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Facebook for 4-H Club Leaders

As we look at the ever-changing social media journey, we think how can we keep up? Honestly, we probably never do and that’s okay. Social media can be an efficient way to communicate with 4-H families and also recognize the great things 4-Hers are doing! While you should never rely on only one form of communication to connect with every age group, social media can be an effective strategy.  While Facebook is not the “go-to” platform for youth, most parents and community stakeholders are on Facebook. This article covers the basics of setting up a Facebook Group for your 4-H club the right way. Facebook is an approved platform through the University of Florida to use for 4-H, but there are some guidelines that need to be followed:

 

1. Ask your local 4-H agent to be an administrator with you. Two sets of eyes are better than one and they can help you follow the right path for youth protection and be a resource for correct branding and logos.  Also, if your 4-H agent is an administrator, it is really easy for him or her to share posts to the county 4-H page (when appropriate).

2. Create a Facebook Group instead of a Facebook Page for your club. Unlike Facebook Pages, you can change Group privacy settings and limit who can see information. Anyone can follow a Facebook Page whereas a Group can allow only approved members to see information. We must be sensitive to the personal information we share about our youth. How do I create a Facebook group? Steps for creating a FB Group

3. Follow the emblem guidelines for the proper use of University of Florida’s 4-H name and brands. UF IFAS Extension 4-H Graphics. Don’t forget that your club needs to be chartered in order to use the 4-H Name and Emblem.

4. Know who has a publicity release in your club. Youth with no photo release should not be shared in private groups and club leaders who will share information in the group must be aware of these limitations. Participation Release

5. If social media isn’t your “thing,” enlist help from another volunteer!  You could also delegate responsibilities to one of the youth officers in your club to help with posting and interactions (with supervision of course).

Now you might be thinking what should a 4-H club talk about on Facebook? How will this Group be helpful? Here are a few ideas:

  • Upcoming events
  • Sharing of information and questions
  • Advertisement for your club
  • Fundraisers
  • Recognize youth (if you have parental consent)
  • Pictures, videos, and articles
  • Challenges and surveys
  • Information from the District and State programs

4-H volunteers are the true leaders who help our youth succeed by providing meaningful experiences every time programming is delivered. Our hope is that you feel empowered to incorporate positive engagement with youth by using relevant and innovative communication as technology advances. To learn more about incorporating social media for 4-H clubs or becoming a 4-H volunteer, join us next Thursday, March 18th at 6pm central/7pm eastern for our webinar on social media for 4-H clubs. You can also  contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office UF IFAS Extension Office or visit Florida4-H.org.Social Media Tips

4-H Needs You! Consider Volunteering Today

4-H Needs You! Consider Volunteering Today

This is a photo of volunteer training. Volunteers are sitting around table cutting out hearts for a relationship building activity.

4-H Volunteer Training about healthy relationships!

Make 2020 the year you learn something new or share your talents with a young person in your community. 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident youth who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities. It allows youth to learn by doing. 4-H relies on screened, dedicated volunteers to promote its mission to help youth gain the knowledge and life skills they need to be productive, responsible citizens.

In the Florida Panhandle, we have 4-H programs in schools, afterschool settings, and on military bases where we provide curricula and training to enhance our youth experiences while being active in 4-H. We also have school enrichment programs offering youth 4-H experiences on a specific subject while in school. We have community clubs and special interest groups that are currently active and we need more caring compassionate adults to help! These opportunities are great for families to do together.

If you only have time for a short-term event and like sewing, grilling, cake decorating, gardening or love bugs and outdoor education, consider volunteering. Contact your local Extension Office to see what spring and summer workshops and day camps are being offered that need caring adults to act in the role of 4-H volunteers. Your time as a volunteer will provide our youth the safe place to pursue whatever interests, causes, and leadership roles are most important to them. It also allows you to learn from the youth about current trends, fashions and technology. It really is a two-way learning opportunity where all involved learn by doing.

A picture of a heart full of descriptive words about volunteering

To volunteer, even for the summer workshops, you will need to be screened and trained, so contact us now. The screening and training process takes a little time. Please considervolunteering in your community. With over 70 different 4-H project areas from money and finances, gardening to computer science and rocketry, there are plenty of areas to work with youth to share your knowledge and skills.  Please consider helping us live up to our motto of “making the best better” with 4-H by volunteering today.  Simply contact your local extension office or check out our website for more information.

Mother-Daughter Duo Making a Difference!

Volunteers across the panhandle make a difference in the lives of young people in their communities by simply sharing the things they love.

June Clemons and Peg Frith are a mother-daughter team who can do anything!  From time to time, they’ve volunteered for 4-H, but the first time I asked them to help me teach a small sewing project during a cooking day camp, I knew I’d struck gold.  Anyone can learn to sew but having the patience to teach it…that’s a whole other story.

It took me a couple of years to talk them into leading a sewing club, and honestly, I think they talked themselves into it.  The holdup wasn’t a lack of desire to help; it was hesitancy to commit to something but not being able to follow through.

In fact, Peg’s advice to anyone thinking about becoming a 4-H volunteer is:

“I’d tell them it can be hard to find the time to plan, organize, and implement meetings, but it’s very rewarding.  If you commit, see it through.  Don’t disappoint the children.”

June emphatically said, “Do it!”

So why do June and Peg commit their precious time to 4-H?  They first got involved because they had positive experiences as 4-H’ers and wanted to pass on the skills they learned.  But now, it’s the kids they work with that keep them coming back.  They both said that “teaching useful, lifelong skills to children and just enjoying being with them as they learn,” is their favorite part about volunteering with 4-H.

I asked June and Peg if they thought their 4-H work was making a difference.

