- Author: Thacker Everett Popejoy
- Author: Oliver Bartlett Popejoy
The 2020 California 4-H State Leadership Conference, also known as SLC, was virtual on Zoom due to the pandemic. Planning had started well before California's Shelter in Place orders went into effect in March. The SLC Planning Committee had to do a major switch to transition the 4-day annual conference to a virtual experience. What was it like for the attendees?
My 4-H SLC Experience, as a First Year Attendee
By Oliver Bartlett Popejoy, Imperial County Young Ambassador
For the first day, we started off with a PA (Program Assistant) meeting. I was placed in the Sunglasses PA group. We played a game of online Pictionary and Hangman once all of the icebreakers and talking was done. My favorite icebreaker was a game of 4-H Jeopardy. Hangman didn't go as planned because of rogue spamming in the chat room and other people drawing on the screen when they were not supposed to. This experience was valuable though because everyone learned early on important Zoom Meeting rules and etiquette.
After that, we joined the State Conference Kick-Off meeting. We met the 2020 State Ambassadors and chatted with them about food, a lot, our day, our tea or coffee preferences, etc. Then, we went to the Branding Yourself Workshop and we learned a lot about branding yourself (obviously) and how to make an elevator pitch of the sorts. They gave us a basic template to personalize. At 4:00 pm we started moved on to the State Ambassadors' Team Communication Workshop, that ended at 6. I was assigned to Group F and my job was to ignore Group C and tell everyone that Godzilla was the answer to the following task… Create a Toy Product. We just needed to repeat Godzilla over and over again and be generally very annoying. It showed us that if we don't work correctly as a team, how bad the outcome could become. We finished up with a Q & A session about what the do for us - their role.
The first presentation was given by a motion graphics designer, David Dodd. In his presentation he talked about his job, the work he does, and what steps he took along the way to become a successful person in his field of work. He hosted a Q & A session to answer any questions we had for him. I asked him, “Have you ever done any jobs just to promoted yourself (not for hire)?” He said, “Yes, and he gave me a few examples.” After an hour break I joined Workshop A. It was about food waste and was hosted by the Riverside County All Stars. I learned a lot about food waste and how it makes up most of the world's green house gas emissions. After all the learning, we completed a Quizizz form - an online test.
Afterwards we took a break before attending our next chosen workshop. My Workshop B was hosted by Eleanor “Ellie” Moiola and it was about eating what's healthy and how to make a really nice beef and broccoli recipe. It was fun and interactive. I also found it cool that someone as young as her was able to become a State presenter and that she's from the Valley. After another 15 minute break we got back into our PA groups and talked about what we learned from the day's sessions.
We joined our PA groups at 11am and discussed the “Brand of You” topic. A group about how we would brand ourselves, hypothetically, if we were business owners. We took a break and then continued our discussion. I found the part about how you would structure a business to fit with the way you planned to brand it the most interesting. We finished up with some small talk, played another game of custom 4-H jeopardy and were asked to take a survey about our Conference experience.
We were given a long lunch break before we signed into Facebook Live to watch the prerecorded Closing Assembly. The 2019-2020 State Ambassadors passed their “pins” to the new 2020-2021 State Ambassadors. For Imperial, Juanita retired (and graduated from high school - congratulations) and Phillip is staying-on for another year. Overall, I found it fun, but I look forward to attending in person. I totally recommend this Conference for anyone interested leadership.
My 4-H SLC Experience, as a Second Year Attendee
By Thacker Everett Popejoy, Imperial County Young Ambassador
This year, due to California's Shelter in Place public safety guidelines, we participated online for our California 4-H State Leadership (Virtual) Conference. It was a shorter version of our normal, University-based camp, but they made it just as fun as last year.
Because of my age, I was assigned to the Night Vision Goggles PA group. The first thing we did was talk about our future. Then, we created a fun little chant for our group. Then, we participated in a 30 minute workshop about social networking. I learned lots about creating an online business profile for the work place. When that was over, we participated in the State Ambassador workshop. We did little activities about how to communicate and work together in a group. It was chaos, I had no idea that everyone's role was to ignore me during the session. I was assigned to role C. I kept sharing my part, but no one was listening to me. It was totally crazy! Then, we talked about our group exercise and watched a preprepared presentation about how we can improve our communication skills in a group (the solution for the breakdown that happened earlier). When the day was over, they scheduled a social hour for us, so we could talk and have fun each other (the other 4-hers attending the Conference). I made many new friends from across the State.
