Wakulla 4-H offers a variety of activities geared to teen interests. Teen 4-H members can explore career options, develop leadership skills, and engage in hands-on learning experiences.

Over eight weeks this summer, 18 teens contributed a collective 2,000 hours in volunteer service to the Wakulla 4-H Summer Day Camp. Each teen was required to take a child protection training course, pass a qualifying test, and complete additional 4-H requirements to be part of the program.

Youths had opportunities to assist staff as well as to lead activities as junior instructors.

The following youths participated in the 2022 Summer Teen Volunteer Program with Wakulla 4-H: Trevor Andrews, Gaby Bruce, Sam Bruce, Frankie DeBaufer, Freddy Debaufer, Mason Dough, Malcolm Durant, Riley Edwards, Vanessa Elderkin, Erin Fortier, Brooklynn Green, Caden Gruebel, Matthew Porter, Anuj Patel, Noah Pearson, Cayle Rogers, Mica Sandow, and Shannon Sandow.

A group of 4-H teens also completed the second annual Teen Leadership CERT Camp week in partnership with the Wakulla County Sheriff Office Emergency Management staff. Teens from year one served as mentor leaders for the week and led groups of this year’s teen leadership cohort. Youth who complete the five-day camp can participate in additional Community Emergency Response Training during the year and provide support to Emergency Management staff through community service throughout the year. The 2022 mentor leaders were Vanessa Elderkin, Alex Barlow, Carter Christensen, Rylee Morrison, and Carson McCullen. The 2022 Teen Leadership CERT graduates were Lauretta Compton, Matthew Porter, Sean Masters Junior, Caden Gruebel, Anuj Patel, Alex Porter, Emma Riggs, John Alex Edwards, Wyatt Folsom, Malcolm Durant, Jason Grimes, and Cayle Rogers.

Two teen leaders represented Wakulla 4-H in Gainesville at the 4-H University event.

Florida 4-H University is a week-long overnight event for senior 4-H youth (4-H age 14 to 18) held at the University of Florida. Attendees can participate in educational workshops led by University of Florida faculty, explore career opportunities, lead community service activities, interact with youth from all over the state, and have fun while developing critical life skills that will help them become productive and engaged citizens of the communities, their country, and their world.

Carter Christensen and Noah Pearson spent a week on the University of Florida campus as participants in the 4-H University program. The teens lived in a college residence hall and participated in workshops focused on career exploration and leadership development. The youth also represented the Wakulla 4-H County Council and 4-H Teen Leadership CERT at the State Awards Breakfast. Both groups were recognized for their achievement, completing a Community Pride Grant service project. The Wakulla 4-H County Council was recognized as one of the top three projects in the state. Youth collaborated with Wakulla Feeding Wakulla to install a Blessing Box at the UF/IFAS Wakulla Extension office and led food collection efforts that have helped to keep not only the Extension office box filled but have also contributed to filling other Blessing Boxes throughout the county.

Teens who participate in 4-H also can test their acquired knowledge and skills through competition. Teen member Vanessa Elderkin opted to put her grilling skills to the test in the annual district tailgating competition. The purpose of this contest is to promote the use of animal protein in the diet by teaching the art and science of safely preparing beef, pork, poultry, and seafood in an outdoor setting. Investment in this activity provides 4-H youth with life skills, including decision making, healthy lifestyle choices, and communication. Elderkin entered her recipe for Huli Huli Chicken. On Saturday, July 30, she traveled to Chipley, located in Washington County, to compete in the NW District 4-H Tailgating Competition. Elderkin, a first-time contestant, placed first in the chicken category against nine other competitors. She will represent the NW 4-H District at the state competition in Gainesville on Oct. 1.

Wakulla 4-H offers teens opportunities to develop new skills and the chance to serve the community as a volunteer throughout the school year. For more information, please contact 4-H agent Dr. Rachel Pienta at 850-926-3931 or email r.pienta@ufl.edu.

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