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West Virginia 4-H offers youths communication skills and connection through new pen pal program

The West Virginia University Extension 4-H Youth Development program will offer young people the chance to forgo technology and put paper and pen to use. The 4-H pen pal program aims to teach youths about communication while fostering friendships and connections.

Although they have had the chance to virtually participate this year, 4-H’ers missed out on in-person camps and many other cherished components of conventional programming. A committee of 4-H agents and faculty rallied together with a desire to safely bring 4-H’ers together to create connections in a time of isolation.

“We wanted to think of ways to keep youths engaged and encourage them to think of traditional ways of communicating. Given the digital age in which we live, writing a letter to a friend is not as common as it once was,” former Julie Tritz, WVU Extension 4-H youth development agent in Wayne County said. 

During the kickoff sessions with youths in early February, the committee will go over writing etiquette, safety, proper conduct and other things that will make the program successful.

Tritz said the 4-H pen pal program will be tied to a 4-H project. Youths will have the chance to brainstorm project ideas — like turning items they have collected from their pen pal into a collage or scrapbook.

The free program is open to both 4-H members and nonmembers. Youths and families interested in registering for the program can do so via Zsuite from November 23, 2020 through January 10, 2021.

To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit, or contact your local WVU Extension office. Keep up with the latest in WVU Extension Service news on Facebook and Twitter by following @WVUExtension.




CONTACT: Haley Moore 

Communications Specialist 

WVU Extension Service 

304-293-8986 (office) or 304-612-6359 (cell);   

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