Helping Youth Thrive

By Carrie Anne Olson, Extension Educator and Associate Extension Professor

May 2020

Youth gardeningDuring this time of social distancing, it is hard to not be meeting in-person especially in youth development with our 4-H members, families and volunteers. We want to continue to support our 4-Hers with learning and leading opportunities. 4-H volunteers are invited to join us for a Helping Youth Thrive webinar series to support 4-H volunteers connecting with youth while physically distancing. 

A Guide for Staying Connected to 4-H Groups while Physically Apart reminds us there are many ways to stay connected. Volunteers are encouraged to continue to communicate information in familiar ways; this might through email, texts and/or social media while trying to be creative with engaging activities. With all the online learning, this is a perfect time to revive some low-tech ideas like sending notes in the mail, pen pals and journaling.  

If volunteers are thinking of connecting virtually, they are invited to the “Creating Connections Virtually” webinar to explore some virtual tools to help one feel more comfortable about that option. We know that regardless of how we choose to connect with our 4-Hers, we want to create high-quality learning environments that build positive interactions between youth and adults while ensuring youth engagement. Contact your local 4-H staff to register for this training.  

The “Supporting Teens through this Challenging Time” webinar will be held May 12 at 7 pm. This webinar focuses on teens as they deal with isolation, loss of activities & celebrations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Join other caring adults to discuss ideas and share experiences on how to help teens stay resilient and create hope. Register to receive the Zoom log-in information at Supporting Teens Registration 

A “Self Care and Mindfulness” webinar will be held May 20 at 6:30 pm. During this 30-minute session, we will share practical strategies to help one transform stress and find moments of calm in the midst of life’s demands. We will also offer techniques volunteers can share with young people in your life to help them manage their stress and emotions. Register to receive the Zoom log-in information at Self Care & Mindfulness Registration 

A final “Supporting Learning and Growth” webinar will be held May 27 at 7 pm. Volunteers can continue to support youth as they discover what they are learning and apply their learning in other life situations during this social distance time.  Join us as we practice facilitating conversations with intentional questions that encourage youth to go further with reflecting, applying, and tinkering. Register to receive the Zoom log-in information at Supporting Growth & Learning 

Relationship building and continued support is critical for our youth in the weeks ahead. Please join us for one or more of the “Helping Youth Thrive” webinar series. For more information contact your local 4-H staff or Carrie Olson at


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