Monroe County 4-H ‘Zooming’ through summer
Monroe County youth recently bid farewell to summer with the end of the 4-H summer series “Zooming Into Summer.”
With social distancing limiting typical activities, camps and fairs, the Monroe County 4-H team went virtual for summer programming. Youth stayed active and engaged at home through videos, challenges, community service assignments and guided activities centered around five themes: Horse Week, Creative Chefs Week, Animal Adventures Week, STEM-stravaganza Week and Outstanding Outdoors Week.
Families received the challenges and activities via email, allowing for participants to complete the activities on their own time. Participants were invited to a Facebook group with reminders for daily challenges.
Horse Week kicked off the series with horse-themed activities. Youth from local 4-H Horse clubs participated by creating and sharing videos and photos with information about horses.
Creative Chefs Week invited local youth to develop their own recipes through healthy living challenges, culminating in a cookbook that was distributed to participants. Using the Flipgrid platform, youth shared their recipes virtually and got feedback on their creations.
Animal Adventures Week’s animal costume contest had youth developing and creating matching costumes for themselves and their pets, or stuffed toy animal friends. Participants used objects found at home to create their animal costumes. Participants were encouraged to try their hand at making “zoo snacks” for Tasty Tuesday, working on their math and measuring skills to create an animal-themed treat.
After the program, most youth who responded to a survey mentioned they felt a lot closer to their families after the experience.
“This is a special thing to me, because me and my mom made it, and we made it together,” STEM-stravaganza Week participant Grace Potter said after showing her Mars Base, complete with a greenhouse and a solar panel-powered car.
“Outstanding Outdoors Week” encouraged youth to get outdoors with their families to explore the natural world. One participant, Olivia Streicher, took her baby brother on his first hike with her family.
Each week wrapped up with Showcase Saturday, a compilation of youth projects shown via Facebook Premiere. At the end of the program, youth received certificates and incentives for participation.