Friday, November 30, 2012

Florida 4-H is sad to announce the death of Past State 4-H Program Leader Damon Miller Sr.

photo of hall of fame member
 
(TALLAHASSEE, FL- November 26, 2012) - It is with great sadness and regret that we report the passing of Florida 4-H Hall of Fame member and past State 4-H Program Leader, Damon Miller Sr. on Saturday, November 24th after a brief illness. 

Miller started working with Leon County Cooperative Extension Service in 1969 as a general county extension agent specializing in vegetable production, 4-H youth development and community resource development.

Miller was appointed to the state 4-H staff in the 1970s.  He served as the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University 4-H Program Coordinator, organizing 4-H minority outreach programs in the panhandle and North Florida, until he was appointed State 4-H Program Leader in January 1998.

He was instrumental in planning and coordinating the Florida 4-H Legislature, 4-H Public Speaking, and the 4-H Share the Fun programs from 1976 through his retirement in 2002.  

"Growing up in 4-H, I remember the adults who helped me learn and grow as a person. They worked so hard all the time, and yet they still had time for me. Their investment of time told me that I was important to them and it made the difference for me,” – Damon Miller Sr.  

The family asks in lieu of flowers/plants that contributions be made to: Tallahassee Sigmas Educational Foundation, Inc. PO BOX 180755 Tallahassee, FL 32318 Attn: Bro. Damon Miller, Sr. Scholarship Fund.

Background on the career of Damon Miller Sr.

Damon Miller Sr. became involved with 4-H early in life. As a 4-H member growing up in rural Georgia from 1958-1963, Miller participated in public speaking and poultry projects. “When I was small and growing up in rural Georgia, I was in 4-H myself. I remember the mailman bringing me chicks in the mail for my 4-H poultry project. The chicks would peep inside the package,” said Miller. He would receive about 50 chicks in the mail in March and kept a 4-H record book for his project. 

Miller started working for the Cooperative Extension Service in Leon County in 1969 as a general county extension agent specializing in vegetable production, 4-H youth development and community resource development.

Looking back, he says that one of his greatest accomplishments in his more than twenty-year career with the Florida Cooperative Extension Service was community development work he did in Leon County in the early 1970s with the Macon community. He helped the community get sewage service, water hookups, paved streets, and traffic signs.

Miller encouraged others to volunteer. “Volunteering to work with young people is one of the most rewarding things that anyone can do. Mentoring relationships are important because they provide young people with living examples to emulate and use as a pattern when making decisions governing their own futures,” said Miller.

When budget cuts in 2001 threatened to close 4-H Camp Cloverleaf and 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, Miller said, “This is a day that none of us wanted to see. The entire 4-H family — children, teens, 4-H agents, volunteer leaders, 4-H alumni and state staff — are heartbroken over these impending closures.” Ultimately, the camps were saved and the Florida 4-H Foundation stepped in to help.

He was a steadying force amid crisis. “In spite of the budget situation, all is not lost, said Miller, in a press statement. “Our commitment to youth development has only grown stronger in the face of new challenges. Our county 4-H programs will continue. 4-H teaches young people about their connections to living things, and about the linkages between people, nature and each other. That has not changed,” said Miller.

He encouraged 4-H agents, members and staff to remember what was important. “We believe that young people learn best through hands-on education, and we provide experiences they often don’t receive in their schooling. We will continue to fulfill our mission as a land-grant institution to serve the young people in our state,” said Miller

Founded in 1909, the Florida 4‐H Youth Development Program works annually with more than 230,000 young people, ages 5‐18, and nearly 15,000 volunteers. The program is active in all 67 counties and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Headquartered in Gainesville, it’s part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. 

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Marion County 4-H youth win big at National 4-H Poultry Judging Contest: Just in Time for Thanksgiving


Marion County 4-H received high honors as they placed as reserve champions at the National 4-H Poultry Judging Contest in Louisville, Kentucky.  The team finished third in the production hen division, sixth in the market egg division and ninth in the market poultry.

In addition to placing second overall, team member’s Ilene Boetger, placed first in the production hen division, and Sarah Harper placed sixth in the market egg division. 

The four Marion County 4-H youth, Sarah Harper, Kailea Quad, Ilene Boetger and Gabriela Valentin, travelled to Louisville, Kentucky to judge three categories of chicken, eggs and turkeys.  The competitors were required to judge ready-to-cook chicken and turkey carcasses, live production hens and market eggs. 

