Daily Dose- Superheroes – Ordinary and Extraordinary

teenagers in a line wearing capes

Camp counselors wearing capes at a superhero-themed camp

Although they have their beginnings in mythology, many trace the rise of superheroes in the U.S. to the late 1930s. This was a time when the U.S. was suffering from the fall-out of the Great Depression and before entering World War II.

What makes a superhero? Superheroes have some kind of extraordinary power. They fight crime or use their talents to do some good. They try to make the world a better place. They are clever in how they use tools and technology (think Superman’s cape, Spiderman’s webs, and the Batmobile). Another part of the appeal of superheroes is that they give us someone to look up to. And they wear costumes! Now every year at Halloween there are bound to be children (and adults) dressed up as the classic Superman and Batman, as well as the popular superhero of the day.

In the book titled Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes, 10 Ways to Save the World, Which One Do We Need Most Now?, author Travis Smith floats the idea that it is not their superpowers that make them so super. Instead, it is their character and qualities, which guide what they do with their power. He said that superheroes represent “the qualities that human beings must cultivate in order to confront the quandaries of ordinary life.” In other words, they point out the qualities that will help us to be better people.

As super as they are, superheroes aren’t perfect. After all, Superman has his kryptonite. Through these characters we can learn to turn our weaknesses into advantages. In that way, they are a symbol of hope, that you can overcome challenges and make yourself into a better person.

3 girls wearing Superman costumes

Camp counselors are superheroes!

Who are our modern-day superheroes? Perhaps today we have a new idea of superhero, a time when ordinary people are doing extraordinary things. They don’t wear capes – they wear scrubs and lab coats and the uniforms of police and firefighters. They work in schools and hospitals and homes. They are “disguised” as the ordinary people who drive trucks with needed supplies, stock shelves in our grocery stores, and drive public transportation. They work long hours to fight an invisible enemy. They are the essential workers of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Spider-Man 2, Aunt May reminds Peter Parker that “there’s a hero in all of us.” Today, my heroes are 4-H teen leaders sewing masks and matching 4-H members as pen pals. It’s families using 3D printers to make personal protective equipment for medical staff. You are a superhero when you stay home, even when it’s hard, and when you wear a mask to keep others safe.

Download Today’s 4-H Journal Here!

Yours in Health,




Daily Dose- 4-H Meeting Mad Lib!

Today is National Tell a Story day! Stories come from all places including friends, families, experiences, or even from our imagination. A story can be a way to share history with others, connect to family members, or even entertain us.

For National Tell a Story day I decided to celebrate with a story where you get to decide some of the fun details of our story. Today’s story is about our first meeting back face-to-face! I am using a style called mad lib which gives a template for another person to fill in the blanks. The trick is, you fill in the blanks before you see the story!

I had a blast developing this template and testing it on my family. I hope you will enjoy (and share yours) as well!

Mad Libs originated in 1953. You can read the full history of them here!

Today’s Journal – Tell a Story




Daily Dose- Let’s Get Moving! Be Fit at Home

3 girls on yoga mats moving their arms

Yoga at the State Fair

Physical activity is one part of being fit and healthy. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. You don’t even have to do 60 minutes all at once. The first key guidelines is move more and sit less!

There are many activities you can do to be fit at home. Let’s break it down into the different types of activities you can do.

Recipe for Physical Fitness

  1. Flexibility activities
  2. Aerobic activities
  3. Muscle-building activities
  4. Bone-strengthening activities


  1. Flexibility:
    • What are they: These activities help your joints and muscles move easily.
      • Examples: forward bends, toe touches, shoulder rolls, knees to chest, yoga poses. Stretch slowly and smoothly; don’t bounce.
    • How often: Stretch to take a break from sitting. If warming up, spend 2-3 minutes doing flexibility exercises. Hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds and increase as time goes on.
    • How they help: Stretching keeps your muscles loose and relaxed. Being flexible decreases your chance of getting hurt and prevents you from getting sore. Flexibility exercises can help you warm up before more vigorous activities.
  2. Aerobic activities: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.
    • What are they: These activities get your heart beating faster!
      • Moderate-intensity aerobic: active recreation such as hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, cross-country skiing, and bike riding; walking; games that require catching and throwing; and house and yard work such as sweeping or pushing a lawn mower
      • Vigorous-intensity aerobic: running, active sports, vigorous dancing, aerobics, active games that involve running and chasing, and jumping rope.
    • How often: at least 3 days a week
    • How they help: Aerobic activities helps your body use oxygen and helps your heart send blood to the muscles.
  1. Muscle-strengthening activities:
    • What are they: These activities involve having muscles work or hold against a force or some weight.
      • Examples: push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, lifting weights, and working with resistance bands, a good game of tug-of-war, gymnastics, swinging on the monkey bars, and climbing a tree!
    • How often: at least 3 days a week
    • How they help: Having strong muscles makes it easier to do everyday tasks. These activities help your balance, coordination, and posture.
  1. Bone-strengthening:
    • What are they: These activities involve an impact (often with the ground) or tension force.
      • Examples: running, brisk walking, dancing, stair climbing, tennis, basketball, and volleyball are great for your bones, as are hopping, skipping, and jumping
    • Bonus: Many bone-strengthening activities may also help strengthen your muscles and your heart.
    • How often: at least 3 days a week
    • How they help: Make bones grow and get stronger.


