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4H offering more online resources for members

Pearl River County’s 4H has been hard at work offering members a variety of online resources and opportunities for engagement as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of any in-person activities.

The organization has used its online presence to continue giving members chances to interact with the club and pursue new educational opportunities.

A new program that opened registration June 8 and will stay open until June 15. It’s called the 4H Camp In A Box event. The event is through the organization’s LEGO program and starts with members paying $29 for a kit.

The kit will include approximately 200 building bricks, a six-foot by six-foot base plate, printed curriculum, a 32GB jump drive with preloaded lessons, a packet of instasnow and other miscellaneous items.

Once registration is closed, a link will be sent with the time, date and info for the Zoom meet up where members can gather virtually and construct their camps.

Pearl River County Extension Agent Alex Shook said that after a period of brainstorming the organization came up with the variety of virtual resources to keep members from growing bored while social distancing remains in place.

“We wanted to start trying to keep members engaged and give them activities to not only stay engaged with 4H, but also something else to do other than listening to all the news reports,” Shook said.

Another way 4H has kept members engaged has been through a series of Zoom workshops.

The workshops are meant to be fun, easy projects for parents and children to do at home with supply lists posted for each project on the organization’s Facebook page. The third installation of the eight-part workshop series will take place June 10 at 2 p.m. with members able to get on Zoom and take part in the Wild About Wildlife Workshop.

Shook said it’s been an ongoing process to come up with new ideas to offer members online since in-person meetings and events are not likely to take place any time in the near future.

The organization is following Gov. Tate Reeves’ three-phase plan when it comes to reopening, which means there won’t be any in-person meetings until about July 6 when the governor is set to make a statement regarding how to proceed.

Still, Shook said the challenge has been issued to continue to engage and offer new opportunities for youth, which could pay dividends in the future as the organization grows its online presence.

“Because of this experience I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t move ball forward in the future when it comes to offering more activities online even when we return back to normal,” Shook said.