 “4-H youth travelled from all over the country to compete in educational events that help them learn to make and defend decisions, speak publicly, and gain poultry-related skill,” said Xiomara Diaz, Marion County 4-H extension agent. 

This year, over 86 senior 4-H youth represented 22 teams that participated in the poultry judging contest, Diaz said. 

The judging contest gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations governing the grading of eggs, chicken and turkeys.    

Participants are scored in the judging contest based on placing and reasons.   The placing score is determined by how well the participant placed the class based on physical characteristics of the poultry or egg.  How well the participants justify their placing of a class to a judge determines their reason score.

The poultry judging contest was held in conjunction with the 2012 National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference recognizes 4-H members who have excelled in their state 4-H poultry learning activities by offering national level activities and contests designed to test and show the knowledge of the 4-H members. 

“A poultry careers workshop was also held at the conference, exposing the 4-H’ers to hands-on information from poultry industry professionals,” Diaz said.  “Participants are given pertinent information about career and educational opportunities available in the poultry industry.”

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating
 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Florida 4-H and United Health Care Launch Partnership Promoting Healthy Living Through Fun, Creative Activities at North Florida Fair

Florida State 4-H representatives join UnitedHealthcare for a check presentation at the "Eat4-Health" partnership launch at the North Florida Fair. Florida 4-H received a $30,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare to promote healthy living. From L to R: Pete Vergott III, District Extension Director, University of Florida IFAS Extension; Heather Kent, 4-H Regional Specialized Agent; Marcus Boston Jr., Extension Agent, Leon County 4-H; Kelly Skidmore, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Florida; and UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound (Photo: Sam Holton/Holton Photography). Business Wire

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/12/3093682_p2/florida-4-h-and-unitedhealthcare.html#storylink=cpy

Eat4-Health partnership includes 10 states, with 4-H youth as health ambassadors reaching other youth and families with messages to fight obesity United Health Care mascot Dr. Health E. Hound participates in 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair, leading hundred





Florida 4-H and UnitedHealthcare announced a new partnership to promote healthy living and empower youth to help fight the nation’s obesity epidemic.

The partnership, called Eat 4-Health, is activating thousands of 4-H youth ambassadors to make healthy choices for themselves and encourage friends, families and people in their communities to make positive changes through training, creative programs and educational events. It currently spans 10 states, including Florida.

At the partnership launch in Florida, UnitedHealthcare’s mascot Dr. Health E. Hound joined 4-H youth, families and community leaders at the North Florida Fair to encourage attendees to stay active and eat healthy. Dr. Hound and 4-H youth encouraged hundreds of attendees to participate in simple, fun group dance and fitness activities designed to burn calories and promote health.
Florida 4-H leadership and youth also participated in an official partnership announcement, where UnitedHealthcare presented a $30,000 check to Florida 4-H to launch the program. The partnership is being administered by the University of Florida Extension Service, which provides 4-H programs to all counties in the state.

Eat 4-Health builds on UnitedHealthcare’s successful partnership with National 4-H Council that began last year in Florida, Mississippi and Texas. The campaign is expanding to Arizona, Louisiana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and New York. Each state 4-H organization is receiving a $30,000 grant funded by UnitedHealthcare to support healthy-living programs, events and other activities administered by 4-H that encourage young people and their families to eat more nutritious foods and exercise regularly.

“Florida 4-H is proud to join with UnitedHealthcare again this year to build on our partnership and empower youth to live healthier,” said Dr. Keith Diem, Florida 4-H Program Leader. “4-H youth ambassadors are eager to work with UnitedHealthcare to help forge real solutions to the serious challenge of obesity. Today’s activities are just one example of the creativity and excitement 4-H youth are bringing to this campaign.”

“The Eat4-Health program shows that our youth are leading the way to help solve the nation’s obesity problem. It’s exciting to see UnitedHealthcare and 4-H youth working together to make a difference in the lives of so many families in Florida,” said Kathleen Crampton, president of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Florida. “UnitedHealthcare and 4-H look forward to harnessing the energy and excitement of 4-H youth to promote healthy living.”

