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EXTENSION CONNECTION: New youth drones program begins in October

CRESTVIEW — There's no doubt about it, drones are fun!

It makes sense that kids would jump at the opportunity to fly one. But like many things, adults use drones to teach kids life skills. I like to say we sneak in the education while they are having fun.

The Okaloosa County Extension Office will begin a youth drones program for ages 8-18 soon in Crestview.

Of course, kids will learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) while learning to fly a drone. That’s just intrinsic in the flying experience. Kids are wired for technology these days and we can use that to inspire a deep love of STEM. STEM is vital to our future as a society, and we have to do what we can to build up our new workforce.

Drones also can be used to develop life skills such as problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking. The future of drones in our lives is wide open. Allowing kids to experience drones and find unique ways to use them is critical to the growth of the drone industry. Creativity leads to innovation.

Teamwork is also an important skill that kids can learn while flying drones. It takes a team to fly successful missions, especially complicated missions. Drones also get kids moving physically and motivate them to get outside and explore the world around them.

Youth drone program

I’m so excited to offer a youth drone program starting in October. This program will be a part of the Hsu Educational Foundation’s Drone Team Challenge.

We will teach kids the skills necessary to compete in the Drone Team Challenge. We will have fun learning to fly drones, but we will also focus on developing those other very important skills!

The 4-H Drone Club will be open to youth ages 8-18. We will have an organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Okaloosa County Extension Office, 3098 Airport Road, Crestview.

For more information, contact Jennifer Bearden at or 850-689-5850.

Jennifer Bearden

Jennifer Bearden is an agent at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office in Crestview.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: EXTENSION CONNECTION: New youth drones program begins in October