4-H Adjusts Activities With a COVID-19 Summer

North Dakota 4-H strived to provide engaging activities this summer — though they looked much different to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Instead of in-person club and project meetings, 4-H families were offered do-at-home activities that included topics ranging from building and learning the science behind kites to watching the life cycle of a plant by growing a bean in a bottle.

Though in-person camps had to be canceled, some went virtual. Crime Scene Camps were offered via Zoom daily using NDSU College of Engineering kits.

Lindsey Leker, state 4-H youth development specialist – science, says, “Campers followed forensic science activities to solve the crimes. The camps were so popular that we will be offering them throughout the school year.”

Counties tackled achievement days and county fairs to meet COVID guidelines and their 4-H members’ needs.

In Stark-Billings County, agriculture and natural resources (ANR) agent Kurt Froelich and family and community wellness (FCW) agent Holly Johnson developed a county fair COVID plan that was approved by county health officials and the state 4-H office. 4-H'ers left their livestock in their trailers until showtime. Only a few 4-H’ers showed at a time to maintain social distancing.

Ward County animal shows were on Facebook Live so family and friends could watch from anywhere in the world. Emily Goff, Ward County 4-H agent, plans to continue utilizing Facebook Live.

Benson County ANR agent Scott Knoke had judges travel to 4-H families’ farms for their achievement days to evaluate their livestock so people didn’t mingle.

In Steele County, ANR agent Angie Johnson and FCW agent Amber Stockeland had 4-H’ers sign up for time slots to drop off and pick up their static exhibits. Instead of interviews, written pages described what the 4-H’ers learned and included the judges’ feedback.

Emmons County FCW agent Acacia Stuckle and ANR agent Emily Trzpuc hosted Communication Arts, Project Expo and Clothing Revue contests plus an entire fair virtually. 4-H'ers submitted photos and videos, and answered questions live online.

Throughout the summer, Leigh Ann Skurupey, 4-H associate chair and state 4-H youth development specialist – animal sciences, hosted several discussions for staff to learn what worked and what didn’t with events.

“Overall, we’re thrilled that our agents were able to develop and carr y out plans to give our 4-H youth some interactive experiences during this COVID summer,” she says.


Leigh Ann Skurupey, 701-231-6658, leighann.skurupey@ndsu.edu 

Additional Links:

Stark/Billings County Achievement Day

Ward County 4-H Facebook

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