- Author: Jenna Colburn
The past few years California and the nation have faced devastating natural disasters. When we see images of devastation and loss on the news and Internet our first instinct is to mobilize, organize, and help those that are in need.
In the past week California has been hit hard again with wildfires in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Currently the brave first responders are still fighting to contain those fires.
Recovery from a catastrophic loss is a marathon, not a sprint.
After the fires are out, there will be a long road to recovery. Fire survivors may go back to survey their properties, but on top of insurance claims and rebuilding decisions, they have to address their immediate needs for shelter. Survivors will need support throughout the long process.
As noted in a Sacramento Bee article, thirteen months ago fires in Sonoma County destroyed about 5,300 homes, including about 2,000 in unincorporated Santa Rosa. Since then, only 598 permits have been issued to rebuild single family homes and only around 30 homes have been rebuilt in the unincorporated areas.
What you can do to help
Map out a plan
If you collect 1000 blankets, who will you give them to and how will you get them where they need to be? Are blankets what are really needed? The only way to answer these questions is to have a good plan with plenty of support in place BEFORE you start your project. This will ensure that your efforts to make a difference will be successful and sustainable.
Contact organizations that are able to accept goods BEFORE you start collecting items. Organizations have different needs at different times during disaster recovery efforts. Unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, household items, and mixed foodstuff require agencies to redirect their valuable resources away from providing relief services. They will have to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not even meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Find reputable local organizations to support
The best way to help in disaster areas is to support relief organizations that are already established in the area.
Some ways to verify relief organizations:
- Give.org- the BBB Wise Giving Alliance
- The State Of California has vetted both volunteer opportunities and organizations that are supporting relief efforts. CaliforniaVolunteers is the state office that manages programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Californians engaged in service and volunteering. Their Current Disasters webpage links to resources for current information on disaster areas in California.
As an individual, you can make personal monetary donations to organizations to support relief efforts.
There are many organizations that are accepting cash donations. The Golden Valley Bank Foundation has set up a fund to directly support 4-H, FFA and Grange members and their families affected by the Camp Fire.
Know our 4-H policy on fundraising and donating to non-profit organizations.
4-H clubs cannot donate cash or fundraise for other non-profit organizations. Please familiarize yourself with the following documents for more clarification:
- Guidelines for Fundraising by 4-H Units and VMOs to Benefit Groups or Organizations
- FAQs for 4-H Units & VMOs - Fundraising to Benefit Groups or Organizations
Create a sustainable Service Learning Project to support disaster relief
With a Service Learning Project, you will participate in the development of community partnerships and share responsibility with community members. You will also take an active role in improving society and improving the quality of life in the community.
Our own 4-H clubs have helped with fire recovery efforts.
Oroville Foothill 4-H Club's fire recovery project was shared in a blog post by 4-H member Donovan Hill.
Use the Service Learning Toolkit and Project Planning Guide
Evaluate your plan to ensure it is High Service/High Learning using the Standards of Quality in Service Learning. This 10 question checklist will help you determine how to make this a positive learning experience that benefits the community at the same time.
This original blog post from 9/1/17 was updated and edited to include current information. Jenna Colburn is the Program Coordinator for Civic Engagement. If you have any questions regarding creating a service learning project, please contact Jenna at email@example.com.
- Author: Jada Ho
- Author: TJ Suit
- Author: Rose Fiorenza
- Author: Addyson Rubin
We asked teens who attended last year's 2017 Mindfulness Retreat: "What were the highlights of the Mindfulness Retreat for you? What did you learn from the retreat that would be useful for teens?"
Jada: The mindfulness retreat was refreshing for me to be able to worry about nothing but the present. I loved the morning yoga and and making collages. This weekend reminded me that I should stop and take a total break from everything more often, and that I don't have to constantly be accomplishing something. I learned that visualizing things, like the glitter in a moody jar, when I meditate or practice mindfulness helps me to focus.
TJ: Given the opportunity to focus on myself and the present for a weekend with no worries about the future was an amazing experience. I spent time learning more about myself, learning about others, and learning mindful tools to help me get through my everyday life. From meditating on the beach, tons of arts and crafts, hilarious skits, and meeting new friends, it was an experience I will remember for a very long time!
Rose: The mindfulness retreat was an enlightening experience that impacted me in so many ways. With all my college applications due, I've been extremely busy and extremely stressed. The retreat really opened my eyes to the impact that stress can make on my social, mental and emotional health. I was able to leave the retreat with mindfulness strategies that I now use to help me relieve stress, such as collaging, deep breathing, and journaling.
Addy: The mindfulness retreat was a great weekend for stressed teens and adults. It gave everyone some time to step back and live in the moment instead of being obsessed with future plans and responsibilities. The retreat provided everyone with helpful tools that will keep you on track, and keep your stress levels down. This retreat really opened my eyes to what meditation and mindful breathing is capable of and I now use these techniques as a daily stress reliever. This was an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend people of all ages.
Join us this year!
