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
As summer approaches and the days grow longer, it’s the perfect time to engage 4-H youth in outdoor activities that blend fun, learning, and teamwork. One exciting way to accomplish this is to organize a tailgating (grilling) camp and grilling exhibition in preparation for your District 4-H Tailgating Contest. 4-H Agents and volunteers have a unique opportunity to guide young participants in the art of grilling while instilling valuable life skills and fostering a sense of camaraderie. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of incorporating a tailgating (grilling) competition into your summer programming.
Building Life Skills: Grilling is not just about cooking delicious food; it also teaches various life skills that are essential for personal and professional growth. By incorporating a tailgating competition into your summer programming, you can help young participants develop skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication, time management, and problem-solving. These skills are valuable in all aspects of life and will benefit them in the long run.
Fostering Creativity: Tailgating competitions offer a platform for youth to unleash their creativity. Encourage participants to come up with unique recipes, experiment with flavors, and showcase their grilling techniques. This will not only boost their confidence, but also stimulate their culinary imagination. Remember to emphasize the importance of food safety and hygiene throughout the process.
Encouraging Healthy Eating: While contest participants are limited to pork, beef, chicken, and shrimp during the actual competitions, you can use the tailgating competition as an opportunity to promote healthy eating habits among youth. Encourage participants to incorporate nutritious ingredients such as lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and whole grains into their recipes. Teach them about the benefits of balanced meals and provide resources on how to make healthier choices when grilling.
Creating a Sense of Community: Organizing a tailgating competition brings people together and creates a sense of community among participants. Encourage teams or individuals to share their grilling experiences, techniques, and recipes with one another. This fosters a supportive environment where everyone can learn from each other and build lasting connections.
In June 2023, Holmes County 4-H added another element to their annual 4-H Tailgating Summer Day Camp by including a public grilling exhibition and competition. The event was held in conjunction with Peppertown Market, a monthly community-wide street market in downtown Bonifay. Holmes County 4-H youth had an opportunity to hear constructive criticism and words of encouragement from judges and volunteers as they competed for a spot at the Northwest District Tailgating Contest. The grills and youth were strategically placed to create a high impact opportunity to boost awareness of Holmes County 4-H. Event attendees had the opportunity to speak with 4-H volunteers and the 4-H Agent to obtain resources and learn more about Holmes County 4-H. Volunteers also utilized the event as a fundraising opportunity by selling peach cobbler made in a Dutch oven on location near our 4-H youth that were grilling. Proceeds were used to offset the costs associated with the Tailgating Camp and Grilling Exhibition.
Incorporating a tailgating camp and grilling exhibition into your summer programming offers numerous benefits for youth development. By teaching grilling skills, fostering creativity, promoting healthy eating, and creating a sense of community, you can inspire young participants to embrace outdoor cooking as a lifelong hobby. Remember to prioritize fire safety, provide access to reliable resources, and encourage participants to explore various grilling techniques. With your guidance, they will light the fire for grilling success and create memorable experiences that extend beyond the summer months.
The 2023 Florida 4-H Northwest District Tailgating Contest will be held in Chipley, Florida on July 22, 2023. Winners from the each of the District contests will be invited to compete at the State Contest on Saturday, September 23, 2023 in Gainesville, Florida.
Contact your local 4-H Agent and visit Tailgate Contest – Florida 4-H – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu) to explore a wide variety of informative resources that can help “spark” a passion for food science and fire safety.
- Region 1 | Northwest District Contest
||Saturday, July 22, 2023
||Washington County Agricultural Center, 1424 Jackson Ave, Chipley, FL 32428 Counties
||May 5 to July 15, 2023
||Grill setup will be from 9:15 a.m. CDT to 10 a.m. CDT with grills starting at 10:15 a.m. CDT.
||Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, Washington
||Mark Mauldin, email@example.com, & Brian Estevez, firstname.lastname@example.org
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)
Life skills for youth are defined as a set of abilities and competencies that enable young people to successfully navigate their daily lives and achieve their goals. These skills are essential for personal and professional development and help “prepare youth to be responsible citizens and productive members of the workforce.” Florida 4-H provides many opportunities for young people to obtain life skills through project work, community and afterschool clubs, workshops, and leadership programs.
