4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
4-H Youth Development Virtual Classes
Oregon State University Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development Program provides opportunities for youths to explore and discover their “spark” but there are some barriers that prevent youths and their families from being aware of all the projects 4-H has to offer. Since 2019 there had been a decreasing number of entries in 4-H static classes at the Clackamas County Fair. Jan Williams, 4-H faculty in Clackamas county is working to change that trend. She created weekly virtual 4-H Project Exploration interactive workshops that offer hands-on activities for 4-H youths that teach skills and techniques in 4-H food, horticulture, STEM, art, and/or sewing projects.
A free class kit is provided each month to each pre-registered youth. The kits contain most of the supplies and materials needed to complete the four projects for that month’s theme. Participants make an item or work on an activity specific to that month’s project. Examples include baking cookies, hand sewing a wallet, creating a mason bee house, and creating an LED light circuit. Families participated fully in the online workshops, often having parents helping the youth with the activity.
The goal is to give each kid the vocabulary, techniques and tools to be successful and have a broader range of project knowledge and skills that they can continue to use in their daily lives.
4-H Project Exploration Virtual Workshops began in October 2020 and continues to this date. 4-H faculty in Clatsop and Baker counties collaborate with Williams and in 2023, more than 270 youths participated in the online workshops. As a result, the number of 4-H static exhibit entries in the fair increased and more kids have engaged in projects and activities to which they might not have originally had access.