We are all navigating new territory during this COVID pandemic. 4-H hasn’t stopped during this time even though we aren’t meeting face to face. During this time we have seen 4-H’ers contribute to their community by doing things like making masks. Youth and adults have also been incredibly adaptable to using technology to communicate and learn. Currently most of us have more time at home to work on things. There are things 4-H’ers can do right now and we will talk about a few. These broadly relate to any 4-H’er!
Projects are one of the 4-H cornerstones. Whether you have been working on a project or want to pick up a new one, now is a great time to invest in that interest. Projects can be anything from a livestock animal to sewing to cooking to robotics. We have a blank project record book that you can use to guide you through some of the ways to have a complete educational project. For example, if you are learning leather work, you would set goals, keep a financial record, do a demonstration (could be filmed and shared), and give back to the community. If you complete at least 12 hours in this area 4-H considers that a “4-H project.” To receive awards and recognition for your accomplishment turn in a project record book by July 1st*. If you are already involved in a project think about a new goal you want to work on or sign up for a virtual clinic or show to hone your skills.
Another thing you could be working on now is supporting and encouraging someone. Whether its a mentor, 4-H leader or volunteer, or a graduating senior, all of us could use some extra love and support during this time. Send a letter, text or give a call to someone who has supported and helped you in your journey. A lot of times giving or saying thank you does just as much good for you as it does for the one receiving the support.
Now is a great time to try something new! Have you thought about investigating a passion more or trying a new habit or changing your routine? I encourage you to find something you’ve been wanting to do and experiment with it for at least two weeks. One thing I have added to my life since COVID is the Calm App. I use it to help me go to sleep faster and to help me guide me through a ten minute or less mediation each day. This is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time but kept putting it off. Adding it to my day has helped me tremendously and I will make sure to keep it as a habit when we return to normal. What is something you could try?
Right now is the most I’ve ever see the “world stand still.” Before things return to normal make sure you take the time to reflect on how you feel and what things you want to include in your daily life once things start back. As humans we are excellent at leading incredibly busy lives. Take a few minutes to do a check in. Did you add exercise or journaling to your day? Did you have family dinners most of the week? Identify things that changed during the last few months that you want to keep as habits. Make sure you share them with your family and those closest to you so they can help you stick to them.
You know what is best for you. As Pabbie and Anna from Frozen 2 says ” all one can do is the next right thing.” During this time is 100 % okay to just be. For some working on 4-H projects or doing some of the things described above can be mentally relieving and almost cathartic. For others focusing on something new and different can be a mental break as well. Our biggest hope for you is to stay safe, healthy and happy during this time doing your “next best step.”
*Every county 4-H program has different due dates.