BUCKHANNON — National 4-H week was observed from October 4-10 and due to the recent spike of COVID-19 in the county, the Upshur County WVU Extension Office had to postpone their celebration activities. However, prospective 4-Hers can still join the organization through ZSuite, a new online program for enrollments to prevent paper transfers.
To register, go to ZSuite at https://4h.zsuite.org/ to create an account. Those who have already created a profile can update their information or create a new account and re-enroll. Those already enrolled in 4-H may already have a ZSuite account and those who have been enrolled in the last five years should call the Extension Office to have their ZSuite account reactivated. Youth can also sign up just for a project or sign up as a member at large. This process will also be used for camp registrations and other activities, both for the county and state. All community clubs are currently accepting and encouraging new members.
Craig Presar, WVU Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, also mentioned that the Extension Office is currently working on a plan to provide a drive-thru enrollment process in certain areas throughout the county to help those without internet access. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
This fall, Upshur County is working on providing SPIN (Special Interest) Clubs to revolve around project books. These clubs will meet in six sessions and include special interests such as cooking, heritage (Appalachian arts and crafts), sewing and photography. Youth do not have to be enrolled in a community club to participate in the SPIN Club, as it is open to all who may want to participate. More information will be coming about SPIN Clubs shortly.
Community 4-H clubs hope to resume meeting in-person with modifications to help prevent the spread of the virus, while also complying with the guidelines of WVU, the local health department and National 4-H. “We’ll do what we can, learn by doing, and keep going. We’re just trying to figure out how to do it via Zoom and other ways. We’re going to do as much face to face as we can, we’re just trying to do it as safe as we can,” Presar said.
“Any number of studies show that involvement in 4-H at any level links to healthier kids and more success as an adult. Studies show that a 4-Her is less likely to partake in risky behaviors, and more likely to have success in their careers, whether that’s through college or trade schools or the military,” Presar explained. He also mentioned how important it is for kids to be involved with something productive during this time of isolation. “Right now, more than ever, the social aspect, the connection to other people, the connection to adults who care about them, and the connection to community, that’s more important than ever. At 4-H, we work hard to provide that, whether that’s a relationship with a caring adult or the opportunity to belong to something, to gain new skills and build talents.”
For more information, call the Upshur County WVU Extension Office at (304) 473-4208.