- 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
- Author: Susan J Weaver
In an effort to help their community to control the spread of COVID-19, a Silicon Valley brother and sister came up with a plan to support health care personnel. They even created a video to show how they are helping and show how others can too.
With people across the country cranking out masks, they wanted to buy face shields. These inventive 4-H'ers researched what others were doing and selected this particular design as being elegant and sturdy enough to withstand repeated use.
At $8 each online, they quickly learned that they could not afford to buy very many. Determined to find a way to help, they decided to see if they could design and make the face shields for less.
First, they reverse-engineered and developed the design that mirrors the shields they had seen online. They shopped around to find the materials they would need, at the best price. Their goal was to provide a plan so that anyone could afford to buy the materials and make the shields. Then the shields could be distributed to first responders and medical personnel, thereby saving the "certified" masks for those working with sick people on the front lines.
These young engineers got their estimated cost down to an incredible 50 cents for each shield!
They carefully chose commonly available materials that are available in large quantities throughout the United States. The design uses no messy glues and the only tools used are a stapler and scissors. Construction can be completed by a young person that knows how to use scissors, a zip tie and a stapler. See their Materials List.
Making and sharing the face shields
The 4-H youth made their first batch of 80 shields. Their mom and a neighbor were also making masks using one of the CDC's recommended designs. Combining efforts, they were able to provide a local health clinic with ten masks and ten face shields. The clinic was grateful as they did not have enough PPE for their support staff. The rest of the initial batch of face shields went to friends and neighbors. They have found that they can comfortably produce shields at a rate of 25 per hour. However, as high school and junior high school students, their school work comes first. They can only manage a few hours of production each week.
Their personal goal is to make 1,000 shields.
These Santa Clara County 4-H members are eager to get others involved in making the shields for a wider impact.
They decided to make a public video so other 4-H members and volunteers could make shields for their local communities. An adult 4-H Leader helped them get their video and story to their local 4-H Program, located in Santa Clara County's Cooperative Extension Office.
You can help make face shields!
As 4-H'ers, they know that this design can be quickly propagated nationwide within a matter of days and that there could be 6,000 4-H families making these. The shields can then be given to First Responders and the health facilities personnel who process patients. This will allow the limited supplies of certified masks and face shields to go to the doctors and nurses who can save lives.
Joining our efforts as 4-H members statewide and nationwide, we can make a difference!
Please let us know how you will contribute by reporting to our Plan Hero page.
Watch and share our how-to video, available on the California 4-H YouTube channel.
Wearing a mask decreases the possibility of droplets contacting your face → less contamination → less sick people → less patients → less contamination to doctors and nurses who do not have enough PPE gear to protect themselves at this moment.
These two 4-H members created a design that is very simple. The face shield will provide full coverage of the face from ear to ear, in addition to the face masks that you are using. Even when you are not wearing a face mask, this will provide some protection compared to not wearing anything around your face. Not only is this a low-cost alternative, but the face shield is also REUSABLE, ADJUSTABLE, UV RESISTANT, COMFORTABLE, DOES NOT FOG, and CAN BE WIPED OR SANITIZED using alcohol or any antibacterial solution that you have.
Stay safe and stay healthy. Thank you.
- Author: Gemma Miner
Dear 4-H Volunteer,
Thank you for your dedication, courage and your conviction, for bringing your sense of adventure to share and learn alongside the youth that you mentor.
Thank you for your willingness to try new things, even if they're a little scary—like hosting meetings virtually, or videotaping yourself giving some guidance or demonstration.
Thank you for your compassion and your awareness, for seeing the need and responding. Thank you for sharing your skills and knowledge to help improve lives and build the capacity of youth to learn and grow. This has never been more important.
Thank you for providing opportunities and education – and for knowing that the experiences you share, and the people you help, teach you more than you could have imagined.
Thank you for your patience, respect and perseverance. But most of all thank you for your kindness, and for being the inspiration youth need you to be, in order for them to thrive.
Whether you are a youth volunteer or an adult volunteer, your dedication and support is priceless.
You and I may never know the exact, direct impact you made to help propel a youth member toward a successful life—but that, my friend, is your true purpose. It is your dedication, contribution, talent, time and gifts that make 4-H the amazing organization that it is.
On behalf of the University of California Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program, we thank you for your dedication to help youth lead happy, healthy, thriving lives.
Academic Coordinator for Volunteer Engagement
- Author: Andrew Kielak
Every ten years, the United States Census is sent to every resident of our country in order to get an accurate count of our population. This data is utilized for several different purposes, and the California 4-H Civic Engagement Committee wants to remind you of the importance of this effort. Below are just a few reasons why filling out the census from home now will help your local community.
Safely fill it out from home
This is the first year we are able to complete the Census online, at my2020census.gov. This is extra beneficial considering everything going on with COVID-19. You should have received a code for your household in the mail. If you don't have the code you can still fill out the Census online and enter your address information manually.
Data collection for the census has begun, so don't wait! It's only nine questions. You can fill it out from home by phone, online, or by mailing in the form being sent to homes. If you do not respond or fill out all the questions by May 1st, a census-worker will have to come by your residence to conduct an in-person interview. Responding from home now will limit the number of people who have to go door to door.
Ensures Equal Representation
The census helps to ensure that we are all represented. The data collected by the census is used to determine the number of Congress members we have, which is based on population. This is to make certain everyone is equally represented. If people do not fill out the census, there will be an inaccurate count–and thus our voice may not be heard.
Funding from the Federal Government
Population is a major determining factor in how much funding communities receive from the federal government. This funding impacts schools, childcare, medical care and many other programs that support youth and families. Because of these reasons, it is imperative to ensure we are accurately counted so our communities receive the funding we need.