Participating 4-H state programs receiving a grant will develop action plans that provide innovative, hands-on learning approaches that target specific community needs in their state. Many of these activities will support healthy-living programs led by 4-H that encourage youth and community participation through events such as health fairs, cooking demonstrations, after-school programs, workshops and educational forums, among others. UnitedHealthcare employees will team up with 4-H at many of these events, assisting with planning and executing projects that lead to positive, sustainable change at the community and individual level.

As part of the Eat 4-Health campaign, each state is organizing a Youth Summit/Conference to train 4-H youth ambassadors to implement the programs and help reach the goals in each state. The summits will provide the venue where participants will learn more about nutrition, health and fitness, obtain information on promoting health within their communities, and gain new tools for participating in multisession educational trainings and one-time community activities and events. This teen leadership experience will also serve as a launch to a Teen Ambassadors pledge and prepare 4-H’ers to use their increased healthy-living knowledge and skills to make an impact in their own communities.

Online and printed educational materials will enable participants to learn and commit to making healthier choices. To encourage participation, the campaign will provide simple tips for healthy choices when food shopping, preparing home meals and school lunches, when out with friends or at special occasions.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980, with nearly one in every three children being overweight or obese. Children from low-income and low-education households are three-times more likely to be obese. America’s Health Rankings®, an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis, indicates that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and many cancers. The estimated economic cost of obesity is $270 billion per year.
4-H reaches 6 million youth each year, 2.5 million of whom participate in healthy-living programs that promote nutrition, wellness and physical activities. United Health Care Community & State serves more than 2.5 million children in 25 states and the District of Columbia. 4-H and United Health Care share connections with many of the same public sector and community organizations, including state and county governments and school districts.

In 2011 the 4-H/United Health Care partnership reached more than 40,000 youth and families in three states through hundreds of community events and activities that included distributing positive messages about nutrition and wellness. This was accomplished in creative venues such as healthy-cooking demonstrations, fitness camps, youth forums and community family days. These events were designed to empower 4-H youth in the targeted states to help educate their families and people in their communities about the importance of healthy living through more nutritious diets and increased physical activity in their daily lives. The program targeted communities in Florida, Mississippi and Texas with the greatest need for education, outreach and resources.

About Florida 4‐H: Founded in 1909, the Florida 4-H Youth Development Program works with more than 230,000 rural, suburban and urban youth ages 5-18 and is active in all 67 counties, and with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The 4-H program is the youth development program of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service (CES) which is headquartered in Gainesville within UF’s IFAS. The CES is funded by a partnership between federal, state and county government agencies. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. For more information about Florida 4-H, visit www.florida4h.org.

About United Health Care: United Health Care is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. United Health Care serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.


United Health Care mascot Dr. Health E. Hound joined 4-H youth for a healthy group exercise at the North Florida Fair to encourage attendees to stay active and eat healthy. During the kick off event, United Health Care and 4-H encouraged hundreds of attendees to participate in simple, fun group dance and fitness activities designed to burn calories and promote health. Florida 4-H received a $30,000 grant from United Health Care to promote health living as part of a $300,000 "Eat 4-Health" partnership in 10 states between 4-H and United Health Care (Photo: Sam Holton/Holton Photography)


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/12/3093682_p2/florida-4-h-and-unitedhealthcare.html#storylink=cpy
  

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/12/3093682/florida-4-h-and-unitedhealthcare.html#storylink=cpy

4-H'ers Participate in Youth Science Day

4-H'ers concentrate on the project as they participate in the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD).  Contributed photo. 

St. Johns County 4-H youth joined millions of young people across the nation to become scientists for the day during the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD). This annual event seeks to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to reclaim the nation’s position of leadership in scientific exploration.

As part of 4-H NYSD, youth participated in the 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge: the 2012 National Science Experiment.

Designed by The Ohio State University Extension, this year’s experiment introduced youth to robotic engineering concepts as they program an autonomous robot to clean up a simulated environmental spill. The 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge demonstrated that by utilizing engineering principles, youth can have a positive impact on communities and ecosystems.

St Johns County 4-H’ers enhanced their engineering skills by assembling their own Eco-Bots and surface controls to manage an environmental clean-up. Youth then tested the interaction between the Eco-Bot’s design features and various surface control configurations to determine the most effective clean-up solution for the simulated spill.

