- Author: Gemma Miner
Dear 4-H Volunteer,
It's been a year, hasn't it? One year ago in April, we were all thinking hard about our capacity to deliver 4-H programming virtually. For some, the ask was too much given the realities of everyone suddenly at home: working, schooling and managing all the things. We see you; we hear you. And we understand.
Thank you for your courage to learn and try a completely new way to serve youth in your communities. Thank you for your perseverance even when things did not work the way you thought or wanted them to.
Thank you for recognizing the look in the eyes of the youth that you serve that said how much they need you right now—and for responding in whatever way you could.
Thank you for all the deep breaths that you took as you managed challenge after challenge after challenge.
Thank you for digging deeply for patience and calm even when it eluded you. Thank you for having the clarity to know when you needed a break.
Thank you for your kindness, always kindness—and for understanding that relationships are what matters most.
Your contributions to help youth in these unprecedented times has never been more critical. A recent study by the Harris Poll, found that 67% of 4-H teens report that COVID-19 has created pressures that are too much to handle. They further say that the inability to hang out with friends/family in person and conducting school online bring on their own set of unique stressors. Interestingly, 68% of these same teens report that they consider themselves resilient and have the confidence to help others cope with their mental health struggles. Thank you for providing outlets where everyone had opportunities to feel supported and contribute.
It is my hope that as we emerge from this pandemic that we are stronger, more creative, more resilient, and more kind. Know that your dedication to help youth lead happy, healthy, thriving lives made a difference to those lives that you touched.
It's your energy, dedication, talent, time and gifts that makes the impact for youth in California. We see you. We hear you. We appreciate you beyond measure.
On behalf of the University of California Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program, we thank you for all that you did and do.
Academic Coordinator for Volunteer Engagement
- Author: Jose Campos
- Author: Suzanne Morikawa
Rosie Barker turns 100 on April 4, 2021. She is the oldest living 4-H alumna in Merced County! Rosie (Kiss) Barker was born in Alberta, Canada in 1921. Her family moved to the U.S. when she was two. They ended up in Livingston and then moved to Stevenson, where she grew up.
Rosie is the only survivor of 10 children. One sister stayed in Canada and didn't move to the U.S. One brother was in the service. One was a Pearl Harbor survivor.
José Campos, 4-H Program Representative in Merced County, interviewed Rosie in the UCCE Merced office.
About her family
“My husband Cecil passed away 32, 33 years ago. He was quite young when he passed away. My family now is all over the valley: Gustine, Newman, Turlock, Modesto, Sacramento is the furthest. But we're all close. We don't see each other, but we talk to each other on the phone. I live with my granddaughter and her two daughters. We all get along real well. It boils down to how you're raised. It goes a long way.”
Rosie's family includes:
20 great grandchildren
1 great-great granddaughter
“I was raised with the old timers. They didn't sit around and do nothing. You worked. I thought, ‘As long as I can do it, my folks don't have to do it.'”
“I worked at home a lot. We didn't have electricity, so I milked the cows by hand. I didn't mind it at all. Later we got electricity and got milking machines, but then you had to clean them. I wasn't that thrilled about that! (laughs) I milked cows until the day I got married.”
“After it rained at night, you'd get up in the morning and it was always clear and fresh. I would go out and get the cows in a big field with a hill. One cow had to always be first. She would push the other cows out of the way so she could be first. There was one cow that was always late. They all had a mind of their own.”
Looking through a photo album, she came across a class picture. “Twelve of us wanted to become citizens and we had to get a teacher to teach us. At the time, you had to go to school to become citizens. We got Alice Radford to teach us. My brother, sister and I and our friends all became U.S. citizens. I remember that real well.”
“I enjoyed being in 4-H very much.”
Rosie joined 4-H when she was 9. “In grammar school, all the girls joined 4-H.”
Rosie was in 4-H for four years. She has strong memories of learning how to sew and going to 4-H camp.
“With sewing, you learned it the right way.”
“I did a lot of sewing, which I learned in 4-H. So you learned your sewing, you did it all the right way. There was ‘your way, their way, the 4-H way'. Their way, your way, forget it. There was the 4-H way. It was a big difference. You did it right. When you got the right leader, you learned it. Those days, you made a lot of clothes in 4-H. They made dresses, coats, a lot of things.”
