The 4-H Face-to-Face Taskforce receives the 2021 MSU Extension Emerging Issues/Rapid Response Award

The 4-H Face-to-Face Taskforce was honored for their work for a safe return to in-person 4-H programming at the annual Fall Extension Conference held virtually on Sept. 28.

Michigan State University Extension awarded the MSU Extension 4-H Face-to-Face Taskforce with an MSU Extension Emerging Issues/Rapid Response Award Sept. 28 during the annual Fall Extension Conference for safely bringing 4-H back to in-person programming.

The MSU Extension 4-H Face-to-Face Taskforce was created in November 2020 to discuss the necessary steps for a safe return to in-person 4-H programming after the COVID-19 pandemic. The taskforce includes professionals from various levels of Extension to ensure that all aspects of in-person programming and engagement were considered. Taskforce members are: Lisa Bottomley, Jill Connin, Jacob DeDecker, Norma Lundeen, Erin Moore, Laurie Rivetto, Sienna Samp, Edward Scott, Matthew Shane, Janelle Stewart, Beth Stuever, and Jamie Wilson.

The taskforce explored and re-explored many avenues during the six months of weekly meetings and sub-committee meetings. MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H programs were unable to meet in person for
426 days due to multiple layers of epidemic orders. The team needed to sort through the epidemic orders at all levels of jurisdictions and find the pathway to in-person programs again. The team diligently worked together to review protocols, create resources and templates, and assess guidance, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and MSU policies.

The team created the “Michigan 4-H Volunteer Approved Activities” webpage, which later became the “Approved Activities for MSU Extension Volunteers in 2021” webpage. The webpage houses the majority of the resources this taskforce created from step-by-step instructions for volunteers to follow to become fully renewed in Volunteer Central and 4-H Online, to signs with public health reminders and attendance logs, to the survey where volunteers could request in-person programming opportunities housed in Qualtrics. The Qualtrics survey provided a robust check-and-balance process for reviewing and approving requests. It included a two-level submission and approval process as well as a database that contained all of the communication for the purpose of tracking staff actions.

The 4-H Face-to-Face Taskforce developed a strong, detailed, supported process to create a smooth transition to face-to-face programs for the youth of Michigan while continuing to promote public health. Team members provided a rapid yet thoughtful and methodical response to this issue and are deserving of the Emerging Issues/Rapid Response Award.


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