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COVID-19 response: Florida 4-H offers dozens of online summer camp experiences

Summer camp will look different for many young people across the country this year, as the coronavirus pandemic has made gatherings around the campfire and other in-person activities too risky. The thousands of young people who annually attend 4-H camps across Florida are no exception.

So, instead of packing their bags for a week of songs, smores, and arts and crafts, Florida youth will log on for a virtual camping experience this summer. They’ll have around 45 different ‘4-H Adventures’ to choose from, said Stacey Ellison, associate state program leader of Florida 4-H, the youth development program of UF/IFAS Extension.

“The health and safety of our youth, volunteers and agents is our highest priority, so having our members stay home this summer was the right call,” Ellison said. “However, we’re committing to providing our members, and any interested youth and families, opportunities to learn, explore, build confidence and meet new friends, so we’ve worked hard to create these fun, educational adventures geared toward different ages and interests.”

Each 4-H Adventure has been designed by 4-H agents and specialists from around the state. Some involve regular scheduled meetings while others can be completed at the participant’s own pace.

Most 4-H Adventures are free of charge and only require an internet connection and a connected device. Youth ages 5 to 18 may participate, though some Adventures are only open to specific age groups. A complete listing, schedule and registration information for all 4-H Adventures is available on the Florida 4-H website.

Here are just a few of the summer experiences available:

Adulting: Setting Yourself Up for Success!

Through self-guided activities related to food, housing and transportation, participants will learn the skills needed to be independent teens and adults. Learn more | Register

Entrepreneurship: Gator Pit

This crash course in entrepreneurship will take participants through the process of developing and refining a business idea. Learn more | Register

Exploring Veterinary Science

Participants considering a career as a veterinarian or in a related field will learn about basic first aid, anatomy, veterinary careers and more. An expert panel of vets, students and techs will provide a live Q & A. There is a fee for this program of $15 for 4-H members and $20 for non-members. Learn more | Register

Florida’s Harvest

Each week participants will learn in depth about a Florida commodity, careers related to it, as well as how to cook with it. Learn more | Register

Having Sew Much Fun!

All skills levels are welcome in this week-long sewing program. Learn more | Register

Marine Science Camp

Participants will watch Sea Grant’s bite-sized science videos, complete at home activities that align with video topics, and will end the week asking questions with a Sea Grant scientist. Learn more | Register

Physical Fitness and Culinary Adventures

On your mark, get set, go healthy! Join Florida 4-H for 10 activities and lessons that will help you get fit, stay active, and have fun. These activities are easy to do at home and will help you boost your activity level each day. Participants will complete ten physical fitness challenges and learn healthy snack recipes. Learn more | Register

Poultry Club

Participants will learn about poultry breeds, care, judging, embryology, nutrition, showmanship and many more topics. Learn more | Register

Summer of Service: 4-H Serving Florida Communities

Do you have a desire to give back and serve others during this time? Are you unsure of what to do while staying safe and distant? Florida 4-H Summer of Service will give participants the opportunity to advance and advocate for service learning within their families and communities. Participants will be given ideas and opportunities to serve their communities from safe distances, all while learning by doing. Learn more | Register

Virtual Tailgate Day Camp

Summer is all about grilling! Participants will learn how to choose meat to grill, how to safely prepare it, and how to cook it on a charcoal grill. Learn more | Register

Want to help Florida’s youth on their journey? Your support of 4-H provides opportunities for youth to grow as leaders and responsible citizens while fostering the community and support they need. If you or your organization would like to discuss partnering with 4-H, please contact Caylin Hilton at grow4h@ifas.ufl.edu or 352.392.5432.

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