November 2-4, 2018
Camp Ocean Pines, Cambria, CA
A 4-H Healthy Living Program for youth age 13-19 and adults
Register online - Deadline extended to October 1, 2018
See our Event Calendar posting for more information.
- Author: Emily Jackson
Siskiyou County is one of California's most rural counties. Forest fires and other natural disasters are often a concern for our communities. Many of our residents own pets and livestock, but we lack the agency resources to help with pet/livestock emergency evacuation.
With fire season already starting, Siskiyou County's Hi 4-H project wanted to help people prepare for emergency evacuations that included plans for pets and livestock. It was important that we inform the public about how to prepare for a disaster. To do this, we created PEEP (Pet Emergency Evacuation Plan) pamphlets.
The main objective of this project was to inform and teach 4-Hers and the public about how to keep pets and livestock safe in case of evacuation. We worked with Siskiyou County's Animal Control and used resources from the Office of Emergency Services (OES) while we researched on our own in preparation for this project. We learned about important things to have prepared if animals need to be evacuated, and what to do if animals need to be left behind or let loose. In our pamphlets, we included information about how to evacuate small and large animals, important items to have prepared in case of an emergency, and the importance of pre-planning.
How we're sharing the information
Our pamphlets will be handed out at the Siskiyou Golden Fair and a PDF version will be available on our county's Animal Control and Office of Emergency Services (OES) websites. We have also given presentations on our project and supplied information pamphlets to local 4-H clubs, as well as shared our project with attendees of this year's California Focus conference.
After completing this project, we have gained knowledge about how to evacuate both large and small animals and we know that it is our responsibility to make sure we have a plan. Our animals are counting on us. We hope that our project will help 4-Hers and members of our community be prepared for future disasters.
Don't forget your PEEP's in an emergency!
- Author: Kate Lyn Sutherland
Do you have a phone? Do you love to draw, paint, or capture moments with cameras or other electronic devices? More importantly, do you love 4-H?
Help promote 4-H by designing a promotional advertisement that can be used on websites, social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and also in print.
Advertising is how a company encourages people to buy their products, services or ideas. This is your chance to convince the world to join 4-H through social media, digital artwork, or drawings by entering the first State 4-H Promotional Advertisement Contest at State Field Day.
How to Enter
For digital ads
Digital ads should have been submitted online by May 19. They will be projected from a computer for voting at State Field Day
For print ads - turn in on June 2 at State Field Day before 10:30am
Printed hand-drawn or computer aided submissions
Recommended size: 8.5" x 11" Minimum size: 8" x 10"
Please note, if you are entering a physical entry, please plan to pick it up before 4:00pm. We love all of your entries, and we wouldn't want one of them to get lost.
For computer-aided designs:
Use CMYK color
Max size: 2550 x 3300 px at 300 ppi
File format: PDF
Helpful free programs to assist you
PicsArt (also available in the App Store and Google Play for your phone!)
Voting: 11 am to 1 pm
All entries will be displayed for attendees to view at State Field Day. Attendees can also participate in voting, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
The world could see your designs!
Winners will be posted on the State 4-H Facebook (@California4H), Instagram (@ca4H), and Twitter (@California4H) as well as the State 4-H website.
For more information about the contest rules and to submit your digital promotional advertisement, check out our event page. This event is planned and organized by the Management Board Marketing and Public Relations Committee.
- Author: Thomas Aquino
- Author: Cory Carlson
- Author: Emily Cullins
- Editor: Suzanne Morikawa
Of course, we also had our individual team events to compete in. As a member of the Horse Bowl Team, I can tell you that we studied a good portion of every evening to help us prepare for our event. Believe it or not, the studying never bothered me because I was learning about a topic that interests me and our team became pretty close knit over the months since [Horse] Classic.
Although these events were exciting, I believe the highlight was meeting 4-H kids from across the country. At the dance and pin swap we were able to talk with teams from different states, and discuss our clubs and projects. It was nice to meet so many people from all over the U.S. (and even Canada) that shared my interests. Although I am aging out of 4-H this year, I am thankful to have had this experience. My only regret is not competing at classic until my final year in 4-H. So in closing—thank you, 4-H, for the friendships I have made from this National Competition, and for the memories I will always cherish.
The next day (the 5th) the Horse Bowl team and some other California 4-H members went to the Arabian Horse Association, where we got a tour of the building, saw cool awards and trophies and later went out to lunch with some of the personnel there. Later that night we went to the banquet and flag ceremony, where we got to see every state and Canadian province that was there. After the banquet,, we all took a group photo together to represent California and then most of California went to the dance that night where we learned new dances and met new people.
On Saturday the horse bowl team competition we lost the first round but had high spirits to come back in the second round. The second round was very close in the first half with South Dakota having 5 and California having 4 but after the second half of the game things didn't go our way and we lost. We ended up receiving 7th overall as a team and even though we didn't win we were all glad to have come that far.
