Arkansas virtual 4-H conference keeps youths engaged
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced families to isolate at home, Arkansas youths no longer had access to school, extracurricular activities or 4-H activities. While some families used the time to rebuild relationships and spend more time together, many Arkansas parents were deemed essential workers, which meant leaving their children home with no positive social outlet.
The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s 4-H staff helped fill the gap by implementing virtual 4-H summer offerings, including the Teen Leader Conference normally held at the Arkansas 4-H Center. Developed and facilitated by the seven-person 4-H state officer team and 20 4-H ambassadors from throughout the state, the conference focused on GRIT—Growth, Resilience, Innovation, Tenacity.
The three-day event drew 180 participants. Forty-one topics were presented along with 82 educational videos focusing on sound financial management practices, healthy living behaviors, technology and service-learning ideas. According to one youth participant, “I am thankful for the different types of technology we have access to that allows us to have virtual events such as these. It was not a typical format for TLC, but it was still really neat.”