April 24 Update

Greetings 4-H Families!

I wanted to reach out to you because I know that questions and uncertainty are a big part of our daily life. 4-H is no different. We are still waiting for answers related to a variety of summer events from the State 4-H Office, Governor Dewine and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Please know that our staff has a lot of the same questions you have, and in many cases we do not YET have answers.

This e-mail will serve as a summary update of information we have shared so far, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we are receiving. I will share status of events as I know them to be TODAY, through still project judging July 8. After reading this e-mail, it is likely you will still feel a sense of uncertainty and incompleteness. I feel it every day. While we do not currently have the answers, we will find them – and I ask for your patience as we work through this process.

One answer I do feel confident about: 4-H will not be “cancelled” in 2020. We will still have an active presence in Muskingum County. We will have mechanisms for youth to work in clubs, participate in a camp-like experience, complete projects and be recognized for their work. What we must realize is that many pieces of the experience may look different as we adapt to our current circumstances. 4-H is an organization built on a long history of adapting to changes in our culture. We began with boys & girls clubs focused on agricultural pursuits and in 100+ years of existence we have grown to offer more than 200 project options. We also support a variety of delivery methods outside the community club, including school enrichment, after school, SPIN clubs and 4-H CARTEENS. This pandemic presents yet another opportunity for 4-H to show flexibility and resilience, and come through stronger on the other side.

As a reminder, OSU Extension has instructed us to cancel all face-to-face 4-H events between now and July 6. Face-to-face 4-H Camps are cancelled through August 31. Extension staff will work from home until further notice and we do not currently have regular access to our office, mail, etc. – which makes it difficult to collect hard copy paperwork. Not everyone has the ability or access to print and/or scan at home in order to submit paperwork, so we are examining strategies. We are still holding off on rescheduling any face-to-face events, even after July 6.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I change projects? Members who wish to make a project change should do so by e-mailing those changes to Debbie (dunn.257@osu.edu) by April 30. Families cannot log in to make these changes in 4HOnline. It is our preference that these change requests come directly from the family.
  • How do I order project books? I provided instructions to club volunteers about how to proceed with project booking ordering for 2020. Please reach out to your club volunteers to find out about the process for your club. 
  • I enrolled in Archery Project 751. Is that still happening this year? We are currently examining options for virtual learning, postponing the program to later in the year, etc. I am instructing those who ask to stay enrolled in the project for now.
  • Will the number of meetings members are required to attend change? What if members are unable to attend virtual meetings? I am not sure yet about changes to the meeting requirement. I think it is important for clubs to consider that not all members have technology to participate in virtual meetings.

Status of Events/Calendar Items

  • April 30 Deadline for Sale Committee Scholarships – The Small Animal Sale Scholarship Application is not currently available on our website – in fact, it still needs to be created. We have not promoted the Large Animal Sale Scholarship widely this year. I will work with those committees to ensure youth have time to submit those applications this year
  • May 15 Deadline for Club Paperwork, Horse Permission Forms, Dog Permission Forms and Winning 4-H Plans – This deadline was already extended from April 15. If necessary, this deadline can be extended again. See note earlier in the e-mail about current challenges in collecting paperwork
  • Junior Fair Events (registrations/weigh ins, horse body condition scoring/vaccinations, etc.) – These events COULD still take place on the scheduled dates if government restrictions allow and social distancing measures are followed. Collection of horse leases (May 15 deadline) and stall sheets (June 15 deadline) is also under consideration, as it is likely the Extension Office will not reopen to the public before those deadlines, and the Senior Fair Office is currently closed. I will be dialoguing with Senior Fair Board and appropriate committees to determine a course of action
  • Quality Assurance/Horse Education Programs –Because these programs are conducted by Ohio 4-H, we must abide by the July 6 face-to-face restriction. Ohio 4-H has presented us with Zoom training options that we are not yet ready to roll out in Muskingum County. Zoom options will be free. There is an option through YQCA, but there is a fee associated with each child. We will offer face-to-face training when/if restrictions allow. At this time, the deadline to complete these requirements is Day 1 of the Muskingum County Fair for 2020. Youth who wish to exhibit at the State Fair will need Quality Assurance before the start of State Fair
  • PAS Show – Because this is an Ohio 4-H event, PAS shows have been cancelled for 2020 because they need to take place before July 6. The Saddle Horse Committee is in the process of sharing details related to the State Fair Horse Show with clubs who have horse members
  • Royalty/Ambassador Night – This is an event that involves 4-H, Junior Fair and local commodity groups. I need to touch base with these groups and determine how they wish to proceed based on current restrictions
  • Health & Safety Speaking Contest – COULD convert to a virtual format
  • Junior Fair Board Meetings – Scheduled meetings are taking place via Zoom. The group will discuss a 2020 Junior Fair Theme this Monday
  • 4-H CARTEENS – The program is not currently taking place
  • 4-H Camps – Our 2020 Junior Camp is cancelled face-to-face. Our Camp Team is considering a “camp-like” virtual opportunity during the same dates our camp was scheduled, June 9-13. Early stage conversations about Cloverbud Camp indicate we will partner with Windy Ridge Jerseys for camp in 2021
  • COVID 19 Camp Shirts Available – Ross County Camp Counselors are working with a company in Ross County to sell a “COVID-19 Camp T-shirt”. Families can order online through May 1: http://4hcovid19camp.cssprinting.org/. $3 of each shirt purchased from Muskingum County will benefit 4-H Camp Ohio. The 4-H Committee is purchasing shirts for our camp counselors and staff
  • Still Project Judging – We will offer a still project judging opportunity in 2020 – it may be virtual, rescheduled later, etc. A state team is currently developing best practices
  • Communications/Workforce Prep Day – COULD convert to a virtual format.

