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4-H Professionals News and Notes

Welcome to the News and Notes archive! Here you will find all the 4-H professional newsletters.

May 2018

Raise Your Hand, Virginia 4-H!

Raise your hand to support youth in your community! Raising your hand is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Raise Your Hand: Go to to vote for your state.

2. Compete for Your State: Raising your hand is a vote towards a $20,000, $10,000 or $5,000 award for the states with the most hands raised.

3. Pay It Forward: Tweet, post and share your #4HGrown support and ask your network to raise their hands at

Don't forget to raise your hand and challenge your friends to do the same by May 15th!

National 4-H Marketing Webinars

Register now for 2018 webinars from National 4-H on all things marketing, including "Ask Me Anything!" sessions with the various marketing teams. See the webinars available, including past recordings, and register here.

Congress Registration

Registration for the 2018 State 4-H Congress is now live! All participants (youth and adult) must register through 4HOnline to attend State 4-H Congress. Registration closes at 11:59 PM on Monday May 14.

Virginia 4-H Pork Challenge

We have a new contest area that will take place this summer, the Virginia 4-H Pork Challenge! This contest will be held on Saturday, July 28, 2018, beginning at 10 AM at the Smithfield Foods Innovation Center, 401 North Church Street, Smithfield, VA, 23430. This contest is being offered through grant funding received by the Virginia Pork Council. Similar to the 4-H Food Challenge and the Virginia 4-H Beef Challenge, this contest will allow participants to use their creativity to create a dish using pork as the main ingredient. I hope you will encourage your food challenge teams to participate. If financial help is needed to practice or establish a team, please contact Dr. Tonya Price (, as grant funding is available. Additionally, please review the March 8th email from Dr. Price to find the registration form and rules for the contest.

4-H Cabinet Applications

Applications for the 2018-2019 State 4-H Cabinet are due to the State Elections Chair, Corissa Vanden Hoek, by 5:00 PM on May 14. Please encourage your qualified teens to apply! Spur their interest in citizenship through participating in the election process as a candidate. The elections packet can be found here.

Replace 4-H Welcome Signs

The Seven Bends 4-H Shooting Education Club in Shenandoah County has designed a welcome sign and is personalizing signs for your unit as a club fundraiser! The cost for each 18x24 sign is $65 (plus shipping if not able to be hand delivered at 4-H events). Please contact for more info or to place an order.

Important Dates in May

- 3- National 4-H Land and Homesite Judging Contest @ Oklahoma City

-10- State 4-H Forestry Contest @ Warrenton

-14- 4-H Congress Registration Closes

-15- Call for Innovative Programming Awards applications

-21- 4-H Congress paperwork and payment due

Important Dates in June

-1- Internal deadline for MidwayUSA Foundation Cash Grant, June Cycle. Contact Crystal Graham,

-4- Innovative Programming Award Applications due by noon to Crystal Graham,

April 2018

Drones Available at District Offices

Through the 4-H Foundation Agriculture Innovative Programming Award, each district office now has a DJI Spark drone available for agent use. They may be used to educate and experiment with 4-H members and adults on the uses of drones. Contact Dan Swafford ( for more information.

Texas Hurricane Relief

This week, Virginia 4-H teens are traveling to Rockport, Texas to spend their spring break supporting hurricane relief efforts with the Rockport Relief Center. Monday-Friday, they'll be working and getting to know their Texas peers. Be sure to watch our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for live upates all week!

Raise Your Hand

The Raise Your Hand campaign begins today and ends May 15th. Cast your vote to help Virginia 4-H win $20,000! Show your support for 4-H in our communities.

All-Star Awards

The Virginia 4-H All Star Midwinter Conference was held February 2-4, 2018 in Abingdon, Virginia. Several members were recognized for their outstanding service, leadership, and contributions. Congratulations to the following award recipients. The Hall of Fame Award was given to Connie Dalton. Spencer Gee was the recipient of the Bradshaw Award. The Dottie Nelson Award for Excellence in 4-H International Programs was awarded to Janice Seibert. Spencer Gee and Alyssa Harris were presented with the Wayne Keffer College Scholarship. Robyn Raines received the Dean Allen Award.

4-H Symposium Tentative Dates

Please hold Nov. 7-11 for the 2018 4-H Symposium. Program teams will likely meet on Wed., Nov. 7 and the agent professional development sessions will begin on Thurs., Nov. 8. Due to the growth of the event, we are trying to find a venue that will hold a larger group. The final location has not yet been determined. We will send out more information as soon as a location has been confirmed.