Being fit helps your body and your mind. Physical activity helps you to be more alert and helps with your moods. Being fit will help you feel better now and in the future. Let’s get moving today!

Today’s 4-H Journal

Yours in Health,

Daily Dose- Earth Day: For the Health of Our Planet

In 1970, fifty years ago, people around the world celebrated the first Earth Day on April 22. Earth Day began as a day of education about environmental issues.

What was going on 50 years ago that prompted this observance? It appeared that people took the environment for granted. Recycling wasn’t a common practice, certainly not curbside pick-up. Waste from factories ended up in the air, lakes, and rivers, which made for unsafe and unhealthy conditions. But then in the 1960s, Americans started to become aware of how pollution affected the environment.

By the end of the decade, the damage done by an oil spill in California and a fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, brought the environment to the forefront.

The first Earth Day mobilized millions of Americans for the protection of our planet (an estimated 20 million Americans, 10% of the population at the time, took part). Earth Day was a catalyst for change. During the 1970s, important pieces of environmental legislation were passed to protect air, water, and land. You can read more about the history of Earth Day here.

a group of girls holding a sign

I learned about the environment though my involvement in a youth organization (Girl Scouts). That’s me, first row, second from left.

I was in high school in 1970. At the time, there was no curbside recycling like there is now in many communities. My Girl Scout troop collected glass and paper for recycling, which we brought to a business that actually paid us per pound (it was one of our troop’s fundraisers). We did trail clean ups, living by the mantra “leave a place better than you found it.” It didn’t matter that we didn’t throw that trash on the ground; it was our responsibility to pick it up. I know that participating in these activities shaped my attitudes and behaviors toward the environment to this day.

This year we can’t gather in person to participate in Earth Day activities. But that doesn’t mean our concern for the environment goes away. You can check out NASA’s website for many Earth Day activities.

Use today’s 4-H Journal Page to think about ways you can keep the environment healthy.

Here are some things I’m trying to do:

  1. Recycling
  2. Using less plastic
  3. Thinking about whether I need something before I buy it
  4. Picking up after myself and picking up trash when I see it

Here are some other action ideas.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

(Margaret Mead)

Earth Day reminds us that humans have an impact on the environment. Earth Day prompts us to ask how we can sustain these positive changes. Earth Day also reminds us that our health depends on our planet’s health.


Daily Dose- Let’s Go on a Hunt…for the Good Stuff

When things are changing and out of our control, it is easy to focus on the negative. But even when things are unpredictable and not going the way we planned like with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still a lot of good things going on. Being resilient, or having the capacity or ability to recover from difficulties, is a life skill that we can work on all the time. One way to develop this skill is to challenge ourselves every day to “Hunt the Good Stuff.”

Hunting the good stuff is seeking out the positives in every situation. It might be difficult to find them sometimes, but they are there! Often our first reaction is to focus on all the negative things. That just means we have to look harder to find the good stuff. Hunting the good stuff is easy when life is going our way. But it’s just as important when we find ourselves in situations that where we don’t have control. We may not be able to change the situation, but we can change how we think of it.

Have you heard the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” That’s hunt the good stuff!

Focusing on the positives and analyzing them helps you see the light in each situation. In turn, it helps build your resiliency and trains your mind to look for the positives even in stressful situations.

Hunting the good stuff requires us to stop and think about what’s going on. It’s another way to practice mindfulness, which we wrote about in an earlier post that you can find here.

Hunting the good stuff helps you to be more positive, leads to gratitude, and helps you mentally and physically. So even though life is a bit unpredictable right now, and we are facing change and disappointment, focus on the good! To help you with that, we created a Hunt the Good Stuff 4-H Bingo! Use this card to seek out the positives that are going on right now. If you haven’t done something yet, use it as a way to seek out positive activities to expend your energy or use it to help you come up with some other fun ideas!

Download PDF Version Here

Today’s Guest Post and BINGO game was brought to you by Christy Clary, Educator in 4-H Youth Developed located in Brown County, Ohio.


Daily Dose- Normalize the Mask

COVID-19 has in fact changed out world. As we prepare to be slowly released from our stay-at-home orders we must be vigilant in protecting ourselves and others. Social distancing, proper handwashing, and wearing a facial covering are just three things we can start with.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has posted information regarding facial coverings that you can find by going to the following webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html Anyone over the age of 2 should strongly consider wearing a facial covering. But where?

