How many times have you heard people say that kids today don’t know the basics? In 4-H, we work every day to teach those life skills youth will need throughout their lives. Through programs like SPIN, which stands for Special Interest, 4-H is meeting this challenge. Volusia County 4-H offers SPIN weekly throughout the year.
Did you learn how to can when you were young? Probably not. But a 4-H’er that attends SPIN cooking classes will explain how without hesitation. “It is the acid in the fruit that allows us to use a water bath, but we may need to add some vinegar to some things, like pickles.” “You know it is okay if it ‘pops’ when it comes out of the water but it could take 24 hours to seal.” “You hold your knife this way – finger on the spine, tip down, push, and slide.” People rarely can anymore out of necessity. They do it because it is fun. However, youth may not realize that while they are laughing and making new friends (sharing and communicating), measuring out ingredients (critical thinking and decision making), or washing their hands and sanitizing equipment (personal safety and disease prevention), they are acquiring 4-H life skills.
Reading a pattern or refilling a bobbin requires critical thinking, a life skill. And though sewing a reversible apron, a flashy cape, a dish cozy for mom, or putting a zipper in a bag is a blast, it is so practical! Four-H youth are learning to cook and sew at five years old! Because 4-H is for youth ages 5-18, youth have a long time to master many skills (Essential Elements). Sewing is therapeutic too. Youth on the autistic spectrum, for example, love to sew because it helps them focus, because they can work independently but still be part of a group, and because it relieves stress. And those are all life skills: self-discipline, social skills, and stress management.
Designing catapults, building rockets, investigating the current issues facing our farmers, and discovering the basic needs of plants are how SPIN participants in STEM and FAITC (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom) classes explore the world around them. By exposing young people to these subjects, 4-H is working hard to help youth understand career options in critical areas. Problem solving, marketable skills, goal setting, and contribution to a group effort are just a few life skills used by 4-H’ers in these workshops.
JUNIOR MASTER GARDENER
Another acronym is JMG – Junior Master Gardener. This week-long summer day camp follows a 4-H curriculum developed by Texas A & M. Ecology, Best Management Practices, entomology, diseases, plant parts, soil and water, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, and landscape design are just some of the topics that are addressed through hands-on activities. From cooking Stone Soup together (cooperation) to making planters out of old tires for the gardens (community service), youth express their creativity and enjoy the great outdoors while developing life skills. These skills will benefit society as youth that learn how and why to respect our environment will grow up to be advocates and responsible stewards.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Times may change, but isn’t it good to know that 4-H will continue to be here focused on the leadership and citizenship of our youth. For over 100 years this organization has existed to teach youth the life skills they will need to be the citizens of tomorrow.
For more information, contact our office at 386-822-5778, check us out on Facebook: Volusia County Florida 4-H, or go to florida4h.org.
https://nifa.usda.gov › resource › essential-elements-4-h