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Keeping young people engaged during these times is challenging. With the increase in screen time due to online school, the last thing they want to do is 4-H online too. Participation has decreased a bit, but we created a Quarantine Challenge to encourage members to continue to stay engaged and share with others what they are doing with their 4-H projects.
A few things our kids have been working on:
• Sewing face masks. We collaborated with JoAnn’s Fabric to gather supplies and serve as a pick-up and drop off location for 4-H members. More than 750 face masks were made and delivered back to JoAnn’s, where they were sanitized and dispersed where needed.
• MountainView Regional Medical Center sought assistance with cutting mask liners that serve as a barrier in the masks. Thousands were cut and delivered.
• Virtual Talent Show: Our annual 4-H talent show was scheduled to happen in April. Instead of canceling the event, it was held virtually and give the kids an opportunity to be creative in how they perform their acts.
• Photo Contest: A weekly photo contest with a different theme is announced each week. It has gotten kids outside, where they use their creativity to capture the theme. Winners are posted to the Doña Ana County 4-H Facebook page.
• Presentations Competition. Youth participate in various contests that then qualify them to advance to district contest or state 4-H conference. Members record their presentations, teaching others something pertaining to their 4-H project, which will then be judged based on their age division and category of their presentation (agriculture, family and consumer science or general).
• Livestock Projects: Livestock projects have always given 4-H members a great deal of responsibility. Having a project to care for an animal can help alleviate isolation and can provide a sense of purpose.
• Clubs continue to have 4-H meetings through Zoom, allowing members to network with each other.
Teresa Dean is the Doña Ana County Cooperative Extension Service Program Director
and 4-H agent. Contact her at 575-525-6649 and firstname.lastname@example.org.