Thursday, September 5, 2013

The 4-H Apple and Pecan Sale is Here!

 The annual sale, sponsored by the Pinellas County 4-H Association is now in full swing!  The apples offered this year are yellow (golden) delicious and empire.  The apples are trucked down to us days after they are picked in the Ohio orchard.  More good news - the prices are the same as last year.  Bushels are $44.00 and half bushels are $24.00.
The pecans are from Georgia and are this year's crop.  The half and pieces bags are a full pound.  The chocolate covered and cinnamon glazed pecans are in decorative 12 ounce bags.  Both size bags are $11.00 each.
The simplest way to order is to go to the Pinellas County 4-H Association  website  and place your order.  Hard copy forms are available at the 4-H office or ask your favorite 4-H'er.
 The holidays will soon be here and this is a great time to try out new recipes like apple pecan cobbler or escarole salad with apples and pecans. Maybe it is time to dust off the old apple pie recipe or other family tradition. Even if you are not ready to bake, the apples are a great healthy snack and the pecans make great holiday gifts. Even better, all proceeds from the sale are used to provide scholarships and funding for the Pinellas 4-H program.
One 4-H member wrote "I am so happy I received the camp scholarship.  I had a great time and made new friends.  I think I learned a lot about getting along with people.  Without the scholarship, I wouldn't have gone and learned these important things."

Information on the 4-H Apple/Pecan Cook-Off will be available soon.  The Cook-Off takes place the same day as the 4-H Open House - November 16.  It is also the same day as Farm-City Day at Heritage Village.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

4-H State Congress 2013

                One of the many definitions of congress is “the act of coming together.” And that is exactly what goes on at 4-H State Congress.  Senior Members of 4-H from all over the state come together for 5 days and stay at the University of Florida. Here is a rundown of this year’s Congress:
                Upon arrival members got settled in to their dorms for the week, went to interviews for scholarships, did icebreakers and a bunch more. Monday night all attendees went to the UF college of Agricultural and Life sciences Picnic at the football stadium. And afterwards went to a district meeting to get ready for the opening ceremony and pep rally, where the districts show their spirit and compete for the spirit stick.
                Tuesday morning is competition time! All of those that qualified with their demonstration or illustrated talk at the district level competed at the state level.  Those who did not compete went to project enhancement workshops including: Step up to Leadership, Financial Literacy and a tour of the UF campus. During the rest of the day the members went to healthy lifestyle workshops depending on the color of their name tag. We ended Tuesday with County Night Out and Night of Culture at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center.
                Wednesday is the day where all of the attendees go out and perform community service .  At this time those who are competing in Share the Fun had rehearsal all day! Upon returning from the community service workshops it was recreational time where you had the option to swim, play billiards or bowl in the game room, or take the time to rest in your dorm. Later that night was Wednesday Night Extravaganza! The Share the Fun and Fashion Revue competed at the state level, followed by the Competitive Event awards from Tuesday Morning. I am proud to say that all of our Pinellas County Members that competed came home with a trophy, I received a red award and 3rd place in Small Animals and Pets, Emily Vines Received a blue award and 1st place in Animal Industry, and our 4 member team from Da Swagga League, John Roe, Abby Lang, Adison Julian, and Evan Julian received first place and a blue ribbon in Share the Fun!
                Thursday is the day everyone looks forward to! In the morning you go off to your Off-Site workshops. These are the workshops where everyone has the most fun! The workshops range from vet medicine to breads and pastry. You spend all day at your workshop to come back to your dorms and get ready for the banquet later that evening. During the banquet  Scholarships and Award Trips are presented, along with the recognition of new Hall of Fame members, the new State officers are installed and you are served an amazing dinner. Upon the conclusion of the banquet everyone heads over to the ballroom to dance!
                When Friday comes it’s time to pack up and go home. 4-H State Congress is a lot of fun! It gives our seniors a chance to be with other members their own age from all over and learn more about the University of Florida. Every year there are new workshops to choose from and new people to me. Advice from one 4-H’er to another… GO! 
By Samantha Richards,
 4-H Youth Mentor

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Camp Ocala 2013

By Samantha Richards
4-H Youth Mentor and Camp Counselor

          Well it’s all over now; time to return back home. 4-H Camp Ocala was out of this world!  All of the campers had a great time meeting new friends and the counselors had a chance to prove how responsible they really are. Camp gives the youth the chance to learn something new, meet new friends, all while having fun.
            From right after 2012 Camp Ocala ended until the counselors arrived Sunday evening, camp was being planned to make it an amazing experience for all. The campers (and some counselors) were put outside of the traditional summer vacation of video games and junk food.
At Camp Ocala 4-H’ers have the opportunity to wake up early for Early Morning Awesomeness, which included Recreational Activities, Fishing, Kayaking and Canoeing. During camp, everyone gets fed several times a day to promote a healthy lifestyle.  There are many outdoor activities that the youth can choose from, including: Kayaking, Canoeing, Archery, Outdoor Adventures, Aquatic World and O.C.A.L.A., but there are also a bunch of indoor activities for those who may want to stay out of the sun like: Rocketry, Ballroom and Recreational Dancing, Girls Day Spa, Science Insanity, and even a Culinary Class.  My favorite class is a tie between going across the lake for a night in O.C.A.L.A. and Canoeing with all my friends.
On Thursday night the 4-H Spirit Awards are given out. Pinellas County counselors and campers were represented by John R., Marquasia B. and Nathan M.
As Friday came we all began to remember our exciting adventures at Camp Ocala and say goodbye to all of our fellow campers in what is called a Friendship Circle. Even though we are from all over the Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and Hillsborough areas we are all friends.
I can honestly say that I am excited for what next year has in store! For all those who attended this past year, I can’t wait to see you all again next summer. For those who have never been to camp, I highly encourage you to sign up. You won’t regret it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hello from 4-H Youth Mentor Samantha

