LIVESTOCK YOUTH LEADING IN A VIRTUAL WORLD
Situation: 4-H youth enrolled in livestock projects have felt the challenges of the COVID pandemic in many ways including financially, socially, and programmatically. Personal growth gained through livestock projects took a backseat due to the cancelation of in person meetings and the fears of losing money. Youth enrolled in the Putnam County Livestock Leadership program vowed to overcome challenges and lead their way to excellence. Methods: Livestock Leadership youth began meeting virtually in November to identify major educational objectives for youth enrolled in livestock projects and ways to meet those goals. After identifying the main challenges, 12 youth were divided into three smaller groups to accomplish the mission of educating 103 youth exhibiting livestock at the county fair. Each group was given ideas related to their given topic, along with suggestions on virtual formats and activities to educate youth. Each group met with the 4-H agent several times to create a Google page covering the identified challenges. The fair agreed the Google site would serve as the mandatory educational meeting for all youth exhibiting livestock at the county fair. Results: 100% of youth (n=12) outlined an educational plan, completed a Google page covering objectives set by the 4-H agent, and published the page. Each page was combined into one Google site, which was presented in multiple agriculture classrooms in additional to all youth exhibiting livestock with a total of 3218 views and 1889 users. Conclusion: The youth enrolled in the livestock leadership program overcame obstacles that limited their opportunities for leadership and growth while learning vital skills to be successful in a virtual climate.