Through the holiday season our Okaloosa youths are busy taking tests, participating in their extracurricular activities, and spending time with family.


Florida 4-H continues to be available for them to make the most out of the end of the year. It encourages them to participate in activities that promote leadership, such as STEM workshops, baking competitions, and a leadership camp.


The weekend of Dec. 6-8 was when youths ages 13 through 18 engaged in leadership development skills conducted through the arts. It was held at Camp Timpoochee in Niceville and had a multitude of workshops and themed events.


The activities, public speaking, dance, and edible creations, and more, were all incorporated and specifically chosen to cultivate self-confidence, leadership skills, and public speaking skills. The event was even developed to allow youths to teach their own workshops.


Along with leadership development there were the typical, but never boring, camp activities like sleeping in cabins, campfire stories, and singing camp songs.


The Okaloosa County 4-H program's second annual Holiday Bake-Off and Party was Dec. 9. This year there were over 40 entries that ranged from warm appetizers to decadent desserts. The youths' entries were judged based on a multitude of factors.


After the award ceremony there were games, crafts, and a service project. This year Okaloosa 4-H members decided to create warm shelters for the stray animals surviving in the cold this winter.


Okaloosa 4-H will also continue to provide workshops and day camps to the military youth program participants.


In December there is a youth STEM workshop that will incorporate household items to teach the younger youth about static electricity, inertia and chemical reactions.


Upcoming Okaloosa 4-H Events


Dec. 11: Volunteer Meeting


Jan. 24: Eglin Youth Center STEM Workshop


Jan. 30: 4-H Day at the Capitol


For more information about our 4-H events, workshops, and the 4-H program, contact me, Katie Oakes, at:


•http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/okaloosa/4-h-youth-development/programs/


•https://www.facebook.com/UFIFASOkaloosaCounty4H/


•850-689-5850 or koakes@ufl.edu


Katie Oakes is an agent at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office in Crestview.