GALLIA COUNTY — 4-H members in Gallia County have had to adjust to doing judging online for fair projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It wasn’t too bad, just something different, something I had to pick up on,” Seth Jones, a high school senior and 4-H participant, said.
The online judging was done through video presentations. Students had to record videos of their projects and answer questions. They then submitted the video through an app called Flipgrid, which promotes online education methods.
“This year we’re doing everything from home and online for books and everything,” Jones said. “Usually I take rabbits to the fair, but this year I decided against it just with everything that’s happening. I figured it’d be more care than it’s worth.”
Jones took a project titled “Arts and Sparks,” a book project about welding for 4-H. Livestock judging is still happening in-person, but all other projects are being judged online.
“I think it’s a good way to do it,” he said. “It’s just a little complicated for some people, especially us. I seem to be technologically challenged…It wasn’t bad, just something different.”
Jones has stayed positive about the change, and gave credit to his sister, Lydia, for helping him adjust to the online format.
“I think it has been a little bit more difficult just because we didn’t go in person to judge and we had to figure out everything online to video and everything, but everything else was pretty much normal,” Lydia said. “The online was just a little bit confusing.”
Lydia, a high school freshman, only took one project this year, a book called “Teens on the Road to Financial Success.”
She also has stayed positive through the change.
“Using the online (format) is a lot different, so it has helped me come up with new ways to use it online instead of having it displayed in person,” she said. “So, I think it has helped me be a little more creative in coming up with ideas and finding new ways to share that all.”
Seth said he felt that the online format made it more difficult to present, though. Where in-person one might be able to have a conversation with the judges, the virtual format consisted mostly of just answering given questions. Both siblings preferred in-person judging but remained positive about the experience.
“It’s definitely been different, and I would prefer going back to in-person,” Lydia said. “But it went pretty well though. The site wasn’t hard to use or anything, but it was just a lot different…And I enjoyed learning about my project.”
The Gallia County Junior Fair begins this Monday and concludes Friday with the junior fair livestock sale.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.