2020 Gives Us a Different Perspective

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

No doubt in your life you have been asked if a glass is half empty or half full? This year gave folks the opportunity to look at the empty side and not see what was actually there (aka the full side). So, let’s sit back and see if we can adjust our perspective a little.

This year started off for us with our normal 4-H Club programming. We had clubs just starting to meet in February. We were bothering parents to get their paperwork done, so their children could be part of 4-H events. We went into our first big competition called 4-H County Activity Day in March where youth compete in public speaking, presentations, and outdoor cooking. It was like every other competition we have done for the last 18 years.

Two days later we were on lockdown. No more face-to-face meetings with our youth or volunteers. We had 30 incubators in the schools. When schools quickly went to remote learning, we gave teachers the option, and 95 percent of them took their incubators home and did embryology remotely. We set up five or six incubators in our library at the office, and we did embryology for the world over Facebook Live. It was a whole new audience, a whole new world, and gave us reason to change our programming perspective.

From there we went Live over Facebook with butterflies and helped our horticultural agent with a family-friendly gardening series, “Digging in with Extension.”  We created new programs like a photography contest, a Junior County Retreat, and our “Cooking with Ms. JoJo” series. We still had summer day camp via Zoom, and our state 4-H Camping Team offered a virtual overnight camp; it was amazing; Our teens still had Citizenship and Congress, and One youth even competed in Application, Interview, Resume, and video Essay (AIRE) earning a trip to 4-H National Congress in 2021. Our youth who raise animals were still able to show them virtually thanks to the support of some open-minded judges and United Way of Robeson County as well as The Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair. Our poultry judging team placed third in the state.

So, here we are at the end of the year, and we can look at this one of two ways:  the glass is half empty, we miss being face to face this year; or the glass is half full, our youth did amazing things, had fun and learned, our volunteers still volunteered, we have new programs, lots of new folks were introduced to 4-H, and we created the first-ever 4-H County App in North Carolina. When it came down to counting our successes, it was a little different this year but at 4-H Apperception Night we had more than 100 youth and 60 volunteers recognized for their service. We had another 30 families who came in the next day for our 4-H Drive Through and dropped off items for our community engagement project (items were for cancer care packages at Gibson Cancer Center) and picked up their awards and certificates. Our 4-H Families stood up, took part, learned something, and made a difference in our community. From my

perspective at the end of 2020, our glass isn’t half empty, it isn’t half full…it is overflowing. Here is to getting a bigger glass in 2021 so we can all fill it up.

For more information, please Shea Ann DeJarnette, 4-H Youth Development with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Shea_Ann_DeJarnette@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

Posted on Dec 18, 2020
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