While the Florida 4-H Horse Program is
4-H Youth participating at Area Horse Show.
composed of many opportunities, one of the most well-known opportunities is the Area and State horse shows. Each county in Florida is assigned to a specific Area, which hosts shows as a qualifier to the state show. Area North encompasses the whole of north Florida stretching from the panhandle to the coast down to Alachua. Below is some key information and important dates for the 2022 Area North show year.
- March 14 – April 1: Area North Registration, no late entries are accepted
- April 12, 5:30 CST/6:30 pm EST: Horse Show Virtual Prep Night on Zoom
- April 29 – 30: Area North Horse Show, Green Cove Springs, FL
- July 6 – 9: State Horse Show, Tampa, FL
Key Changes for the 2022 Horse Show
- Multi Horse Projects & Showing. All youth may now show multiple horses even at the State level. All horses must be certified project horses by Jan 1. Each rider/horse combo will be scored as a unit for points. No horse or rider may enter the same class as multiple entries.
- Walk Trot is coming to Area North! All walk trot classes are non-point classes. Youth may only compete in walk trot classes for two years- per horse/rider combination. Exhibitors entered in a walk trot class may not cross over into any loping or cantering class. If a walk trot exhibitor qualifies for the State 4-H Horse Show with points from in-hand classes, the exhibitor’s county 4-H agent will need to approve their advancement to the State 4-H Horse Show. Walk trot exhibitors will only be eligible to enter in-hand classes at the State 4-H Horse Show.
- Dressage tests are now “test of choice”.
- Saddle Seat & Gaited division are now gone; however, these type horses can still be shown in comparable classes.
- Sportsmanship Award Continued!
- Introducing, the “Crew”! Crew is an opportunity for horseless or non-showing youth to still be involved in clinics and horse shows by offering their skills in organization, grooming, cheering, and more. Crews are by-county, and their specifics may vary.
- Record Books are a critical component of your horse program year. We have record books for both riding and non-riding participants. Seniors are encouraged to use the NEW SENIOR Horse Record Book, especially if they intend on applying for the Horseman of the Year Scholarship. Juniors and intermediates may use the existing version. Additionally, your county may have its own version. Check with your agent to complete this part of your program. To find out more visit: https://animal.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/youth/horse/horse-record-books/
To stay up to date with everything Area North, follow us on our Facebook page at UF IFAS Extension 4-H Area North Horse Program.
This blog was authored by the following individuals:
Kelsey Irvine, UF/IFAS Nassau County, 2022 Area North Chair
Allie Anderson, UF/IFAS St. Johns County, 2022 Area North Vice Chair
Aly Schortinghouse, UF/IFAS Escambia County
The holidays are a joyous and wonderful time of year, but can also be very busy time, and at times, overwhelming. Now that we are back it is time to Children shift into the organized, orderly school day from that unstructured holiday break schedule. As a result, it is inevitable that children may feel some degree of stress from these transitions. Children and teens are still learning to regulate emotions, making them more susceptible to change’s resulting in stress.
Mindfulness is the act of creating awareness of your surroundings, emotions, and physical self in the present moment. It helps you connect to the world around you, while providing cognitive, social, and emotional benefits. Practicing mindfulness is not just for adults. Children can reap a multitude of benefits from learning and practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness equips children with the ability to adjust and deal with conflict encountered in their daily lives. It can also help children foster an optimistic outlook in life, react to stress in a healthy way, and develop a positive self-concept.
The practice of mindfulness is foreign to some adults, making it tricky to teach and model for young children. The best thing to do is keep the message simple and focus on modeling the behaviors. Being taught by an adult that models mindful behaviors daily will assist youth in mastering the techniques. Below are a few mindfulness activities you can do at home as a family or in a group learning environment, such as a 4-H club meeting.
Going on a mindful walk is a simple way to help clear your mind and restore your focus. Taking a nature walk around your neighborhood or park is an easy way to exercise your mindfulness skills and enjoy nature. You can make it exciting by telling them you are going on a “mindfulness safari” and the goal is to see how many different birds, insects, and animals you can find on your journey. Below are some tips for going on a mindful walk:
- Start at a slow pace and gradually increase as the walk continues.
