Operation Facemask

To support our health care professionals, 4-Hers are sewing facemasks as part of "Operation Facemask."

COVID–19 has understandably thrown everyone a curve ball, including our local 4-H community. Like most civic service-based groups, 4-Hers meet in person for meetings, activities and contests. Our state 4-H office has canceled all face-to-face programming until May 4, pretty much shutting down any chance of in-person competition.

Luckily for 4-Hers, we are adapting to keep them busy! Virtual trainings and activities are being held on social media. This week’s events have included an agriculture scavenger hunt, truth or hogwash, agriculture bingo, and a food and nutrition workshop. Found on Facebook, go to the Texas 4-H page to see some of these activities, which can still be accessed.

One service activity 4-H members are doing from home is “Operation Facemask.” To support our health care professionals, 4-Hers are sewing face masks. 4-H members are working on this project at home to practice social distancing but can then drop off completed masks at different locations: Texas Oncology Cancer Centers, local healthcare facilities or JoAnn Fabric Stores. These fabric face masks are not a replacement for N-95 respirators and other personal protective equipment but are meant to be used in situations that will free up N-95 respirators and other masks for high-priority use.

Qualifying contests like educational presentations, share-the-fun events and quiz bowls that are normally held at county, district and state levels will now just be held at the state level as an open invitation for all senior 4-H members if our state roundup event is held in June. Locally, we plan to hold competitions virtually to give youth interaction and feedback on their work.

COVID-19 is impacting 4-H and FFA members locally. Due to city, county and federal restrictions on the size of groups, our annual Denton County Youth Fair was canceled for the year. Livestock projects usually have a target date for show or harvest, and our annual youth fair was scheduled for this week, March 22-28. 4-H and FFA members will have to bear the burden of a year’s worth of feed for their projects with no premium. Other people are going through a lot worse I know, but I just wanted to highlight how this pandemic is affecting kids locally. Hopefully next year’s show can be one of the best yet.

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 zadavis@ag.tamu.edu.

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