Friday, November 15, 2013

Positive Statewide Trends for Florida 4-H


More than 220,000 youth participate in the IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program in counties throughout the state.  

Here are some notable, positive trends during the most recent reporting year for Florida 4-H (2012-13 data):

·        There were increases in 4-H club membership, camping, school enrichment, and after school programs:
4-H club enrollment increased 15 percent to 22,088 (from 19,158 last year) and the number of 4-H clubs increased by three percent.

Participation in 4-H camps increased 32 percent to 12,045 (from 9,141 last year).

Youth participated in 9,162 more 4-H projects than last year, an increase of three percent.

·        Number of 4-H volunteers (both youth and adults) increased 25 percent to 19,096 this year (from 15,244 last year).

·        Total 4-H enrollment remained fairly steady (222,942 youth participated; 229,723 including duplicates due to youth participating in multiple delivery modes such as clubs and camps).

Read more about the 4-H Impact at  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

4-H teens take on health solutions for a healthier America

4-H teens take on health solutions for a healthier America
“Given today’s health challenges, it is vital that we empower America’s youth to step up and take on real life challenges like obesity, teen pregnancy, underage drinking and local food deserts,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “We are grateful to Molina Healthcare for partnering with 4-H to give young people a platform to engage other youth and adults to create real-life solutions that improve health for themselves, their family, community and ultimately, the nation,” added Floyd.
The video challenge is one component of a multi-faceted campaign co-created by National 4-H Council and Molina Healthcare to empower American teens to step forward and raise their voices, posing solutions to today’s leading health issues. In the coming months, 4-H programs across the nation will be hosting Teens Take on Health town hall meetings, bringing young people together to discuss the top health issues they face and propose active solutions they can undertake to make a positive difference in their communities.
“Molina Healthcare is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve,” said Martha Bernadett, MD, executive vice president of research and innovation at Molina Healthcare, Inc. “We need to engage our young leaders if we want to make meaningful change, and this partnership with 4-H has given some of our brightest teens a platform to share their ideas and also the resources to implement them.”

Friday, November 1, 2013

State 4-H Events Coordinator to Start November 4

State 4-H Events Coordinator to Start November 4

We are pleased to announce that Travis Shepard has been hired as the new State 4-H Events Coordinator. Travis is a recent UF graduate with specializations in Recreation & Event Management and Tourism & Hospitality Management. He has experience working at J. Wayne Reitz Union Audio Visual Services as the Student Special Events Manager. As a University of Florida student, Travis was very involved in putting on on-campus productions for a variety of student organizations and has been a director of several that have had up to 2,000 attendees.  In addition, he has outside experience with RED Companies and has spear headed multiple projects, branded and promoted events, and worked with behind-the-scenes management and large budgets. Travis’ first day of work is Monday, November 4th and we are all very excited!  

Caleb Cheng appointed to National 4-H Council’s Board of Trustees

We are extremely proud to announce that Caleb Cheng from Palm Beach County 4-H has been selected to serve on the National 4-H Council’s Board of Trustees!

[Click here to download the media release...]

Caleb has been an active participant in 4-H for 14 years. He is currently a candidate to receive his International Baccalaureate Diploma in the spring, and then plans to major in finance when he enters the university. Caleb is a competitive state champion swimmer and national USA champion water polo player. He is actively involved in Student Government Association, Future Business Leaders of America, and Economic Leaders of America.
Recently we spoke with Caleb about this honor:

Tell us a little about the 4-H National Council Board of Trustees

National 4-H Council supports national and state 4-H programs with a focus on fundraising, brand management, communications, and legal and fiduciary services. Council also oversees National 4-H Youth Conference Center, and the National 4-H Supply Service, the authorized agent for items bearing the 4-H Name and Emblem. National 4-H Council is governed by its own Board of Trustees, made up of The Public Class – corporate executives and other private citizens from a wide array of backgrounds, The State Cooperative Extension & Land-grant Institution Class – representatives from 4-H, Extension, and land-grant universities, and The Youth Class including recent 4-H Alumni.

