Search For Excellence in 4-H Programming

Carole Knight
County Extension Coordinator
University of Georgia

Knight, C.*1, , Lanier, S.2,
1 County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Danielsville, GA, 30633
2 County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Metter, GA, 30439

Georgia is the nation’s number one poultry state, producing broilers and table eggs. To teach youth about such an important industry in the state, 4-H poultry judging is offered to youth.  Poultry judging is an evaluation event in which students learn and understand standards used in poultry and egg production and marketing, and to apply the standards in a realistic decision-making situation. In the state of Georgia, the COVID-19 pandemic halted all in-person youth development, in-school, and afterschool programs in mid-March 2020. To continue to provide these essential elements to youth during a global crisis, 4-H programming had to adapt its delivery method to continue to meet the needs of youth in a positive way. A virtual poultry judging contest was created through collaborative efforts. It was open to Northeast and Southeast district counties and included all aspects of the Georgia 4-H Poultry Judging contest. The goal in planning was for the virtual event to mimic an in-person event as much as possible thus being a live, timed event with all classes included. The organizers utilized the Zoom platform. With this being the first competition of its kind in the state, team coaches attended an orientation meeting prior to the event to view the format and better understand procedures. Competition organizers also selected 4-H professionals from the two districts to serve as oral reasons judges. On June 9, 2020, 47 youth from 10 counties competed in the first ever live virtual poultry judging contest through Georgia 4-H. Of that total, 24 participants were in grades 4-8 meaning this was their only opportunity to compete this year. At the conclusion of the virtual event, participants completed a Qualtrics survey. Based on feedback from participants, the contest maintained its competitive integrity and gave 4-H’ers the opportunity to exhibit their skill sets in a competitive format. Due to the success of this contest in a live virtual format, organizers of the state-level Virtual Poultry Judging Contest adopted many of the best practices used to execute a similar event for Senior 4-H’ers (grades 9-12) across the state in July 2020.