Looking at a scrapbook page, she remembered making the potholder distinctly. “Fantastic sewing!” she exclaimed, as she studied the potholder. She remembered getting the ribbons as prizes at the fair in 1932.
4-H Camp Memories
“We slept underneath the pine trees. (You) scraped the pine needles into a pile and put your blanket on it and slept out in the open. The smell of the pine sticks out in my mind. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Everything was clean and clear.”
“When we wanted to go up to the Falls, we hitchhiked with our leaders. We rode in the back of a pickup. Just followed what our leaders told us to do.”
“We hiked all over. We went to Yosemite Falls and up to Glacier Point. I remember thinking, ‘Why did our lunch go clear up to Glacier Point?' Then we had to hike up there to eat. The Firefalls were just gorgeous.”
“Every night we had a campfire. Every unit had to put on a skit. Everybody had to participate. Around the campfire was really neat because there was a lot of singing and everyone was involved.”
“I loved it. I think we were there for 4 days. Going to camp, staying there with your friends. There were no cliques. You just took off with a group.”
“My three girls and the grandchildren all enjoyed being in 4-H.”
“My sister was in 4-H, and so was my brother-in-law. They were very active in it. Later, my daughter and granddaughter were in 4-H. My great grandchildren are in 4-H. My grandchildren participated with animals.”
“I have three daughters. They were taught by my sister in 4-H. My grandsons made pajamas. My daughter taught them sewing. They did a lot of sewing. It went a long way.”
What Rosie remembers most
“You remember your leaders, definitely.“
“As for sewing, you got that for the rest of your life. I made my daughters' dresses for school. In the years, I always remembered how I did it in 4-H.”
Please join us in congratulating Rosie in reaching the centenarian milestone! Leave your messages in the comments and we'll be sure to share them with her and her family.
- Author: María José Godoy
The California 4-H Management Board was established in 2016, after the previous State Council structure concluded its functions. At that time, a group of volunteers accepted the challenge to continue the mission of the Council, which aimed to strengthen the 4-H program and provide leadership for programming at the regional level. The Management Board centered its efforts on giving structure to this new group and took responsibility for several activities, including Area Presentation Days and Youth Summits. The main goal of the Management Board has been to strengthen the educational outcomes of these events and ensure that we're reaching a targeted group of youth across the Northern, Central, Bay/Coast and Southern Areas.
Over time, we have seen these activities grow organizationally, thanks to the valuable contribution of our dedicated youth and adult volunteers serving on planning teams and committees, as well as our committed 4-H staff members.
Area Presentation Days:
- Unified the evaluation and award systems of the Area Presentation Days across the state.
- Became the first statewide 4-H event to transition to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These activities were an example of innovation within 4-H, helping to develop online State Presentation Days.
- Advocated for the foundation of the new Public Speaking Advisory Committee, which will now include the organization of both Area and State Presentation Days.
- Implemented consistent event evaluations.
- Unified the educational content of all Youth Summits across the State.
- Implemented an organizational structure that allowed each area's planning team to interact and learn best practices from each other.
- Implemented consistent event evaluations.
Since 2016, we have been responsible for organizing over 60 events in total, with a yearly participation of more than 1,100 youth and volunteers from over approximately 40 counties.
As we recently stated in the January Newsletter, the termination of the California 4-H Management Board took effect on January 31, 2021. Many of our Board members will continue volunteering at 4-H in support of the Area Presentation Days or Youth Summits, dedicating efforts to grow and improve these and other activities.
Finally, we want to recognize the work and dedication of all current and former California 4-H Management Board Directors: Curtis Ullerich, Sarah Lloyd, Susan Garcia, Ed Ho, Kelly Violini, Bailey Walvoord, Ryan Cleland, Joslyn Campos, Trent Baldwin, John Trammell, Ethan Ho, Aubrey Stacy, Shannon Kane, Kate Lyn Sutherland, Vera Bullard, Carolyn Abrams, Betty Lucas, Serafina Martinez, Anna Sorensen and María José Godoy.
Special thanks to 4-H Staff liaisons for trusting in us and helping us in our mission: Gemma Miner, Jenna Colburn, Bernadette Ramirez, Suzanne Morikawa, Darlene Ruiz and Whitney Bell.
To all of them, and to the many youth and adult volunteers that helped us in our mission during these years - thank you!
- 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.