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!
4-H PROJECT LEARNING
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: Science, Citizenship & 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: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/4H/4H28000.pdf
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 http://florida4h.org today.
Service-learning projects can be quite simple and still send a big message.
In 4-H, we try to instill compassion and an attitude of service in our members. One way we do this is through service projects we often refer to as “service-learning”. We believe that as youth participate in acts of service, they learn to be more caring and are more likely to make positive contributions to their communities as they mature. Some service-learning projects are more involved, but others can be quite simple.
As we celebrate the month of love, let’s each consider small and simple ways we can inspire youth to serve others with all of their Heart.
Acts of Service
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Send cards to loved ones through the mail.
- Take cards to nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
- Trace hands on paper and cut them out. Write encouraging messages like “with love” or “because I love you” on the cutouts. Do small acts of service for family and friends and leave the prints behind as a note to let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Experiment for a week. Try smiling at everyone you meet and see what happens.
- Leave kind notes in a sibling or parent’s lunchbox or on their pillows.
- Read or play a game with someone you love or who needs our love.
- As a club, beautify a part of your community by planting flowers or hosting a trash pick up day.
- Bake cookies or take treats to a neighbor.
By encouraging 4-H youth to serve in any large or small way they can, we help them build essential life skills. If you have other ideas you’d like to share or have success stories, please visit our Facebook page and leave comments for us. We love to hear how you’re working “To Make the Best Better.”
For more information on 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.
Executive Board members putting their heads together to make the best better!
4-H Agents and long-term 4-H members are often asked, “What exactly is Florida 4-H State Executive Board?” So what better way to get the best clarification than to get it straight from the source. I turned to Shelby Sumner, our Florida 4-H State Council Reporter, to give us the best inside scoop…Here is Shelby’s reply:
Executive Board is a committee composed of 4 delegates from each of the 13 4-H Districts, as well as up to 30 Executive Board appointees, and the 8 Florida 4-H State Officers. The Executive Board members meet 3 times each year to work together to plan state events, and to work in their respective standing committees.
The standing committees include Entertainment, Communications and Council Support, State Project, and Ways and Means. Entertainment works to provide entertaining activities at the State Executive Board meetings; Communications and Council Support assists with the promoting of different State 4-H events and opportunities available; State Project plans and implements a statewide community service project; Ways and Means is responsible for fundraising for the Florida 4-H State Council.
Similar to the standing committees, there are 4 event committees on Executive Board as well. These include 4-H Legislature, 4-H University, Day at the Capital, and Intermediate State. Executive Board members play a vital role in the planning and implementation of these state events by providing input into our state events during their working committee meetings at Executive Board Weekends, and helping throughout the course of the event itself.
Executive Board Weekend
A SECOND FAMILY
While the work that Executive Board members put in throughout the year is obviously an important component of Executive Board, it does not encompass what I believe to be the best part: the second family that it gives you. Laura Manzueta, a Miami-Dade County Executive Board Member, described what Executive Board means to her, stating, “To me, Executive Board means a family of youth that are responsible, care about the community, and are going to change the world.”
Members at Executive Board working together to plan great things.
LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCES
Additionally, Executive Board gives youth life-changing experiences and connections that help them to grow as individuals. “Executive Board has shown me that surrounding yourself with people you look up to, helps to make you a better person.”-Daylyn Hutchinson, St. Lucie County Executive Board Member.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR NON-EXECUTIVE MEMBERS
Third Executive Board provides an opportunity for non-Executive Board members (4-H ages 14-18) to get a feel for what Executive Board is like, by taking part in activities such as the State Project activity, and they have chances to observe standing and event committee meetings. Third Executive Board will be held at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake in Madison, FL, on April 3-5, 2020. The cost for non-Executive Board Members is $120, and $115 for Executive Board Members. Registration for this event opens on 4-H Online on March 9, 2019 and closes March 27, 2019.
Between the various learning and leadership opportunities, and the chances of meeting new best friends, becoming an Executive Board member is one of the greatest decisions that a 4-Her can make, and attending Third Executive Board is the perfect way to learn more about this endeavor. So, don’t miss out on an amazing weekend, and make sure to attend Third Executive Board in April!
For more information on Executive Board or other 4-H programs, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
Special thanks to Shelby Sumner, Florida 4-H State Council Reporter, for providing this article, and Courtney Quirie, Florida, 4-H Events Coordinator, for providing the pictures.