4-H Operations and Events Coordinator Interviews

The on-campus interviews for the 4-H Operations and Events Coordinator position will be held on Thursday, April 19. Each candidate will present a 20-30 minute WebEx seminar as a part of the interview process. The State 4-H Office will share the link and recordings for agent input after final arrangements have been made.

Brazil CHARACTER COUNTS! Trip a Success

The Brazil CHARACTER COUNTS! team, Glenda Snyder, Brian Hairston, Jocelyn Pearson, Sonya Furgurson, Jeremy Johnson and Laura Jones, just returned from Brazil. They trained 208 participants (teachers, principals, and student teachers) in a two day Basic CHARACTER COUNTS! training about Ethics and Values, the six pillars of character (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsiblity, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship) and ethical decision making. The team conducted Advanced CHARACTER COUNTS! training, Learning styles and Classroom Management, Conflict Management, and True Colors for 140 teachers and principals who had participated in the Basic CHARACTER COUNTS! training previously. they visited several schools learning about their CHARACTER COUNTS! efforts and impacts. They met with school administrators, judges, and university faculty about CHARACTER COUNTS! and 4-H positive youth development. They participated in a Rotary Celebration and Recognition of CHARACTER COUNTS! in Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Month of the Military Child

April, Month of the Military Child provides an opportunity to recognize and honor our youngest heroes, military children. These youth face many challenges that are unique to their situation, such as having a parent deployed, frequent moves, new schools, and leaving friends. Their ability to adapt to these challenges deserves our respect. Virginia is home to more than 73,000 children whose parents serve in the military.

The 4-H program of Virginia Cooperative Extension invites everyone across the state of Virginia to join us for the 8th Annual Purple up! for Military Kids celebration by wearing purple on April 13th. This is a very visible way to show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices. Purple symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Marine red, and Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force blue.

Important Dates in April

-4- Central VA Cattle Working Contest @ Tucker Livestock Market

-5- Shenandoah Valley Cattle Working Contest @Waynesboro

-14- New River Valley Cattle Working Contest @ Fort Chiswell

-20- State 4-H Stockmen's Contest @ VA Beef Expo

-20- State Tractor Operator Contest @ VA Beef Expo

-21- State 4-H Cattle Working Contest @ VA Beef Expo

-27- State 4-H Poultry Contest @ Harrisonburg

Important Dates in May

-3- National 4-H Land and Homesite Judging Contest @ Oklahoma City

-10- State 4-H Forestry Contest @ Warrenton

-14- 4-H Congress Registration Closes

-21- 4-H Congress paperwork and payment due

March 2018

Get More Reach

Do you want your 4-H social media posts to get more reach? Tag Virginia 4-H on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and we will share them! And if you're hosting a Facebook event, use the new Facebook feature to ask Virginia 4-H to co-host.

Drones Available at District Offices

Through the 4-H Foundation Agriculture Innovative Programming Award, each district office now has a DJI Spark drone available for agent use. They may be used to educate and experiment with 4-H members and adults on the uses of drones. Contact Dan Swafford ( for more information.

4-H Volunteer Connection

Join volunteers from across the southern region at a national conference hosted by the Volunteer Conference of Southern States. This year's conference will be held Sept. 27th- Sept. 30th. Come for exciting workshops and speakers, including the keynote speaker Dr. Doug Steele. Learn more here!

JOANN Fabrics Update

The Paper Clover campaign being held in JOANN Fabrics stores across the state has been extended through March! Keep sending your 4-H supporters to your local store. And remember to use the hashtag #JOANNHearts4H!

Federal Resources from

Young people who are struggling with their thoughts and feelings about the stories and images of the recent school shooting may turn to trusted adults for help and guidance. To help youth cope with school shooting incidents, has compiled a list of federal resources those who work with youth can use to address trauma and bolster resilience. Read more.

Get Your Game On For Healthier Kids

Game On supports America's schools in creating healthier school environments for students, staff, and the communities they serve. Check out the Game On resources to create a healthier school in your area. To get more involved, sign up for the Game On email list. Also, Game On school grant applications are open! Apply online by April 6th!


Bom Dia! Sonya Furgurson, Brian Hairston, Jeremy Johnson, Laura Jones, Jocelyn Pearson, and Glenda Snyder are traveling to Brazil Feb. 28th- Mar. 18th. During their visit, they will conduct a two-day basic CHARACTER COUNTS! training for teachers, principals and community leaders. Two days of professional development will be offered for past participants in the basic CHARACTER COUNTS! training.

