Sara as a young lady received a medal for her 4-H project.
In honor of National 4-H Week, we are sharing the stories of some of our alumni in the Florida Panhandle. Today, we highlight an alumna from Wakulla County! Sara Hillier grew up in Wakulla County, FL, and was active in the 4-H Program. She participated in the local Horse Club, as well as several other county 4-H programs. Sara enjoyed taking canoe trips to learn about natural resources in Wakulla County, and working with others to protect nature by picking up litter. Her favorite 4-H memory was attending summer camp at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake in Madison, FL. She remembers spending the week there with many of her friends and all nine of her first cousins. As a teenager, Sara served as a camp counselor at Cherry Lake.
Sara is chaperoning 4-H Day at the Capitol
Sara knew that as soon as her own children were old enough, she wanted them to have many of these same experiences, so she enrolled all three of them in 4-H. Recently, Sara decided she wanted to pay it forward to the program she is so fond of, and made the switch from 4-H mom to 4-H volunteer. Today, Sara leads the Wakulla County Outdoor Adventures Club so she can share her spark for the great outdoors with the next generation. If you have knowledge, skills, or expertise, please consider sharing them through 4-H. We offer flexible opportunities to share your passion with today’s youth. If you are not familiar with 4-H, check out our 4-H Volunteer Welcome Packet for answers to frequently asked questions about becoming a volunteer and schedule a meeting with your local UF/IFAS 4-H Agent.
Today Sara is paying it forward by leading a 4-H Outdoor Adventure Club
Cole as a sophomore at Jacksonville University, a member of the varsity shotgun team.
4-H allows young people to explore their sparks for learning. And through the process, young people learn valuable life skills that prepare them for work and/or college. But many people do not realize that 4-H can help young people secure cash for college or trade school! But college scholarships weren’t on Cole Dillard’s mind when he attended his first 4-H Shooting Sports club meeting. He just wanted to shoot skeet and become a better marksman. Cole joined the Sure Shots 4-H Club in Washington County when he was 10 years old and never looked back. Over the next eight years, he competed in 4-H and other shotgun competitions. He worked hard with his coaches to hone his skills and confidence. He also helped coach younger youth and served as the club president for two years. As a senior 4-Her, he was the Shotgun Individual HOA in 2020 at the Florida 4-H State Match. This earned him a spot to compete at the National 4-H Shooting Sports Match.
Cole with his brother Cass, and one of his 4-H Shotgun coaches
All that paid off when one of Cole’s coaches introduced him to the Jacksonville University advisor for the varsity shotgun team. After meeting the coach, touring the campus, and shooting with the other varsity members, Cole was offered a varsity scholarship to Jacksonville University as a member of their shotgun team. Today, Cole is finishing his sophomore year and majoring in aviation. His favorite clay target game is skeet, and he was recently named the Jacksonville University “Shooter of the Week.” You never know where exploring your 4-H sparks will take you in life- for Cole, it helped him turn his spark for shooting sports into cash for college!
Cole with members of his 4-H Shotgun team, preparing for the state match in 2019
Cole’s story would not have been possible without the caring volunteers who coached him in 4-H Shooting Sports. They shared their passion for the sport so that he could explore his spark, which eventually led to his college scholarship. This is one example of the many ways our 4-H volunteers make a significant difference in the lives of young people. If you have knowledge, skills, or expertise, please consider sharing them through 4-H. We offer flexible opportunities to share your passion with today’s youth. If you are not familiar with 4-H, check out our 4-H Volunteer Welcome Packet for answers to frequently asked questions about becoming a volunteer and schedule a meeting with your local UF/IFAS 4-H Agent.
Marley’s love of camping is what drew her to the 4-H program.
