Healthy Living is one of the 4-H’s. While your club may not specifically focus on what is traditionally considered to be “healthy living” activities, you might be surprised about much your 4-H club is contributing to the mental and physical well-being of youth members. After we recognize that all our clubs have a role to play in implementing healthy living strategies across the county 4-H program, we can start to consider ways to be intentional in how we incorporate healthy living into 4-H activities and projects.
What does a 4-H Healthy Living program include? A 4 H Healthy Living program or strategy is any activity or program component that can help youth lead lives that balance physical, mental, and emotional health.
According to the National 4-H Council, 4-H Healthy Living programs include objectives that can help “empower youth to be healthy – body and mind – with the skills to make healthy decisions and lead healthy lifestyles. Having the confidence and skills to lead healthy lifestyles not only improves overall well-being; it enables youth to tackle life’s challenges today and become leaders in their lives, careers, and communities as they grow into responsible adulthood” (National 4-H Council, 2021). Your club focus might fit into one of the following program areas: mind, body, leadership, or mentorship.
As a club leader, you may encourage your youth to adopt goals and projects that will cover multiple program areas. Introducing healthy living during club meetings is another way to incorporate these concepts and help youth develop healthier habits.
With so many possible topics to consider, it may seem overwhelming to choose a starting point. In this article, a few suggestions will be explored.
It may be surprising to learn that youth, like adults, are not getting enough sleep. Regularly missing hours of sleep or experiencing poor sleep quality can contribute to a variety of issues for youth. The Sleep Foundation is one resource to use for tips on how to encourage our 4-H members to adopt better sleep habits (Pacheco, 2021).
Some ideas for helping your 4-H youth learn about the importance of sleep and how to develop better sleep habits include the activities and lessons listed in the links below this paragraph. Consider challenging your youth to set healthy sleep goals for one month. Discuss the potential benefits during your goal setting activity. At the end of the month, discuss how youth felt on days when the sleep goals were met and how they felt on days when they did not meet their goal.
Activity for Teens (Intermediates and Seniors)
University of Wisconsin Extension. 2007. “4-H Get Fit, That’s It. Lesson 2: Are You Getting Enough Sleep.” Link to activity: https://api.ag.purdue.edu/api/DepotWS/File.ashx?t=f&i=98730
Activity for Elementary School Age (Juniors 4-H Members)
The Nemours Foundation. 2015. Sleep. Kids’ Health in the Classroom.
One way to incorporate a healthy living strategy into your 4-H program is offering water at all your meetings and limiting the inclusion of other beverages. A 4-H lesson on hydration can include STEM principles as youth can calculate their daily water needs based on their body weight. A fun way to encourage water consumption is to personalize reusable water bottles as a club activity and to award points to youth who remember to bring their bottles to meetings and activities.
All Ages Lesson and Activity
National 4-H Council.2020. How Much Water Do You Need? 4-H Healthy Living Activity Guide.
Other Ways to Incorporate Healthy Living into Your Club Programs
Activities designed to improve sleep and hydration are only two of many possible ways to incorporate healthy living into your 4-H program. Healthy Living activities can incorporate exercise, nutrition, and ways to improve and maintain mental health.
Caruso, L.; Shelnut, K.; Kauwell, G. 2017. Hydration Myths. UF/IFAS Extension. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FY1409.
National 4-H Council. 2021. Healthy Living. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://4-h.org/parents/healthy-living/.
Pacheco, D. 2021. Children and Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep.
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program. 2022. Sleep for Better Living. Retrieved January 16, 2022 from https://4h.ucanr.edu/Projects/HealthyLiving/Sleep_for_Better_Living/
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.”
4-H is known for creating safe and inclusive environments. Many may argue this could be incredibly difficult now in the wake of the Coronavirus sweeping Florida, however, where some may see resistance, 4-H shows our resiliency. Across Florida, 4-H Agents have been brainstorming a multitude of ways to continue serving their clientele and practicing what we pledge by…
”My Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service and my Health to better living, for my Club, my Community, my Country, and my World.
Within the Northwest District, there are currently many alternative programs to engage our 4-H members and volunteers during this time of “social distancing.” Interactive meetings, webinars, and interviews are provided through online streaming platforms that allow members to call in or connect via their smartphones, tablets and computers. Other alternatives include utilizing Youtube Channels or Facebook to stream recorded videos of activities for youth and adults. Consider exploring some of our many options below and join us on our new virtual adventure in experiential learning 4-H style!
Virtual Opportunities for Youth
Embryology, which is typically delivered as a school enrichment program, can now be viewed live on some county 4-H websites and Facebook pages. Agents and 4-H volunteers are also offering virtual livestock judging options so judging teams can continue to build their knowledge base for competitions along with Virtual Farm Tours in some areas. Other counties are banding together to deliver daily activities for youth via recorded series posted on their Facebook pages that highlight different themed days of the week.
- Escambia County 4-H Virtual Embryology Experience
- Register via their Eventbrite for full access to videos, webinars and resources
- 4-H Life Skills Masters Daily Series via Holmes & Walton 4-H County Facebook Pages
- Daily themes with activities include: Make It Mondays, Tasty Tuesdays, Water Wednesdays, Tackle It Thursdays & Fitness Fridays
- Washington County 4-H Project Showcase via Flipgrid
- Compete within your 4-H Showcase project area virtually with Mrs. Julie
- Jackson County Virtual Poultry Judging
- Jackson County Agriculture Virtual Day Camps
- This series is posted on their Facebook page and can be reviewed even after the event!