June says, “All you have to do is see the joy in their faces upon completing a task to know how it affects the members.”

Peg added, “I get to see firsthand their sense of accomplishment.  And the fact that they keep coming back to class tells me that the club is making a difference in their lives.”

As further evidence that June and Peg are making a difference, club parents have shared their children not only come home from their sewing club meetings excited to show what they made that day, but they have also started stitching up seams in their clothes and stuffed animals.

As a 4-H agent, I can tell you that the independence and mastery displayed by these young club members is exactly what we’re looking for from our 4-H’ers, and good club leaders help them achieve it.

Are you wondering if you have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of young people in your community? 
You don’t have to be an expert.  You don’t have to have kids or grandkids of your own.  You don’t have to have been a former 4-H’er.  You just have to love something enough to want to share it with the next generation.  So what’s your passion?  Pass it on!

There are many ways to volunteer with 4-H, and we need you – from fair exhibit and public speaking judges, to club leaders, chaperones, camp nurses, and more.  To pass on your passion and help the youth in your area Grow in 4-H, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office to find the best volunteer role for you.

 

Make Mindfulness Part of Your Daily Routine in 2019

Be mindful and enjoy the moment.

Now that the busy holiday season is over, it’s a time to reflect on the past but prepare and refocus for the new year ahead. As we focus on the new year, it is always refreshing to have a clean slate.  As the year begins to unfold, there are tips to help you manage your day-to-day stress levels.  It begins with mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”   Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn (1991)

Mindfulness is best thought of as a way of being rather than an activity Almost any activity can be carried out with mindful awareness.

Three Key Features of Mindful Awareness:  

  1. Purpose –  intentionally and purposefully directing your attention rather than letting it wander.
  2. Presence – being fully engaged with and attentive to the present moment. Thoughts about the past and future that arise are recognized simply as thoughts occurring in the present.
  3. Acceptance – being non-judgmental toward whatever arises in the moment. This means that sensations, thoughts, and emotions are not judged as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant; they are simply noticed as “happening” and observed until they eventually pass (Naik, Harris and Forthun 2016).

Mindfulness is a mind-body practice that has been found to benefit both psychological and physical health. The primary psychological change that occurs during mindfulness practice is an increased awareness of thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment. Over time, mindfulness practice can help you to become aware of the space between noticing experiences and reacting to them by letting you slow down and observe the processes of your mind (Black 2010).

The ultimate goal of mindfulness practice is for you to take advantage of this space so you can make more intentional decisions – to wake up from living life on autopilot, based on unproductive habits of mind
(Black 2010; Walach et al. 2007).

According to the American Psychological Association, some empirically supported benefits of mindfulness include the following (Davis & Hayes 2011):

Psychological Benefits

  • Increased awareness of one’s mind
  • Significantly reduced stress, anxiety, and negative emotions
  • Increased control over ruminative thinking (a major cause and symptom of depression and anxiety)
  • Increased mental flexibility and focus
  • More working memory
  • Decreased distracting thoughts
  • Decreased emotional reactivity
  • Increased capacity for intentional, responsive behaviors
  • Increased empathy, compassion and conscientiousness of other’s emotions

Physiological Benefits

  • Enhanced immune system functioning
  • Increased brain density and neural integration in areas responsible for positive emotions, self-regulation, and long-term planning
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered levels of blood cortisol (a major stress hormone)
  • Greater resistance to stress-related illnesses such as heart disease

Spiritual Benefits

  • Increased self-insight and self-acceptance
  • Increased acceptance of others
  • Increased compassion and empathy
  • Increased sense of morality, intuition, and courage to change
  • Increased control over automatic behaviors
  • Increased self-discipline

The question is, how many of us would like to benefit from mindfulness if it provides these positive benefits?  All of us should strive to lower our stress level and enjoy our daily lives with a more positive attitude and more attentiveness. So, how can we  incorporate this into our lives?  The majority of this practice is about familiarizing yourself with what it feels like to be mindful, and getting better at “remembering” to maintain mindful awareness.

Experiment with creating your own mindfulness practices throughout your day. Being mindful of the sensation on the soles of your feet as you walk to your car or the taste and texture of your morning coffee can transform routine moments into deeply satisfying practices. However, having a ritualized and structured practice can be beneficial. To find out more about practicing mindfulness and how to incorporate a more structured practice in your life visit read Mindfulness: An Introduction.  

Sources:  Mindfulness: An Introduction. 2013, 2016.  Retrieved from the UF/IFAS Extension Electronic Data Information System:  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1381.  Publication #FCS2335

 

Ruth Ann Scurry Inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame

 

Mrs. Ruth Ann Scurry, 2016 Florida 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee

Mrs. Ruth Ann Scurry, 2016 Florida 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee

Please join us in congratulating Mrs. Ruth Ann Scurry, Jefferson County 4-H Club Leader and Volunteer, on being inducted into the 2016 University of Florida 4-H Hall of Fame.  Mrs. Scurry was one of only five individuals inducted this year, and the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame is the most prestigious award for Florida 4-H volunteers, alumni, and professionals.

Mrs. Scurry was accompanied by one of her sons and three of her grandchildren, representing 3 generations of 4-H!

Mrs. Scurry was accompanied by one of her sons and three of her grandchildren, representing 3 generations of 4-H!

Inductees are selected by the Florida 4-H Foundation Board.  Mrs. Scurry was nominated by Jefferson County Extension Director Mr. John Lilly and Regional Specialized 4-H Agent Heather Kent. Read Mrs. Scurry’s  inspirational 4-H Story, featured in last year’s Volunteer Appreciation Week Celebration.  Thank you Mrs. Scurry for your leadership and dedication to the 4-H Program!