On the second day, we started off with a presentation from a famous artist and well-known motion graphic designer David Dobbs. He told us all about his job and showed us the presentations and videos that he has created (his portfolio). One thing that I thought was pretty cool was that he did work for the Avengers movies. Pretty awesome! The next event was our workshop A. I choose the Food Waste workshop. We talked about what we can do to avoid food waste and how to decrease the amount good food that we throw out on a daily basis. My workshop B was about coding with Python. We learned its basic language skills. I enjoyed that they made a dry subject interesting to learn about. Lastly, we gathered together in our PA groups and talked about our future plans. I shared my college interests - about wanting to go to UC Davis and becoming an agricultural attorney.
For the final day, we talked with our PA groups about our Conference experience which was really fun. We exchanged contact info so we are able to communicate beyond the conference. I got a lot out of it and I am proud of all that I did. I appreciate the time and effort that it took for Leadership to pivot to a virtual format, but I'm really hoping we can make it back to the UC Davis campus next year!
2021 State Leadership Conference
We don't know yet if the 2021 State Leadership Conference will be live or virtual, but you can still support creating a meaningful leadership growth opportunity for our youth. Purchase a Paper Clover at Tractor Supply Stores or at checkout online at tractorsupply.com. Your purchase supports 4-H leadership and 4-H camp experiences.
- Author: Suzanne Morikawa
In Fresno County, the Blossom Trail 4-H Club transformed their annual membership "Sign Up Night" into a "Drive-thru Sign Up Night". Normally, their Sign Up Night event includes stations for each project where new and returning members can sign up and ask questions. With the limitations on in-person events because of COVID-19, the club officers and leaders thought up a socially distancing way to hold their event.
By creating a drive-thru, people could stay in their vehicles while they got enrollment materials, signed up for projects, and paid their membership dues. In order to maintain social distancing, they had stations that were staffed with 2-3 youth and one adult at each station. All people staffing the event wore masks and those handing out materials and collecting money used gloves.
Youth were a big part of the planning
The youth club officers and Executive Board members planned the event with club leaders Kristen Rusconi and Marci West. They contacted a school for permission to use their bus lane during the evening hours, when it was cooler. They wanted enough room for cars to line up and to set up stations at intervals.
Promoting the event and the club's projects
Before the event, each Project Leader submitted a social media post to promote their project and share information about what it would be about. This helped get people excited about the projects the club has to offer, gave youth a chance to think about the types of projects they want to sign up for, and sped up the drive-thru process. They used Facebook, Instagram, and Remind (texting app) to share the posts and spread the word about the Drive-thru Sign Up Night.
Car Decorating Contest
In order to build excitement, they promoted a Car Decorating Contest. The themes were "Most 4-H Spirit" or "Favorite Project". The winners will be announced at the upcoming virtual club meeting on Zoom.
A smooth drive-thru experience!
The youth created all the signs for the event, including reminders about the Sign-up Process and Joining Process along the way.
At the Welcome Station, they gave all potential members a sheet with the club contact information and the list of projects they could choose from.
Along the way, youth could turn in an interest form for the projects they were interested in. This helped the club capture the contact information for all the youth interested in a project, even if they didn't join that night. They compiled the contacts on the interest forms to share with the Project Leaders so they could follow up.
The Treasurer Station collected membership fees paid with cash or checks. After payment, they received a welcome packet with all of the Record Book forms, an FAQ sheet, club contact information, and a list of all the ways the club communicates with members and families: their Facebook page, the Remind app, newsletters and club meetings. The packet also contains a list of all the club projects for their reference.
The final station was the Supply Station, where families could purchase club t-shirts, a California 4-H uniform hat, and a 4-H scarf or tie. They could also turn in their interest forms before they left.
While cars waited in line for the Treasurer Station and at each station, youth answered questions about projects, the club, and about 4-H.
A fun and successful night
The Blossom Trail 4-H Club had 71 members last year, and are currently at 45-50 members. During the Drive-thru event, 36 members paid their dues and 40 youth filled out interest forms. Kristen Rusconi, Club Co-Leader, said "We had returning families, but also a lot of new families who came by. Considering how different this year is starting out, this is a great turnout!"
