A Virtual Learning Experience New York State Finger Lakes 4-H District Offers Opportunities for Online Learning

The mission of the New York State 4-H Youth Development program is to connect youth to hands-on learning opportunities that help them grow into competent, caring, contributing members of society. Today, more than ever, this means providing learning opportunities to youth in our communities in a digital world. In March of 2020, the New York State Finger Lakes 4-H District established FLX 4-H Learning Launchpad, an online learning platform where families can join 4-H educators and volunteers in learning about exciting topics and activities that can be done from home. 

Ontario County 4-H Educator, Sarah Bagley, came up with the idea for FLX 4-H Learning Launchpad soon after school closings and in-person 4-H activity suspensions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In response to the outbreak, FLX 4-H Learning Launchpad was “launched” to offer high-quality 4-H experiences our families value in a safe, online environment. 

“When faced with the reality of having to switch 4-H programming completely online, I knew that there was strength in numbers,” Bagley said. “Collaborating as a district instead of focusing just on programming for individual counties allowed us to expand our program offerings and deliver content more frequently. My colleagues throughout the district bring a variety of talents and abilities to the virtual environment, and we have enjoyed connecting with our communities in this new way.”

The objectives of the Launchpad are to maintain a sense of connection with 4-H families across the nine-county Finger Lakes Region, connect research-based resources with new audiences, and complement at-home learning. New information and activities are posted daily at 10:00 am, with additional content added frequently throughout the week. One ongoing activity is was a video series on observing chicken eggs develop in an incubator. Other Launchpad activities featured are made available in a wide variety of formats, including live videos, webinars, and worksheets. Now, almost two months later, The FLX Learning Launchpad has not only become a valuable tool for at-home education but was also recognized and promoted by the National 4-H Council. 

To access FLX 4-H Learning Launchpad activities, search for it on Facebook and follow the Launchpad page. Also, visit the webpage at http://yates.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth/flx-4-h-learning-launchpad to find links to each activity. The group also has also created a You Tube channel for anyone wishing to access information via You Tube. 

Yates County 4-H is also thrilled to announce the development creation of a 4-H Virtual Learning webpage. This was developed to share information and resources with our families. In addition to 4-H Project Spotlights (such as “random acts of kindness”, the “Earth Day Challenge”, and “All About Dairy”), this page features video tutorials created by Yates County 4-H educators Jennifer Clancey, and Samantha Wheeler. To learn more, visit us at http://yates.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth/4-h-virtual-learning.

For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension in Yates County or the Yates County 4-H Program, please visit us online at http://yates.cce.cornell.edu/. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.