- Pay attention to the feeling in your legs and feet as you take each step. Then, notice how your arms and torso feel as you walk.
- Notice any smells around you.
- Listen to the variety of sounds around you. Notice if the sounds are close or far away.
Talking a walk in nature is a simple way to practice mindfulness Photo by Allison Leo
Contrary to what you may think, you do not have to sit silently on the ground with your eyes closed to mediate. You can meditate while you are walking, eating, or doing household chores. The goal of meditation is to slow down and be in the moment. Guided meditation led by a family member are a way to relax and help reduce stress. Below is guided meditation titled “Relationship Fingers” from the University of Minnesota Extension.
Relationship Fingers – Start by holding out your hand with your thumb pointed towards yourself. Take a breath. For each finger we are going to be focusing on a relationship we have with someone. There is no ‘right’ person so don’t worry about who you choose.
- Start by holding your pinky finger and think of someone who is far away from you. Take a breath for them. Really look at that relationship. What do you notice?
- Next focus or touch your ring finger. Think of someone who is leaning on you right now or who may be more vulnerable in this moment. Take a breath for them. Really look at that relationship. What do you notice?
- Hold or focus on your middle finger and think of a leader in your life. Take a breath for them. Really look at that relationship. What do you notice?
- Focus on your pointer finger and think of someone who is close to you. Take a breath for them. Really look at that relationship. What do you notice?
- Last, hold or focus on your thumb. Consider the relationship you have with yourself. Take a good look. What do you notice? What are you committed to? Take one last breath and shake it out.
When we feel and express gratitude to people in our lives, it creates loving connections, builds trust, and makes us feel joyful. Gratitude can be shown by giving someone a hug or telling them how much you appreciate them. Gratitude journals can easily be made at home or you can print off a pre-made template. This version is simple and is a great start for kids: https://researchparent.com/gratitude-journal-for-kids/.
- What’s the best book you’ve ever read? What did you like best about the characters?
- Name one thing that makes you smile every time you hear or see it. Why?
- Describe one thing that made you feel cozy today.
- Who is the one friend you can always rely on?
- What are five things you are looking forward to next year?
Gratitude Journals are a simple mindfulness activity kids can complete every day
Walker, K., Sharpe, K., Anderson, M., Caines, T., Johnson, C., Kennedy, D., Nguyen, K., Odendahl, S., & Santl, K. (2021). Social Emotional Wellbeing: A Guide to Support Youth Thriving. St. Paul: Regents of the University of Minnesota.
The Northwest District 4-H Teen Retreat is back and promises to be better than ever!
Planned FOR 4-Hers BY 4-Hers, the weekend long retreats features leadership building and fun workshops for 12-18 years old youth.
Mark your calendars for February 25-27, 2022, and register NOW in 4honline for the NWD 4-H District Teen Retreat at 4-H Camp Timpoochee.
6:00-7:15 pm – Check-in & pizza
7:15pm – Welcome & District Intros
8:00 pm – Campfire
8:30am – Breakfast
9:15am – Group Pic
9:30-11:30am – Workshop Sessions
12:00pm – Lunch
1:00-2:45pm – FUNshop Sessions
3:00pm – Rec Time – 4-Hers vs Agents Kickball & Nine-Square
5:00pm – Service Project
6:00pm – Dinner
2019 Teen Retreat
7:00pm – District & State Events Reports
7:30pm – Dance, Games & Snacks
9:00pm – Music, Campfire & Smore’s
7:00pm – Rise & Shine, pack-up
FUNshop Sessions – when you register, you’ll rank your top three choices from the list below:
- TikTok & Line Dancing
- Shooting Sports
- Cake Decorating
2020 Teen Retreat Participants
- Sheets, blanket & pillow
- Towel, toiletries & shower shoes
- 2-3 changes of clothes & sleep clothes – be sure to check the weather and be prepared!