Kristen said they anticipated needing two lanes of traffic, but everyone only wanted to go through one lane and took advantage of the waiting time to ask questions. The more they waited, the more they asked questions. Families who participated in the drive-thru obviously enjoyed getting out and connecting with 4-H'ers in a safe way!
Follow the Blossom Trail 4-H Club on Facebook to learn more about their club. Many thanks to Tracy Newton, Fresno County 4-H Program Representative, for sharing about this great way for clubs to engage their members and community.
The California 4-H Computer Science Pathways team hosted a 5-day virtual code camp, July 27 to 31st. Attendees included 50 youth and 30 volunteers (some from out-of-state and one from Canada!).
The camp consisted of multiple computer science topics including: CS First with Scratch, Virtual Robotics, and Python. We focused on coding and STEM and made it as fun and camp-like as possible.
Each day began with fun icebreakers, such as scavenger hunts and Pictionary. Then the campers were split into their coding sessions with at least two teen leaders and two adult volunteers to teach and facilitate different coding activities.
In the Python track, we used codecademy.com to teach the basics of Python and inspire youth to learn more about computer science. In the Virtual Robotics track, we used roboblockly.com to teach the basics of block coding and then gave each camper a Sphero Mini to program!
To wrap up each day, we led a sharing activity where campers had the ability to share their projects and what they had accomplished or learned. We had a few guest speakers, “Get to Know a Googler,” where Google employees spoke about their job and experiences in computer science.
“We accomplished our goal of spreading computer science and STEM throughout 4-H and the country and we hope to continue to lead virtual projects and camps in the future.”
– Ethan, teen volunteer, 4-H Computer Science Pathway
- Author: Mia Wesselkamper
- Author: Millie Wright
In response to current shelter-in-place restrictions, two 4-H members created a virtual voting platform that can be replicated and customized to fit the needs of any interested 4-H club. It consists of:
- A website platform for the actual election process;
- An election video to allow club members watch the nominee's speeches;
- An online customizable ballot that provides voter IDs;
- Paper ballots for members who are voting offline.
This great program was created by Mia and Millie from Independence 4-H in Sebastopol, Sonoma County.
"One 'spark' we both share is leadership—we enjoy leading our club as well as working to encourage more youth to lead in various ways. Because of this, elections are a very important part of our club.”
From Mia and Millie:
We had already started our nomination process at our March meeting and club members were really enthusiastic about nominations and becoming a club officer. When the California Shelter in Place happened, we realized after a few days at home that we needed a way to have an election but still make it fun, interactive, and empowering. We wanted to ensure that our club members would not lose that interest and that is why we started the online election platform together.
We both have been part of 4-H for many years. Mia has been involved in 4-H since kindergarten and is now a junior. She participated in a variety of 4-H projects this year including: Rabbits, Outdoor Adventure, Soapmaking, and Woodcarving, and was a Teen Leader for Rabbits and Scientific Literacy. I, Millie, joined 4-H in third grade and am now a freshman. This year I did the Archery and Soapmaking projects, and was Teen Leader for Record Books and Beginning 4H.
Helping Other Clubs set up a Virtual Election
We have turned this into an Emerald Star Project by inviting other clubs from Sonoma County to use the template we created. We gave the interested clubs all the tools for them to customize the template for their elections. We are now hoping to help clubs statewide.
The 4-H motto is “learn by doing,” and not only did we create the template so club exec boards could run their own elections (it is a very user-friendly platform), but we have learned a lot from this experience too! We learned to provide technical support, to help families with photo and video editing and uploading to the website and we are happy to make a difference and help our community come together. We're very excited to help clubs participate in virtual voting, please let us know if you are interested in setting up a site for your club.
Sonoma County is grateful to Mia and Millie for stepping up and taking over the entire process and helping multiple clubs in our community complete their election process. They are now ready to help other clubs set up a virtual election process too!
Check out the4Helectionproject.com
Fill out the online request form for assistance in setting up your club's virtual election.
- Author: Olivia Berman
In these times of crisis and need, I know from personal experience that the first thing that I as a 4-H'er want to do is help those around me. I found that making masks was the way to accomplish this. With the help of my mom, I gained a new skill in sewing and put this to use by making masks. These masks were donated to local hospitals for the workers helping in these times!
In our 4-H pledge, we state that we will not only pledge our head to clearer thinking, but also our hands to larger service. For me, I started making masks and encouraging others to do the same because I knew my community needed me.
~ Olivia, 4-H Santa Barbara County Ambassador