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Ohio 4-H Highlights : August 2020
4-H project judging – a different year
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.
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 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.
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, 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.
Ohio youth selected for National 4-H Young Alumni Advisory Committee
Two Ohio 4-H alumni have been selected to serve on the National 4-H Council’s Young Alumni Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of eleven young 4-H alumni, who work to support National 4-H Council, and advise their board of trustees. Nathan Grine from Henry County and Noor Alshafie from Franklin County began their terms in July.
This is the start of Noor’s second term, after completing a three-year term. Being part of this committee was important to Noor as she transitioned from 4-H member to 4-H alum. She wanted to continue her service because she believes 4-H can be a solid foundation for youth development in every community. “Few other organizations are devoted to transforming the lives of young people,” said Noor, “and I’ve seen the power that 4-H can have first-hand by lifting up individuals to a potential they may have not yet realized was within them.”
Nathan and Noor both feel it is important to continue conversations and advocacy regarding 4-H becoming a more equitable and inclusive program. “It gives me great excitement to work alongside my peers as we spark necessary conversation around how 4-H can become a more equitable and inclusive program; a program for tomorrow’s youth," said Nathan. “The betterment of this program will in turn adequately prepare our youth to be the future leaders we need.”
Noor and Nathan both believe 4-H alumni can play an important role in the 4-H community. “Alumni may have aged out of the program and gone on to do incredible things, but they can still support the program. The organization which taught them responsibility, compassion, and the value of hard work can use their talents. Without alumni giving their time, there will be youth missing out on the opportunity to grow into true leaders,” said Noor.
Nathan offers this advice for other young 4-H alumni who want to stay involved, “Give back. Think about how you were able to grow because of 4-H, and then harness that affinity and give back to this transformative program in a way that best suits you. It might mean volunteering as an advisor with a local 4-H club, using your expertise to help with a training or making a monetary gift to fund scholarships to help 4-H members seek further opportunities.”
Ohio 4-H congratulates Noor and Nathan as they begin their service to the National 4-H Council Young Alumni Advisory Committee!
Virtually, 4-H continues to develop life skills
4-H is known for the unique, hands-on learning experiences offered by completing projects. Many people wondered what youth would learn from 4-H during a time of social distancing and virtual events, but when met with adversity, 4-H members continued to learn and develop valuable life skills.
Across the state, 4-H project work and judging looked different. Some counties opted to have members submit information videos and others held socially distanced judging events. Janette Thompson, who serves as a project judge in Gallia and Meigs County, was inspired by the youth whose projects she judged this year via video submission. “These kids did not know, this spring how their projects would be judged. They did their best and persevered. It was inspiring,” she said.
For Janette, the most inspiring youth was Madelynn Hicks of the Gallia County Buccaneers 4-H Club, who experiences selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that makes it difficult for children to speak in some situations. Last year she could only answer questions by shaking or nodding her head and pointing to pictures or other things in her project book. “This year I had to watch her video twice to catch every word she spoke!” said Janette. The challenge was not being able to praise Madelynn and other members in-person for their perseverance and hard work.
Madelynn’s love for horses also led her to enroll in the Horseless Horse project this year and take riding lessons. In her project video, she said, “I like horses because they help me talk at school and to everyone!” 4-H helped Madelynn learn more about horses and develop the passion she is excited to share with others.
Combining her love of horses with the opportunity to record a project judging video gave Madelynn a boost of confidence to share about her project work. Stacy Hicks, Madelynn’s mother, said, “It just warms my heart and I hope one day Madelynn can help to some other child that may struggle with selective mutism or need a confidence booster.”
Through various opportunities and experiences, 4-H helps its members learn critical life skills. While 2020 has been different in many ways, some things do not change. Ohio 4-H continues to remain relevant through programming that offers unique opportunities for experiential learning.
You can see Madelynn's Horseless Horse video here.
Faces of Ohio 4-H - alumna presents at National 4-H FilmFest
Growing up, I watched my dad pull out our family camcorder at all our trips, events, and holidays, capturing our special memories. From Christmas cookie decorating to going on a ride at Disney World, I always remember smiling and waving at our small, handheld camera. I quickly became intrigued at how a short video could convey so much; how our family videos effectively shared our story simply through visuals. I started to make fun videos with my friends in our basement during sleepovers, attempting to understand how I could put different pieces of video together to capture those special moments. Through these experiences, by taking that same family camcorder and trying my hand at these skills, I found a passion. A spark.
As a 14-year 4-H member from Athens County, I continuously learned about leadership, citizenship, and teamwork by participating in an array of projects, including dogs, rabbits, food and nutrition, and public speaking. In 2015, I discovered an opportunity that would, quite literally, change my life by combining those skills with my passion for video and storytelling. It was FilmFest 4-H: the National 4-H Film Festival.
I was a high school freshman and more than a bit nervous to create a documentary, fly to St. Louis, and share my work with a national audience. Before FilmFest 4-H, my parents and Girl Scout troop had been the only ones to watch my videos on a small screen. However, I arrived in Missouri to find a welcoming 4-H environment that provided amazing moments for learning and, yes, a safe and positive place for viewing my work—this time on quite a larger screen and national stage. I will never forget talking about my choices during the filmmaker Q & A after my very first film was screened. Or how much I valued meeting professional filmmakers (such as an Emmy Award winning make-up artist and an actor who I had watched on Disney Channel), as well as other rising 4-H members who love this industry.
For four years I submitted my work to the National 4-H Film Festival and each year, I met more filmmakers from across the nation, learned from talented industry professionals, and showcased my documentary and promotional videos. My films ranged from documentaries about the Ohio 4-H PetPALS Program and food insecurity to promotional videos about 4-H events across the state.
