Members of 4-H are staying active during the pandemic. Although face-to-face meetings have been canceled, some clubs are continuing to meet via Zoom. Our local vet science group recently completed a virtual dissection for its members. One of our district officers, Erik Dietrich, recently presented a beekeeping educational video online for youth and adults.
Many daily activities are listed on our Denton County 4-H Facebook page; the wide range of topics has a little bit for everyone like staying healthy during a pandemic with Breathe into Mindfulness, a counting and breathing exercise. Be-You-tiful Mirror Craft and Painted Fabric Wall ART are arts and crafts activities that allow children to get creative. Fruit Batteries and Force or Fiction activities allow 4-H to dig into Science, Engineering and Technology. Bread in a Bag and Simple Healthy Lunch shift the focus to food and nutrition. A pen pal program allows 4-H members to connect with members around the state to share their experiences.
As county and state officials debate reopening things we know in the 4-H world a few things will be different this year. We will not have our annual state meeting “Texas 4-H Roundup.” This will cancel a lot of our district and state contests that 4-H members look forward to each year. We have shifted a focus from in-person competition to virtual workshops that allow youth to stay active and continue to develop their skills. A recent Fashion Show workshop allowed 4-H members to present their garment and interview with volunteer judges. Educational presentations that 4-Hers gave via online programs allowed them to continue to work on their public speaking skills.
As we go through the changes of the pandemic, 4-H is having a long overdue cultural update specifically on interaction and communication. Meeting face to face has definitely changed, and the office’s communication on activities has changed. I believe 4-H will come out better after the pandemic. Most parents and families will be able to utilize an online platform where they might not have been able to before.
I know I didn’t use any kind of platforms that groups are using to meet with now. These changes will help our organization be more adaptable. Like the old adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” looking on the bright side, the pandemic will have 4-H highly adaptable and up to date.
ZACH DAVIS is the agriculture and natural resources extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. He can be reached at 940-349-2889 or via email at email@example.com.