Monday, June 25, 2012

Top Manatee County 4-H’ers recognized during 56th Annual 4-H Awards Program

Top Manatee County 4-H’ers were recently recognized at the 56th Annual 4-H Awards Program held at the Manatee Civic Center, attended by more than 250 people. Awards were presented for Outstanding Overall 4-H Member, Horseman of the Year, Conservationist of the Year, Spring Gardening, Outstanding Record Book, Outstanding Project Study, and Lamp of Knowledge.Receiving the Outstanding Overall 4-H Member Awards: Chloe Bunyak (Junior - ages 8-10 years); Casey Wingate (Intermediate - ages 11-13 years); and Samuel Byers and Zachary Quattlebaum (Senior - ages 14-18 years). These awards were sponsored by Clements Surveying Inc., of Palmetto, and the local 4-H Foundation.Horseman of the Year awards went to Lonnie Weis (Junior/Intermediate Division) and Tabetha Lex (Senior Division). The Horseman of the Year award is presented each year to an outstanding equestrian who has the highest number of participation points. Criteria included participation in club meeting, clinics, shows, and doing community service. This award was sponsored by the Manatee County 4-H Horse Committee. Samuel West was named Conservationist of the Year. This award is presented each year to an individual who is enrolled in an agricultural related project and has participated in soil judging or the Conservation District Speech Contest. This award was sponsored by the Manatee County Soil and Water Conservation District. Kristi Vole was named the Spring Gardening Contest winner with Samuel Byers placing second. This award was sponsored by Come See Come Sav.Outstanding Record Book Awards went to Anna Bunyak and Clay Wingate (Junior - ages 8-10 years), Isabella LaVassaur (Intermediate - ages 11-13 years), and Savanah Byers (Senior - ages 14-18). These awards were presented for excellence in record keeping, neatness, and scope of reporting. This award was sponsored by DuWet Custom Pools and Spas.More than 65 4-H members (ages 11-18) received project pins for outstanding accomplishments in their project study. Receiving project pins were: Beef – Bailey Burdick, Margaret Duryea, Zachary Quattlebaum, and Casey Wingate; Beef Breeding – Genaveve Henson, Alyssa Johnson, Courtney Wingate, Haley Yancey, and Cara Zeveney; Citizenship – Megan Hardy; Clothing – Madelyn Barron and Avery Kotlarczyk; Dairy – Rachel Elek, Hunter Fioretto, Michael Fioretto, and Haley Weltzien; Dairy Goat – Melinda Carter, Rachel Herriman, Kayla Hickey, and Francesca Marrero; Dog – Alysa Chapman, Trenton Ginter, Abigel Hendrickson-Boyd, and Zoe Zimmermann; Entomology and Bees – Samuel Byers; Gardening – Kristi Vole; Hog & Ham/Swine – Stephanie Brouwer; Horse – Ariel Affolter, Sierra Oliver, Yajaira Segura, and Tiffany Winters; Horse Judging – Briana Bronson; Horticulture/FNGLA – Natalie Almeter, Rachel BonAmi, Elanie Mason, and Marisa McElhiney; Land Judging – Jesse West and Samuel West; Livestock Judging – Robert Brouwer; Meat Judging – Kirstin Duryea, Isaiah Masengale and Zachary Masengale; Marine Science – Quinn Carrington; Pet Pals – Savanah Byers; Photography – Karley Holbrook, Isabella LaVassaur, and Lindsay Swaby; Poultry – Melissa Ackaway and Audrey May;Public Speaking – Kaylee Betts and Dalton Burton; Rabbits – Brittany Brewington, Breanna David, Brittany Roosa, and Isabel Taylor; Swine – Kayla Clayton, Liza Harpley, Nicole Lewis, and Laci Vole. These project pins were sponsored by several national donors and the local 4-H Foundation.Youth (ages 8-10) with outstanding general project study were eligible to receive the Lamp of Knowledge pin. Receiving Lamp of Knowledge pins: Anna Bunyak, Chloe Bunyak, Kylee Graham, Annie Hecker, Annabel Henson, Ashley Lewis, Taylor Powers, Ava Small, and Clay Wingate. These pins were sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton.4-H is the youth development program of the University of Florida Extension IFAS and the Manatee County Agriculture and Extension Service. 4-H is open to any youth between the ages of 5 - 18 without regard to race, color, sex, handicap, or national origin. For more information on 4-H youth programs, call 941-722-4524.
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Leon County 4-H Programs