With 2020, everything is different and new. When talking with 17-year-old Santa Rosa County 4-H member, Marley Reynolds, she explains just how different 2020 ended up being for her. Marley said, “This was supposed to be my final year, I was really looking forward to doing Executive Board and having one last year as a camp counselor, but for better or for worse I ended up graduating a year early!” Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Marley had to accelerate her homeschool learning. Since she was already home and couldn’t do anything more than her schooling, she decided to go ahead and graduate. It was not something she took lightly and knew that with the change, she would shift from being a last year 4-H member to Alumni just that fast. She said, “It was very sudden but now I’m a second-year student at Pensacola State College and I’m slated to complete my General Education AA in Spring 2021.”
When asked what 4-H has meant to her, Marley replied, “4-H had always been a special place for me. I first joined because I heard about Camp Timpoochee and had been asking my parents to go to an overnight sleep-away camp for a while. It was amazing, and I still have the friends I met at camp that year.” Along with summer camp, Marley participated in the Marine Ecology competition at the state level and served many hours with the program as a teen volunteer. Marley and her family assisted the rest of Santa Rosa County with our annual Veteran’s Day Cookouts. Marley was able to use her leadership skills as a camp counselor for many years and helped to make camp week wonderful for many youth new to 4-H and camping.
With all of the 4-H events that Marley participated in, she said this about 4-H Day at the Capital, “I think it was my favorite event, mainly because I really liked visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History every year.” Marley and several other teens planned a primitive camping weekend and it was very eventful! She remembers, “My favorite memory was the camping trip we went on. It was my 13th birthday and it rained so hard the second day that we had to go home.” One of the other campers said, “It’s not about having fun, it’s about making memories” We definitely made some memories that weekend.
One of Marley’s main passions is theatre. She loves to get in costume and entertain others. 4-H allowed her to have many new and exciting experiences and she hopes to continue her 4-H career as summer camp staff in the future. Marley, congratulations on your early graduation and we are proud to call you a Florida 4-H Alumni! Don’t forget, that you can always continue your 4-H journey as a volunteer or 4-H Collegiate Member!
October is an extraordinary month of celebration for UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H Programs. We start with National 4-H Week October 4th – 10th. The theme for this year’s National 4-H Week is Opportunity4All. This campaign was created by National 4-H Council to rally support for Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and identify solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million kids across America.
With so many children struggling to reach their full potential, 4-H believes that young people, in partnership with adults, can play a key role in creating a more promising and equitable future for youth, families and communities across the country. In 4-H, we believe every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe every child should have the skills they need to make a difference in the world.
It is amazing how many youth are growing up with 4-H in Florida with over 230,000 youth involved. 4-H is open to all youth, ages 5-18, determined as of September 1 of the current 4-H year for everyone in the State of Florida. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs and project work. 4-H is at schools, community settings, virtually, military bases, and in combination with afterschool programs. There are also special workshops, camps and individual and family learning opportunities. We also have state-wide virtual club opportunities including Dairy, Horse, Poultry, Teen Life Ready and Young Leaders clubs. The Northwest District also offers 4-H virtual projects. These include: Chick Chain, Backyard Livestock, Honeybees, Wildlife, Baking, Culinary Arts, Leadership, Plant Science, Tailgating, sewing and shooting sports.
National 4-H Week Events Include:
Monday, October 5, 2020 join us at 1:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM CST for a webinar on How to Teach Kids to Prepare Healthy, Fun Snacks. Register Here
Tuesday October 6, 2020 Shout Out Day & Hall of Fame
Take to social media to share a 4‑H memory, express how 4‑H shaped who you are today, describe what 4‑H means to you, post an old 4‑H photo, or shout-out your 4‑H club or use our photo frame for sharing on Social Media be sure to include following hashtags #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– 4-H Hall of Fame (FB Live Event) @florida4h
Wednesday, October 7, 2020, National 4-H Week Spirit Day
We want to invite you to help celebrate by wearing green or the 4-H clover. You could also wear a 4-H or Green facemask. We even have a photo frame you can use for sharing on Social Media and tag #Opportunity4All, #Florida4H and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
Thursday, October 8, 2020, Support the FOURWARD Fund, and Trivia Night
The forward fund helps ensure kids and families in need have access to educational resources and support all year long.
