By Laura Goulding

Despite the uncharted territory that has followed the COVID-19 pandemic, many 4-H volunteers have risen to the challenge of hosting virtual and online clubs so 4-H’ers can continue to learn and connect with others during this time. Even Cloverbuds!

The Brant 4-H Association began hosting a virtual Cloverbud Club in June and 18 participants joined the club. The club plans to host six meetings over the summer, each with a focus on a different topic. Youth and volunteers meet virtually every two weeks for a short and sweet 20 to 40-minute-long meeting. Within the two weeks leading up to the meeting, Cloverbuds have a variety of at-home activities to complete related to their upcoming meeting topic.

The first meeting topic the Brant 4-H Cloverbuds focused on was recycling. “We got them to make their own paper hat to wear to the meeting and one of the club leaders did an activity where they held up different items and the kids identified if it was garbage, recycling or compost,” says Lesleigh Elgie, Brant 4-H Cloverbud Club Leader. “They also made a gift for their dad for Fathers’ Day out of something recycled.” 

The club’s second topic was called “Our Heritage”, just in time for Canada Day! Cloverbuds wore red and white to the meeting, played Canada Day bingo and were encouraged to make a special Canada Day treat. Each youth also decorated a quilt block about themselves and one of the leaders digitally ‘sewed’ each block together to create one big quilt.

“We ask them kids to get the activities done the day before the meeting, we email all the completed activities to one leader and she puts them into a slideshow. Then during our ‘show and tell’ time we play the slideshow and each kid gets to tell the group about the activities they did. It gives them all time to talk for a few minutes,” says Lesleigh.

Like many other virtual clubs, technology can sometimes pose a challenge but Lesleigh notes that being prepared is key and it’s all about trial and error. She also mentions that the Cloverbud age group is very welcoming and grateful for the interaction with their friends and the activities are a lot of fun for them.

When asked about one piece of advice she had for anyone interested in running a virtual Cloverbud Club, Lesleigh said, “Give it a try! It’s been a fun experience and we look forward to keeping it going over the summer months. Certainly, if anyone has any questions they can reach out and we’d be happy to share our schedule and support any other Cloverbud experience.”