This training will include True Colors, Conflict Management, Learning Styles and Behavior Management, and advanced CHARACTER COUNTS! training. They will visit schools to learn about their CHARACTER COUNTS! efforts, impacts, and the education system. The team will conduct CHARACTER COUNTS! activities with youth and meet with university faculty and judges about their efforts with youth who have incarcerated parents.

Follow the team at the Virginia 4-H & Brazil CHARACTER COUNTS! Facebook page.

Important Dates in March

- 22- Southern Piedmont Cattle Working Contest @ Southern Piedmont AREC

- 23-25- EquiSmartz @ Virginia State Fairgrounds

- 30- Southwest Cattle Working Contest @ Copenhaver Farm

Important Dates in April

- 4- Central VA Cattle Working Contest @ Tucker Livestock Market

- 5- Shenandoah Valley Cattle Working Contest @ Waynesboro

- 14- New River Valley Cattle Working Contest @ Fort Chiswell

- 20 State 4-H Stockmen's Contest @ VA Beef Expo

-20- State Tractor Operator Contest @ VA Beef Expo

-21- State 4-H Cattle Working Contest @ VA Beef Expo

-27- State 4-H Poultry Contest @ Harrisonburg

February 2018

JOANN Fabrics Partnership

This month, 4-H's partnership with JOANN Fabrics kicks off nationwide! Here's what's happening.

-4-H members, volunteers, parents, and employees can get a 15% discount and give back to 4-H with every purchase by signing up for a 4-H Rewards Card.

-For the month of February, JOANN Fabrics will be selling $1 and $4 Paper Clovers in store to support 4-H.

-On February 3rd from 11:00-2:00, JOANN Fabrics will be hosting an in store card making event for Valentine's Day. Local 4-H members and volunteers will participate in making cards for people in need of cheering!

-The 4-H and JOANN Fashion Contest opens February 3rd. 4-H'ers can upload photos of a constructed outfit to enter. Outfits will be voted for on social media in March, and the winner gets a trip to the Kent State Fashion Show in April! This is a great opportunity for young fashion designers across the state. Read the rules and enter here.

Podcast Series on Family and Youth Engagement

The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, with support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's School-Justice Partnership Project, is hosting the podcast series "Strategies to Build Family and Youth Engagement to Keep Kids in School." Episodes will share strategies to help youth with behavioral health needs and their families make connections with schools and stakeholders to improve youth outcomes.

JOANN Fabrics Social Media

When sharing anything about the JOANN Fabrics partnership online, be sure to use the hashtag #JOANNHearts4H. Also use the hashtag when sharing crafts, artwork, and fashion designs!

If you attend the February 3rd card making event, please take lots of photos and tag Virginia 4-H on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We will share your posts on our page!

Salamander Savers 4-H Club Nominates the Red Salamander for the State of Virginia

Over the last year, Salamander Savers 4-H Club has been asking local lawmakers to help then recognize a state salamander to raise awareness for salamander populations across the state. The Salamander Savers 4-H Club believes the red salamander, pseudotriton ruber, best represents the state of Virginia. The red salamander is widely spread throughout Virginia and inhabits a variety of woodland habitats. Virginia would be the first state to nominate the red salamander as its state salamander.

Jonah Kim, the president of Salamander Savers 4-H Club, started the club with his brothers three years ago in response to the dredging of Woodglen Lake. Since then, Salamander Savers 4-H Club has grown in numbers and has taken part in numerous ecological activities, ranging from stream monitoring to salamander surveys. This year Salamander Savers hopes to see HB 459 pass, which would name the red salamander Virginia's official state salamander.

Salamanders Savers has been working diligently to nominate the red salamander as the state salamander of Virginia; however, Salamander Savers still needs your help. Please call, write, or email your representatives in Richmond and ask them to support HB 459, which names the red salamander as Virginia's official state salamander. There is a link to find your representatives on our website as well as a sample letter.

To learn more about Salamander Savers, visit our website

VICE Conference

Virginia Institute on Cooperative Education (VICE) Conference will be held April 13-15, 2018 at Graves Mountain Lodge, Syria, Virginia. This youth leadership conference enhances students business, teamwork, and leadership skills. Three top performers and the conference will win a college scholarship. Attendants may only attend once and most be age 16-19.

