4-H project judging – a different year

4-H project judging occurring over a Zoom meeting.

Many face-to-face activities were canceled over the past few months, but thanks to the creativity and efforts of 4-H professionals and volunteers, 4-H project judging was not one of them.

Youth all over Ohio were able to have their 4-H special interest projects judged in a variety of different ways – videos, face-to-face with a plexiglass screen and mask, or socially distanced. Although this presented new challenges, 4-H members persevered and some even had their best year yet.

4-H project judging with masks and separated by plexiglass.In previous years, Franklin County 4-H project judging took place during their county fair and youth shared their work with judges in an open-air tent. According to Beth Boomershine, Extension Educator for 4-H in Franklin County, judging moved indoors this year. “Since we weren’t able to have 4-H booths in the Ganyard Building, we used that facility and set up tables with plexiglass dividers to keep everyone safe.” 

This site also had an added benefit that was not lost on 4-H members. Madelyn having her woodworking project judged.

Madelyn and Kate Ohl, members of Lucky Clovers 4-H Club in Franklin County, especially enjoyed project judging this year. “I liked the judging this year a lot because we weren’t in a hot tent. It was nice that the building had air conditioning,” said Madelyn. 

Madelyn took Woodworking Level 4: Nailing It Together. “I was able to learn a lot of new skills and I had a lot of fun with my project even though things were a little bit different because of COVID-19,” said Madelyn. She constructed a corner bookshelf.

Kate having her gardening project judged.Her sister Kate completed Grow Your Own Vegetables and Get Started in Art. “Gardening was really fun.  I liked eating the things that I grew,” said Kate. “I really enjoyed my final art project which was to make a modern Mona Lisa. To make her modern, I put a mask on her,” explained Kate. 

Project judging was held virtually in Licking County. Eva Robinson from the Purity Anti-Can’t 4-H Club, Eva having her scrapbooking project judged virtually.recorded a video about her scrapbooking project. “My favorite part was picking the embellishments to use on different pages,” said Eva. This was her first year in 4-H and she spent a lot of time practicing for her judging video. “I was nervous, but I felt more confident after practicing,” said Eva. 

Regardless of how projects happened this year, many 4-H members still learned new skills, practiced public speaking, and adapted to an ever-changing environment. And that is what 4-H is all about.