AMES, Iowa -- “Although our 4-H motto is ‘To Make the Best Better’ sometimes we do our best with the situation we are dealt,” said Tyler Loudon, Union County 4-H member and a participant in State 4-H Recognition.
Originally scheduled as face-to-face interviews in Ames on Saturday, March 28, instead the State 4-H Recognition interviews took place online. Video teleconferencing was used because of social distancing recommendations from Iowa State University due to COVID-19, and 125 youth took part in 230 interviews for special statewide opportunities.
State 4-H Recognition is the process in which 4-H members in grades 9-12 can apply to be selected for opportunities such as State 4-H Project Awards, State 4-H Council, Shooting Sports Ambassadors and Iowa 4-H Reporters, and to attend National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference. 4-H youth complete written applications and participate in interviews with a panel of adult evaluators.
“The overarching goal of this event is to provide our 4-H youth applicants with a positive, educational, and interactive interview experience to help grow youth leadership, communication, and college and career readiness skills,” said Bonnie Dalager, 4-H product development specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
The State 4-H Recognition Day coordination team worked with 4-H volunteers and families to adjust the event format while still delivering an engaging skill-building experience for 4-H participants. Ashley Rosener, Monona County 4-H member, shared that this opportunity allowed her to practice interviewing skills, develop a resume and share her 4-H learning experiences with others.
The event was made possible with the support of 150 adult volunteers from across Iowa who reviewed and scored 4-H award applications as well as interviewed the youth participants virtually using one or more new technology platforms. “The collective efforts and dedication of our volunteers was the reason we were able to continue to provide this opportunity for youth regardless of the limitations that the current situation has put on all of us,” said Dalager.
Tyler Loudon, senior member of the Highland Highlights 4-H Club, shared that he was glad to hear that the State 4-H Recognition event would still be continuing. “Many of my school programs have been indefinitely postponed or canceled,” Loudon said. “It was nice to have State 4-H Recognition Day still continue as a normal activity.”
Photo caption: Katharine Barnes of Boone County conducts her State 4-H Recognition Day interview from home on Saturday, March 28.