People often ask- “what do the “H’s” in 4-H mean? A great way to answer this question is with the 4-H Pledge. Our pledge describes what each “H” means. The first line of the pledge is “I pledge my head to clearer thinking.” It is a simple yet profound statement. How much better would the world be if we all thought clearly, more often? 4-H programs intentionally provide opportunities for youth to learn how to make decisions and solve problems. We do this through the “learning by doing” technique. Youth learn by doing- not just listening or watching. During a typical club meeting, workshop or camp, youth will be getting their hands dirty learning about building robots, food safety or how to care for an animal. Participation in contests and judging teams also help youth think on their feet with a clear head. Another way 4-Hers learn to problem solve is through service to their community. 4-Hers are asked each year to identify a problem in their community and develop a plan to solve that problem in the form of a service learning project. As 4-Hers learn new knowledge and skills, they are given challenges to solve, which means that they not only have to have a clear head, they have to work as a team.
Our 4-H volunteers are essential to helping youth develop the first “H.” Our volunteers use 4-H curriculum and learn-by-doing teaching techniques to help youth learn cooperation and problem solving skills. If you are interested in inspiring the next generation of youth people, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office to find out about opportunities to share your knowledge, skills and passion to develop future leaders, scientists and citizens to think with a clear head!
National 4‑H Week is October 6 – 12. Take advantage of this important week to highlight the remarkable 4‑H youth in your communities. The Northwest 4-H District recognizes the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people and the remarkable 4-H youth in our community who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them.
The theme of this year’s National 4-H Week is Inspire Kids to Do, which highlights how 4-H encourages kids to take part in hands-on learning experiences in areas such as health, science, agriculture and civic engagement. The positive environment provided by 4-H volunteers ensures that kids in every county, from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities, are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles and are empowered with the skills to lead in life and career.
WHAT IS 4-H EXACTLY?
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization which cultivates youth to become confident individuals that can tackle difficult issues in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Currently, Florida serves over 230,000 4-H members in the state. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Florida 4-H is the youth development program of Florida Cooperative Extension, a part of the University of Florida IFAS.
4-H STANDS BY THE CLOVER
A teen volunteer helps a Cloverbud member during a summer workshop
4-H is known best by its emblem, the four leaf clover, one of the most recognized logos in America. Our emblem represents a standard of quality in youth development which is experiential in nature, meaning that young people learn all kinds of things through 4-H in a hands-on way. The four leafs depict four Hs, representing the following: “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.” For a better overview of the meaning of the four H’s and our iconic clover, be sure to review a great article from the past, What Do The Four H’s Mean Anyway? written by Heather Kent (https://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/4hn/2017/06/30/what-do-the-four-hs-mean-anyway/). This week, we will be touching more on our iconic emblem as we spotlight each H of our four leaf clover to inspire kids (and families) to do! Be sure to check back daily for more during National 4-H Week!
So Happy #National4HWeek! The Northwest 4-H District is proud to #InspireKidstoDo, and we invite you to celebrate with us all week by showing your @4-H spirit on social media and in your community! Visit your local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet your 4-H Extension Agent for additional information on a variety of 4-H topics and activities that can benefit you and your family.
Not a member? Join the 4-H family today. The process to become a 4-H member or 4-H Volunteer is relatively simple: visit http://florida4h.org to apply online or stop in to your local UF IFAS County Extension Office and meet with your 4-H Extension Agent for assistance. There is no better time to join us then during National 4-H Week!
Did you know that the Saturday of National 4-H Week is the 4-H Day of Service? 4-H Clubs across the nation will be celebrating National 4-H Week with “hands to larger service.” Service is a huge part of the 4-H program (one of the “H”s”) and also helps teach youth compassion for others. Service is also a requirement in order to maintain a 4-H club charter.
Younger youth typically start out with community service. Community service is volunteering in your community. This is usually done through food drives, such as the Peanut Butter Challenge, or volunteering at an animal shelter, collecting coats or blankets for those in need, or a toy drive during the holidays. If you are looking for an easy but impactful service project for your club, I would encourage you to participate in the Peanut Butter Challenge. Each county in the panhandle is collecting jars of peanut butter to donate to local food pantries. The Florida Peanut Producers will match the donation of the county that collects the most peanut butter. Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office for more info or refer to this flyer.
