Author Archives: mjmartin

April is Month of the Military Child

April is the Month of the Military Child and today is Purple-Up for Military Kids Day!  Virginia is home to more than 108,000 children with  a parent serving in the military.  These youth face many challenges that are unique to their situation, such as having a parent deployed, frequent moves, new schools, and leaving friends.  4-H works to provide a community for these young people to connect with other youth and caring adults.  In Virginia, there are 11 military installations with 14 youth sites, that conduct 4-H programming through the 4-H Military Partnership.  These youth represent the Army, Navy and Air force branches of the military.  In addition, 4-H clubs across the Commonwealth embrace military connected youth whose parents may be in the National Guard or Reserves.  The latest enrollment data shows that more than 1,600 4-H members in Virginia are military connected.  Take a moment to thank a military child  for the sacrifice that they make each day.  Thanks also to the many 4-H Agents and  Volunteers who take time to make a positive difference in the lives of these youth.  For more information on how Virginia 4-H Programs for military youth go to:

purple up

4-H Summer and School Year Hosting Opportunities

Applications are currently being accepted for 4-H International Summer Hosting Opportunities.  The month-long summer stay possibilities include hosting students from Argentina, Finland and Japan.  In addition, individuals interested in hosting an international student for an entire school year beginning Fall of 2014 can apply as well.  New links have been added to the Virginia 4-H International website with more information on these programs.  Please share with potential host families in your units.  Direct access to the link is:

Thank you for your support of this 4-H Citizenship Program.


Virginia 4-H International Exchange Programs Receive Accolades

The Virginia 4-H International Exchange Program was recently recognized by States’ 4-H International with the “Extraordinary Quality Programs” Award for 2012-13.  This award not only acknowledges the outstanding International Exchange Programs conducted by 4-H in Virginia, but also the quality of work of the volunteers who manage the various programs.  In Virginia there are four amazing volunteers who work tirelessly to make sure that 4-H is active and relevant in this area of citizenship.  Please allow me to introduce you to them.

Judy Ann Fray is the coordinator for the VA 4-H/Outbound Exchange program to Japan.  This program provides and opportunity for 4-H members from the United States to travel to Japan.  This year, there were three students who traveled to Japan for the month long stay.  For this program, students must be 14 -18 years old.  You may contact Judy for more information at

Rebecca Moyer is the coordinator for the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program and also the Japanese High School Exchange.  The FLEX program is a hosting program for high school students from former Soviet countries.  They spend the school year attending your local high school and this program is coordinated through the United States State Department.  Two of the students spoke at the 4-H Symposium this past weekend (one from Russia and one from Ukraine).  Japanese high school students may also be hosted for the school year through the Japanese exchange program.  Host families are recruited in the summer to participate in this program.  You may contact Rebecca for more information at

Deb Johnson is the coordinator for the 4-H/Japanese Summer Exchange program.  This is a month-long summer hosting opportunity for families and is a great introduction to the International programs. Students from Japan ages 11-18 years old participate in this program.  Each year Virginia families host over 30 Japanese delegates and adult chaperones.  For more information on this program, you may contact Deb at

Dottie Nelson is the coordinator for the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) program.  This program focuses on opportunities to students for students to host and travel to a variety of countries and continents.  The program is operated in 25 countries on 6 continents for young people ages 16-26 years old.  Dottie also coordinates the 4-H Summer Inbound and Outbound exchange program with Australia, Costa Rica, Norway, Argentina, and Cameroon.  This program is for youth ages 12-18.  You may contact Dottie at

These programs are all well run and quality programs that you can feel confident in marketing to your 4-H families.  I encourage you get involved in 4-H International Programs and to contact the 4-H volunteers above to discuss the programs in more detail.

You posted WHAT?

At the Galaxy Conference last month, I attended a timely workshop regarding teen use of social media and things to be aware of. The workshop was conducted by Christy Clary, a graduate student in Youth Development and Agricultural Education at Purdue University. It was one of the best workshops that I attended and I wanted to share some of the information with you all.

According to a 2012 report by Common Sense Media:

  • 90 percent of teens use Social Media;
  • 51 percent of teens log onto a social media site everyday; and
  • 68 percent of teens say Facebook is their main social media site.

This is important to know as we are looking for the most effective ways to communicate with teen 4-H members.  Many of you have your own Facebook accounts, but do you know everyone who can see your account or has access to your account?  If not, it is likely that the teens in your 4-H program do not either.  Increasingly, scholarship committees, employers and college admissions are searching applicants’ social media accounts prior to making decisions.  It is important to make them aware that what they post can tell others a lot about them and may impact their chances of receiving a scholarship, job offer or admission to college.  Below are some recommended social media settings which can help protect them (and you) from potential dangers.

Recommended Facebook Settings:

  • Adjust your privacy settings at:
  • Always use your correct age, but only display your birth month and day, not the year.
  • Facebook has safeguards in place for individuals under 18 and it is against the terms of service to lie about your age.
  • It is also against the terms of service to have an account if you are under the age of 13.
  • Change all of your privacy settings to “Friends” only.
  • The default setting if you are under 18 is “Friends of Friends.” For over 18 it is “Public”.
  • You don’t know who all your friends’ friends are; think about what you are letting them see.
  • Turn ON the feature that requires you to review posts your friends tag you in.
  • This allows you to determine if the content is appropriate for you to have visible on your page. By turning ON this feature, you are able to review any status updates or pictures before they are published to your profile with your name linked to them.

Recommended Twitter Settings:

  • All settings are under account:
  • Turn off Tweet Location GPS tagging
  • Protect your tweets.
  • If unprotected, anyone with internet access may view your posts and information.
  • If protected, only people who you approve to follow you can see your profile and posts.
  • Always be mindful of who you approve to follow your account.

For more information regarding how to stay safe online go to :

2013-14 Watershed Educators Institute

WEI brochure 2013-2014

Virginia 4-H in partnership with the DEQ have been awarded a grant from NOAA to train professionals to be Certified Watershed Educators. This grant will cover the fees and travel expenses for training for up to 10 Agents/4-H Center Program Directors and will also provide funding to conduct a meaningful watershed experience in your locality when the training is completed. Many of you are already doing good work in watershed education and this would be a perfect fit for you. I am sending this to both ANR and 4-H Agents as it may be appropriate for either. Selected participants will commit to completing 5 workshops which will be conducted over the next year and will take place in the James River Watershed area. The first workshop will be on October 25th at Camp Albemarle in Albemarle County. A brochure is attached which explains the institute in more detail with workshop dates and locations for your information. If you are applying to be selected for funding, please do NOT register directly by using the registration link on the brochure. In order to know who will receive support I will need to submit a separate list to DEQ of the ones participating. To apply for funding please complete the survey link below by Friday, October 4th. You will be notified by Wednesday, October 9th of your acceptance status.

IRS Filing Notifications

We have received questions concerning recent notifications from the IRS. If your club has closed their account and have received notifications related to filing issues for 2010 or 2011, you do not have to respond. These will be automatically corrected when the transition is completed. Like last year, please forward a copy to the State 4-H Office and keep the original on file.

You should keep club records turned in December 2012 for a period of seven years since they pertain to IRS EINs.

my4-H as a Resource


The Next Generation my4-H serves as a central and collaborative source for more of the 4-H resources you want. 4-H Professionals, volunteers and even youth leaders, from anywhere, can upload, download, comment, even rank local, state and nationally produced 4-H resources on my4-H. Click on the My4hflyer link above for more information and check it out to see how you can benefit from this resource from National 4-H Council.