What's Happening at 4-H BC during COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Provincial Council board has come to the unanimous decision to make some adjustments to the 4-H British Columbia program for the 2020 season. Some will help you adjust the program to work in varying situations and some are fun or exciting new opportunities.
Club, District and Regional Level Programming
  • While the government mandated social distancing requirements are in effect, in-person 4-H activities are suspended. We applaud your efforts so far and encourage you to continue being creative in keeping your club members engaged virtually through online meetings, learning sessions and possibly even competitions.
  • See our Tips and Tricks for video conferencing document released earlier this week. More resources for virtual engagement and events will be released in the weeks to come
Provincial Programming
  • 4-H BC Ambassador Program will be running in 2020. Ambassadors have received virtual orientation and can be great resources for your clubs for online presentations. Ambassador training weekend is scheduled for May 15-18; if this program is unable to proceed in-person Ambassadors will receive training virtually with an in-person opportunity to connect rescheduled for later in 2020. A decision will be made on format at our April 16 Provincial Council meeting.
  • Food for Thought is scheduled for July 12-17. We are moving forward with planning this program, please proceed with applications for regional deadlines. If government requirements for gathering don't allow us to move forward with the program as planned, all applicants will have their fees returned to them in full. A decision regarding Food for Thought 2020 will be made the first week of June.
  • Provincial Communications weekend for July 2-5 has been cancelled as previously communicated. At our Provincial Council meeting last week, it became clear that while demonstrations are largely not possible due to the group work required, most regions are interested in proceeding with public speaking in 2020. We have scheduled a new Provincial Public Speaking Competition for September 3-5. Each region can determine how they would like to select participants; tips for virtual communications events will be released in the next couple weeks. While there will be no provincial demonstrations in 2020, clubs, districts or regions are welcome to proceed with virtual competitions or in-person competitions later in the year if they wish.
  • 4-H BC Leadership Symposium and Key Leaders Workshop are scheduled to move forward as planned October 16-18. Watch for registration information later this spring.
National Programming
  • 4-H Canada has communicated the following changes to their programming for 2020:
  • Citizenship Congress is being postponed until fall or winter
  • USA National Conference is postponed until September
  • National Members Forum is scheduled to proceed as planned this November
  • All other summer programs - Going Global, Club to Club, Hands to Larger Service are essentially cancelled for 2020 but anyone accepted in these programs will have priority for acceptance in 2021. 
  • April 15th is still the deadline for submitting scholarship applications. For those do not already have their transcripts, teachers and administration staff have returned to work and will be able to provide transcripts and reference letters if requested by a phone call.
  • The scholarship committee recognizes these extraordinary circumstances so will accept transcripts and educational reference letters up to the end of April. Please note: the scholarship application must be received in the 4-H BC office by April 15th.
  • Applications may be emailed to Fax or cell phone photos will not be accepted.
Project Work
  • We believe that is more important than ever for our youth to stay active under these stressful and unusual circumstances. We would like to encourage the members and leaders to continue with project work as much as they are able. We recognize that some members may not be able to proceed with their project as planned earlier in the year due to access issues. We are making the following provisions available to all members to provide flexibility around project work:
  • If any member would like to add or change units they are welcome to do that with the support of their project leader. There is no need for the A-Leader to notify the Provincial Office staff, just keep track at a local level and let your awards coordinator know of any changes.
  • Any eligible member who is interested in doing a Junior Leadership, Senior Management, or Self-Determined can still apply up until the extended deadline of May 31st, 2020. A video on how these projects work and how to apply will be released in April.
  • Leaders are encouraged to consider using video conferencing for husbandry visits, training sessions and potentially achievement days. Suggestions on how this could work will be released on the website in April.
  • We have heard many concerns from members with market projects, as some of you are scheduled to complete your project as early as June. We are looking into options for members to sell their market project should they not be able to participate in an auction or show & sale. We encourage districts and regions to consider their individual circumstances and what the needs and opportunities for their members might be. We will be sharing ideas as we pull them together.
  • Additionally, the Provincial Council has decided that any member who is registered in a market unit can convert the unit to a carcass unit with their A-Leaders approval. There is no need for the A-Leader to notify the Provincial Office staff, just keep track at a local level and let your awards coordinator know of any changes.  If a member is already registered with a carcass animal in the same project, they will be allowed to carry two carcass units of the same project for the 2020 year only. This should alleviate concerns about market project completion, especially for those with early achievement dates.
4-H @ HOME
  • We are pleased to release the 4-H @ HOME web-page today with contests, activities, and projects that can be done all from home. You will be able to find 4-H @ HOME under the Opportunities section of our website.
  • The new 4-H @ HOME project is open to all BC youth so please help us in sharing the 4-H spirit with other youth in your community who might be looking for opportunities to 'Learn to Do by Doing'
  • Please connect with us via social media to share what your club is up to and spread some 4-H cheer
4-H BC Office and Youth Development Team
  • The 4-H BC office is operating in a limited capacity to allow our staff to take care of their health and their families during this difficult period. The office is closed to walk in clients. 
  • Aleda Welch, Manager, is working from the office Monday to Friday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.
  • Marie McGivern, Volunteer Support Coordinator, is working from home monitoring emails and processing online enrolment.
  • Our Youth Development Staff partners (Sarah van Heeswijk, Jarrett Chung-Smith, Lauren Bernardi, Karla Barrie, and Marika Laird) from the Ministry of Agriculture are all working from home and can be reached by email and phone.
  • 4-H BC Store, Publication and Awards orders will be processed as quickly as possible.