MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — In a year that brought ‘normal’ to a screeching halt, Berkeley County’s 4-H members found ways to thrive.

As the pandemic made it clear it wasn’t going to be a normal year for camp or Youth Fair, WVU Extension Service’s Mikey Withrow says youth leaders got busy.  “We usually have about 500 campers during the month of June that come to camp.  We had to kind of flip it relatively quick, because we didn’t get a whole lot of lead time. So, we were able to pull off what we call ‘Camp in a Box’ and we ran it simultaneously with a virtual Fun Week.  We had a couple hundred kids log on at any given moment to Zoom.  We still offered camp classes, we did camp assemblies,” he said.

This year’s long-standing Berkeley County Youth Fair had to be held virtually, as well. 

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, especially from our partnership with the Berkeley County Youth Fair.  We were able to show each and every project on the TV screen, and the feedback that we’ve gotten from it has been exceptional.  We have a lot of people that say they’d seen projects they didn’t even know that we offered,” Withrow told The Panhandle News Network.

Withrow says it was hard not having the regular comraderie that camp and Youth Fair offer, he’s looking for positives.

“Although it’s not traditional, we definitely found the silver lining in it all and we’re still engaging a lot of youth, not only in our county, but across our region and state.  It’s been fun.  It hasn’t been typical, but we’re trying to make the best of the situation and follow our motto to ‘Make the Best Better.’”

4-H is looking for new members.  Contact your county’s extension service for more information.