Keeping Families Connected Through the Pandemic
Ami Lin, 4-H Youth Development Agent
K-State Research & Extension - Johnson County
4-H is known for its hands-on, family-oriented learning opportunities but click to read how the program has continued to keep that tradition going.
4-H clubs and families are finding creative ways to observe the essential elements of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity through the pandemic. It’s far from ideal but 4-H’ers are continuing to do something positive for themselves and for others.
Like many of our schools, our 4-H’ers are utilizing technology to stay connected but at the core, 4-H work has not changed. The club president still calls the meeting to order, the Officers still give their reports, and clubs are making decisions about their club shirts.
So what has changed? Clubs are taking the opportunity to give project talks in their kitchen or invite unique guest speakers from cross the state. 4-H’ers are able to participate in state or national events that are now offered virtually. We even have a 4-H’er representing Johnson County in a National Family and Consumer Judging competition, studying with others from across the state to prepare.
Of course it is not without hurdles - clubs had to adapt or forego their winter celebration and holiday community service can’t be done in large groups. Our knitters are meeting virtually to keep each other accountable, make progress as a group and for socializing. Clubs replaced their holiday cookie exchange with a recipe exchange. The Livestock Judging team prepared notebooks for kids to utilize as they meet virtually. It’s tough when 4-H projects that are meant to support the physical, mental, and social development of youth are held virtually
At schools, butterfly and chick hatching kits continues to spark curiosity in kids through the pandemic. The program looks different based on the school and the timing of the program but our School Enrichment Coordinator, Nancy Carr continues to make appearances in her iconic butterfly vest either outdoors or virtually.
Regardless of how it's done, the why and the what has not changed. 4-H staff, volunteers, and families continue to keep families connected, promote opportunities for learning, foster nurturing relationships, and facilitating opportunities for leadership and service.
Learn more about Johnson County 4-H by going to https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/4-h/ or contacting the 4-H team at email@example.com