The Florida 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach paired with volunteers to help kids learn the life skills they need to be productive, responsible citizens. Recent studies show that kids spending time in youth programs like 4-H are less likely to be involved in high risk behaviors, have higher grades and better work habits. 4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands and Health and is a youth development program that is available for youth ages 5 to 18 that focuses on science, engineering, technology, healthy living and citizenship.” According to Leon County Extension Agent, Marcus Boston, Jr., 4-H is the “largest youth serving organization that exists and we're the only youth organization that is tied to the University systems where they provide the research information we use for the project books."
Malek Dennard got involved with 4-H at the age of 8. He now hopes to be a role model for other kids involved in the program. He says, "every summer I go to 4-H camp Cherry Lake which , I serve as a counselor for kids ages 8 to 18 usually where we do a week of different activities, hiking , canoeing, swimming, study a lot of sciences, healthy lifestyles."
Boston states that there are 3 delivery methods at 4-H starting with the community clubs. Volunteers are recruited to serve as club leaders to help get kids involved. He says "the second one is school enrichment and that's where we provide resource material to teachers and then they implement the information or implement the program in their classroom." the third method is known as "special interest" which could include a one time day camp which might focus on a variety of different topics such as nutrition, horticulture or cooking. One of the gardens at the Leon County Extension office is maintained by the 4-H Horticulture Club. All vegetables produced will be donated to the local food bank.
Thanks to 4-H, Malek has gained confidence in himself and is proud of his accomplishments through the program. He admits he plans “to go to college and major in veterinary science and I plan to definitely stay tuned to 4-H, not just for myself but for other people planning to join 4-H, or people involved in 4-H right now because I think it's a great program."
There is no cost to join 4-H and is year round. Caring adults who would be interested in sharing an area of expertise with youth are always needed. For more information on 4-H programs log on to or call (850) 606-5204. Leon County 4-H Extension is located at 615 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee, FL 32301.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Florida 4-H Members Explore Issues Affecting Youth at the 2012 National 4-H Conference

