Everyone Welcome to Partake in Marathon County 4-H “Family Challenge” Program (Oct. 2020 – Feb. 2021)

Written by Kaitlyn Bernarde

For the past 8 months, 4-H (and UW-Extension as a whole) have adapted programs to meet the needs of local youth and adults while limiting in-person contact. A new 4-H Family Challenge program (adapted from Walworth County 4-H’s program) allows current members and leaders to get back to the basics of 4-H without relying solely on their local club. It also allows people who are not enrolled in 4-H a chance to explore 4-H projects and fundamentals without commitment — a fun new way to increase our exposure within the community.

marathon county 4-H Family Challenge logo

Try one or all of the following challenges during the next 5 months for a chance to win prizes! (Drawings will be held December 15, 2020, and March 5, 2021.)

1. Explore Marathon County Challenge

The Explore Marathon County Challenge encourages local families to discover — or rediscover — Marathon County hidden gems, such as the Quarry Trail at Rib Mountain State Park or the Paff Woods Nature Preserve (across from Hawthorn Hills Elementary School in Wausau). There is a scavenger hunt for each site that families can complete while they are at the destination, as well as a photo spot to either upload your pic to social media with the hashtag #ExploreMarathonCounty or email your photo to nancy.anderson@co.marathon.wi.us. This challenge is a great way to have a socially distanced weeknight or weekend outing.

Paff Woods Nature Preserve

The Paff Woods Nature Preserve will be one of the November spots for a Family Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Thurs.)

2. 4-H Project of the Month Challenge

The 4-H Project of the Month Challenge gets at the heart of what 4-H is all about: learning by doing. Youth and adults practice life skills together by doing an activity, reflecting on the experience, and then applying what they have learned to future events. A new 4-H project will be highlighted during each of the 5 months, with activities to try at home, resources to dive deeper into the project, and opportunities to expand even more. The October 4-H project of the month is Aerospace: the science of flight on earth and in space!

4-H project
A 4-H youth holds up her needle-felting project—a grey elephant made by tangling wool fiber with felting needles.” (Photo courtesy of the National 4-H Council.)

3. Community Service Challenge

The Community Service Challenge recognizes that even during a pandemic, there are still community needs, and everyone has a role to play in their community. Typically, we have 4-H clubwide community service activities like roadside cleanup or playing Bingo at local nursing homes, but this challenge encourages families to complete projects on their own. Each month will provide different community service suggestions for families to complete, or they can choose their own. Then they can take a picture either while they are creating or doing the activity (or while they are delivering it) and submit it.

4h_ community service project
4-H member from Washington County completes a fleece blanket–making project to donate. (Photo courtesy of the National 4-H Council.)

4. Monthly Interactive Challenge

The Monthly Interactive Challenge provides a non-technology challenge for families to create. Families request the packet for the respective month and then get a kit in the mail with the directions and 1 required material to make their creation. They get to share how they used their 1 required item with the hashtag #Marathon4HFamilyChallenge and enter the drawing. The October challenge is to create a window or lawn display to promote National 4-H Week, while utilizing the Wisconsin 4-H logo.

4H and UW-Madison Extension logos

Families will receive 1 entry into a prize drawing for each social media (or email) submission and can enter more than once for each challenge (for example, by visiting both photo spots or completing more than one service project).

Even if families choose not to submit their challenges for the prize drawings, they are invited to visit the Marathon County 4-H Family Challenge website for additional family activity ideas to do together this fall and winter — while following local health guidelines during the pandemic.

May families and friends come together through these activities incorporating the 4 Hs:


Kaitlyn_BernardeKaitlyn Bernarde

4-H Program Coordinator  |  University of Wisconsin Extension–Cooperative Extension

Kaitlyn Bernarde is the Marathon County 4-H Program Coordinator for UW-Extension, where she has worked since April 2018. She is a graduate of Marathon High School, has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, divides her time between volunteer management and expanding access to 4-H programs. Her passion is strengthening Marathon County youth and adults via education, opportunities, and experiences. In her free time, you can find her exploring Wisconsin with her husband, consuming the news of the day, and trying a new cup of coffee with her family.  Email Kaitlyn Bernarde.

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