Places suggested include:

  1. Pharmacy
  2. Grocery Store
  3. Public places (walking, hiking, outdoors)

It is important to recognize that this effort is in addition to 6 foot social distancing. They should work together, no as one. It can however be very uncomfortable to adjust to wearing a mask. Here are a couple of suggestions that I have.

  1. Try wearing your mask around the house to ensure it fits. You should be able to move your head without it slipping off your face or having the ear loops slip off.
  2. Do your best to keep your glasses from fogging. This Forbes article suggests that you try rubbing your glasses with a tissue, washing your glasses with soapy water, or ensuring that you find a mask with a better fitting nosepiece to keep the moisture from moving through your mask. Personally, someone has suggested that I wash my glasses with shaving cream, but I don’t have any reliable sources saying that this works (feel free to share if you find one).

I chose this topic because of an experience I had yesterday. I went to a store to get groceries. I was very anxious about wearing my mask in public. I have a beautiful mask from Kam Manufacturing here in Van Wert, Ohio (home of Stephanie Dawn).  I put it on, sat in the car for a few moments, and pep talked myself to go into the store to get my groceries. I noticed about 30% of the people around me were wearing masks. I found myself adjusting quite quickly to wearing the mask, even almost forgetting I was wearing it from time to time.

As I was putting my groceries in my car, a man walked past me (heading into the store), and then past me again (walking back to his car). I shrugged it off thinking maybe he forgot something in his car. He appeared next to me (appropriately distanced) and told me that because he saw me wearing a mask, he felt less self-conscious about going into the store wearing a mask. When I saw him walk away, he was going back to his car for his mask. He was of the age that he should have a mask on….and I was so glad I gave him a little boost to “don our masks” much like we have “donned our capes” for Dr. Amy Acton.

Today’s 4-H journal is artistic! Design your own mask. Be fashionable,  be unique, and make it fun! I would love to see your designs! Click this link for the PDF version of this journal.

Don’t just wear the mask for yourself. Wear it for others. Normalize masks for the time being. After all, #weareinthistogetherOhio


I posted a similar statement on the Dr. Amy Acton Fan Club Facebook page last night. It has received over 6,000 (yes, SIX THOUSAND) likes, almost 300 Shares, and over 600 comments! I suppose it goes to show I’m not the only person who was a little nervous about wearing my mask in public! If helping normalize a mask if my 15 minutes of fame…I’ll accept it with honor.

While I am not a paid advertisement for Stephanie Dawn, I can tell you that you can order a mask at https://www.stephaniedawn.net/personal-face-masks/?fbclid=IwAR3wgOSbsJrv7fG5d-MUgxMeAv3QAzrTvSAhzxYa87mm2xomK39wx7_IiHs 

In Great Love,

Daily Dose- Design a Masterpiece

A noted quote from Albert Einstein reads: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Einstein didn’t mean that knowledge wasn’t important, but rather that imagination helps us create knowledge. When people let their imagination go and think about “what if…,” new ideas follow. Everyday objects that we take for granted were once ideas that first existed in someone’s mind.

Imagination is related to creativity, and creativity to art. If you are inspired to explore your imagination through art, check out the “Getting Started in Art” is a perfect stay-at-home 4-H project that is now available as a PDF. Join Heather for an introductory lesson here:


Today focus on how using your imagination can lighten your mood! Did you know drawing can strengthen your creativity, improve your memory, and help you de-stress? Find your inner artist today and comment down below with your masterpiece you have made!

Draw a picture, paste in clippings from the paper, magazines, or scrapbooking materials you may have! Show us your masterpiece on social media at the Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Facebook page!

PDF Link to Today’s Journal Can be Found Here!

The first picture is from one of our Ohio 4-H Health Heroes Nat! She came up with this idea to help cheer everyone up! Below are more Franklin County 4-H’ers showing off their masterpieces as well! Post credit to Natalia Kresic, Mahoning County 4-H member and Ohio 4-H Health Hero, Heather Gottke, and Theresa Ferrari.





Daily Dose – Learning about Learning

2 ohotos of girls with masks

4-H’ers are using their sewing skills to make masks

When we think of education, we might automatically think about school. But learning is not limited to what happens in a building during certain times of day or months of the year. Opportunities to learn are all around us!

4-H’s motto is learn by doing. 4-H members select a topic they are interested in and complete a project, which is a set of self-directed learning experiences. These learning activities help them to master some new knowledge and learn some new skills.

In this time when some aspects of our lives have been restricted by the coronavirus and the stay-at -home orders, schoolwork has switched to home and students have substituted the dining room table for their desk.

