4-H in Lake County
4-H has been an organization for over 100 years and has become the most prominent youth development organization in the United States. Nationally, 4-H serves more than 6.5 million youth, with over 230,000 members participating in Florida 4-H. The Lake County 4-H Association is part of UF/IFAS 4-H Youth Development program and serves Lake County youth through community clubs, school enrichment, and residential camping. Lake County 4-H has been around since 1922 and currently offers a variety of project areas to a diverse group of youth from rural, suburban, and urban backgrounds. Projects range from livestock, STEM, shooting sports, and home economics. Lake County youth are reached through programs such as community clubs, school enrichment, and 4-H camps. During the 2019-2020 year there were over 100 adult volunteers, 47 youth volunteers, and 493 youth were enrolled in a community club.
The community and after school clubs are the foundation of the 4-H program. Each 4-H club has two screened organizational leaders who manage the club. In Lake County 4-H there are over 450 youth members who participated in a community or after school club. Youth in the club setting participate in a variety of project areas, participate in community service projects, complete demonstrations, and participate in the Lake County Fair through livestock projects or exhibits. Youth involved in a community club develop skills such as problem solving, keeping records, setting goals, cooperation, communication, empathy, responsibility, and so much more.
School Enrichment is a partnership between the UF/IFAS Lake County Extension and Lake County schools to provide education in a variety of subject areas. The goal of school enrichment is also to introduce youth to 4-H. 4-H School Enrichment can give youth and parents a picture of the benefits of a longer commitment to 4-H.
In Lake County 4-H over 6,900 youth were reached during the 2019-2020 school year through school enrichment. School enrichment programs include the 4-H/Tropicana Speaking Contest, Bees are the Buzz, Embryology, and Water Conservation. The 4-H/Tropicana Speaking Contest has been part of the school system for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students for nearly 20 years School. With public speaking being a top fear amongst adults, it is important to provide kids the opportunity to overcome this fear while they are young. Embryology teaches youth about chicken embryos and their development, genetics, and observation.
Residential Camping Program
The 4-H camping program supplements the county 4-H program. Campers can participate in outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, archery, boating, and swimming. Campers are also able to participate in arts and crafts, recreational games, and campfires. 4-H campers are provided the opportunity to improve themselves through mastery, independence, generosity, and belonging. Through participation in the camping program, campers can think about what they have learned and apply it to real-life situations. The program provides youth with a sense of resiliency and purpose to make improvements in their lives and well as the lives of others. Youth involved in the camping program develop independence, decision making, sharing, teamwork, personal safety, and social skills.