By Max Shawhan, Paw Pals 4-H Club President
When in-person 4-H activities were cancelled earlier this summer, it was difficult news for the members of the Paw Pals 4-H Club of Butler County, who were accustomed to having weekly dog training meetings. But this devastating news did not slow down this club’s commitment to following the 4-H slogan, “Learn by Doing.”
Club President and Junior Fair Board member, Max Shawhan, created a YouTube account where members of the Butler County Dog Department could share training videos. Advisor Pamela Norman created the Facebook Group “4-H Dogs Learn 4 Fun.” This group was open to 4-H members across the country to share knowledge and resources.
Advisors Norman and Roberta Shawhan knew that showing is one way to keep the members active, so they created Paw Pals 4-H Virtual Fun Show. This allowed members to film their classes at home, upload the videos and then get feedback and placings from experienced 4-H judges. 4-H dog members from 20 counties across Ohio competed in 22 different classes offered in five different virtual shows from April to August.
Shawhan said that the best thing about this year was that it allowed for more collaboration between counties and clubs. “In a normal year, members would only train with their club. This year, we were able to work with members and advisors from all over the state and a former member who now lives in Canada.” Collaboration was not just among Ohio 4-H members. Format and content from Paw Pals’ virtual fun shows were used in two AKC virtual shows and a New Hampshire 4-H virtual show.
Paw Pals members have also participated virtually in Athens County’s Lucky Four Virtual Show, Michigan’s 4-H Dog Department Online Communication Contest, Kentucky 4-H Virtual Dog Show and Ohio State Fair Virtual Skillathon.
From March until June club members held seven Zoom club meetings where members worked on parliamentary procedure and Robert's Rules of Order along with presenting oral reports by committee chairs and officers.
Although this 4-H year has been challenging the Paw Pal members found that they were able to continue to learn by doing…virtually!