After we competed we went to the Denver Western National Stock Show and saw all the livestock, vendors selling things, a llama show, and at the end of the night some of us got to watch the cowboy rodeo. Then we went back to the hotel and proceeded to do the pin swap with every state and Canadian province there. We got to meet a ton of cool people from different states and share stories. The pin swap was followed by a dance with a photo both and games. On Sunday, the last day we were there, we went to the award ceremony in the morning to see how everyone did. California ended up placing 3rd overall out of over 30 states who were there. Later that day after the ceremony we split up and some of us went to watch freestyle reining at the stock show and some of us went out to explore. We went to Texas Roadhouse [and] toured the rodeo hall of fame where we got to read about famous people and animals in the rodeo and see cool bucking and roping saddles. We also went to see the Valley of the Gods rock formations and climb them and admire them. On our way back home to the hotel we got to stop at Cabela's, which was my first time ever being there and it was an exciting experience. The next day we all went to the Denver Airport, where we said our goodbyes to each other. Overall it was an amazing trip and I was glad to have got to go and compete at the National Western Roundup.
A wide audience stood before me, three judges and some of the most anxious looking parents. I had prepared months for this moment, I looked the part and I knew the words by heart. I opened my mouth and the words fell out with the utmost excitement. “The rankest of broncs….” It was the competition day for the 4-H National Western Round-up in Denver Colorado and I was there proudly representing California 4-H.
But before this amazing moment could occur, I had spent countless hours with several different people rewriting and repeating my speech. I said my speech everywhere, from my 4-H county office, the car, Skandia and the airport. All in preparation of this day.
My team, consisting of 16 youth and I, arrived at the Denver airport bright and early. When we stepped outside to get into our Uber, we were shocked by the cold. (It was only 40 degrees, but that's still cold) Once we got to the hotel we were greeted by warm smiles not only from the staff but also from all the other 4-H kids. The first night we had the orientation, we learned rules through funny skits and heard a wonderful speaker. Which only made us more excited for the events to come, we literally jumped from the conference room, sang and danced all the way back to our rooms. Whenever we saw different kids across the hall, we would shout “ Hey where are you from? Add us on Snapchat! What are you competing in?” We may have been a little loud but now I have a New Best Friend from South Dakota. (It was -12 when they left for Colorado) The first morning, the Horse Judging team and Hippology team had their competitions. I wasn't there, but from what I've heard the competition was very difficult but they were confident [and] they did well.
While they were away the Horse Bowl team and I were blessed enough to visit the Arabian Horse Headquarters. There we learned what it takes to put on a national competition: budgeting; how they register thousands of horses; how horse passports are made; and their marketing strategies. The people who run the Arabian Horse Association were so kind and just as excited to have us there as we were.
Back at the ranch (hotel) the rest of the public speaking girls were saying their speeches. Just as I had, they prepared months for their 15 minutes in the limelight. Jayla and Mishayla gave a wildly entertaining demonstration on different horseshoes, while Mira gave a super fun and educational demonstration about horse cloning. They answered their questions with the utmost ease, making everyone from California proud. But, just like everyone else, they wouldn't know their placings until Sunday morning.
The next morning was my big day, the day that I had been preparing for. Saturday morning the Horse Bowl kids and I woke super early. For them it was to get in a few more minutes of studying, while I, on the other hand, had to somehow manage to make myself presentable for my speech. When I was finally fully clothed and heading down the elevator, my coach drilled me with possible questions the judges may ask. I was nervous and stumbled through them. But come hell or high water, I still knew I was ready. Standing before the audience, I took a deep breath, smiled, and told the world what I knew by heart.
Seven minutes later, my nearly perfect speech was over. The judges asked questions such as, ‘'How would you promote animal welfare?” and “If you came across an animal rights activities how would you handle the situation?”
I answered back proudly, without a single mistake. (Literally leaving my Mother and Lynn in tears.)
Many hours after my whirlwind seven minutes, the funnest evening began. It started with my favorite part, the Pin Swap! Where all the states' delegates get together and (as the name suggests) swap pins. This event is so much fun because we get the chance to meet and share stories with all of the wonderful
4-H kids. We did run into the little problem, of our California state pins not coming until Monday. (The day we would be leaving) But this didn't stop us from having fun, so a few kids and I came up with the solution of making our own! It took us five hours, but we enjoyed it. When the swap was over, we danced the night away (Sadly, my two-stepping had not gotten any better).
The next morning, was the morning we were all anxiously waiting for. After eating the strange breakfast burritos, the awards began. First up was hippology, we were awarded with 8th, next was horse bowl with an exciting 8th as well. When it was the awards for public speaking, demonstration received a fantastic 4th, duo demo also received 4th. Then it was my turn, they announced 10th not me, my heart pounded, 7th still not me, finally they announced “In 4th place - California, Emily Cullins.” My team and I were so excited, we all started screaming - we screamed literally anytime California was mentioned—and the morning was not over yet. We were all overjoyed when California was mentioned 3rd high state overall. Which, of course, resulted in more screaming and hollering from us. We were a little rowdy, but it was so much fun. And just like that, the Nationals were over as fast as they had begun.