4-H Trivia Night from 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST– (via FB) @florida4h
Are you ready for the 4-H Mars Base Camp Challenge?
On Friday October 9 Florida 4-H at 4 and Camp Night
Join Florida 4-H at 4 online at 4:00 PM EST 3:00 CST as we blast off on a mission to the Red Planet – MARS! We’ll be learning about the process that NASA goes through when sending a rover to Mars. We’ll learn about the stages of launching from earth, attempting to land on Mars, and discovering the key features of the Martian surface. Using real images and data Generated from NASA missions we’ll be introduced to some of the key characteristics of Mars and how we have discovered these features through decades of scientific exploration. Bring your supplies and join us. Click to Register
4-H Camp Night 6:30 pm EST/ 5:30 CST Come hang out with our camping team via zoom Click to Register and celebrate National 4-H Week.
Saturday October 10 #Opportunity4All Forum at 6:30 pm EST / 5:30 CST @florida4h (FB Live Event) Kids face a widening opportunity gap in America. Nothing should hold them back. Not Now. Not Ever. For more information about the national Opportunity for all Campaign materials and PSA
October 7-18 Tractor Supply Paper Clover FundraiserThe paper clover campaigns help by providing funds to conduct hands-on learning experiences through projects in STEM, agriculture, healthy living, and civic engagement locally and nationally.
JOANN stores also support 4-H by providing local 4-H Clubs with resources and tools to run impactful programs. JOANN even provides current & alumni members, parents of members, and volunteers with a 15% off total in-store and online purchases every day with a 4-H Rewards Card. You can register for this card at https://www.joann.com/4-h/ . They also run a paper clover campaign in the spring similar to Tractor Supply.
Please, help us celebrate National 4-H Week 2020 and participate in as many activities as possible. Also, Be sure next time you are visiting one of our sponsors locations to thank them for their continued support of 4-H Youth Development Programs. I cant wait to see your photos on social media please be sure and tag @Florida4H in ALL posts!
To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this or volunteer your time to work with youth, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office. As you can see October is a wonderful month to be involved with and join Florida 4-H An Equal Opportunity Institution.
Soon to be Chipley High School graduates and 4-H alumni – Connor and Dylan
The graduation countdown is on for Dylan Rudd and Connor Barrett. Sure Shots 4-H Club members for over six years, these guys have grown up together on the range of Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports.
Both Connor and Dylan are excellent marksman and were on the state winning shotgun team this year and have amassed numerous individual awards in skeet, trap and sporting clays. While their skills have grown, competition has never gotten in the way of friendship and the sense of team that’s been the key to success with the Sure Shots club.
They’ve served as mentors to their teammates – coaching them through tough spots, giving them advice and always being helpful on and off the range.
I distinctly remember Dylan and Connor talking to my oldest son, Cole, at his second state shotgun match. Nerves were getting to him, so Connor and Dylan talked to him, told him to concentrate and focus on what he knew and to quit looking back at his dad after every shot. That interaction did more for him than any talking-to his coaches could have done for him at that match.
Dylan participating in the 2014 club match.
Conner in his first year as a Sure Shots 4-H Club member.
That team mentality has been present with both of these guys since I’ve known them. They totally get that individual scores are a huge deal in shooting sports. They’ve competed against each other in countless 4-H competitions and matches outside of 4-H, but at the end of the day, they are teammates.
Outside of 4-H, both Dylan and Connor are talented members of the Chipley High School band and maintain a rigorous course load to prepare them for careers in the engineering field.
We wish these guys the greatest success in college and can’t wait to see where their lives take them!
Mrs. Julie & Coaches Andy Fleener, Gary Clark, Nick Dillard & Sam Rudd