- Author: JoLynn Miller
Blog # 2
Many counties are moving out of the Purple Tier and into less restrictive tiers. This means there is more opportunity for 4-H Clubs and Projects to meet. Many have continued to meet even in the Purple Tier with restricted numbers, masks, distancing, increased cleanliness, and symptom screening. If you're like me, you're excited to move onto this next chapter, but may have some hesitations. I wanted to give you a pep talk on how to transition and create excellent opportunities for youth to learn and grow.
First, still consider what parts of your meeting can be handled virtually? Can you meet with your office team or junior teen leaders via zoom to plan the activities? If yes, this will lessen the potential COVID contacts. Next, really think about locations. Outdoors is best and will likely be the preferred option throughout the spring and summer. Public parks and private homes are a great option, but be sure to contact the county office to help navigate the nuances of facility use agreements (you may or may not need one depending on the situation). In the Central Sierra, we're asking each volunteer to submit a written safety plan where we ask you to walk through the details of your meeting. Feel free to submit one plan for the span of your meetings if they all have the same details. Things to consider are making sure all youth are still six feet apart and wear masks at all times. Remember that swiss cheese graphic floating around the internet?
Ya that-weed need to put multiple layers of protection in place because inevitably some will fail for some reason or another. So beyond masks and distancing, we also ask that you symptom screen, and use hand sanitizer. Our admin assistant extraordinaire will help walk you through the details of the safety plan, but in reality it shouldn't be too hard to complete. We'll help you every step of the way.
Once you have your plan in place, then you can start thinking about the fun stuff! Reminder that while 4-H projects may teach a specific skill (like how to program a robot or how to raise an animal), the “other” stuff in the project meeting is just as important. One resource I love is from Michelle Cummings Training Wheels. She has a lot of free downloadable activities that promote leadership and team building. One in particular focuses on activities you can do while six-feet apart. Check it out here: https://training-wheels.com/trainings-workshops/staff-training/
If you're not quite ready to start in person meetings, consider a hybrid meeting. Give a youth/family team some sort of project to do off line. For example: take a hike and find four different color wildflowers, take pictures of them, then come home and research about them. Then gather all the youth together on a zoom call for discussion and sharing, asking open-ended questions like “what did you learn”, “tell me more about …” This will still give the youth excellent experiences to draw from when discussing. And remember-to keep it fun. Connection with leaders and other members is most important right now!