associated club meetings surrounding these programs may be a hybrid of small in-person groups with safety measures and virtual meetings, but they will take place. Additionally, there will be a variety of virtual 4-H clubs offered.
Check out the list of 4-H offerings the Northwest District 4-H Agents put together for 4-H youth across the district:
#HoneyBees 4-H Club W.O.L.F. 4-H Club Baking Buddies 4-H Club Culinary Artists 4-H Club
Lead with 4-H Club Farm to Table 4-H Club Chick Chain 4-H Club Backyard Livestock 4-H Club
TailGators 4-H Club Sew Much Fun 4-H Club Range Ready 4-H Club
4-H Agents will be here to support these clubs and projects. Please understand that we will be taking extra precautions and measures to ensure all experiences, whether in person or virtually, meet all Florida 4-H requirements. We look forward to our temporary ‘new normal’ and invite you to click here to enroll in the 2020-2021 4-H year. For questions to navigate the enrollment process click here for additional information.
Unmask your child’s potential by enrolling today!
4-H members and volunteers are always seeking new ideas for hands-on learning experiences as service activities to positively impact our communities. With covid-19, some community service opportunities have been limited due to social distancing and other restrictions. However, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Florida Sea Grant have a new opportunity for 4-H members to get involved virtually. This opportunity is a citizen science project that would be a great way to build your community service hours and learn something new about fish in the process!
Are any of you into history, helping with research, and like fish? If you answered “yes” to any of these, please consider working with the FISHstory Project! The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Florida Sea Grant needs help with a citizen science project to help fill gaps in fisheries data using historical dock photos.
Who can participate? Families and youth ages 16+, or younger youth with an adult mentor who is working with them for the sessions. If you are under the age of 16, you will need your parent to register with you. It is a very simple registration process. First, register for FISHstory at https://scistarter.org/fishstory. Then, click on the https://safmc.net/safmc-fishstory/ link to begin helping count and identify fish in the historical photos.
This project will train you as a citizen scientist to identify and count fish using historic fishing photos from the 1940-1970s, prior to when dedicated catch monitoring began. This is a two-part project. The first part is to simply count the number of fish in the photo. The second part is to identify the fish in the photo. Everything is done online using Zooniverse, so there would be no travel or cost to participate in this project.
Data collected with your help will provide a picture of the fishery in the earlier years. This will help scientists understand the fishing industry prior to dedicated monitoring programs. It will also help improve our understanding of the fishing of several iconic species over the years. This data will be used to help accurately estimate stock productivity from 1940 to 1970 when for-hire fisheries off the Atlantic coast of Florida were gaining popularity. Your help is needed to fill these data gaps to help evaluate assumptions about stock productivity. The historic photos, untapped sources of this important biological data, can help do just that. Analyzing the photos will help provide better information of what people were catching during this time period, seasonality of their catches, and possibly estimate a rough catch per angler, which can provide insights on the health of fish populations during that period.
4-H helps youth to learn the skills needed to lead the positive change in their communities like this one. This is done through hands-on learning opportunities that explore citizenship, community development, and personal growth. For more information on community service projects or other 4-H programs that build essential life skills in youth, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
4-H Virtual Plant Science Camp Bingo Game
July 6th of this year was supposed to be the first day of our 4-H Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Day Camp with Leon and Jefferson Counties participating. Due to the pandemic, all of our Florida 4-H face to face camps were cancelled this summer due to safety concerns for the students and the instructors.
In spite of everything that has taken place since March of this year, there is still some good news! Even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, there is an outdoor classroom in YOUR backyard that has plenty of room for young people and parents to explore. While most youth have spent more time than they probably want to with their families confined, within the four walls of their home, there is no time like the present to explore wildlife and gardening opportunities that await just outside the door. Youth that spend time outside exploring the great outdoors have the unique opportunity to stimulate their senses while engaging in “hands on” educational activities without even knowing it.
4-H provides countless opportunities for youth to gain a better understanding of how all organisms are interrelated and how they can become environmental stewards at home, school, and in the communities in which they live. What are some of the benefits of converting backyards to outdoor classrooms?
I’m glad you asked…here are just a few!
1. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged –
Youth planting an orange tree after participating in Virtual Plant Science Camp
Active time spent outside may help address some of the health issues we are seeing in children today such as obesity, attention deficit disorders, and depression.
2. Nature deficit disorder decline –
Exposing students to nature and allowing them to learn and play outside has shown to foster sensitivity, appreciation, and respect for the environment. It combats “nature deficit disorder” …and it can be a lot of FUN!
3. Critical-thinking skills enhanced –
Exploring what is in the backyard and starting a garden provides opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom and enables students to make connections that can be applied to the real world.
4. Responsible action is taken to better the environment –
By exploring outdoors either by planting or just observing nature, youth begin to understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment. It is from this point they can begin to obtain the skills necessary to address complex environmental issues as well as ways we can take action to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future.
So even though we are in the midst of a pandemic, there may be opportunities to make lemonade out of the COVID-19 lemons we find ourselves in by unmasking the opportunities that await in our backyards!
For more information about 4-H in your county, find your local UF/IFAS Extension office or visit http://florida4h.org.
*“Please note some pictures were taken prior to our challenges with Covid-19 and we remind people to social distance and wear a mask for the personal safety of self and others.”