“Our nation is falling behind other countries in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Geralyn Sachs, 4-H extension agent for St. Johns County. “However, participation in high-quality positive youth development programs like 4-H NYSD offers youth and adults the opportunity to engage in scientific exploration and work together to build the next generation of our nation’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”

The University of Florida/IFAS/St. Johns County 4-H Program took part in the 4-H National Science Day Oct. 6 at the Extension Office Home and Garden Show. Morning and afternoon sessions were available for 4-H youth to take the Eco Bot Challenge, with 10 youth participating.

Sessions were lead by Sachs and St. Johns County 4-H youth leaders Jared Smith and Sarah Colee. When asked if National Youth Science Day has made you more interested in science, one youth participant reported “It taught me science doesn’t always come in (from) a textbook.”

When asked how do you think you might be able to use what you learned through this experiment elsewhere in your life, one youth reported “Team work and idea expressing is used in a lot of jobs.”

This year’s 4-H National Youth Science Day was jointly sponsored by Toyota, Lockheed Martin, Donaldson and John Deere.

via St. Augustine.com

4-H Ag Adventures Draw Hundreds of Kids

By Deborah Buckhalter
November 04, 2012

First grader Kailyn Vega searches for a worm in a handful of mulch being held by Anita Crossley during 4-H Ag Adventures Friday at the North Florida Research and Education Center near Greenwood.

Roughly 450 first-graders from all over Jackson County converged on Greenwood Thursday and Friday to take part in 4-H Agriculture Adventures at the North Florida Research and Education Center, where the youngsters ran into a couple of living scarecrows as they picked their way through a corn maze.

The scarecrows were volunteers from the Jackson County Master Gardeners organization. They and other event volunteers were important contributors to the annual Ag Adventures program, said 4-H Youth Development Agent Ben Knowles.

For instance beekeeper Herman Elmore taught the youngsters about the importance of bees to the production of honey, food and beeswax. The children learned about dairy cows, too, and other livestock like goats, chickens and pigs.

Children ate boiled peanuts after they visited a research-station peanut patch, and went to a cotton field to learn about the many products that are made from cotton. They also cranked out some ground corn, trying out an old fashioned hand-powered corn-grinder. Cherokee Ranch in Jackson County, run by the Mack Glass family, contributed some Satsumas for the children to enjoy.

The program was also staffed by the crew at the research station, run by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services/Jackson County Extension Service.

The annual event is sponsored primarily by a grant from the state’s Florida Agriculture in the Classroom program and the research station itself.

Students Create Eco-Bots at 4-H Event in Davie

By Scott Fishman, Forum Publishing Group
November 2, 2012

What can you do with a battery, toothbrush, cellphone vibrator and some tape?
More than 100 students at the Broward County 4-H at the UF/IFAS Broward County Extension Office in Davie recently found out by using the materials to create mini eco-bots.
This was the fifth year the 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, Health) celebrated National Youth Science Day with an experiment. During the Eco-Bot Challenge, children were robotics engineers for the day. The groups created their own eco-bots to simulate environmental cleanup using rice.

"It's nice to be able to reach out to them and have them get involved in it because it also pulls them into 4-H," said Erin Daniels, Broward 4-H secretary.

Among the volunteers was computer engineer George Hanna, who worked with the children on making the eco-bots operational.

"I like to be able to show kids about science, engineering, math and all these things using my background," he said. "One of the common issues was the robot would constantly tip over, so they have the chance to troubleshoot the issue and draw their own conclusion on how to fix that. It's a great activity."

Jordan Latson, sixth-grader at Silver Lakes Middle School in North Lauderdale, enjoyed the project.
"It was fun," he said. "I liked having to use the toothbrush and the other things … to make a working robot. I learned that there can be robots out there to help the environment."

Jordan Brown, a sixth-grader at Margate Middle School, worked with classmates Liam Fisher and Marco Cruzata.

"It was fun building a robot I haven't built before, especially with these types of parts," she said.
Cruzata said he was a little intimidated when he received instruction for the project, but he was happy with the results.

"I really thought it was going to be hard, but it was actually pretty simple and easy," he said.
According to its website, the 4-H program offers hands-on education and projects in such areas as marine ecology, photography, horticulture, food and nutrition, animals and computers.

For more information, call 954-357-5270 or visit http://www.broward.org/parks/extension and click on the 4-H link.