4-H continues to support the next generation of leaders amid the COVID crisis

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, students have stepped up to serve their communities..

National 4-H is working to support young people through the pandemic and continue building the next generation of leaders. According to Jennifer Sirangelo, the National 4-H Council president and CEO, “We’ve seen cooperative extension pivot almost immediately to having and offering virtual clubs, virtual learning...”

The changes could have a lasting, positive effect on education and leadership development for students. “We probably will have some kind of a hybrid model where there will be an ability for people to connect through technology to do some of their projects, to do some of their contests, for people to do judging and record books in new ways,” Sirangelo states.

Seventeen million kids in America lack access to broadband, but 4-H is leading the way to bridge the gap and provide learning resources.

“Our states are doing amazing things like creating brown bag activity kits... we’re making those cooperative extension offices in communities available for WiFi downloads, so families can go to the parking lot and young people can download their school work or their 4-H projects,” she adds.

Community service is a hallmark of 4-H and Jennifer says that students are still finding ways to give back: “We’re seeing things like young people taking their animals to the windows where the elderly people live... we’ve seen young people 3-D print face shields, we’ve seen them making thousands of masks, and helping significantly with food drives... So, to me its been a shinning moment for 4-H.”

She encourages the ag industry to continue supporting young people with internships, apprenticeships, and youth advisory councils.

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