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!