Hello everyone! My name is Samantha Richards and I am the newest 4-H Youth Mentor at the Pinellas County Extension office. I have currently been enrolled in 4-H for 8 years now, my main focus being in the dog project. I have been a Historian, Sergeant of Arms, and I am currently the President of the Crazy 4 Canines Club. Outside of 4-H, I am a senior at Pinellas Park High School in the First Responders Magnet Program.  I also have made a Public Service Announcement for Pinellas County about texting during emergencies.
You can say that I am very excited to be a youth mentor, and to help Ms. Jean and all of you to the best of my ability.  I want to ensure that you all have a great time in the 4-H program with all of the experiences and activities that there are. If you need help with anything, or have any questions, please feel free to email me at

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ready to Go to 4-H Camp Ocala?

Every summer 4-H members from Pinellas, Pasco, Polk and Hillsborough counties travel to the Ocala National Forest for a camping adventure at 4-H Camp Ocala. Camp Ocala is located on beautiful Sellers Lake and surrounded by the pine forest. Each day is filled with fun, educational activities. Every camper selects which classes he or she would like to take. The list of classes includes rocketry, kayaking, self improvement, outdoor skills, ballroom dancing, entomology, archery, multimedia, science experiments, orienteering, and the list goes on. Classes are taught by Extension faculty, camp staff, 4-H volunteers, and senior counselors. All adults at camp have passed a background screening.

In the evening there are campfires and other group activities, including a flag retirement. Everyone has a chance to swim, canoe, or kayak during Free Time. Thursday night, the last night at camp, is very special with the rocket launching, a dance, and the traditional 4-H candle lighting ceremony.

The cabins, dining room, and classrooms are all air-conditioned.

Most of the campers are 4-H members; however, registration is open to families interested in joining the 4-H program. The cost is $200.00 for the week. This year we are camping July 22-26. Non-4-H members are required to fill out 4-H enrollment forms before they are permitted to attend 4-H camp. Campers must have turned 8 by September 1, 2012 and not be older than 18. If you are interested in sending your child to Camp Ocala and/or have questions, please contact Jean Rogalsky at .

What do the campers think of Camp Ocala? Here are some comments made by  4-H teen camp counselors:

• I like the variety of classes. There is something there for many different interests and every personality type.

• Camp is a bonding experience. Lifelong friendships are made here.

• If you are going to a camp you might as well go to 4-H camp. Everyone is so friendly.

Camp registration closes July 8, so don’t delay!

For more information on the camp itself, go to:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Love Dogs? Want to See Them at Their Best?

Make plans to attend the State 4-H Dog Project Day & Show.  Not only will you see dogs strut their stuff, but Florida 4-H members will be showing the skills and knowledge they have learned in the 4-H dog project.
For 4-H members in the dog project, please to to 4-H Online to register.
For those just interested in dogs or the dog project, this is a great way to see the dogs and learn about the program.

Location: Southeastern Agriculture Pavilion, Ocala, Florida
Date: June 22, 2013
Classes: Showmanship & Obedience (abbreviated show for this year only)
Activities: Skill-a-thon, Record Books & Quiz Bowl
Cost to Compete: $15 for a showmanship, an obedience, Skill-a-Thon, record book judging and quiz bowl (brace and team will be offered for obedience.)
Registration: Available on 4-H Online.  For event rules and details, as well as details on how to register, please visit
Deadline: June 13, 2013

ALL INFORMATION and DETAILS can be found at

For information on the Pinellas County 4-H Program, please contact Jean Rogalsky at 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring is 4-H Competitive Events Season

The past few weeks have been very busy for 4-H members competing in the Area E 4-H Horse Show and District 9 Events.  The Area E 4-H Horse Show took place during the last weekend in April.  Pinellas County sent 30 riders to the show at the Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds.  There were a full range of both English and Western classes in which the riders could compete including Dressage, Hunter, Ranch Trail, and Speed.  The miniature horses also had an opportunity to show. 
For Pinellas County, the three high point winners were  Lauren T., Olivia S., and Sharlee N. 
While the high point winners should be congratulated, all the participants were winners.  Just think of the life skills gained while organizing for the three day show.  The rider must pack feed, tack, paperwork, and supplies for the horse, as well as personal packing.  After checking in the horse, the stall needs to be prepared and items unpacked.  At the same time, the rider is thinking about the patterns in the classes yet to come. At the show itself, there will be successes and disappointments.  Whatever the result, the rider is expected to show good sportsmanship and be a good role model to others.
Of the 30 participants from Pinellas, over half will be advancing to the State Horse Show this summer.

District 9 Events
District Events is the next step after County Events.  All demonstration blue ribbon winners at County Events are allowed to compete at District level.  This year the event took place in Bartow.
There were 26 participants from Pinellas.  The high point and medallion winners and their categories are listed below.  Senior high point winners advance to State Congress in Gainesville.  Junior and Intermediate winners are awarded a scholarship to Camp Ocala.
Workforce Preparation  
Annelise and Michael V. (Int)         Lexa A. and Michaela P. (Sr)
Small Animals and Pets
Shannon P. (Jr)
Emily P. (Int)
Samantha R. (Sr)
Abby V. (Int)
Kristen V. (Sr)
Animal Industry
Emily V. (Sr)
Plant Connections
Max F. (Jr)
Share the Fun
Jared M. (Int)
Adison J. (Sr)
Evan J. (Sr)
Abby L. (Sr)
John R. (Sr)

Congratulations to all and many thanks to the leaders and parents for working with the 4-H'ers to help them reach their goals.