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National 4-H Shooting Sports Quiz Bowl: An Alternative Tradition

Thursday, June 4, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: David J. White, Oregon State University
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If there is a gremlin among us that cares little for tradition, it is COVID-19. So many of the events and activities 4-H youth and families look forward to each year have been cancelled or postponed. This does not mean that our Extension 4-H colleagues from around the country have not found new and innovative means to engage the hearts, minds, and spirits of youth. COVID-19 has nothing on our abilities to transform challenge into opportunity.

The National 4-H Shooting Sports Committee accepted a challenge to establish an alternative tradition in the wake of cancelled state and national championships. The committee’s adherence to a philosophy of comprehensive education, life-long recreation, and healthy competition led to its launching the first ever National 4-H Shooting Sports Quiz Bowl set for June 22 through 26.
In a joint effort by Shooting Sports Coordinators in Alabama, Arkansas, and Oregon and Lead Shooting Sports Instructors, a Kahoot based quiz bowl was developed. It is designed to test the knowledge and skills of youth enrolled in the 4-H Shooting Sports Program. Individual and team play is being offered to youth in two age divisions, juniors (8 to 13 years of age) and seniors (14 to 19 years of age).

Questions posed will cover archery, hunting skills, muzzle loading, pistol, rifle, shotgun, western heritage, 4-H history, 4-H shooting sports, positive youth development, and risk management. The junior quiz will consist of 30 questions. The senior quiz will consist of 50 questions. Questions range from multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, and identification. Individual and team scores are based on correct answers, the time taken to answer questions, and answer streak. Youth achievement will be recognized a state, regional, and national levels.

Is a virtual contest a context for positive youth development? Yes, without doubt. Our colleagues in Oregon recently conducted virtual, statewide, animal science contests. Here is what they reported about this type of competition.
Wendy Hein, county faculty, shares (W. Hein, personal communication, June 1, 2020):
Youth learn from and are inspired by peer exemplars. Youth attending state and national events leads to greater participation in those events by others.

It’s the journey, not the destination. Every single participant gained the benefits from learning advanced project knowledge, developing teamwork skills, following through on a commitment, and facing a scary challenge. We all know that resources play a role in live animal contests. Studying and practicing are the only ways to win at spring classic. If we want to keep youth in 4-H, and have them get the most out of it, they need a progressive ladder of challenges. Youth need scaffolded opportunities to challenge growth. The breadth and the depth of what we offer matters.
State Animal Sciences Coordinator, Candi Bothum, reflected on the effects on youth and volunteers (C. Bothum, personal communication, June 1, 2020):

They trusted us to get it right, stepped outside their box, trusted others to follow the rules and be ethical. Each member who participated demonstrated courage, flexibility, coping skills, integrity, and a variety of other becoming traits. AND for the record, a ton of project specific knowledge was shared as well. It was an inspiring group! Great questions, people thinking outside of the box, understanding that long standing protocols and rules would sometimes have to be pushed a bit to accommodate the technology or the process.

When things look their bleakest, perspective is critical

I know when you look out in our country today, you see chaos, craziness, unbelievable mayhem, but if you don’t see or hear anything else, KNOW this: There are good quality people in our world and some of these people are contributing to lives of the youth we serve in ways that will give those youth the confidence to be the leaders our country needs in the future. What we do makes a difference. It’s not a race or a competition of who can do how much or how impactful, it’s a “do what you can, because it matters” concept. So keep doing what you can, because it matters!” (C. Bothum, personal communication, June 1, 2020).

The virtual world is momentarily our reality. Once a new normal is established, we can expect virtual programming to find a relevant and meaningful place in outreach and engagement efforts. An Extension genetic code preprograms and predisposes 4-H Educators to go beyond normal, to test the limits of technology, and to pursue cutting edge ways to fan youth sparks of interest to flames, maintain healthy youth/adult relationships, provide quality programs, and expand on engaging environments. This is the real tradition. Nice try COVID-19.

To find Quiz Bowl registration information, study resources, and flyer, visit https://4-hshootingsports.org/ 


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