Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sarah Hensley takes on new role as Youth Curriculum and Evaluation State Specialized Extension Agent

GAINESVILLE, FL - After an extensive national search, Florida 4-H is pleased to announce that Sarah Hensley has accepted the position of Youth Curriculum and Evaluation State Specialized Extension Agent.

Sarah previously served as the regional specialized 4-H agent to the central extension district.  Previous statewide duties included healthy living projects, Cloverbud programming for 5-7 year olds, and serving as the program chair for Florida 4-H University.

As program chair for Florida 4-H University Sarah helped lead the program into it’s current workforce preparation focus.

As the new Youth Curriculum and Evaluation State Specialized Extension Agent, Sarah will provide statewide leadership for the design, adaptation, implementation, and evaluation of 4-H educational programs and curricula that support Extension faculty, staff, and volunteers in carrying out the mission of the UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program.

Sarah will continue to be based in Gainesville, Florida at Florida 4-H State Headquarters and will report to the State 4-H Program Leader.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Florida 4-H Welcomes Grace Carter, State 4-H Citizenship and Leadership Coordinator

Florida 4-H welcomes new State 4-H Citizenship and Leadership Coordinator.

Grace Carter grew up in the Florida 4-H Program in Duval and Nassau Counties. She participated in a medley of 4-H events such as county fairs, public speaking, county and district councils, the Florida 4-H Executive Board, and state events. After graduating high school, Ms. Carter worked at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake for four summers. Currently, she is working on a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in International Affairs at the University of North Florida.  Grace’s first day as State 4-H Citizenship and Leadership Coordinator is October 5th, 2015.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five Inducted into Florida 4-H Hall of Fame

Five outstanding individuals who exemplify the spirit of 4-H take their rightful place in the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame.

Mr. Terry Stout, Ms. Frances Dianne Spann, Ms. Shirley Risser, Mr. Barry Hoffman, and Dr. Bobby Damron are honored as members of the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame for their contribution to the 4-H program.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Putting Agriculture at Kids’ Fingertips

As Kalan Taylor talked about agri-business in Sumter County last week, she hoped it would inspire some of the young people in her audience to pursue a career in agriculture.

Taylor, the 4-H agent with the UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension Offices, spends much of her time sharing the history, present and future of agriculture with Sumter County youth.

During the first “Fresh from Sumter County” Ag Awareness Camp, more than a dozen children and teens traveled the county for a firsthand look at local agriculture. Taylor and Martha Maddox, the family and consumer science agent for UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension, led the tours.

Taylor’s goal was to show the children the diversity of agriculture and let them know there are thousands of careers available in the agriculture field.

“It’s not necessary to be a farmer or raise livestock to work in the field,” Taylor said. “In fact, there are more than 25,000 careers listed in the agriculture field.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sumter County had 837 farms in 2007, a number that had increased to 1,367 by 2012.

In 2007, the market value of products sold was about $29.4 million; by 2012, the total was more than $42 million.

The numbers include farms, ranches, nurseries, greenhouses, horticulture, floriculture and sod.
The children started each day at the Sumter County Extension office near Bushnell.

“We had a pre-test to see what the children knew about tours for the day and then ended the day back in the office,” Taylor said. “We talked about what we saw, what is involved with each business.”

Taylor said most of the campers who took the tour are members of the 4-H club, Sumter Farm Kidz, and have some experience with raising animals and farming.

Because of that experience, Taylor was able to delve deeper into the subjects and talk more about career opportunities in agriculture.

The first stop on the four-day program, on Monday, was the Sumter County Farmers Market, where they saw the harvest from farms around the county.

On Tuesday they visited the cattle auction, which is part of the Sumter County Farmers Market. It is held each Tuesday and averages 650 to 700 animals weekly.

“The farmers market was established in 1937, and local farmers brought their produce and livestock to sell,” said George Smith, foreman of the cattle auction.

Smith started working with the auction when he was 15 years old, left for a while and came back for a career than spans more than 30 years.

“I remember when we were moving 2,200 to 2,500 animals through the market every Tuesday,” Smith said. “There’s fewer large ranches in the county and the state. There’s only a few auctions left in the state and we’re the only one that’s member-owned. We’re a co-op instead of an individually owned business.”

This was just some of the information Smith shared with campers during their visit to the cattle pens. A tour on walkways over pens gave the children an elevated look at how the process works.
“I loved the cattle market and seeing the cows in the ring while they were being sold,” said Aubrie Persing, 11. “We’ve visited a lot of places, but all there was to learn about the auction was interesting.”

On Thursday, the campers visited Shady Brook Peaches, a pick-your-own peach orchard. The orchard’s picking season started in late April and will finish up in a week or so. But plenty of peaches remain on the trees, as the children found out during their tour of the farm.

