Dear 4-H family,
We would like to thank our 4-H members, their families, and our club leaders and volunteers for their patience as we have gathered information about summer 4-H shows and exhibitions. I know that this is an important event for many in our community and we appreciate your passion and commitment to 4-H during this time.
University of Illinois Extension has evaluated the available information to provide guidance about events sponsored by Illinois Extension for the month of July. Because we can only make decisions based on conditions as they exist today and not based on projected conditions at a certain point in the future, we have decided to continue our focus on virtual events into July. This means that all events slated for July, including all Champaign and Iroquois County 4-H livestock and general shows, as well as the Ford County Horse Show, will be moved to a virtual format.
Our focus continues to be on managing the safety of event participants and the communities where these events take place. Our updated event policy follows guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the University of Illinois.
Below, we are resharing some information that Illinois 4-H has gathered about how 4-H shows and exhibitions will be impacted by this plan.
- 4-H members WILL have an opportunity to exhibit their project work and finish their 4-H year. The state 4-H office has invested in an online system that will allow members to submit documentation, such as photos of their project, and provide an explanation about their work. This will serve as their exhibit. It works through the 4-H FairEntry program we’re already using.
- Information on exhibit requirements for the new online judging format, along with instructions for entering can be found on our unit Virtual Show page.
- Although this system doesn’t allow for in-person, real-time discussion, judges will provide vital learning feedback for exhibitors.
- We will continue our same award and recognition system, including selection of state fair delegates. Should the state fair be canceled, the exhibits nominated will again be judged through the online system used for the virtual county exhibitions.
- After consultation with the national 4-H program, extension of 4-H membership eligibility will not be offered to members currently in their final year of eligibility. We encourage all our completion members to take advantage of the online system.
- Because of the planning time and resources involved in each of our 4-H events, we are not able to postpone and stack all events for a later time in the summer. It is also uncertain at this time when large group gatherings will be allowed and considered safe according to public health guidelines.
Please watch your email for more details over the coming weeks. Our Virtual Show page has instructions on how to submit and other materials to help you showcase your 4-H projects in the FairEntry system this year.
While we know that isn’t the news that many of you wanted to hear, please know that we take our commitment to the safety of our members and volunteers very seriously. When we’re able, we look forward to bringing our 4-H families together to celebrate, to renew friendships, and to offer thanks for each other.
Ginger Boas, County Extension Director
Myla Munro, Extension Educator
Mynda Tracy, Extension Educator
Amanda Bryant Brown, Extension Program Coordinator
Jen Odle, Extension Program Coordinator
Cara Thiems Bane, Extension Program Coordinator
Magdalena Casper-Shipp, Office Support