- Daily meds – Put all OTC and Rx meds in a large ziploc bag and give to your 4-H Agent.
- $ for camp store, snacks & drinks while traveling
Your 4-H Agent will coordinate county travel to and from the event, and you should check with them if you have specific questions. We can’t wait to see you at the 2022 NWD 4-H Teen Retreat!
4-H Music Magic Teen Retreat
February 25-27, 2022
We are so excited to be able to offer a face-to-face teen retreat “4-H Music Magic” February 25-27, 2022! Join 4-H teens and faculty from the panhandle of Florida to learn new skills in a fun and educational way. Teen youth are encouraged to participate in the weekend filled with fun and hands-on experiences. Feel free to invite your friend that are not in 4-H already. They will just need to join. At the conference you will have the opportunity to network with 4-H educators and other volunteers to help you become a stronger 4-H member.
The conference registration will be open until February 7. The cost is $120 per person, paid to your county office. Some scholarships are available talk to your local 4-H Faculty member if you need financial help to attend. You will be required to register through the 4-H Online, under events labeled NWD 4-H Teen Retreat.
During the registration process you will be ask what your workshop/funshop preferences are for more information about these and a tentative schedule can be found on the 4-H DII website. For more information contact your local Extension Office!
Meet Chris Lauen
“There’s No Place Like Holmes” – a phrase used in recent years to celebrate the opportunities that exist here in Holmes County, Florida. I find that many people try to figure out where our county is. Many locals say we are located right between Pensacola and Tallahassee, east and west– as well as Panama City Beach and Dothan, Alabama, north and south – right on the I-10 corridor. Many people know our community for our large annual rodeo, but most people out of state know we are their pathway to “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”. As a rural county with limited infrastructure, many young adults move elsewhere before realizing just how good of a place Holmes County is to raise a family and do life. I like to say, “The grass is green where you water it and my family and I choose to water it here.” Holmes County is growing and Holmes County 4-H will continue to do so as well.
My name is Chris Lauen and I grew up in the heart of Holmes County. One could even say it was the heart of Bonifay, the county seat, as my childhood home initially sat a few blocks from historic “downtown area”. Our home sat right on Highway 79 and faced the First Baptist Church. It was nestled next to the old Woman’s Club building and a “stones throw” from the Courthouse, Western Auto, and the “old” Bank of Bonifay. When the Bank of Bonifay (now First Federal Bank of Florida) chose to purchase the property from the church where my father was employed, my family ended up moving the home do a different property on the edge of town. That’s right – I managed to live in the same house with two different addresses. My weekly schedule as a child consisted of early mornings and late afternoons at Bonifay Elementary because that’s where my mom spent much of her career as the music teacher. Sundays were not much different as she typically played piano at First Baptist where my father has served as Minister of Music, Administrative Pastor, and a few other titles during my lifetime. My two older siblings would describe similar childhood experiences and still call Holmes County home, but reside with each of their families outside of Atlanta.
As I reach my middle school years, I would travel all over town as far as my bicycle or roller blades would take me, but my real playground was around any water that might have a fish hiding inside. I would bounce between the local ponds and creek and even prided myself in being able to catch some fish out of the ditches in the front of my home. My family supported my love for fishing and I’ll always remember my first days of surf fishing in Destin and my first trips on party and charter boats. I remember the sight of all of the big boats lined up at the harbor, the smells of diesel fumes from the engines wafting through the air combined with the odor of fish from the morning catch, and the overwhelming feelings of excitement about new adventures. For me, a driver’s license meant that I could find even more fish to catch, but also opened the door for more passions as my grandfather and great uncle passed down their old Browning A5 shotguns and a 1917 rifle. I enjoyed my new pursuit of new species, learning how to trap hogs, figuring out the best ways to get ducks to decoy, and looking for that big whitetail buck. With a driver’s license and other church members and mentors that liked to hunt and fish, I always tried to have a box of ammunition or fishing pole within reach. In the years ahead, my life revolved around school, hunting, fishing, attending or teaching at youth camps, foreign mission trips, playing music, and serving at our church.
