4-H livestock show moves online amid COVID-19 pandemic
Many youths in 4-H spend all year working hard and eagerly waiting for livestock show season. When a pandemic forces event organizers to cancel county fairs and festivals that often play host to these shows, what is a 4-H agent to do?
In Screven County, Georgia, University of Georgia Extension 4-H agent Lauren Boykin decided to take her county livestock show online. Exhibitors uploaded videos of themselves showing their animals. Judges reviewed the submissions and announced winners virtually.
At the time, Georgia was under a stay-at-home order. Keeping the livestock show tradition alive in Screven County was a much-needed boost for the exhibitors, their parents and community members. The exhibitors had the satisfaction of showing off their efforts in the livestock program and competing for prizes. And locals were still able to take in the beloved show, which has run for 69 years in Screven County – all from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
“The virtual show was very different from any other regular livestock show,” one participant said. “It was harder than an in-person show because the camera was focused on one animal and one exhibitor at a time. Participating in the virtual show required a higher level of dedication and commitment and we were grateful that the leaders were willing to find a way for each exhibitor to bring our livestock projects to a close.”