In spite of these challenges, we have some great examples of learning. For some, that means learning some new technology, like Zoom, to conduct our meetings (although five Zoom meetings in a day is a bit much!). Another example of learning is using skills you already have, but they are put to use in new ways. A wonderful example is our 4-H Health Heroes. These teen leaders are using the skills they learned in 4-H sewing projects to sew masks for themselves and family members and for essential workers on the front lines.

Kylie Arnett, 4-H Health Hero from Hocking County, is making masks; she donated some of the masks she made to the Logan Police Department










Natalia Kresic, 4-H Health Hero from Mahoning County, sewing masks for essential workers









Throughout our life we will be confronted with opportunities to learn and to apply what we’ve learned. Learning is not over when we complete high school. Ultimately, we want to be lifelong learners.

When I think about a lifelong learner, I think of my maternal grandmother, who survived the flu pandemic in 1918. She lived in northern Italy and was 21 in 1918; she came to the U.S. in 1920. Like many immigrants, she had to learn a new language and a new way of life. Many of my favorite childhood memories are of her telling me stories about when she was a girl growing up in Italy. One saying that she had was “Impara l’arte e mettila da parte.” A rough translation is “learn an art and put it aside,” but the literal translation does not communicate the meaning behind it, which is that what you learn no one can take from you, and it will not go to waste. Although she had only completed a 4th grade education, she was a very wise woman. When I was having a difficult day in school, I would remember her words, and I still remember them to this day.

The changes in our lives during the current pandemic have required us to learn new things, haven’t they? If you’re looking for some ideas, how about taking advantage of some of the perfect Stay-at-Home 4-H project books that are now available as PDFs online. And today’s 4-H Journal Page has some questions to get you thinking about how you learn.

Today’s Journal is Learning about Learning! Check it out!


Daily Dose- Create Your Own Playlist

What do you think of when you think of the word mindfulness? Mindfulness is defined by Merriam-Webster as “… the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” That’s a lot to digest, so let’s break it down. Simply put, being mindful means being aware and paying attention. When we are nonjudgmental, it means that we are accepting of what is, without thinking of it as good or bad – it just is. It means taking a pause to take stock of our thoughts, feelings, and what is going on around us.

Being more aware can help us appreciate what is going on around us now. Have you heard the expression “taking time to stop and smell the roses?” Well, that’s what mindfulness is all about! The stream of information that we have running through our heads is constant and can cause a lot of stress. When you become aware that you may need an “attitude adjustment, how can you shift your thoughts in a more positive direction? What are you doing to help yourself to be in the moment and keep from being overwhelmed?

I decided to do today’s 4-H journal activity because of my love of music and its ability to transform my mood, reset my attitude, and soothe me. I played instruments all through high school and into college. I find joy in all sorts of music and the artists who create it. Allow yourself to think about what music makes you happy right now. What do you enjoy? What brings you great joy?

Some of my favorite songs right now include:

  • “Be a Light” by Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire, Chris Tomlin, and Hillary Scott
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Try Everything” by Shakira
  • “Good Morning” by Mandisa and Toby Mac

Today’s 4-H journal activity is to create your own music playlist of songs that you enjoy right now. Write down the name of the song and the artist. You can doodle pictures or music notes to your page and decorate it as you choose!

We’ll share more ideas about mindfulness in future posts! In the meantime, you can read more about mindfulness here.

Download PDF Here






Daily Dose- Careers in Public Health & Role Models

April 6-10 is National Public Health Week. What is public health? According to the CDC, public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases.

Dr. Amy Acton

Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Director of Health

To understand what public health is about, we have only to look as far as our Director of Health, Dr. Amy Acton. Dr. Acton is the face of public health in Ohio. Dr. Acton is a medical doctor, but she also has a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree from The Ohio State University. Today Dr. Amy described public health as “that secret thing you never see until you need it.”

Every day during the 2:00pm Ohio press briefings, Dr. Acton reminds us that even though it is hard, when we stay home, we save lives. With her clear explanations, encouraging words, calming manner, and genuine care for others, Dr. Amy has become a role model for many.

What is a role model? A role model is a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others. A role model is someone who we want to be like, either in the now or in the future. They can show us how to act in difficult situations. A role model may someone who you know or may be someone who you’ve never met. Many people never know they are a role model to someone (unless you tell them).

Today’s 4-H Journal Page helps you think about who your role models are, and also how you can be a role model too. Click the following link to download the pdf. Careers in Public Health and Role Models

National Public Health Week thanks public health professionalsIf you want to explore more about public health, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health 101 website. There are many careers in public health. Is a career in public health for you?  People with a public health degree can work in government, education, nonprofit organizations, or for private companies.

This post was authored by Theresa M. Ferrari, PhD Professor and Extension Specialist for Healthy Living and Ohio Military Kids




Dr. Amy Acton, careers in public health, role models