To our 4-H families:
I hope you and your family are healthy and adjusting to our new daily routines. Over the past 10 days, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from many of you who are anxious about what the summer holds for our traditional 4-H activities. Your passionate letters reminded me of the dedication of our 4-H members, families, volunteers, and partners. Thank you to everyone who wrote or called.
Since early March, Extension staff and our advisors and partners have been in conversations about how to continue offering valuable 4-H learning opportunities and shows while also complying with the state’s social distancing regulations. The health of our families, volunteers, and staff has been our focus.
Illinois Extension will follow guidelines established by the governor, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the University of Illinois as it moves forward with planning 4-H summer experiences. The safety of families, volunteers, staff, and the general public comes first. If circumstances interrupt a local summer exhibition, 4-H and Extension staff are working to develop digital exhibitions and other alternatives consistent with social distancing guidelines. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for youth to showcase their projects and display their learning and growth.
We share your uncertainty of what activities we’ll all be allowed to enjoy this summer. From club meetings to 4-H project shows, a typical Illinois Extension summer is packed with learning workshops, contests, and celebrations. Planning for these activities is usually well underway at this point. But this year, the shape of those events hinges on whether, when, and how public gathering restrictions may be lifted, and it will always be designed to ensure the safety of the youth we serve.
I want to assure you that we are waiting right here with you. We don’t want to compromise on our commitment to health, but we also support the educational mission and beloved tradition of our summer 4-H shows. These events provide unparalleled opportunities for youth to demonstrate competitive sportsmanship, exhibit mastery of skill, and support their peers and communities.
We’ll update you as we receive more information and are able to firm up our plans. In the meantime, please keep up the great work on your 4-H projects!
University of Illinois Extension
Assistant Dean, Director Illinois 4-H