If you have questions, please reach out to Jamie (mcconnell.210@osu.edu) or Debbie (dunn.257@osu.edu).  We can also be reached through our office phone number, 740-454-0144 if you follow the menu prompts.

April 17 Update

Greetings 4-H Families,

I wanted to send out a couple quick notes for the weekend!

Special Announcement! Ohio 4-H is offering the opportunity in 2020 only for already enrolled members to add/change/drop projects through April 30. This is not an extension of our enrollment deadline and only applies to youth enrolled by the deadline. This is intended to allow families flexibility in case they need to make changes related to financial strain, availability of livestock, etc.

I have discussed this with the Senior Fair Board and they have agreed to honor any project changes by this date and allow them to exhibit at the Muskingum County Fair. If members drop projects, they cannot re-add them later. If members choose to add projects, please encourage them to only add projects they will work hard to complete – as having youth enrolled in projects they do not complete makes it more difficult to make plans for judging events. Members who wish to make a project change should do so by e-mailing those changes to Debbie (dunn.257@osu.edu) by April 30. Families cannot log in to make these changes in 4HOnline. It is our preference that these change requests come directly from the family. 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  • Ordering Project Books – I provided instructions to club volunteers earlier this week about how to proceed with project booking ordering for 2020. Please reach out to your club volunteers to find out about the process for your club. 
  • Quality Assurance – Ohio 4-H has presented us with Zoom Quality Assurance training options that are being allowed due to the extension of our restrictions. We are not ready yet to roll these options out in Muskingum County. YQCA remains an option, but it does have a cost. In April, there is a coupon code that can be utilized for a $3 discount. Please reach out to me if you want details on the coupon code.
  • Skillathon Study Materials – Amidst the chaos, I forgot to send out the link to the Downloadable Skillathon Study Kits on April 1. Here’s the link: https://osu.box.com/v/muskskillathon. Please remember not to share this link on any public sites due to copyright issues.
  • Summer Programming – There are a lot of (still) unanswered questions about summer events. We are awaiting details and instructions from state teams to make informed decisions about how to proceed. Stay tuned.

Be well!

April 7 Update – Note from State 4-H Leader Kirk Bloir

The situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change more quickly than we can wrap our heads around. With each new announcement, the questions we are all asking get louder in our heads. With that in mind, it is difficult to share the latest update with from our State 4-H Leader. Please know that I’ve only had definitive information a few hours before sharing it with you; as a result, I don’t have answers to the questions this will generate. I have already communicated with camp counselors and adult volunteers about camp, because I wanted them to hear it from me first.

Thank you for your continued patience. I will share more information when I have it.


Dear 4-H members, families, volunteers and supporters,

It is with a heavy heart that I share this news with you. Due to ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision has been made to cancel all Ohio State University Extension in-person programming through July 6. This includes all 4-H programs, activities, and events. Additionally, we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all 4-H camps through August 31. Although in-person programming is cancelled, we will continue to offer virtual 4-H experiences.

We know this is an incredible disappointment and recognize how much everyone looks forward to our cherished 4-H summer events. As 4-H professionals committed to providing positive youth development programming, we share your sense of loss.

Given available information, we anticipate the next few weeks and months will continue to be critical times for stemming the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is our duty to keep ourselves and those we serve safe through the education we provide and the modeling of safety-conscious behaviors. We do not want to get to the other side of this pandemic and wish that we had done more to keep our future generation of leaders safe and healthy.

While we are making decisions regarding the youth events we organize and manage (such as camps and 4-H project judging), we are deferring to local decision-makers and Governor DeWine’s administration on the events owned by others, such as county fairs. Our decision to cancel in-person 4-H activities and events through July 6 and summer camps, should not automatically imply that local county fairs are also canceled at this time. Please keep in mind that 4-H and our FFA colleagues support the education and development of youth, but the decision about whether fairs will occur is in the hands of others. This continues to be an evolving situation that will require some negotiation and monitoring depending on decisions. We will be ready should fairs move forward and to pivot if they are cancelled.

As we work through the impact of these decisions for 4-H activities and events in the weeks ahead, county OSU Extension 4-H professionals will share important updates and information with you as we develop and provide new online opportunities. We know the experiences will be different than we had hoped, yet we remain committed to working together to grow future generations of true leaders.

Yours in service to 4-H,

Kirk Bloir, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, 4-H Youth Development
College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – Ohio State University Extension
Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, OH 43210
614-247-8168 Office
bloir.1@osu.edu  |  ohio4h.org  |  extension.osu.edu