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Continue Your 4-H Impact Virtually ... Providing Connection, Consistency and Competencies

Monday, March 16, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Bovitz, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
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During these almost surreal times, we need to move quickly and find ways to keep our 4-H leaders and members connected and engaged in learning through 4-H. There are a variety of online learning opportunities, virtual field trips and methods for bringing people together through social media and other websites that can be used while we navigate through our required time at home.

  1.  Encourage clubs to look into other methods of communication.  They can do conference calls, use Webex, Google Hangouts, Skype or other platforms.  One option is to get a county office Zoom account that has the capability to accommodate club meetings and time frames needed.  For $15 per month you can get a plan that includes up to 100 participants per meeting and an unlimited time frame.  4-H leaders or teen leaders (if adult leaders aren't computer savvy) can use the office log in info and schedule meetings.  Members can log in via phone or computer and use video or just audio connection. The screen sharing capacity is good as well.
  2. There are also plenty of creative ways that clubs can "meet" aside from having just having regular business meetings online, for example:
    1. Clubs can practice public presentations and get feedback from other members and leaders.  This can be done in "real time" or they can video it on their phones and send it in.  If needed, county level public speaking contests can be done virtually - with others watching, and judges critiquing the presentation and then emailing judging sheets to the office.  There are plenty of ways to work around the face-to-face limitations.
    2. Dog obedience clubs can use the video component to practice and get feedback from leaders.  Members can practice and learn from one other by working with their dogs at home.
    3. Clubs can plan in advance for community service projects and do research and home in advance and share ideas.  There are also plenty of at home community service projects that members can do - such as writing letters to residents in nursing homes, etc.  There are many resources online to share with leaders.
    4. Clubs can do planning for fair promotion and summer events. For example, do your clubs to promotional displays and club booths at the county or state fair?  Have them work as a group to plan it now and members can do different pieces of it at home.
    5. Arts and crafts and food clubs can give project for 4-Hers to do at home and then ask for members to send pictures of their food or project to get feedback. You can even come up with different contests for club members or an online judging event.
    6. Getting outside and being active is still very important, if not more so now than ever before.  Come up with different activities that kids can do outside - nature hikes with a list of what to find and simple exercise challenges they can do to stay active.  Have them log what they do to keep healthy.
    7. Leaders can share videos of horse  or other animal shows so that kids can practice judging.  Any animal science related project can keep learning with the many virtual tools out there.  Leaders can reach out to their 4-H staff for information on various resources available through 4h.org or through their university.
  3. Be sure to share what you do and resources you find with other 4-H professionals.  We are all in this together!

National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals
701 Exposition Place, Suite 206 | Raleigh, NC 27615 | T: (919) 232-0112 | E: nae4ha@nae4ha.com