A letter from NJ 4-H..
Dear 4-H Volunteers and Families:
As you know, the New Jersey 4-H program, as part of Rutgers Cooperative extension, has been operating under an in-person programming suspension. An updated Rutgers University directive (released 12.22.20) continues the suspension. All 4-H in-person events, classes, programs, club meetings, camps, and other group activities organized by or under the auspices of RCE – 4-H Youth Development are suspended through March 31, 2021.
Reported daily increases in new COVID-19 cases in our state are tracking higher again and community transmission of the virus continues. In order to protect the health of our communities, Rutgers Cooperative Extension is aligning with the University’s plans to continue programming only in remote formats through March. This means all 4-H events, classes, programs, club meetings, camps, and other group activities organized by or under the auspices of Rutgers Cooperative Extension – 4-H Youth Development must be conducted remotely.
All of us hope to return to in-person programming soon. While we will continue to utilize remote formats this winter, it is clear that the 4-H community knows how to bring the spirit and values of 4-H into the virtual world. Our 4-H members, families, and volunteers are creative and dedicated to finding meaningful ways to connect to their clubs, communities, across the country, and even around the world.
Over the past nine months, 4-H members and volunteers have held virtual club meetings and led community service projects. 4-H From Home provided resources for volunteers and interactive opportunities for youth across the state (new resources and opportunities are added weekly). Hundreds of youth participated in weekly webinars and virtual 4-H special interest clubs. Our 4-H Camp team led a successful fall virtual camp—building off the successes of the summer virtual camp HAFHAH (Home Away From Home At Home). Over 1,600 entries were submitted to NJ 4-H Virtual Fair. Through all the challenges of the recent months, 4-Hers continue to lead by example and find innovative ways to serve their communities from a distance.
Even though we are apart, the 4-H community is strong and united in exploring new and innovative solutions for today’s challenges. RCE and 4-H faculty and staff will continue to support our youth, families, volunteers and local partners as we navigate our country’s health emergency. We are still in this together and we will get through this together!
We thank you for your support as we continue to learn from our health officials and educational partners the best methods to serve young people during this extraordinary time.
We wish you and your loved ones a relaxing and reflective holiday season. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!
Rachel Lyons, Chair
Department of 4-H Youth Development
December 22, 2020