As a state-wide organization, Florida 4-H prioritizes the development of communication, higher-order thinking, and appreciation of differences. These three life skills are infused throughout our educational activities and programs because they are essential workforce skills. Below are a few examples of local programs that focus on helping youth develop life skills:
- Communication: 4-H provides opportunities for youth to develop their communication skills through the Florida 4-H Public Speaking Contest, demonstrations, and presentations at County/District and 4-H University. These activities help youth learn how to articulate their ideas clearly and confidently.
- Higher Order Thinking: this includes both decision-making and problem-solving.
- Decision-Making: 4-H offers various programs, such as judging contests at fairs, 4-H event planning committees (district/state council), and club activities that help youth develop their decision-making skills. These activities help youth learn how to make informed decisions and evaluate the outcomes of their choices.
- Problem-Solving: 4-H offers various programs, such as STEM projects and engineering challenges, that help youth develop problem-solving skills. These activities encourage youth to think creatively and find innovative solutions to complex problems.
- Appreciation of Differences– 4-H helps youth learn how to respect and communicate with people who might be different from themselves. Many of our programs offer opportunities for youth to meet new people and explore different cultures. We also help youth learn how to address conflict in a positive way through civil discourse. Older youth can participate in exchange programs with 4-Hers from other states and countries (4-H is in all 50 states and 32 other countries!).
- Teamwork: Through 4-H club projects, counselor training, and community service activities, youth learn how to work collaboratively with others towards a common goal, which helps them develop important teamwork skills.
- Responsibility: 4-H club projects and community service activities encourage youth to take responsibility for their actions and to learn the importance of following through on commitments.
- Leadership Development: 4-H offers various programs, such as officer training, public speaking, county/district councils, and community service projects, that help youth develop their leadership skills.
- Self-Confidence: 4-H programs provide a safe and supportive environment where youth can build their self-confidence through public speaking, leadership roles, and community service activities.
- Service Learning: Through 4-H club work, obtaining a Florida 4-H Community Pride Grant, and active membership on county/district councils, youth members take part in projects and experiences that help them how to become active participants in the communities and apply their experiences to real-life situations.
These are not the only life skills youth in Florida can learn and practice through 4-H- but they are part of almost every program we offer. These are examples of the priority life skills that Florida 4-H promotes among youth, with a focus on cognitive development, interpersonal skills, leadership, civic engagement, and practical skills. Florida 4-H aims to provide a comprehensive youth development program that equips young people with the skills they need to succeed in their personal lives, careers, and communities. Active involvement in 4-H will help members to connect life skills obtained through their 4-H involvement to real-life experiences. For more information on these youth leadership opportunities please contact your local 4-H office.
If you would like to help Florida 4-H teach life skills, or get your child involved in our program, reach out to your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office. There is an office in every county in Florida. Spring is a great time to get involved, because 4-H offers several summer programs for youth to develop life skills!
Marilyn N. Norman and Joy C. Jordan.2018.Targeting Life Skills. EDIS document #4HSFS101.9
Hendricks, P.(1988). Developing Youth Curriculum Using The targeting Life Skills Model
Michigan State Extension. 2016. 4-H Head Life Skill Sheets.(4-H1679)
Escambia County’s 1st place Food Challenge Team
Judging table display of culinary creations. Top, Liberty’s, center Escambia’s intermediate, bottom Escambia’s senior.
