Teresa Middleton

Teresa Middleton

Teresa Middleton

It is probably safe to say that everyone’s lives have changed over the last two months. All of us have had to make huge adjustments in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Our once familiar routines no longer exist and we are trying to make our new ‘normal’ as normal as possible.

4-H is also making adjustments nationally, statewide and locally. Douglas County 4-H is still doing 4-H; it just looks different.

This is not the first change 4-H has made in its 108 year history. In the late 1800s, farmers were skeptical and unaccepting of new agricultural developments. However, young people were open to new thinking and would experiment with new ideas and share their experiences with adults. In this way, rural youth programs introduced new agricultural techniques to adults.

Fast forward to today and you can see how 4-H has grown and evolved. Today, 4-H serves youth in rural, urban and suburban communities in every state across the nation. 4-H’ers are tackling the nation’s top issues, from global food security, climate change and sustainable energy to childhood obesity and food safety (4-h.org).

Though we are staying home, staying safe, our county 4-H program is still going strong. Leaders are connecting with members in creative ways. Learning and sharing are happening through virtual connections and texting, all while adhering to safe social media protocol.

Youth are still working with their projects from lambs to leathercraft. To see what projects our 4-H members are working on, check out our Douglas County 4-H Facebook page daily to see how Douglas County is still doing 4-H.

Even though we are adapting, there are still changes that are taking place that require us to adjust, postpone or cancel some events. One of the events that is canceled is the traditional Douglas County 4-H/FFA Lamb Show and Rotary Youth Livestock Auction that has occurred on the first Saturday in June for the last 80 years.

However, our county is fortunate to have a strong market auction committee. With support of the Douglas County Livestock Association and Roseburg Rotary, the Rotary Market Auction committee has derived a “Virtual Lamb Show & Premium Sale” that maintains the spirit of our 81st Annual Douglas County Lamb Show. This will allow both 4-H and FFA youth an avenue to showcase their lamb projects that they have worked so hard on.

Our youth may not be experiencing our traditional lamb show, but they are still learning the value of hard work, resilience and follow through. Adults are modeling flexibility and problem solving. This reflects the hands-on learning used in 4-H, which follows the “do-reflect-apply” learning process (which can be done virtually), by utilizing the five steps of the experiential learning model:

  1. Experience the activity; perform, do it
  2. Share the results, reactions, and observations
  3. Process by discussing, looking, analyzing, and reflecting on the experience
  4. Generalize to connect the experience to real world examples
  5. Apply what was learned to a similar or different situation; practice

It will be interesting to see how we apply what we have learned to future situations. Whatever the outcome, Douglas County will still be doing 4-H. #DCstilldoing4H.

Teresa Middleton is the 4-H Educator at OSU Extension Service of Douglas County. Teresa can be reached by email teresa.middleton@oregonstate.edu or phone at 541-672-4461.

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