What does being appointed to this board mean to you?

Having demonstrated my passion and call to service over the past 14 years of my life in 4-H from leadership positions to community service projects, service on the national level for the largest youth development organization in the world; being appointed is both a great accomplishment and a moment I will remember forever.

What are your expectations?

My passion for service is only growing, and I plan to take the skills I attained through my leadership experiences in Florida 4-H to the national level in hopes to positively impact a wider array of youth across the country and possibly internationally.

What are some of your Florida 4-H highlights thus far?  What projects have you participated in?

Serving as Florida 4-H State Council Treasurer is definitely a highlight I cherish. As Treasurer, I designed and implemented statewide fundraisers that raised several thousand dollars in one year for the state council. I did this by attaining two corporate sponsorships from SAM’s club and a local design firm to initiate three statewide fundraisers including the sale of coupon books in 16 cities across Florida, the sale of flowers at 4-H state events, and the sale of a 4-H yearbook. The money will be used to reduce the cost of state events for 4-H’ers, in hopes to increase participation throughout the state so that Florida 4-H can impact a wider range of youth.

[Click here to read more from the Florida 4-H press room...]

In terms of educating youth, what issues are important to you?

As a varsity state athlete in two sports and a national USA Water Polo champion, health education is particularly important to me. With childhood obesity on the rise, I feel it is necessary to educate youth on healthy lifestyles. As a trained United Health Care Teen Ambassador, I taught UHC health lessons across the state and worked at the UHC Teen Health Summit to educate youth on the importance of healthily lifestyles.

Be it that Florida 4-H is the statewide youth development program of UF IFAS Extension, what opportunities has that afforded you?

Given the large scope of opportunities 4-H offers to youth across the state, Florida 4-H provided me unlimited opportunities to serve. Throughout my high school career I have served in numerous leadership positions from the county to state level and have completed countless service projects all thanks to the opportunities 4-H has provided me. Many people today fail to realize that service to their community not only benefits those that receive the service, but those that give it. Service has taught me the importance of leadership for the development of crucial life skills and that I can truly make a positive impact on the world around me. Florida 4-H has not only enabled me to serve others, but it has provided an opportunity to develop important skills that are not taught in school. Communication, commitment, and confidence are among the skills I have acquired in experiences serving others. 4-H has taught me that I can truly make an impact on my community in ways I could have never imagined.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

4-H Civic Day - Lee County 4-H

Lee County 4-H / Trail Blazers 4-H Club

4-H Trail Blazers’ youth Reed & Grant Gilmore – ages 12 and 8, planned, organized, and led the Lee County 4-H Civic Day Service Project to continue the mangrove restoration they started a year earlier on Conservation 20/20 land.  This land impacts not only the residents of Pine Island but future generations to come.

            On October 12, 2013, using a mini-grant from the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, a non-profit organization started by former State 4-H President Sean Russell dedicated to empowering youth, the 4-H Trail Blazers’ club youth and Park Rangers Mickey Miller and Parke Lewis collected, raised, and planted propagules, also known as seedlings and conducted field research on the status of last year’s plantings.  

            Because of their dedication to the environment, commitment to conservation, and the partnership with Lee County Park Rangers, Lee County 4-H youth planted over 300 new mangroves in addition to the 200 planted the year before.