The Northwest District 4-H Food Challenge took place on January 7, 2023, and the results were phenomenal! This new competition challenges youth to work as teams of no less than two or more than four, and practice critical thinking, open communication, and presentation skills. Presentations are to include the knowledge and skills youth have learned through the project such as kitchen safety, food safety, cooking techniques, recipe creation, and how they worked together. But that is not all, additionally, teams are using a set of specific cooking supplies, a mystery ingredient, a specific dish category (main dish, side dish, appetizer, or healthy dessert), and a set amount of 4-H money to spend at the challenge grocery store. The entire competition allows 40 minutes for youth to put all of this into practice. Escambia County entered a senior and intermediate team while Liberty County entered an intermediate team into the inaugural competition.
Escambia County’s senior team, dubbed O Crepe and the Spice Girls consisted of Alan Bray-Crews, Laney Clarke, Ryan Clarke, and Aubrie Dillon, who were presented with portabella mushrooms for their mystery ingredient with the category of the main dish. The team produced an excellent mushroom soup as their main dish. The dish along with their well-prepared presentation earned them a place in the Florida 4-H State Food Challenge competition at the Florida State Fair in Tampa on February 18.
The two intermediate teams’ mystery ingredient was Brussel sprouts and the side dish category. The Flaming Clovers of Escambia County consisted of Chloe Bray-Crews, Brian Brewster, Charli McClendon, and Kayla Weaver with alternate member Scott Weaver on hand. The Culinary Criminals represented Liberty County made up of Harper Holt, Jansen Capers, Isabella Ransom, and Lexi Ford. The two teams created uniquely different dishes and presentations. While the Escambia team received the first-place ribbon, Liberty County’s team came in a very close second place. Escambia’s intermediate team also earned a place at the Florida State Food Challenge competition at the Florida State Fair in Tampa!
photo credit D. Clarke
O Crepe and the Spice Girls
With both Escambia teams representing the Northwest District at the state competition, it was exhilarating to watch the kids interact and quiz one another while awaiting the competition to begin. Seniors were given a red bell pepper as the mystery ingredient with the category of side dish and intermediates were given a tangerine for their mystery ingredient with the category of healthy dessert. Again, Escambia County dominated and secured first place in both age categories. The first-place senior team at the Florida State Fair, Escambia County’s O Crepe and the Spice Girls, is eligible to compete in the National 4-H Food Challenge at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas this fall.
photo credit D. Clarke
This new 4-H opportunity has been embraced in several counties thus far and will continue to grow. This project promotes practical life skills youth will use for the rest of their lives. If your child is interested in food and nutrition and/or healthy lifestyles projects, contact your local 4-H Agent to explore project opportunities.
A special thanks to Escambia County’s volunteer leader, Linda Crews, who has embraced this competition and has worked with these youth to truly make the best better, and to Mr. Dave Clarke for sharing state event photos.
For more information about the 4-H Food Challenge, visit our webpage. The 4-H Food Challenge would be a fun program for your next club meeting. Download the youth guide, team captain guide, and guide for hosting a food challenge.
While the holiday season can be a wonderful time, it can also be busy and stressful. We have several tools and ideas to help you be stress-free this year so you can fully enjoy your time with family and friends. Below are quick links to some of our most read and rated articles. Hopefully one or two of these will be just what you need this time of year!
- Managing the Holidays without Breaking the Bank– this article includes five practical strategies, and even includes step-by-step directions for some homemade gifts.
- Christmas Memories Gifts in a Jar– Make memories with your kids or grandkids (and save some money) by crafting gifts in a jar. This article includes some creative ideas and step-by-step instructions
Holiday Health (Physical & Mental)
- Three ways to Incorporate Mindfulness During the Holidays– this article shares three steps to using mindfulness as a way to mitigate the stress of the season.
- Handling the Holiday Blues– The holidays can be hard- especially if you are experiencing loss. If you or a loved one has the Holiday Blues, this article has eight helpful tips to make this time a little bit easier.
- Healthy Holiday Meals– This article includes ideas for making your favorite holiday dishes a little healthier.
- Including Youth in Holiday Traditions– some great ideas for sharing your favorite holiday traditions with youth (or creating new ones)
- Pin a Holiday Memory with Homemade Magnets– this article gives step-by-step instructions on creating magnets to represent your favorite holiday memories (past and present).