Judging teams are a part of the 4-H curriculum that helps to build life skills. Arising as part of the early 4-H club work, judging teams were noted to have begun prior to 1921. In fact, 4-H Clubs were originally called corn clubs, because youth were taught how to grow a better crop of corn and in turn, would bring their corn into town to be judged.
4-H judging teams are short-term, intensive trainings in a particular subject area. The goal of the trainings is to compete at judging team competitions. Judging teams are typically comprised of three or four youth in the same age division, from the same county.
According to the Florida 4-H website (http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/), the following are sanctioned state-wide judging teams:
- 4-H Consumer Choices/LifeSmarts
- Dairy Judging
- Dairy Quiz Bowl
- Dairy Goat Judging
- Dog Quiz Bowl
- Forest Ecology
- Horse Quiz Bowl
- Horse Judging
- Horticulture ID and Judging
- Livestock Judging
- Land Judging
- Meat Judging
- Poultry Judging
For our panhandle 4-H members, the North Florida Fair has the following contests:
- Consumer Choices
- Agriculture Judging
- Horticulture Judging
- STEM Challenge
- Wildlife Ecology
Each judging contest has its specific rules and activities; however, the basic components of a judging contest include identification, judging classes, and oral reasons. A good judging team member has the following characteristics:
- A clear idea or mental picture of an items characteristics
- Quick and accurate observation skills
- The ability to weigh objectively and evaluate what is seen
- The ability to defend choices made
Now we want you to try your hand at judging. We will use the meat judging contest as an example. The following is a class of pork sirloin chops. A high quality sirloin chop has lots of meat, little fat, and little bone. A poor quality sirloin chip has little meat, lots of fat, and lots of bone. The sirloin chops are labeled 1, 2, 3, 4. Your job as a meat judge is to rank them in order of best to worst.
Your job as a meat judge is to rank meat in order of best to worst.
This class of pork sirloin chops are ranked 4-3-1-2, with cuts of 3-4-4. Four was placed first because it had the best combination of meat and little fat/bone. Three was placed second because it most resembled number four and had more edible meat than number one. Number one was placed in third because it had less fat and more meat than number two. Number two was placed last because it was the fattest sirloin chop with the least amount of meat.
Each judging class is worth 50 points. If you ranked this class 4-3-1-2, then you received 50 points. If you placed it another way, then you dropped points based on cuts. To learn more about how cuts work, please visit https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/photo_judging_contest_reasons2.pdf.
A 4-H meat judging team member would mark their 4-H judging card as seen below.
An example of a 4-H meat judging score card.
4-H judging teams provide a safe, positive environment for individuals to learn and develop life skills. Judging teams emphasize experiential activities, organization, allowing youth to take part in leadership activities, and providing opportunities for volunteers to act as mentors to youths.
Benefits of 4-H Judging Teams
- Build self-confidence and problem solving skills
- Communication and public speaking opportunities
- Meet new friends
- Travel the state and country
- Receive a scholarship for college
- Learn observational and critical thinking skills
- Find a new career
- Selecting an animal for a 4-H project
Participating on 4-H judging teams offer many benefits to participants. Team members are exposed to team work, effective communication skills and analytical thinking. Team members also build self-confidence as they become comfortable with all components of judging and evaluation. Development of these skills benefits every area of the 4-H judging team member’s life. An additional benefit from participating on a judging team is having the opportunity to travel to new places and meet and interact with industry leaders. Many times these relationships will aid 4-H members in the future as they choose career paths in any industry.
Many of our 4-H judging contests have national contests associated with them. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to develop skills in one of our contests, then you have the opportunity to travel across the country with 4-H and interact with industry leaders. Locally, several 4-H judging teams from the panhandle have recently participated in national 4-H contests. Members from Jackson County 4-H have been to the national poultry judging contest and national livestock skill-a-thon contest in Louisville in 2019 and the Escambia County 4-H meat judging team will be competing in Colorado in January 2020.
For more information on 4-H judging teams, please visit florida4h.org. Good luck and happy judging!
Special thanks to Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Escambia County 4-H Agent, for providing this article and pictures.
