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Local 4-H Club receives Florida 4-H Clover Society Grant

The LEGOBuilders 4-H Club, led by Mrs. Melanie Crosby, set a goal at the beginning of the year to design and teach robotic and engineering challenges to youth with special needs at Madison County 4-H's annual BUDDY (Building Understanding of Diversity through Dynamic Youth) Camp at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake.  Their idea spawned from Minecraft, an engineering computer game. This game has proven to be an excellent teaching tool for all youth especially those with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities.  BUDDY Camp was designed to give special needs youth an overnight camping experience tailored to their needs.  Each year STEM activities are incorporated and led by camp staff and other 4-H youth volunteers.  This year, the Lego 4-H Club will be able to teach a robotics and Minecraft inspired component at BUDDY Camp with funds received from the Florida 4-H Clover Society Grant.  This will incorporate engineering, robotics and tactile development skills for BUDDY Campers, as well as expose the Lego Club members peer to peer teaching and social skills involving diverse youth.  After the completion of BUDDY Camp, Lego Club members will be able to increase their engineering skills by using the tools purchased in other club activities. The club is also making plans to use the tools to present and teach building lessons to other Madison County 4-H clubs throughout the year as well as compete in engineering competitions such as the annual North Florida Fair 4-H Junk Drawer Robotics Competition. The goals of this new program are to provide mentor development through peer to peer teaching, lifeskill development of Relating through diversity and inclusion, knowledge gain and practical STEM skills in special needs youth, career interest development in youth, improvement of presentation, teaching and speaking skills in youth,  acquiring tools for replication of programming within the county and building a continued collaboration between community clubs for future programming and inter-club support.  Madison 4-H Agent Becky Bennett and the Lego 4-H Club would like to sincerely thank the Florida 4-H Clovers Society Grant Board for their support of this program.

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