To Make the Best Better: Finishing the 4-H Field Education Facility
Grant Year: 2023 | Focus Area: Education | Grant Amount: $108,364 | Grant Status: In progress
The roots of 4-H began at the turn of the century when educators started to emphasize the needs of young people and to introduce nature study as a basis for a better agricultural education. Farmers saw the practical benefits, and public enthusiasm for 4-H grew throughout the nation. In 1912, 4-H Congressional Appropriations to the state land-grant institutions was established and began early development extension work. In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension System within the USDA, the state land-grant universities, and the counties. With this legislation, Congress has continued to support 4-H. Throughout its history, the overall objective of 4-H has remained the same: the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. This mission is accomplished by creating safe and inclusive learning environments, involving caring adults, and utilizing the expertise and resources of the University of Florida and the nationwide land grant university system. Santa Rosa County 4-H serves youth through organized clubs, special interest groups, enrichment programs, camping, and individual memberships. The motto of 4-H is "To Make the Best Better."
Overview of the proposed project
The proposed project will provide resolutions to challenges Santa Rosa 4-H (4-H) students currently face. The 4- H Field Education Facility was built to accommodate multiple indoor and outdoor activities including livestock preparation, handling and showing, archery practice, horticulture and marine science, and a classroom for indoor educational events. Currently, a lack of equipment and building components requires archery and livestock program participants to travel 30-45 minutes for compatible facilities, while borrowed poultry cages dictate the timing of 4-H shows. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to purchase and install kitchen cabinets, a bathroom shower and a pavilion fan, as well as the purchase of modular livestock panels and poultry cages in order to increase the number of livestock clinics available for youth. Remaining grant funds will be used to purchase a new 15- passenger van and enclosed trailer, as the previous van is shared with seven other programs in Santa Rosa County and is no longer a form of reliable transportation. Updated safety features on the van will enable the Santa Rosa County 4-H members and volunteers to safely travel as a group to district, state, regional and national events.
Expected impact on the community
The primary goals of this project are to grow the Santa Rosa County 4-H program, create positive 4-H youth development activities, and enhance opportunities for youth to fully experience what the 4-H program has to offer. Santa Rosa County 4-H serves all youth ages 5-18 residing in Santa Rosa County, which accounts for 16% or 31,428 of Santa Rosa County residents. During the 2021-2022 school year nearly 4,200 youth participated in Santa Rosa County 4-H programs, supported by 211 volunteers. Since the 4-H Field Education Facility was completed, 4-H has grown to reach 6,600 youth with 345 volunteers during the past 2022-2023 school year. Current program membership is comprised of approximately 13% minorities and military families from nearby NAS Whiting Field. Upon completion of the Field Education Facility's interior and the addition of necessary equipment, the building will become a central hub for all 4-H activities, currently held at multiple locations in the County, and will be equipped to provide more hands-on learning opportunities for students.