- 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
- 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.