ENID, Okla. — Living a healthy lifestyle is an important focus for Oklahoma 4-H clubs, and one local student is playing a key role in that mission.
Madison Nickels, a freshman at Enid High School and a member of the Enid 4-H Club, has been selected to serve Garfield County as one of the state's Healthy Living Ambassadors.
Currently in its fourth year, Ambassadors use leadership, public speaking and other life skills to help fellow club members, peers and members of the public live a healthy lifestyle, as well as meet the Healthy Living Mission Mandate. In addition to Nickels, the new Healthy Living Ambassadors are Ellise Barcum and Casey Cruzan, Cleveland County; Cortney Evans and Hunter Kelsey, Grady County; Hunter Haxton, McClain County; Emma Lewis, Washington County; Ethan Shoemake, Muskogee County; Rose Smith, Pontotoc County; and Emily Ward, Mayes County.
A healthy lifestyle is not just about eating right and getting enough exercise, said Cathy Allen, 4-H curriculum coordinator at the state 4-H office at Oklahoma State University.
“The 4-H Youth Development Program has become a national leader in health-related education, and our new ambassadors are excited to help with this mission,” Allen said. “Healthy living includes not only good nutrition and physical activity, but also social and emotional health, as well as the prevention of tobacco, alcohol and other drug use.”
The newly selected ambassadors represent all three districts in the state and soon will be available to present programs around the state. They will use hands-on teaching strategies to share their research-based information on healthy living in order to help others lead healthier lifestyles.
“They’ll receive training on all aspects of healthy living, then return to Oklahoma to start sharing the information they learned,” Allen said. “The great thing about this program is that it can be used with all project areas in 4-H. For those involved in the beef project, the Healthy Living Ambassadors can present a program on the importance of protein in a healthy diet. If you’re doing a workshop on childcare, a lesson on healthy snacks and fun outdoor activities would fit right in. For counties that have a special interest in helping youth learn the dangers of vaping and smoking, our ambassadors can provide a program for you. Bullying continues to be an issue faced by today’s youth and the ambassadors have information to address that issue. What these youth do truly is about physical, social and emotional health.”
The Healthy Living Ambassadors are available to come to a county to present at a 4-H club meeting, a summer day camp, the local library reading program in addition to more activities throughout the year.