As they walked among the rows of fruit trees, they learned how to tell which peaches were ready, and they sampled the produce while orchard owner Leonard Northup answered questions and pointed out the different varieties of fruit.

Rylee Yarbrough, 9, said she learned a lot on the walk through the orchard.
“I learned today there’s 4,000 trees on 75 acres and (Northup) has five different varieties,” Yarbrough said. “That’s a lot of trees and peaches.”

Northup said he hasn’t totaled up the number of peaches sold this season. He’s been too busy with the pick-your-own operation, and he’s also working to build a commercial business.

“Growing peaches is new to Florida, and I’ve worked with the University of Florida’s agriculture department as they developed peaches that need less-cold temperatures to produce a quality product,” he said. “This is our second harvest, and locally people are loving the peaches. We’ve had hundreds come through here on weekends. Now we have to build a commercial market.”

They finished the week on Thursday afternoon at Bud Fussell’s farm, near Webster. Fussell is president of the Sumter County Farmers Market board and sells his produce at the farmers market.
“By concluding the tours with Bud, we allow the kids to see the process — right now he is picking watermelons and beans, I think,” Taylor said. “They get a better picture of how a farm works, from growing to marketing.”

Other stops during the week were the Forestry Service to see how wild lands are preserved, a nursery, a dairy and a cattle ranch.

Patricia Steele is a staff writer with The Villages Daily Sun. She can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9029, or patricia.steele@thevillagesmedia.com.

This article was originally published at http://www.thevillagesdailysun.com/news/villages/article_a7a7acd0-0ccc-11e5-93a1-2ff8222a1717.html

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Florida 4-H Welcomes New Associate Program Leader

Florida 4-H welcomes Chris DeCubellis as our new Associate Program Leader for 4-H Youth Development!

Chris joins State 4-H Headquarters from Gilchrist County where he has maintained a strong track record as a County Agent and an admirable passion for 4-H and for all youth. 

Chris brings ideas for helping strengthen Florida 4-H programs and reach in both rural and urban areas.  He will officially begin in this new role on July 1, 2015. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

4-H Member Zoe Barbeau earns the Congressional Award Gold Medal

St. Lucie County, Florida
Contributing Author:  Linda Jones

Jubilee Clark, Nathaniel Quirion and Zoe Barbeau in the Statistics scene from the 2014 annual RCFJAS 4H Science Fair Boot Camp skit at the Savannas Preserve State Park Education Center. Photo Credit: Erin Barbeau

Zoe Barbeau has earned Congress’ highest award for youth – the Congressional Award Gold Medal. Congressman Patrick E. Murphy presented Zoe and 21 other young people of the Florida 18th Congressional District with their gold medals, the most medals earned for any Congressional District in the nation in 2015.

The Congressional Award is a voluntary, non-competitive program, open to young Americans, of any gender, race, academic or athletic ability, or socioeconomic background. The Congressional Award has no minimum grade point average requirements. It accommodates young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge.

The program involves setting goals in four program areas; Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

As a physical fitness goal, Zoe earned the both the Bronze and Silver Presidential Champions Awards. Her ultimate goal was improved conditioning and strength, which enabled Zoe to earn her D rating as a competitive foil fencer. Georgina Love of the Treasure Coast Fencing Academy and also Zoe's Congressional Award advisor commented, "Zoe was able to apply her strategic focus not only on her academics and other requirements of the Congressional Award but to her physical fitness as well. She realized that with fencing being a perfect meld of body and mind, if she achieved a high level of fitness it would enable her to set in motion the mental part of the game. I have seen a strong and increasing growth in her ability to combine different skill sets and apply them to whatever comes her way."

This 17 year old young lady pursued creative writing as one of her personal goals. Zoe completed the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Young Writer’s Program twice and Camp NaNoWriMo once. Her next goal is to write and illustrate a web comic.

Zoe has volunteered over 500 hours at the Hoke Library in Jensen Beach and the Savannas Preserve State Park. Her overall goal was to promote both STEM and 4-H to her community. As a member of the Research Coast Florida Junior Academy of Science (RCFJAS) 4-H Club, Zoe was a key participant in the RCFJAS annual science fair boot camp hosted by the Savannas Preserve State Park and Indian River Lagoon Science Fest. As a Savannas volunteer, she has set up a coloring sheet station at the Education Center, cared for the butterfly garden, and is the corn husk doll making expert. But her passion is instilling a sense of wonder about nature in grade school student with educational outreach, whether it is dip netting with 4th graders or introducing Leroy the box turtle to kindergarteners.
This story was originally published at: https://www.facebook.com/RCFJAS4HSTEM

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Young girl sells pig to help friend suffering from cancer

