Educators and volunteers from the New York State Finger Lakes 4-H District are covering topics and activities that youth and families can do at home through the FLX 4-H Learning Launchpad.
Ontario County 4-H educator Sarah Bagley came up with the idea for an online learning platform after schools closed and in-person activities were suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“When faced with the reality of having to switch 4-H programming completely online, I knew that there was strength in numbers,” Bagley said. “Collaborating as a district instead of focusing just on programming for individual counties allowed us to expand our program offerings and deliver content more frequently. My colleagues throughout the district bring a variety of talents and abilities to the virtual environment, and we have enjoyed connecting with our communities in this new way.”
The Launchpad’s objectives are to maintain a sense of connection with 4-H families across the nine-county Finger Lakes region, connect research-based resources with new audiences and complement at-home learning. New information and activities are posted daily at 10 a.m. and more content is added frequently throughout the week.
One ongoing activity is a video series observing chicken eggs develop in an incubator, in which Wayne County 4-H team leader Jessica Spence guides viewers through the three-week process of chickens changing from eggs to chicks.
The Launchpad recently challenged its audience to spread cheer by painting their windows with encouraging scenes. Wayne County 4-H educator Amy Pyra recorded a short video with her children demonstrating how to create cheerful window paintings using rainbow and tractor designs.
Launchpad activities on a wide range of topics are offered in various formats, including live videos, webinars and worksheets. Monroe County 4-H educator Jessica Reid produced two videos for the Launchpad: one on creating a wildlife journal observing nature in the backyard and the other on kitchen scrap gardening.
“With most of us limited to our own homes and backyards, I wanted to inspire youth to look for signs of nature in the world just outside their door, and to try thinking outside the box with ways they can be resourceful with objects in their home that may otherwise go to waste, such as kitchen scraps,” Reid said. “I think this is a great time for children to explore that there is so much wonder and discovery to be found right at home.”
Visit bit.ly/3aYXvXX or facebook.com/FLX4HLearningLaunchpad to access the Launchpad.