Older youth are encouraged to move from community service to service learning. What’s the difference? Service-Learning is more than a “one-shot deal.” Instead of spending a day or few hours helping someone, youth identify a need, and develop a strategy to address it. It also incorporates reflection and celebration. Service-Learning projects take community service to the next level by emphasizing both service and learning and is more meaningful for older youth.
Community Service – Youth prepare and serve a meal at a local homeless shelter.
Service-Learning – Youth research homelessness in their community and contact local homeless shelters to learn about the types of services they provide. Youth then decide together on a service project that will support this community need. After planning and completing the service project, youth reflect upon both the Service-Learning process and the service project.
Did you know Florida 4-H has a state service project selected by our youth executive board? Each year the State Project Committee of the Executive Board recommends activities in which 4-Her’s can participate that will carry out the state wide community service project of the Florida 4-H Council. This year, the committee decided that the theme for 2017-2019 will be “Living In Florida’s Environment (LIFE)”. This project is focused on creating a greener tomorrow by hosting beach cleanups, planting trees, and participating in citizen science activities.
Youth can receive recognition for their service efforts at 4-H University. It is also a requirement for the District 4-H Spirit Stick Awards. The State Project Committee encourages all youth to participate in at least one state project that is associated with LIFE. The committee would also like to recognize the youth that do participate in these projects. Once a project is completed, please record it on the project report-back sheet found in the tool kit below. These record sheets will need to be submitted to Grace Carter by July 3, 2018. The committee would appreciate if pictures were included in these reports.
Bronze: Youth who complete 1 service project will receive a bronze certificate of completion. Silver: Youth who complete 2 service projects will receive a silver certificate of completion. Gold: Youth who complete 3-4 service projects will receive a gold certificate of completion
and will also receive recognition at 4-H University 2018. Emerald: Youth who complete 5 or more service projects will receive an emerald certificate
of completion and will also receive recognition at 4-H University 2018.
As part of National 4-H Week, 4-H’ers participate in 4 H National Youth Science Day (NYSD), the world’s largest youth-led science experiment. This year’s 4 H NYSD event will take place on October 4. The 2017 4‑H National Youth Science Day Challenge is called Incredible Wearables! This year’s challenge was developed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln and incorporates the fast-evolving field of wearable technology, teaching kids to not only use technology but to create it and understand how it works.
From watches and eyewear to fashion and virtual reality headsets, wearable technologies are fast becoming the must-have accessory for forward-thinking people around the world. Wearable technologies didn’t start out as trendy however – one of the world’s first wearable technologies was the hearing aid! Wearable technologies are now used in industries around the globe, from education and sports, to health, fashion, entertainment, transportation and communication. In this year’s challenge, youth use the engineering design process to build a prototype wearable technology that will gather data to help solve a real-world problem. They will design and build their own low-cost wearable health monitor following the engineering design process. This process includes defining the problem, designing and building prototypes (solutions) then systematically testing and evaluating enabling them to redesign for optimization of wearability and functionality.
During the innovative, hands-on project, these future engineers must work together to design, build and refine a wearable health-tracking device that is easy-to-use and aesthetically appealing. In fact, youth from Bay County have been training with their adult leaders to teach this challenge to other youth in their community on National Youth Science Day. Jason Scott, from Scott Innovative Solutions and an engineer at NSA PC, teamed up with the Bay County 4-H Agent to teach youth and adult partner teams about this project enabling them to be able to share their knowledge with others on October 4. When participants will attempt to solve the problem of people not staying active enough to lead healthy lives. In fact, youth will build a prototype fitness tracking device that could ultimately be marketed and sold to consumers to positively affect fitness behaviors.
After completing the challenge youth will have had an experience of using the engineering design process to build a device to help them monitor their health so they can gather data to make better decisions. They will understand more about how wearable technologies like FitBits, Smartwatches and other wearable devices are made.
The field of wearable technologies continues to grow in both quantity and quality. New technologies are being developed and put on the market on a regular basis, including virtual reality and augmented reality devices, clothing and accessories, as well as health monitoring devices. The future of wearable technologies is limited only by the imaginations of those designing them. By studying STEM and participating in this National Youth Science Day Experiment, youth could use technologies to develop products and mechanisms we haven’t even thought of, but definitely desire! To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this or volunteer your time to work with youth, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.
