The 4-H slogan is to "Learn by Doing" and our youths are doing just that by learning through the experiences that they decide to embark on as club members.

Upcoming weeks will showcase this experiential learning approach. Okaloosa County 4-H has Teen Retreat, 4-H Day at the Capitol, and our County Events coming in February and early March.

Over Presidents Day weekend, the NW District Florida 4-H Teen Retreat will take place at Camp Cherry Lake. This youth-led weekend gives teens the ability to plan the whole weekend from T-shirt design to workshops and fun shops.

Our teens have been engaged in the entire planning process via virtual planning meetings for months now. The theme this year is the "4-H'ers Guide to an Apocalypse," with workshops and fun shops that include building bug-out bags, grilling, fishing and even archery!

The 4-H Day at the Capitol is an opportunity for members to travel to Tallahassee on Feb. 22 to partake in various endeavors. The youths are encouraged to make an appointment with elected officials to discuss the 4-H program.

Youths also have the options to go to the Museum of Florida History, the Tallahassee Museum, Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and the Florida governor’s mansion.

County events allow our 4-H youths to show their talents through photography, demonstrations/illustrated talks, graphic design, public speaking, and share-the-fun. County events are implemented through the experiential learning approach. The 4-H youths are making their own decisions, taking risks, applying what they have learned, and learning through reflection.

County events allow them to express what they have learned and receive feedback that they can learn from in a hands-on learning environment. The qualifying youths will have the opportunity to advance to district, state and regional/national events.

Our Okaloosa County 4-H county events registration will end March 5 and the county events will be held on March 10.

I can be reached via email at twilken@ufl.edu or by calling the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office at 850-689- 5850 if you would like to find out more about 4-H in our county.

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