Over those four years, I was honored to receive multiple top awards, including the National Leadership Award for Youth Produced Media. I was inspired by the opportunities and encouragement to keep learning more about important societal issues and telling impactful stories with fellow 4-H members from all over the country and beyond.
FilmFest 4-H was the catalyst for my professional career. The workshops, sessions, and networking experiences at FilmFest 4-H allowed me to understand that media production could be more than a hobby; it could be my future career.
FilmFest 4-H taught me I could use my passion to make a positive impact on the communities around me. Currently, as a college junior, I serve as the Communications Director for a North Carolina Senate campaign and hold leadership positions within several student-run broadcasts at High Point University.
This year, I was honored to serve as the alumni presenter for the National 4-H FilmFestival’s tenth anniversary. I was deeply humbled to be invited to return to the festival in this capacity, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone through the virtual setting this year. In my workshop, titled “4-H Horizons,” I discussed how the future is bright and open as attendees look toward the next phase of their life. I shared about the importance of finding and cultivating their own unique spark, the element that makes them enjoy this industry. We discussed how to embrace unknown aspects of their future careers by always continuing to connect with other filmmakers, gain new experiences, and create more films.
4-H has exponentially expanded from our agricultural roots, and I am so grateful to have been active in a program that encourages young people to find their passions and use them to create change, motivate action, and inspire others. Through 4-H, I gained incredible, transferable skills that will enhance my ability to lead, communicate, set goals, organize work, collaborate with teams, and so much more. I will always be so appreciative to FilmFest 4-H for giving me the confidence, connections, and courage to pursue a career in the media production industry. Thanks to the National 4-H Film Festival, filmmaking transitioned from a family hobby into a quest to tell stories that will make a difference in our world.
Emmy enjoys making videos to support Ohio 4-H. One of her most recent videos is the one below on how to have a safe in-person 4-H meeting.
Calendar of Events
August 21 – A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level (Zoom) – 12 p.m., A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level identifies strategies to reduce food wasted at the consumer level from a holistic, systems perspective by applying knowledge from the social and behavioral sciences and identifying promising interventions for changing behavior. Register here.
August 25 – Virtual Summer Garden Walk at Family Farms (Zoom) – 6:30 p.m., There will be a virtual summer garden walk class event held in partnership with the south side urban farm Family Farms. This event is free; registration is required.
August 26 – Can You Dig It! Fall Gardening Series Class #5 (Zoom) – Noon, A virtual late-summer garden walk to talk weather, harvest, fall planning, pests, weeds, disease, and answer questions about your own garden. The class is free; registration is required.
August 27 - #FarmON Benefit Concert (Facebook Live) – 8 p.m., The #FarmON Benefit Concert is the grand finale of the Farm Journal Field Days, serving as a ‘thank you’ to farmers and ranchers for their hard work and determination to keep our food system going. Click here for more information. To watch the livestream, head to the National 4-H Facebook page.
August 27 – What to Plant NOW for Fall (Zoom) – 6:30 p.m., This class will talk about what you can plant to get a harvest into fall. This will be held in partnership with the Growing and Growth Collective. The class is free; registration is required.
September 1 – The Second Pandemic: Understanding and Challenging the Rise in Anti-Asian Racism in the Wake of COVID-19 (Zoom) – 6 p.m., This webinar will address the ways different types of bias against the Asian and Asian American communities are reiterating themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll begin by discussing the types of bias most commonly seen and how these biases have influenced the impacts of COVID-19 on Asian/Asian American communities both here at Ohio State and nationwide. Shifting the conversation to concrete examples, we’ll raise awareness about the ways anti-Asian racism has manifested since the pandemic, and the history Asian Americans have with this type of racial oppression. We’ll conclude with bias intervention strategies for folks to use to advocate for themselves if they identify as Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Desi American (APIDA), and for others to strive for allyship with the APIDA community. For more information and registration, click here.
September 2 – Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science Virtual Conference (Virtual Webinar) – 9:30 a.m., Research and outreach leaders will present findings from recent studies and identify important areas of uncertainty. Specific topics will include collaborations and partnerships critical for improving water quality, understanding lag times and soil phosphorus dynamics, and the latest in edge-of-field research and best management practices. For more information and registration, click here.
September 2 – Wellness Wednesdays (Zoom Webinar) – 11 a.m., Join OSU Extension Educator Jenny Lobb for a wellness webinar the first Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. for the rest of 2020. Click here for more information.
September 4 – The Impacts of Climate Change on Forests and Wildlife (Webinar) – 11 a.m., The climate is changing impacting forests in many ways. The magnitude of continued accelerated change requires adaptation strategies to maintain healthy and productive forests. As forests are placed under additional stress, it is also critical to consider how wildlife may respond to a shifting climate and important forest habitats on which they are dependent. For birds, there is a natural ecological link to the importance of trees and forest structure and in many cases, birds are often used as indicators of forest conditions and management goals. Understanding how bird and tree species habitats may respond to ongoing climate change will be critical to meeting conservation and management goals. Register here.
September 9 – Fall Fruit Research Updates and Live Q&A (Zoom) – 10 a.m., Come join us for timely fruit research updates for our farm and garden and get your questions answered by experts from The Ohio State University. To register for this free event, visit go.osu.edu/fruitupdate. If you have questions, please contact Bradford Sherman at email@example.com or 740-289-2071 ext. 115.
September 22-24 – Farm Science Review (Virtual) - Beginning in September, virtual visitors can find out about the show’s offerings by going to fsr.osu.edu and clicking on an image of the show site. Within that image, people can click on the various icons to find the schedules for talks and demos, such as field demonstrations or “Ask the Expert” talks. More information will be posted as it becomes available.