- Freezer & Fridge hacks with Calhoun County 4-H
- Learn tricks and tips of preserving all those extra groceries during your COVID-19 prep
- Liberty County 4-H detEGGtives investigate the 21-day countdown to Hatching with my Peeps
- Wakulla County 4-H shares Facebook Live daily updates and content from across Florida 4-H
- Leon County 4-H takes you on a virtual farm tour!
- Leon County 4-H Virtual Showcase
- Compete virtually and potentially win cash prizes for your clubs along with individual prizes and recognition…WIN:WIN!
Virtual Opportunities for Volunteers
Volunteer based programming has shifted to virtual as well! Currently, each month a webinar is hosted which highlights different topic areas related to delivering a well balanced 4-H program to your club members. Topics so far have included Preparing for County Showcase (aka County Events), Professional 4-H Portfolio Tips, and 4-H Project and Record Book Tips. You can register for the Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy through our Eventbrite link and receive calendar invitations, reminders, and links so you can tune in LIVE or watch the recorded sessions later. Our team also provides you with all the resources discussed in each section. Registration is required and can be found at http://bit.ly/4HVVLA
4-H Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy
- April- Awards & Recognition
- September*- Judging Contests
- October*- Preparing for Exhibits & Shows
*Fall session registration will be available July 1, 2020.
Subscribe to our NW District YouTube Channel for recorded sessions
If you would like to learn more about the 4-H opportunities available in your county, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org. Now is a great time to join the 4-H family!
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!
A youth competing in the NW District Tailgating Competition carefully prepares her protein.
Did you get to do any grilling this summer? Over 110 youth from throughout the Florida Panhandle participated in 2019 4-H summer day camps that taught them how to grill, food and fire safety, and cooking skills.
Ten different FL Panhandle counties provided nine unique day camps on grilling. Then, on July 20, 2019, 37 youth from eight counties participated in the Northwest District Tailgating Contest at the Washington County Ag Center. Youth participated in competitions in beef, pork, poultry, and shrimp divisions and were judged on their food and fire safety skills around the grill and the taste of their chosen protein. In all, $3,200 was awarded to Panhandle youth for placing 1st– 4th in their competitions.
Now, the top two youth in each protein category will compete at the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest in Gainesville on September 28th. They will compete against youth from across Florida for an opportunity to win college scholarships. For the state contest, the first place winner in each protein area receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the second place winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship. September 28th is also the 4-H Day with the Florida Gators. You can get tickets for the football game for just $20 and sit with 4-H members from around the state. For more information, visit http://florida4h.org/blog/4-h-day-at-florida-gators-football-vs-towson/.
Join us as we cheer on the following NW District 4-H participants as they represent us at the Florida 4-H State Tailgating Contest:
- Beef Division
- Colton Serpas-Washington County
- Alan B.-Escambia County
- Pork Division
- Lillian Sparks-Washington County
- Brent Young-Holmes County
- Poultry Division
- Sarah Crandall-Jefferson County
- Rylee Sweat-Walton County
- Jamison Scheffer-Washington County
- Shrimp Division
- Claire Diamond-Escambia County
- Evelyn Moyers-Bay County
If you are interested in furthering your grilling skills, please check out the Florida 4-H Tailgate Series of EDIS documents at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_series_florida_4-h_tailgate. If you would like more information on the Tailgating Contest so you or youth that you work with can participate next year, please visit http://florida4h.org/programsandevents_/animalscience/4-h-tailgating-contest/.
With the first real major storm of the 2019 hurricane season pressing down upon the entire state of Florida and the recent state of emergency declared on all 67 Florida counties by Governor DeSantis, it stands to reason that a lot of anxiety is spinning in the atmosphere along with Hurricane Dorian.
Many of us have experienced firsthand how a hurricane can disrupt our lives beyond something we could ever imagine. Some are still living in the disruption, trying desperately to find normalcy again. So, with the threat of Hurricane Dorian looming just a few days away, it is only natural for overwhelming feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and fear to kick in. You may begin to see these feelings develop among your family members, especially your children. It is important to recognize these emotions immediately and take action to help not only yourself but your children as well.
Preparation is one of the most important ways you can regain control in your situation. In this case, preparation before Hurricane Dorian (or any future storms) will help reduce anxiety, eliminate any confusion among family members, and create clear communication for all. Here are some helpful tips for your family on how you can be prepared and reduce anxiety in the hurricane season:
- Have a family plan – Make it clear, keep it current, and know it well.
- Talk openly and honestly with your children about the weather situation – Make it a fun science experiment to explain hurricane patterns. Help them to understand how to track the path of the storm. Show them where to get accurate weather information like NOAA’s website.
- Give everyone a role and responsibility – Keep every person involved in the tasks and let them have ownership in getting the family prepared.
- Create your hurricane preparedness kits – Be sure to check out our information on building a disaster preparedness bucket here. Remember to include your pet’s needs.
- Share – Allow children to share feelings, concerns, stories of past experiences. Validate real concerns and allow children to come up with possible solutions or positive actions to alleviate those concerns.
We know that natural disasters can change our lives with little to no notice. Fortunately, Hurricane Dorian is giving you a little extra time to prepare if you have not already done so. Be proactive – take action now and reduce the anxiety level in your household as Dorian approaches. For the latest resources to help prepare and then deal with natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian, the UF/IFAS Disaster Preparation & Recovery website offers some important information such as updated contacts, useful tips, and videos for you and your family.
We wish you and your loved ones safety this hurricane season. Be smart, be prepared, and be confident that you are prepared this season and beyond.
Visit your local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet your 4-H Extension Agent for additional information on a variety of topics that can benefit you and your family. From 4-H educational activities to ways to keep your family safe, Extension and 4-H is always available to assist you and your family.
HELPFUL RESOURCES DURING A DISASTER