Mangroves are incredibly important to Southwest Florida because they provide food, shelter, and structure for estuarine sea life.  Mangroves serve as a hurricane buffer, conserving 20/20 land for our children and their children.  Mangroves also improve our water quality, protecting against coastal erosion, providing a habitat for birds and wildlife.  They are also crucial to southwest Florida’s commercial and recreational fishing economies.
Originally published by Luke Turner; County Reporter, Lee County 4-H; Club Reporter, 4-H Trail Blazers Club

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Past State 4-H Council President Sean Russell receives a Peter Benchley Ocean Award

What do a West African president, a pair of scientists studying life in the ocean, a 20-year-old veteran of the 4-H Clubs, a Massachusetts Congressman running for a Senate seat and two California women who spent over a decade working to create underwater parks have in common? Theyre among the winners of this year’s top ocean honors, the 6th annualPeter Benchley Ocean Awards.
Named for the author ofJaws, the awards celebrate the life and legacy of Benchley, who, though many people are not aware of it, dedicated much of his life to the protection of sharks and the ocean ecosystems they are a part of. The awards, presented by the non-profit Blue Frontier Campaign and marine conservationist Wendy Benchley, celebrate exceptional efforts leading to the protection of our ocean, coasts, and the communities that depend on them.
The 32 recipients to date include: Presidents Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica and Anote Tong of Kiribati, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos, Port of Los Angeles Director Geraldine Knatz, Retired Navy Captain Don Walsh, the late marine scientist Ram Myers, and the late New Jersey coastal activist Dery Bennett.
On May 15th, each winner will be presented with a Benchley Mantas award sculpture designed by famed marine artistWyland. Past Masters of Ceremony have included explorers Philippe Cousteau,Sylvia Earle, and syndicated Sherman’s Lagoon cartoonist Jim Toomey.

Christopher Benchley Youth Award – Sean Russell

As a high school intern at Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida, Sean Rusell became aware of the problem of marine plastic pollution. In response he founded “Stow It-Don’t Throw It,” a statewide monofilament fishing line recycling program and collaborative effort between youth and environmental groups that has since gone national. In 2011, with the help of Mote Marine Laboratory, Sean led the first Youth Ocean Conservation Summit held in Florida that has now become an annual event. He has also given countless hours to community service projects while serving as a member of the Florida 4-H Program. Twenty-year-old Sean is now a senior at the University of Florida. 


Friday, February 22, 2013

Florida 4-H pushes to reach big registration goal for annual 4-H Day at the Capitol event

This year, Florida reached a milestone, marking the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival on Florida’s east coast.
To commemorate that anniversary, Florida 4-H has come up with a goal related to the number 500: The UF-based organization hopes to bring 500 green-shirted young people to the state’s government headquarters in Tallahassee for its annual 4-H Day at the Capitol event on March 14.
“4-H Day at the Capitol is a unique event because it isn’t just about being at the capitol and looking at the legislative chambers, but it is about understanding what is taking place within those chambers,” said Jordan Callaham, state 4-H events coordinator.
The event has drawn about 400 4-H youth in recent years, but event organizers hope to add 100 to their ranks this year, Callaham said.
Participants will take part in mock legislative sessions, observe government at work, watch the state’s Supreme Court, or any of a number of other activities designed to enlighten them about government.
The 4-H’ers also will have the chance to meet and talk with elected officials.
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization and has more than 230,000 members in Florida. 4-H is part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hardee County participates in the 4H Youth Against Poverty Food Drive

The Hardee County 4H Council is leading the charge against hunger in Hardee County with a food drive that will last until the end of May 2013.

Each Hardee County 4H member is charged with collecting non-perishable food items in a food drive they are calling "The Hunger Games". Drop off points have been established all over Hardee County (Tractor Supply, Hardee Ranch Supply, 1st Baptist Church Wauchula, Florida's 1st Assembly of God, Winn Dixie, Florida Hospital, PRECO and the County Library)with all proceeds to benefit The Hardee Help Center. To find out how you can help call Hardee County 4H at (863)773-2164.

Sam Fite, Immediate Past President Wauchula Kiwanis Club Presents a $150 dollar check to Hardee County Council Members to aid in their fight against hunger. Left to right: Carolyn Hendry Wyatt, Acting Hardee County Extension Director, Rayann Kulig, C. Keller, A. Erekson, D. McCauley, R. Erekson, S.Crews and Nell McCauley, Kiwanis Program Chairman November.