Summit County youths can join online 4-H Club workshops through Utah State University extension courses
When Utah State University moved its Summit County extension programming online as the COVID-19 protocols came down, its 4-H Club offerings for youth also went digital.
These free sessions provide positive youth development through research-based experiences like mentorship and hands-on projects, said Samantha Krieger, the 4-H coordinator for Summit County.
4-H, which is one of America’s largest youth-development organizations, is more than 100 years old, and more than 6 million children have participated through its more than 100 university extensions, Krieger said.
“So the things we are offering through USU extension adheres to that mission,” she said. “We want these youths to grow up and lead the world.”
Krieger offers weekly sessions that include the Cloverbud Club at 10 a.m. each Monday, Discover 4-H at 10 a.m. every Friday and the Virtual Horse Club at 4 p.m. All the sessions, with the exception of the horse club, are accessible at facebook.com/summitcounty4h and on Instagram, Krieger said.
The Virtual Horse Club is accessible via Zoom, and kids need to contact Krieger by calling or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for the link, she said.
Although children don’t have to register for 4-H to participate in these online offerings, they can still register for the club for free by visiting Ut.4honline.com, according to Krieger.
Kids also don’t have to own a horse to join the Virtual Horse Club, Krieger said.
“4-H publishes these horse-study books, and I lead sessions based on lessons in the book,” she said.
Krieger approaches the Cloverbud Club, which is designed for ages 5-7, a little differently than the horse club, because the activities are more hands-on, she said.
“We do different activities together, and we make things from items that are easily accessible from around the house, the local store or online,” she said. “So far we’ve made everything from homemade bouncy balls to birdseed feeders.”
Krieger sends out a supply list a week before the class to make sure participants have the materials, she said.
The last offering, Discover 4-H, shows kids ages 8 to 18 and their families how 4-H can impact lives, according to Krieger.
“A lot of people think that 4-H is only about agriculture or animals, and while those things are huge parts of the programming, there is a lot more to it,” she said. “One of the first online classes we did was a 4-H crime-solving workshop where we used cocoa powder to dust for fingerprints.”
Other 4-H programs Krieger offered before she moved classes online include quilting design, robotics and coding.
The goals of the virtual programs, which will continue until the COVID-19 quarantine band lifts, is to engage youths and bring normalcy into their lives during this time of social distancing, Krieger said.
“Also, the offerings that I do contain a leadership component,” she said. “I give a child a chance to lead a project for a while, and then I’ll step in and give another child a chance to lead the group.”
Krieger enjoys seeing the shy kids come out of their shells when they take charge.
“It’s impressive to see how they develop leadership skills,” she said. “It makes me happy to see how the kids blossom.”
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