Wisconsin 4-H and COVID-19

Text updated 5-15-2020

Dear 4-H families –

With the recent changes affecting the governor’s “safer at home” order, there have been questions about how this affects 4-H. As a program of UW-Madison’s Division of Extension, 4-H is following UW guidance, informed by the Badger Bounce Back public health plan.

  • All in-person 4-H programming remains canceled through May 31.
  • Given the significant amount of planning and the difficulty of maintaining safe operating guidelines, all overnight camps are also canceled through August.
  •  Out-of-state 4-H program travel is also not permitted through August.
  •  During the month of June (likely in the second half of the month), we hope to begin limited in-person gatherings of up to 10. These meetings and programs will require the Educator/Volunteer to demonstrate both the need for an in-person meeting and a thorough plan for maintaining safety guidelines and will require approval. And virtual meetings remain preferred–if it can be accomplished via distance, it should be. Additional guidance for programs will be coming soon.

We will be closely monitoring local, state, and national conditions. Health and safety are still our primary focus, and we will adjust the above guidelines depending on policies and infection rates. We will know a lot based on what happens over the next two weeks.

Despite our disappointment about losing opportunities, there are many things 4-H staff, volunteers, and members are doing. 4-H can meet virtually, and many clubs and groups have been staying connected and learning together. Educational and service projects can be done as an individual or household (check out our Wisconsin 4-H home-based projects). 4-H clubs are continuing roadside cleanup (following DoT recommendations) with families/households taking different sections at different times and maintaining community garden plots with families/households working at different times.

This impact story features examples of the power of 4-H. Stories of our resilience and support of each other are especially important now. Thanks for all of the big and small things you do to make a difference for Wisconsin youth!

Dondieneita Fleary-Simmons, Wisconsin 4-H Program Manager

Matt Calvert, Positive Youth Development Institute Director

4-H Statewide Program Cancellations

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UW-Madison and Extension have made some decisions regarding in-person programming. All Extension in-person events planned for May are cancelled or postponed. Large events (>50 people) planned for June are cancelled or postponed. Overnight youth programs are also cancelled in June. We are following state guidelines as they are announced and our programming guidance will be updated accordingly.

Promoting Social Support and Positive Youth Connection

Promoting social support and positive social connections for youth—always a priority for Positive Youth Development (PYD) programs—is extremely important in circumstances that contribute to social isolation. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, youth are currently disconnected from important spaces (school, work, youth organizations) where they rely on and maintain social relationships with peers and adults, receive support, and learn and grow.
4-H has created virtual spaces where youth can connect and learn together, with staff supporting youth and volunteers in safe online practices. Staff train and practice with volunteers to deliver effective distance education.  Read more in our impact story.

4-H and County Fairs

As we have cancelled and postponed programs, we have been asked questions about what this means for 4-H member participation and Extension staff involvement at county fairs.  See our FAQ for the answers.

Statewide 4-H Event Updates and Cancellations

This information is for events run out of the State 4-H office. For information on local events, please email news@extension.wisc.edu. If an event is postponed/cancelled (or if an attendee is no longer able to attend the reschedule dates if an event is postponed), full refunds will be issued in most cases. Please see the list below regarding updates for 2020 Statewide 4-H Educational Experiences:

As of March 17th, State Staff are working remotely. Some staff may not have access to office phones at this time. If you need to reach a member of the State 4-H Staff, please reach out to them via email.

ArtBeat! 2020 – (originally set for March 13-15) has been postponed. If you were scheduled to attend, please keep an eye on your email for updates on potential new dates.

National 4-H Conference – (originally set for March 28-April 2) has been postponed to September. Delegates who were scheduled to attend have been notified of alternate dates.

Space Camp 2020 – (originally set for April 16-20) has been postponed, and the orientation/planning weekend set for March 28-29 has been cancelled. If you were scheduled to attend Space Camp this year, please keep an eye on your email as we plan to communicate regarding plans for postponement.

Dairy Quiz Bowl – (originally set for April 4) has been cancelled. Dairy Bowl will not be rescheduled for 2020.

Shooting Sports Certification Workshops – multiple shooting sports workshops have been cancelled. See the link below for more information.

Shooting Sports Competitive Shoots – Multiple competitive shoots  have been postponed and may be cancelled. You can find the full schedule with more information on Competitive shoots here.

Education Days: Hippology, Horse Bowl, Speaking and Demo Contest – This event scheduled for May 1 & 2 has been postponed until a later date. Please watch your email for updates regarding plans for postponement.

WI 4-H & Youth Conference will not be taking place on the UW-Madison Campus this summer. We are exploring alternate options for conference but are still early in planning. Keep an eye on your email for potential updates.

American Spirit 2020 has been cancelled. Registered participants can anticipate more information in their email.

Citizenship Washington 2020 has been cancelled. Registered participants should check their email for more information.

Area Animal Science Days 2020 have been cancelled for the summer.

Read Important Youth Livestock Project Message here.

Current as of 4/10/2020 at 1:00p.m.