2022- Central District All Faculty Symposium – 4-H Youth Development
M. Souers and E. Reichel, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Orlando, FL
Situation/Objectives: 4-H programs often rely on fundraising to support youth development efforts. Orange County 4-H sponsors an annual poinsettia sale that generates revenue for community clubs and the 4-H Association. The challenge had been to incorporate youth development outcomes alongside traditional fundraising. The difficult 2020 holiday season provided an opportunity to accomplish that goal. Youth Council members suggested we offer poinsettia buyers the option to donate festive plants to isolated seniors that we would deliver on their behalf. The objectives of the effort were: (1) provide youth with a meaningful service opportunity and (2) increase sales by providing a means for friends and family to contribute to a worthy cause. Education Methods/Approach: During the sales seasons of 2020 and 2021, all colors and sizes of plants could be chosen for personal purchase or donation. Youth Council members selected one senior living center in 2020 and four in 2021 as recipients of the donated plants. When the order arrived at the Extension Center, youth assisted with sorting plants for club pick-up and for the senior centers. In 2020, we were restricted to delivering to the front door of the chosen center. In 2021, youth members divided into teams to make the deliveries and take photos at each of the four sites. Results: In 2020, 33 plants were donated and in 2021, it increased to 84 leading to the decision to expand to four centers. Incorporating the donation option allowed youth to participate in a service effort and practice generosity while fundraising. Customers appreciated the opportunity to brighten the holidays of local seniors and the county 4-H program increased plant sales resulting in $300.00 in additional revenue. Conclusion: Simply adding a service element to the annual fundraiser has benefited youth, the community and increased financial capacity for youth development programming.