October is an exciting month for 4-H – we have some great things happening. First, it includes National 4 H Week, October 1-7. This year during National 4-H Week, The Northwest district is proud to celebrate the #TrueLeaders that make our community great. Every child deserves to be recognized for the great things they are doing. Help us celebrate #TrueLeaders during National 4-H Week by shouting out your favorite 4-H’er. #TrueLeaders lead by example, empowering their peers and inspiring communities. 4-H’ers, show your pride this National 4-H Week! Share photos of how youth are stepping up as #TrueLeaders in your county.
As part of National 4-H Week, 4-H’ers participate in 4 H National Youth Science Day (NYSD), the world’s largest youth-led science experiment. This year’s 4 H NYSD event will take place on October 4.
Our local Tractor Supply Company will be supporting 4-H clubs October 4-15 with their Paper Clover Campaign, this is a national in-store fundraiser that benefits state and local 4-H programs. Tractor Supply invites friends and family to support 4-H by donating $1 at store checkouts for scholarships that send local kids to 4-H camp and other 4-H leadership experiences.
October also represent a time when our local tailgating youth will advance to the state finals. The northwest district will have 8 youth advancing to the state competition October 14.
October also means that it is fair time! You will be able to view our 2017 4-H youth exhibits across the Panhandle at local fairs and rodeos!
Local 4-H youth will exhibit their artwork, plants and animals that they have been caring for this past year. Youth exhibits and plants are judged. Youth receive ribbon awards using the Danish judging system at county and regional fairs. This means that exhibits are judged against a “standard” rather than against other exhibits. For example, a painting that has been created by a 4-H’er is not compared to other paintings. Rather, it is judged according to the criteria of standards for paintings. A blue ribbon means that the exhibit meets high standards and good quality work is shown.
October and November are busy months in 4-H. To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this or volunteer your time to work with youth, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.
Noah, a Holmes County 4-H member, is learning responsibility through the 4-H Chick Chain project.
Regardless of the age-old debate, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” one thing is certain- raising chickens is a big responsibility. One of the newest and most creative ways that some of our Florida 4-Hers are learning the importance of being responsible is through the 4-H Chick Chain pilot program.
This year, six counties in the Florida Panhandle partnered with Alabama 4-H to offer the Chick Chain program. The goal of this project is to help youth learn life and workforce skills while learning how to raise and show chickens. Thirty-six Florida 4-H members chose to take on the responsibility of raising 18, two-day old chicks from May through October. Over the course of the program, youth participated in workshops to learn how to care for their chicks, keep records of their project, and how to prepare their animals for a show. This past Saturday marked the culminating event of the project when youth participated in a show and auction in Ozark, AL. During this event, youth competed in a showmanship competition, record book competition, and poultry quiz. All three events counted towards their overall score.
Members also had a short course in entrepreneurship- they were required to meet with potential buyers and market their hens. Life skills were clearly present in every aspect of the 4-H Chick Chain program which aided youth in the further development of not only responsibility but also confidence, capability, and compassion. When asked about his experiment, Noah, a Holmes County 4-Her shared:
“Chick Chain is a great opportunity to learn about responsibility and respect for other people and animals. You get to raise 18 of your very own chickens for a couple months and then get to take them to a show with your fellow 4Her’s to compete for ribbons and money. You also learn about proper sportsmanship. I love it!”
Based on participant’s feedback, we will be expanding the pilot next year and making some exciting programmatic changes. Holmes County 4-H parent and club leader, Jewellyn Owens, was instrumental in developing the Chick Chain pilot for Florida because she saw the potential this program had to help youth learn valuable life skills while increasing their knowledge about agriculture. Jewellyn shares:
“My family Loves Chick Chain. It is a great program for children wanting to do a 4-H livestock program but their parents don’t feel they are ready yet or can’t afford the cost of the larger livestock. Chick Chain has taught my children respect, sportsmanship, caring for another living creature and responsibility. My children love seeing their chicks grow from 2 day chicks to full grown egg laying chickens. Best part is getting to eat their chicken’s eggs. I also feel it teaches them other aspects of life like record keeping, writing, leadership skills, financial responsibility all things that will help them years down the road.”
4-Hers spent 6 weeks learning how to care for their chicks, biosecurity, showmanship, and recordkeeping.
If you would like to help 4-H grow responsibility in your community (through this program or others) consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. For more information about becoming a volunteer, or to find out about next year’s 4-H Chick Chain program, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office. We are also looking for sponsors to help expand this program.