Search For Excellence in 4-H Programming

Stacie Hritz
4-H Youth Development Educator

Indiana County

Hritz, S.*1, , 2,
1 4-H Youth Development Educator, Penn State Extension, Indiana, PA, 15701
2 4-H Youth Development Educator, Penn State Extension, Kittanning, PA,

In March of 2020, when the COVID pandemic hit and immediately changed the face of all Extension programming, it was abundantly clear that as 4-H educators, we needed to pivot our programming and the ways that we deliver content to remain relevant and to meet the needs of those we serve. During this time, as 4-H educators, we were working rapidly to plan how we would deliver our summer day camp content and figure out how to actively engage youth and provide them with meaningful educational experiences.

I began brainstorming ideas of how to deliver a virtual version of a day camp opportunity that I had already been planning for some time, focused on career exploration for Cloverbud aged youth. I wanted to find ways to provide hands-on activities to allow the youth to explore various careers that they may consider one day while also building in components of literacy, which I feel is important for this age group. One of my main concerns while developing this program was when we should schedule the day camp to be held because of factors such as where would the children be during the day while their parents worked, if there were multiple computers or devices in the home that youth could use while parents were focused on their own careers, and if an adult would be available to help them through the learning process. Ultimately, I decided that to meet the needs of as many youth as possible, I would design a self-guided webpage that families would have access to at all times so that their child could learn at any point that was convenient for the family and the family could have activities to do together while they could not go out and do the typical everyday activities that they normally did because of government enforced stay at home orders. I would additionally hold weekly optional Zoom sessions that the members could join and we would review the content for the week and do an additional hands-on activity that would help reinforce the two weekly careers that we were exploring.