4-H youth learning through virtual program

By Jessie Wagoner

McPherson County 4-H youth aren’t letting social distancing prevent them of learning. Lindsey Mueting, 4-H Youth Development Agent with the McPherson County Research and Extension Office says a number of virtual 4-H experiences are underway.

Central Kansas 4-H and McPherson County 4-H kicked off eight weeks of virtual 4-H last week on the McPherson County 4-H Facebook page. At 1:30 p.m. every weekday, youth can watch a live video on the Facebook page. Youth are learning through a variety of activities led by Mueting, other agents and leaders.

“We are holding virtual 4-H every day for eight weeks,” Mueting said. “We are making puppets, doing experiments, learning about insects and having fun connecting with one another.”

Any child is welcome to participate in the activities and enjoy virtual 4-H.

“We want to help our 4-H members but also reach out to the rest of the community and encourage them to learn with us,” Mueting said. “We do something new each day so it gives our children a chance to learn each day, but we are also familiar faces for them and it provides a way to connect when we can’t in other ways right now.”

Mueting says she often ties many of the lessons back to the skills youth work in in 4-H. Last week, the youth did a craft project and made puppets. Mueting then encouraged the youth to create a story for the puppet and present the story to a family member. This gave youth the opportunity to craft and also work on the presentation skills they use so frequently in 4-H.

In addition to the daily virtual 4-H activities, local youth continue to engage with their 4-H club, albeit in a different way. Youth and leaders are using Zoom to hold meetings and closed Facebook groups for other activities. This time of year, 4-H clubs are typically together, tagging livestock and animals. This year, they won’t be able to complete the task together but will be sharing pictures and information in their online groups.

During this time, Mueting and other 4-H leaders are encouraging youth to keep learning and growing. They can use their time to focus on some of their project interests and care for their animals.

While the youth are busy learning, Mueting and other extension agents are still available to help members of the community. During this time, they are working staggered hours so they are available to assist the community.

“We are working hard and are very much still here for the public,” Mueting said. “If the community has questions; if they need soil samples or need insects, pests or trees identified, we are available to help. We have a drop box to use in front of the office and our office phone is still available. We are still here to help.”