Graduating from high school meant that I had the credentials to be a substitute teacher. With my mom still teaching and my history of literally growing up in and around the school, it didn’t take long for teachers to keep my calendar full based off their sick and vacation days. I was 17 years old. One week I was a student and somehow the next, a substitute teacher. I had the opportunity to attend Chipola College where I earned a degree in Professional Communication. I spent extra time on campus as a result of a Fine Arts scholarship and TV production scholarship. Whether it was running sound for the next big theatrical production or operating cameras at the athletic events, there were always opportunities to jump in, learn, and serve. After graduating from Chipola College, I went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Communication as well as a Master’s degree in Corporate and Public Communication from Florida State University.
The Meet Family
In 2009, my days as a substitute teacher came to close as I accepted a position with the Florida Department of Health in Holmes County. From 2009-2021, I served in a few different capacities. My titles included Senior Human Services Program Specialist, Certified Contract Manager, Webmaster, and Public Information Officer. My responsibilities as a Program Lead included the development of a county-wide partnership, including youth and adults, who would advocate for change across social, political, and legal landscapes. We worked with key decision makers, elected officials, and the general public to promote healthy living for generations to come. While serving at the Department of Health, I actually had the opportunity to serve on the local Holmes County 4-H Advisory Council and even had some of our youth partner with Holmes County 4-H on some projects.
Here I am today, my family and I are starting a new chapter with 4-H and Holmes County. In ways the work is similar to what I’ve been doing for years, but in many ways – it’s different. It’s exciting to have a new platform to serve my community. I’ve been blessed with an entrepreneurial, music singing/playing, horse riding, water sport loving, wife who I met through an annual church music camp that both of our parents taught at. In my very biased opinion, we have two spectacular kids who also love the outdoors and bring us lots of joy. Our little girl, who is currently in 2nd grade, has an amazing heart and is super witty. She is very excited about her dad’s new job because she is a huge fan of arts and crafts, cooking, and music. She learned how to sleep on the front deck of a boat at an early age and already has her lifetime fishing and hunting license. Our little boy just turned two and loves a good hardback book. He’s learning new words every day, but mainly prefers to use the books as a ramp for his cars and monster trucks to drive over, around, and under. If there is a mud puddle within sight, you better hold him tight or he will be in it. As my kids grow older, I’m excited about the prospect of their future 4-H involvement.
As the new Holmes County 4-H Agent, I look forward to “making the best better” and working toward the 4-H vision of creating positive change in our youth, their families, and our communities. I guess I can say “that grass” my family is watering now includes 4-H.
We look forward to watching Holmes County 4-H grow!
Oceans Of Opportunity Volunteer Forum January 21-22, 2022
We are so excited to be able to offer a face-to-face volunteer forum “Oceans of Opportunity” for our Panhandle Florida 4-H Volunteers January 21-22, 2022! Join 4-H volunteers and faculty from the panhandle of Florida to learn new ways to engage youth in 4-H programs in a fun and educational way. Teen and adult club volunteers, 4-H staff, and military and afterschool staff are encouraged to participate in the forum to explore new 4-H curriculum and activities, learn ways to make their 4-H programs more fun and meaningful, learn skills to re-energize your program after the pandemic and gain insights and bring back to your local program. At the conference you will have the opportunity to network with 4-H educators and other volunteers to help you become a stronger 4-H volunteer.
The conference registration will be open until December 22, 2021. You will be required to register through the 4-H Online, under events labeled Northwest Florida 4-H Volunteer Forum.
During the registration process you will be ask if you have a share fair/static displays that you would like to share during lunch on Saturday. This could be something that has worked well for you in the past that you are excited about. You may also include a make and take craft stations for other volunteers to experience making something, such as a 4-H pin, rocket, or hose ball. The make and take should be suitable for a 4-H club educational program. These stations will be available Friday evening, after keynote speaker and is a totally voluntary event.
The cost of the conference is $60 payable to your local extension office. A tentative schedule, and additional registration information can be found on the NW District Volunteer site.