4-H Council is a voice for Lake County

Lake County 4-H is a cooperation between the Board of County Commissioners and the University of Florida to provide youth services to the local community. Currently, there are more than 400 members — ages 5-18 — in Lake County 4-H.

A select number of kids go beyond the club level and become involved in the County Council. The council plays an essential role in Lake County 4-H because it’s an elected representative group of 4-H members who meet, discuss, plan and assist in carrying out programs. The council acts as a voice for the county and connects youth members from local clubs. Involvement in the 4-H County Council provides kids with the opportunity for personal growth through citizenship and leadership activities. Council participation gives 4-Hers the opportunity to be an invaluable asset to the program.

The County Council focuses on hearing the needs of all children in Lake County and encompasses all age groups, providing the council with a diversity of views.

The council utilizes a constitution which mimics the state constitution. Leadership roles include: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, reporter, historian, parliamentarian, two delegates and sergeant-at-arms. Over the summer, these officers attend a County Council officer training that focuses on building leadership skills, participating in team-building activities, and setting goals for the upcoming year. This year the youth set goals related to fundraising, increasing attendance, and community involvement.

The County Council’s meeting follows the same agenda as a 4-H community club. Half of the meeting focuses on an educational piece, a quarter on recreation and the rest on the business meeting. The educational program can feature guest speakers or be a special program, such as a flag retirement ceremony. The January County Council meeting featured Anthony Sabatini, a Eustis city commissioner, as the guest speaker. He encouraged members to be responsible citizens by voting and keeping up with county issues. He also encouraged members to run for office. The recreation portion of the meeting can include games focusing on activities for team building and leadership. The business meeting focuses on new and old business for the council and also utilizes committees for planning upcoming events, including the County Events Day and Lake County Fair. Members spread the word about council events and activities to local civic groups, media outlets and local 4-H clubs.

Members also participate in community service and local activities. This year, the Council hosted a 4-H food drive and collected non-perishable food and toiletries for Hurricane Irma victims in Astor. Another project involved cleaning up local waterways by picking up trash at Hickory Point in partnership with the Lake County Water Authority. The council also collected diapers for area foster families.

Council members will be at the Arbor Day Celebration Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wooton Park in Tavares to educate eventgoers on watersheds and the importance of clean water.

If interested in becoming part of the 4-H Lake County Council, making the Council aware of an opportunity to serve the community or willing to donate to the Council for upcoming events, contact Dallas Daniels at hendersond@ufl.edu. The Council is always looking for opportunities to serve the community.