Sodexo Stop Hunger Grants

Youth Service America and the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation are looking for innovative ideas from young people about how they can help end childhood hunger in their communities. 125 $400 grants are available for youth leaders ages 5-25 and 10 $1,000 grants are available to schools and organizations to make an impact on Global Youth Service Day, April 20-22, 2018. $400 Summer 2018 Sustainability Grants will also be awarded to up to 25 youth grantees to sustain and continue their GYSD projects.

Camping Corner by Sam Fisher, 4-H Camping Specialist

The snow may be flying now, but it won't be long until those hot summer days. And with summer comes 4-H camp! Many of you are training your teens and volunteers during this time, and those first steps in training usually focus on getting to know each other and building camaraderie in your group. Circle games are great to use in reaching these goals. Circles are inclusive and can focus on various forms of communication. Here are a few examples you can try out at your next training:

Camp Alphabet: One player begins: "I will take to camp and apple." The next player repeats this sentence and adds another article which begins with the next letter of the alphabet: "I will take to camp an apple and a bag." The game continues until a player gets confused, forgets, or says the wrong articles. Another option: one player begins by stating their name and names one item they would like to put in their suitcase. The player on their right is next. Each player repeats the names of the players and what they "pack" in the suitcase and then says their name and what they will pack.

ZigZag Circle: Everyone stands in a circle and tightly holds hands. Every second person "falls" backwards while the other players "fall" forward. Then, players switch directions. The feet remain in a standing position and don't move. Goal:Trust that the decision works. Instead of holding hands, you can also hold onto a rope knotted together.

Go to to check ot more circle games and lots of other activities.

Teaching Tolerance Free Opportunity

Teaching Tolerance is partnering with the University of Virginia's Center for the Liberal Arts and Carter G. Woodson Institute to offer educators a free professional development opportunity on March 17, 2018, in Charlottesville, Virignia. This event, "Teaching the History of Race in the United States: Teaching Hard History and The Illusion of Progress," will introduce educators to TT's latest resource, "Teaching Hard History: American Slavery." Register here.

2018 Meet the Author Webinars

Join us for weekly webinars starting on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018. Throughout the start of 2018, we will be hosting webinars on new 4-H curriculum materials. The sessions will include a 30 minute overview by the authors and 15 minutes of Q&A. Access these webinars at the scheduled date and time and gain access to recorded webinars at the 4-H on24 portal. Register here.

January 2018

Tag Us On Social Media!

Virginia 4-H wants to see your posts! When you share on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter about what your 4-H club is up to, tag our state pages. Help us share your posts to a wider audience!

4-H Day at the Capitol

4-H Day at the Capitol is Tuesday January 30, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. 4-H Day provides an opportunity for 4-H members to visit the Capitol, learn about our government, and learn from our history. Over 600 members, parents, volunteers, and 4-H extension agents participated last year.

Halifax 4-H Texas Hurricane Relief Project

Check out this service learning opportunity for Virginia teens! During the first week of April, Halifax 4-H is taking a trip to Rockport, Texas to help with local disaster relief.

Youth ages 14-18 with a strong work ethic and positive character are encouraged to apply. No previous 4-H experience is required. The group is prepared to take approximately 45 teens and 6 adult chaperones. There will also be mandatory trainings held at the Halifax County Extension Office, the first on Sunday January 28, at 2:00 p.m.

Applications are due by Friday January 19, with a $25 deposit. To find out more details on the trip, expenses, training, and to get an application, please email or

Dr. David Thomas Webinar Recording

If you were unable to participate in the Partnership Center's webinar with NIDA's Dr. David Thomas on understand pain and prescription drugs, included is a link to the recording and related resources.

Recording: Do I Need This Pill? Understanding Pain and Prescription Drugs

Report: Relieving Pain in America

NIH Pain Consortium: Education Interactive Modules

Grant Opportunity to Address Local Drug Crisis

The goal of the Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Address Local Drug Crisis/SAMHSA is to prevent and reduce the abuse of opioids or methamphetamines and the abuse of prescription medications among youth ages 12-18 in communities throughout the United States. Application due date: Monday, January 29, 2018.

National 4-H Healthy Living Youth Summit

At the National Youth Summit on Healthy Living, high school students develop the knowledge and skills to address today's issues including nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness, and emotional well-being, Students are trained to create action plans to implement in their communities and teach other youth about what they have learned. The structure of the summit maximizes the amount of hands-on learning experiences and translates that learning to direct outcomes.

