Search For Excellence in 4-H Programming

Betsy Greene
Extension Equine Specialist


Greene, B.*1, , A.D. Wright2,
1 Extension Equine Specialist, UArizona Cooperative Extension, Tucson, AZ, 85721
2 Area Livestock Agent, UArizona Cooperative Extension, Cochise County, Willcox, AZ, 85643

With 4-H face-to-face activities canceled due to COVID-19, the AZ 4-H Ag at Home program was created to provide virtual learning opportunities while encouraging hands-on engagement in the quarantine environment. Arizona youth enrolled in livestock projects were the hardest hit; their educational activities and events to showcase their animal project efforts were cancelled and are still virtual as of 3/12/21. To hit the ground running, we initiated the program with a series of 9 Learn-Do-Teach videos (March 2020). The videos could be easily created while maintaining social distancing and could be posted online quickly. They focus on hands-on activities youth can do at home with materials they have available. Youth were encouraged to post their creations and teach the skill to someone in their household. Our next step was to develop a series of twelve Animal Projects Webinars (October 2020). The webinars draw on experts from across the nation, and present research-based information that includes purposefully built-in actionable content that 4-Hers can apply to the care of their own animals. Each webinar ends with an Arizona 4-H agent or leader highlighting how members can get involved in that project. All webinars have been well attended, reaching Arizona youth from across the state, as well as national 4-H audiences. Youth in particular are exceptionally engaged in the presentations, participating through both the chat and Q&A functions. We quickly learned that at least two moderators are needed to effectively keep the webinar on track and manage the excitement exhibited by the youth while engaging with each other and the speakers. To date, the nine videos have reached over 1,000 viewers (still averaging 5-10 views per week), live webinars average 50-60 attendees and over 250 have watched the posted webinar recordings to date. Ninety one percent of participants report planning to make a change in how they care for their animals, and one repeat youth attendee commented “Thank you again for this helpful and amazing meeting. Please keep teaching us and helping us learn new things.” This new, ongoing program will continue beyond the pandemic.