WASHINGTON, March 24-29, 2012 –
A delegation of four Florida 4-H youth and one adult chaperone joined 200 4-H members from across the country that came to the nation's capital to make their voice heard as part of the 2012 National 4-H Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Florida’s youth delegation included Christy Connell from Santa Rosa County, Amanda Holmes from Marion County, Victoria Banner of Alachua County, Joel Weaver from Duval County and adult mentor Geralyn Sachs, St. Johns County 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent.
Guest speakers throughout the week included Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Aaron Davis, former University of Nebraska football player.
Dr. Biden, a longtime educator, spoke to conference participants about Joining Forces, the initiative she started with First Lady Michelle Obama to encourage all Americans to support military families. Dr. Biden encouraged 4-H members to not only continue their longtime support of military families, but to continue to act as role models and mentors in their communities. "These 4-H members are extraordinary role models and mentors in their communities," Dr. Biden said. "Just as our military men and women serve our country on the battlefield, these young people lead in our communities. Over the next few decades, one of the tasks that will define their generation will be their support for our returning veterans and our military families." 
Since the first conference in 1927, the National 4-H Conference, known as the "Secretary's Conference," continues to be USDA's premier forum to engage youth in developing recommendations for the 4-H Youth Development Program. "For almost 100 years, USDA and 4-H have partnered to produce some of our nation's best and brightest, including farmers and ranchers who have supported the American economy and put food on our tables," Vilsack said. "You all are tomorrow's leaders. We need you to think big, innovate and help tackle the important challenges standing between us, a stronger middle class and a stronger nation."
Mr. Aaron Davis, former University of Nebraska football player, challenged youth to develop true friendships that will help them excel in life and achieve their dreams.
In addition to meeting with Florida Congressmen Jeff Miller, 1st District and legislative aid Elizabeth Smokay, to Dan Webster 8th District, participants at this year's conference engaged in personal development experiences that aim to increase their knowledge, resources and skills on issues that matter most to them. As in previous years, delegates will participated in roundtable discussions with partnering federal agencies about topics specific to issues affecting youth and communities nationwide and the role 4-H can play in addressing those issues. Issue topics for this year's conference include: alcohol and drug use prevention, youth suicide prevention, healthy eating and living, equal education for under-represented groups, integration of veteran and military families into local communities, and using science and technology to improve local communities.  When asked about the conference, youth delegate Joel Weaver of Duval County said "National 4-H Congress was one of the best experiences of my life. Having the opportunity to represent thousands of 4-H'ers and meet with government officials is a huge blessing for me. Not only was the government aspect of the trip amazing, I also got to meet other well-rounded 4-H'ers from across the country! I couldn't have asked for a better experience."
Also during this year's conference, delegates learned about a new partnership with the Department of Homeland Security focused on cyber security. The Stop.Think.Connect Campaign provided 4-H participants with the tools and resources to help raise awareness among teens and young adults regarding emerging online threats and the importance of cybersecurity. This partnership builds on the campaign's efforts to highlight resources available to schools and communities, as well as to promote cyber awareness and educate America's youth about safe online practices.

Over Six Hundred Participants Make 4-H Day at the Capitol a HUGE Success

More than 600 Florida 4-H youth and adults from as far south as Collier County and as far northwest as Escambia County arrived in Tallahassee for their Day at the Capitol.  4-H day at the capitol, an annual state event, took place February 28th.  Participants were adorned in "4-H green" shirts with the bold words on them "I Am the Revolution of Responsibility".  "I Am the Revolution of Responsibility" addresses the misconception that youth are not informed of what's going on in their communities and promotes the findings that youth are making a real impact every day.  Throughout the day participants met with lawmakers and other elected officials including Governor Rick Scott.  During one of the rallies in the Capitol Courtyard, Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is also a 4-H alum, joined Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll to recognize the youth leadership opportunities 4-H brings to our state.

Gilchrist county 4-H'ers used Candy to Make an Impact

The Gilchrist County 4-H SWAT Club (Students Working Against Tobacco) learned about the dangers of candy flavored tobacco and how tobacco companies use it to get kids addicted to tobacco products.  Together the 4-H'ers and their club leader approached the Board of County Commissioners about this and helped get an ordinance passed in Gilchrist County that all candy flavored tobacco sold in the county has to be kept behind the counter so children and teens don't have easy access to it.

How can you make a difference in your community and help others? Ask the Might 4-H'ers of Duette.

The story of "The Fire House the 4-H'ers Built" began in 1982 as a community service project of the Mighty 4-H'ers of Duette who petitioned the Division of Forestry for a brush truck for Duette.  On May 19, 2011 the department's humble beginnings and the Mighty 4-H'ers of Duette noble efforts were publicly acknowledged as the department moved into a modern fire house.  The Duette fire badge still contains a cloverleaf to commemorate the club's importance in the departments founding. 

How can you make a difference in your community and help others? Ask the Clay County 4-H'ers who created the PAWS Program.

The Clay County 4-H'ers learned that limited income seniors at local meal sites were taking food home to share with pets because of their inability to purchase pet food.  As a result the seniors were not recieving nutrition provided in the meals.  Together with the Clay County Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels, and Halo Pet Food Company, they created the "Paws Program" and distributed over 1400 cases of canned pet food to over 87 seniors enrolled in the program.