FANNING SPRINGS, Fla.-- A young North Central Florida girl is using her experience with animals to help a friend in need.
Regan Varnes is a 4th grader at Chiefland Elementary School and is a part of the Kountry Bumpkins 4-H group. She is raising a pig called Socks, as part of a project. After hearing her friend was suffering from cancer, she decided to give all the money she would make from auctioning off her pig to help her friend. Once she announced this. some people in the Tri-County community rallied behind her.
"It was humbling," said Karen Tillis, one of the people at the auction who bought into Socks. "I thought that it was amazing how our community came together to support this little girl."
The sale for Regan's pig will be kept open for donations until the end of the auction on Friday.
This story was originally published at: http://www.wcjb.com/local-news/2015/03/young-girl-sells-pig-help-friend-suffering-cancer

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It All Began With Agriculture

4-H has always taught life skills to youth, and it all began with agriculture.

Florida 4-H began as a program to teach farming methods to rural youth and became a community-based program that taught millions of young Floridians how to “Learn By Doing”. 

“Agriculture is firmly cemented in the foundation of Florida 4-H and thanks to the resources of the University of Florida IFAS Extension and a nationwide network of extension professionals, agriculture remains an important part of Florida 4-H programming.” Shaumond Scott, State 4-H Communications Coordinator.

In 1909, UF Dean of Agriculture J.J. Vernon organized corn clubs for boys in Alachua, Bradford and Marion counties.  Clubs for girls followed in 1912.  After 1915, Florida A&M University directed a program for African American youth.  The clubs were part of a national movement that became known as 4-H and is now one of the largest youth organizations in the country. 

4-H offers a diverse set of program and activity options for its members, yet teaching life skills is a constant. 

4-H Members can choose from more than 50 projects that focus on science, engineering and technology, animals and agriculture, food & nutrition, outdoor adventures, marine science, public speaking, art and wildlife.  4-H learning is experiential- where youth learn life skills and use their skills to give back to their communities.

Since 1965, all Florida 4-H programs have been administered at the University of Florida where they are led by faculty and supported by volunteers.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Michael Gutter named new Associate Dean and State Program Leader for 4-H Youth Development, Families and Communities

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Dean and Director for Extension Nick Place announced Tuesday that Professor Michael Gutter has been promoted to associate dean and state program leader for 4-H Youth Development, Families and Communities within the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Gutter, who has been serving as interim program leader for the Family and Consumer Sciences Initiative, will officially begin in this new role Feb. 6.

“Michael Gutter has had overwhelming support from many of our faculty through this search process and I am highly confident in his visionary leadership for this critical position in UF/IFAS Extension,” Place said in an announcement to faculty and staff. “He has a strong passion for youth, families and communities, which came out clearly in his interview. He sees many opportunities where we will be able to grow and strengthen these Extension programs across the state in both rural and urban areas.”

Gutter has a Bachelor of Science degree in family financial management and a doctorate in family resource management with a specialization in finance, both from The Ohio State University.
“Strong youth and families need strong communities and vice versa,” Gutter said. “I am honored to have a chance to work with our outstanding state, regional, and county faculty in our 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Community Development Initiatives. By continuing to honor our history and looking toward the future, together we can make the best even better and improve the lives of Florida’s youth and families, while strengthening our communities.”
Gutter has received several awards including the 1999 Texas Instruments Award for an Outstanding Paper, 2001 ACCI Dissertation Award, 2003 School of Human Ecology Excellence in Outreach Service Award, and the 2008 American Council on Consumer Interests Mid-Career Award.

The common theme that connects Gutter’s research, teaching and outreach is helping households achieve financial security. This has involved research examining how socioeconomic status, financial education, personal psychology, and financial socialization are related to financial behaviors. In that context, Gutter currently explores how financial education is related to financial behaviors.
Gutter’s outreach projects at UF/IFAS include Managing in Tough Times, Florida Saves, Get Checking, Military Family Learning Network, and the Florida Master Money Mentor. His projects focus on enabling access to resources and services as well as improving people’s knowledge and understanding about family resource management. These projects have had funding from the Consumer Federation of America and Bank of America. He regularly tweets on personal finance topics under @mikegutter on Twitter.

Brian Myers served as Interim Associate Dean and State Program Leader for 4-H Youth Development for 15 months. Myers will assist with the leadership transition, then return to his faculty position in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication in March.

By Kimberly Moore Wilmoth, 352-294-3302, k.moore.wilmoth@ufl.edu
Source:        Michael Gutter, 352-273-3529, msgutter@ufl.edu
Nick Place, 352-392-1761, nplace@ufl.edu


Originally published on 2/4/15 at http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2015/02/michael-gutter-named-new-associate-dean-and-state-program-leader-for-4-h-youth-development-families-and-communities/