The National Youth Summit on Healthy Living takes place February 16-19, 2018. Summit fees include accommodations at the National 4-H Conference Center, meals, educational programming, and tours, including a guided night time tour of the monuments and memorials in Washington, DC. All-you-can-eat meals are served at the Clover Cafe at National 4-H Conference Center beginning with dinner on Friday February 16 and ending with a box lunch on Monday, February 19, 2018.

Registration will open November 27, 2017 and will close February 2, 2018. If interested in this opportunity, contact Dr. Tonya Price for more information.

All Stars Midwinter Conference

Virginia 4-H All Stars Midwinter Conference is February 3-4, 2018 at the Southwest 4-H Center in Abingdon. The weekend features a Service Learning Barn Quilt workshop where participants will make barn quilts to benefit the 4-H Center. For more information, contact the State 4-H Office at 540-231-6372.

New Cyberbullying Content

In person, there are usually clear avenues to help a bullied child - a parent, a teacher, law enforcement. But online, each platform and every state may have different governing rules and laws. The redeveloped makes it easier to understand what cyberbullying is, where the vulnerable online spaces are, and how best to respond when online abuse takes place.

December 2017

Welcome to the first Virginia 4-H Professionals Newsletter! On the first of every month, you'll find in this newsletter important announcements, deadlines, and marketing information from the State 4-H Office.

Statewide Teen Weekend

The Statewide Teen Weekend will be held February 2-4, 2018 at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center. Registration is due on or before January 15, 2018. There will be two educational tracks to choose from: a leadership track and the traditional teen weekend track.

New 4-H Blog

The new 4-H blog will be launched on December 6, 2017! Watch our social media to see when the first post goes up. New posts will be added weekly, every Wednesday. If you have a volunteer, youth, or programming highlight you'd like to see on the blog, contact Caroline Sutphin, 4-H Communications Technician, at 

4-H Senegal Program and Team Members

Congratulations to Bethany Eigel, Chesterfield, and Wendy Herdman, Westmoreland, for being selected to be part of the Virginia to Senegal 4-H Training team January 12-29, 2018. Along with Dr. Kathleen Jamison, they will join Ruth Wallace, Buckingham, and Reggie Morris, Alexandria, to conduct 4-H training to paid and unpaid faculty and staff to continue to build and strengthen the Senegal 4-H program. They will work closely with Bineta Guisse and Fatimata Kane, 4-H Directors in Senegal, and Dr. Tom Archibald at Virginia Tech.

Since 2015, the Senegal 4-H program has grown to 34 4-H clubs with about 600 youth members and 163 trained/certified leaders. Their projects include Gardening, Chickens, Community Service, Fairs, Weaving, Batik, Sewing, Food Processing, Arts and Crafts, Personal Development, and much more. 

Read the story here.

Camp Director Training

The Camp Director Training will be held January 23-25, 2018 at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center. Deadline for registration is January 12. This training is mandatory for all new 4-H agents and program assistants who have sole responsibility for the 4-H Camping program in their unit. It is highly encourage for all other program assistants, and volunteers are also eligible to attend.

Yoga for Kids Instructor Training

The Yoga for Kids Instructor Training will be held March 6, 2018 at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Center. Registration is due on or before February 9, 2018. The training is limited to 30 participants and is open to both 4-H and FCS professionals. This training is supported by the Nutrition Education Grant provided by National 4-H Council and funded by the Walmart Foundation.

JOANN Fabrics Partnership Webinar

JOANN Fabrics and National 4-H Council are partnering to bring more hands-on 4-H programs to youth in local communities across the nation. A soft rollout is currently underway. Starting in November, the 4-H community and JOANN customers can save money while "shopping with purpose" with the free 4-H Reward Card. This new 4-H Reward Card gives JOANN shoppers 15% off their total in-store and online purchases every day, and gives a minimum of 2.5% of every eligible transaction as a donation to 4-H. Learn more about the campaign here.

Full information will be presented in a December 7, 2018 webinar at 1:30 p.m. eastern time. To sign up for the webinar, please register at here. The webinar will be recorded.

Congrats to the Shenandoah 4-H Soils Team!

Congratulations to the Shenandoah 4-H Soils Team for winning the state 4-H contest. They will be representing Virginia 4-H at the National 4-H Land Judging Contest in Oklahoma City this May. Team members include Tiffany Heishman, Lindsey Zirkle, Faith Dellinger, and Anna Rankin, coached by Brian Fisher.

Shooting Education Announcement

The Shooting Sports Teen Ambassador Training (January 5-7, 2018) and the Winter Meeting of the Virginia 4-H Shooting Education Council (January 6-7, 2018) will be held at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Center.