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Summary

In an effort to provide engaging, educational, and hands-on 4-H programming, Emanuel County 4-H Agent Jakyn Tyson developed 4-H Summer Fun Kits—four individually themed packets that included crafts, recipes, educational content, and a hands-on project or learning experience.

Situation

According to the CDC (2020), Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can affect adolescents directly and indirectly. Beyond getting sick, many children’s and adolescents’ social, emotional and mental well-being has been impacted by the pandemic. Trauma faced at these developmental stages may have long-term consequences across their lifespan. Even if not affected directly by contracting the disease, youth have been affected by changes in their routines, breaks in the continuity of learning, missed significant life events, and more. When a full slate of spring and summer 4-H camps, conferences, and competitions were cancelled, Extension Agent Jakyn Tyson knew that in order to keep the Emanuel County 4-H program relevant and engaging for youth and their families, programs would have to continue, but be conducted at a distance. While a natural assumption would be to shift programming to a virtual delivery method, many of the youth in rural Emanuel County do not have access to a sufficient internet connection at home. A recently published broadband availability map by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs shows that of the more than 507,000 homes and businesses lacking access to reliable broadband, nearly 70% of these locations are in rural parts of Georgia (Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative, 2020). 899 of these unserved locations are in rural Emanuel County. While the data from the broadband study shows that 92% of Emanuel County households have access to reliable highspeed internet, the U.S. Census Bureau shows that only 65.1% of those households actually have subscriptions for a broadband internet connection (2019). Adolescent's Wellbeing During COVID-19: Parental Resources |CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/parental-resource-kit/adolescence.html Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative. (2020, June 30). Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://broadband.georgia.gov/maps/gbdi-unserved-county U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Georgia; Emanuel County, Georgia. (2019, December 19). Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/GA,emanuelcountygeorgia/IPE120219

Response

In an effort to provide engaging, educational, and hands-on 4-H programming, Tyson developed 4-H Summer Fun Kits—four individually themed packets that included crafts, recipes, educational content, and a hands-on project or learning experience. The kits were specifically designed to target rising 2nd-7th graders so as to keep them engaged and to facilitate the relationship that those youth would typically have forged with 4-H thru in-person recreational activities such as residential and day camps. The activities within the kits had no online or digital components, and materials needed for each were common items found in the home or were mailed in the kits to the youth. The cost per kit was set at $5 to enable participation for youth from any income level. The kits were based on themes that would appeal to a wide variety of youth: Prizewinning Pumpkins, Electricity, Pollinators, and Cupcake Wars. The pumpkin kit included adapted materials from UGA Cooperative Extension’s Commercial Pumpkin Production publication, an original game developed by Tyson featuring pumpkin facts, seeds for a large, competition pumpkin variety, and information on the Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest. The kit focusing on electricity included instructions and materials to make a paper flashlight, directions and recipes for a solar oven, and rules and supplies for the youth to have a relay race with balloons using static electricity. The Pollinator Kit utilized information and resources from the Great Georgia Pollinator Census and included materials to assist students in identifying insects and tallying them for the census. Directions for making a bee motel and supplies for backyard bingo were also included. The Cupcake Wars kit included recipes for cupcakes, fondant, and simple frosting using basic ingredients commonly found in homes. Participants also received directions for making their own piping bags for frosting and tips for working with fondant. It also included directions, score sheets, and certificates for kit recipients to be able to conduct their own Cupcake Wars themed contest with family and friends.

Impact

A total of 35 youth in 2nd-7th grade requested and received the kits. Two months into a new programming year, over 31% of those youth have enrolled in 4-H and already participated in 4-H activities including the Georgia 4-H Pumpkin Growing Contest promoted in one of the kits. Another nearly 52% of youth receiving the kits are still pre-club age, but have reported that they plan to enroll and engage in more 4-H activities. One participant’s parent reported that their child loved actually receiving the kit in the mail and was disappointed when the program ended. Another parent shared that they were happy that it wasn’t virtual and that their child could “unplug” for a while and still receive some educational content. While Emanuel County 4-H was unable to recruit and retain youth through traditional day camps and field trips, they were able to share educational and hands-on summer programming that left 4-H members wanting to be involved.

State Issue

Youth & Family Development

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: County
  • County: Emanuel
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • 4-H Youth

Author

  • Tyson, Jakyn Jennings
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Extension Impact