November is National Role Model Month
4-H Volunteer Dedication: A Decade and Counting
4-H volunteers are the vital precious gems of our 4-H programs. Each volunteer brings his/her own unique perspective, skills, and resources to the club or event they are working in. Whether a volunteer’s role is long-term as a 4-H Club Leader, or short-term as an episodic volunteer, they each donate an immense number of hours annually to ensure the youth of our Nation receive the best positive youth development opportunities.
Missy attending graduation at UF
Walton County 4-H is extremely fortunate to have a 4-H Club Leader that has dedicated 12 years to her Naturally Balanced Homesteading Club. Missy Bolen had only attended two club meetings as a youth because she didn’t have a project horse to be able to fully participate in club activities. This may have been the initial spark that led Missy to develop her own 4-H club decades later, in which youth get the opportunity to experience a broad spectrum of activities. Within Naturally Balanced Homesteading, a homeschool (in-school) club, youth have completed projects and demonstrations in leather working, gardening, sheep shearing, leadership training, conservation, and numerous educational field trips to name a few. Due to Missy’s passion towards 4-H, she currently has the largest club in our county, with more than 30 youth in attendance each month!
As a veteran 4-H volunteer and Club Leader, Missy’s advice to new volunteers is, “If you have a passion for youth and there isn’t a club already established, follow that passion; start a club and try to reach as many youth as you can! If you’re doing something that you’re passionate about, you won’t get bored and you will remain energetic and enthusiastic.”
Missy and son, Jesse, attending Bee College at UF
Volunteering in 4-H gives you the opportunity to be a role model to upcoming generations by providing them with activities and resources that target development of life skills. The life skills youth gain in 4-H programs afford them the foundation to build on as they become productive adults in society. When asking Missy to share the most rewarding part of being a volunteer, and what keeps her going after 12 years, she states, “My children are a huge factor because they have a club where they can do what they love alongside other youth with the same interests. It’s very rewarding to see them graduate, go on to great universities, and become productive adults! They recognize 4-H as the main reason for their accomplishments because many of their most valuable skills were developed through their clubs such as social skills, leadership skills, networking and confidence.”
Missy’s club learning about careers in Law Enforcement.
Volunteers are truly the HEAD, HEART, HANDS, and HEALTH of the 4-H organization. As Missy would say, “Most importantly, you must keep your focus on one thing: It’s all about helping the children.” If you are a new or current volunteer, club leader, or even 4-H Agent, the resources below are an excellent source of information as an orientation to 4-H or an annual refresher:
· Volunteer Orientation
· Volunteer Resources
· Volunteer Training Series
If you would like to learn more about how to get involved as a 4-H volunteer in your 4-H community, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org
In continuing this week’s theme and celebration of National 4‑H Week, we want to highlight our last “H” in 4-H, Health. As the 4-H pledge states, I pledge my…health to better living.” Just living a healthy lifestyle in general is a huge endeavor for anyone to accomplish and it takes a lot of awareness of self to accomplish it well. As a 4-Her, not only are we committing to make healthy choices for our own mind, body, and spirit but we are also striving to make healthy choices and conduct ourselves in a manner that is healthy for our club, community, country, and world.
Our agents and volunteers do an amazing job in guiding and inspiring our 4-H youth to learn just how to be aware of and make decisions that lead to such healthy living. Through hands-on learning activities and the experiential learning model, these positive adult role models engage youth to challenge themselves and apply critical thinking skills in order to gain additional essential life skills that aid in balanced physical, mental and emotional health. From healthy living clubs to competitive events such as the Consumer Choices Contest to enrichment programs such as Health Rocks, 4-H brings real life situations and choices to the forefront and teaches youth to be empowered in their healthy decision making.
HEALTH FOR YOU, HEALTH FOR ME
Are you looking for certain areas to help inspire your children or neighborhood youth to make healthy decisions? Is there a particular area in the healthy living realm that you feel your children need some hands-on learning? The Northwest 4-H District have shared some wonderful publications over the recent years, highlighting varying aspects of 4-H Healthy Living. From inspiring youth and volunteers to helpful tips and resources, the articles below are short reads that give great overviews of the 4-H healthy living lifestyle.
The Application of Healthy Living
Healthy Living Tips & Helpful Hints
Inspiring Healthy Reads
Would you like to become a volunteer that inspires youth to invest in their future? Visit your local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet your 4-H Extension Agent for additional information on how to become a 4-H Volunteer today to inspire youth to make healthy decisions and conduct themselves in a manner that is healthy for their club, community, country, and world!