Florida 4H celebrates 100 years!

From the Suwannee Democrat: “The year-long celebration themed “Florida 4-H: A Century of Youth Success,” begins with a kick-off event at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. Highway 302 N., in Tampa on February 5 – 16, 2009 daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Florida 4-H Centennial exhibit will be in the Agricultural Hall of Fame building on the fairgrounds. The general public is invited to attend.

“The Florida 4-H program started in 1909 with corn clubs for boys in Alachua, Marion and Bradford counties by J.J. Vernon, dean of agriculture at the University of Florida. A few years later girls’ tomato clubs were organized. Extension work with African Americans in Florida began in1915 and was headquartered at Florida A & M University.

“Today, Florida 4-H is about much more than corn and tomatoes. It covers just about every area of interest, from animals to workforce preparation, and from computers to performing arts. While agriculture, horticulture, family and consumer science and livestock remain projects in Florida 4-H, new interests, such as environmental science and rocketry, are now included.

“For more information about the state kick-off event, contact Julie Wilson at (352) 846-0996 or visit http://www.florida4h.org. To learn what your county is doing to celebrate Florida 4-H’s 100th anniversary, contact your local county Extension office. Portable Golf Solutions is an event partner.”

My boys are members of a local club here in Sarasota. My youngest son is an activity co-leader. He and another member plan “get to know you” type activities and games for each monthly meeting. At the end of the year he’ll earn a pin for his involvement.

My other son is both a co-reporter and co-historian. He and the other reporter take turns writing for the monthly extension newsletter about what the club is involved in. He also keeps a scrapbook of activities. At the end of the year he can earn a pin for each position and, after turning in a record book for each position, he can earn a ribbon for his work.

The boys are also working on record books for Aquaculture.  Since we began keeping a salt water fish tank for the club, the boys have learned a lot about marine life and hope to earn a ribbon for their activities and record books.

The boys are now working on projects for the  4H Mini-Building at the County Fair. They’ve both signed up for a lot of things and I hope they can get them all completed along with their project reports. Among these craft projects are sculpting, sewing, woodworking, photography and displays of some of their prized collections: Star Wars Lego and Pokemon Cards.

The County Fair is March 13-22, 2009. For more information go to http://www.sarasotafair.com/