April 21, 2020 - 8:00am -- lehman.488@osu.edu

Life in Ohio has sure changed a lot in the last six weeks as a result of the global Coronavirus pandemic and will likely continue to change in new ways as our Governor begins phasing in some form of re-opening of our economy. The Wayne County Senior Fair Board and 4-H staff are continuing to plan for this year’s Wayne County Fair in September but during this stay-at-home time, 4-H professionals and volunteers have been and are continuing to work together to keep our youth engaged.

In Wayne County we have 45 community clubs with over 1,400 youth enrolled in 4-H for 2020 and more than 350 volunteers. 4-H is a part of The Ohio State University and when OSU transitioned from in-person classes and events, so did 4-H.  4-H club meetings and many events are now taking place via Zoom and other online video conferencing platforms. We are seeing a lot of creativity from our youth and volunteers in how they’re meeting the challenge to stay connected and involved in 4-H. Many clubs have also found unique ways to conduct community service projects such as making masks for local healthcare workers, friends, and family. Certainly, one of the most cherished parts of 4-H is gathering together with friends for fellowship, fun, and recreation.  While it is more difficult to replicate this online, clubs are providing challenges and contests for their members to showcase things such as project demonstrations, safety talks, and just having time to video chat together.

Our Wayne County 4-H staff and camp counselors are working on planning a series of videos and activities that will be available on our Facebook page this summer in place of our 4-H camp that would have occurred June 29th through July 3rd.  4-H staff and volunteers are also working together to provide short videos, fact sheets, activities, and study guides for youth working on animal projects. These resources are being distributed through Facebook groups for each livestock species. Links to these groups are available on our Wayne County 4-H Facebook page. We have also created a virtual animal science learning lab on our website wayne.osu.edu with study guides on breed identification, feed identification, diseases, and many other topics. These study guides are an interactive tool for youth to prepare for project judging and skillathon.

We have compiled a listing of resources for 4-H families and club leaders to stay connected. It is available on the state 4-H website at ohio4h.org and we have been keeping our Wayne County 4-H families updated and connected through frequent email updates, a frequently asked questions document, and countywide Zoom meetings.

Doug Foxx is an OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

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