Our webpages must be accessible so we have our documents in printable/downloadable PDF version first, then we have the document in a webpage version. You may need to scroll through the page to find the document you are looking for.

Flathead County September 2020 NewsletterMSU Logo


Printable version of September 2020 Newsletter (PDF)

MSU Extension Flathead County Newsletter September 2020


New 4-H Enrollment System for 2020-2021 4-H Year Starts Oct. 1st

Accessing the Family Account

​A re-enrolling family should follow the following steps to access their record and set up their Zsuite account on or after October 1. This can be done on a computer or mobile device.

Go to https://4h.zsuite.org/

  1. Click on Sign Up
  2. Fill in all of the fields to set up FAMILY account.
  3. Adult email should match the Family email loaded from 4Honline.
  4. Adult email and password will also be used for anyone in the family to login to ZSuite in the future.
  5. The Adult/Family email can be changed by the parent once the account is set up the first time.
  6. The pin is used by parents and is needed for enrollment of family members.
  7. Click Let's Go!
  8. Each family member previously enrolled in 4Honline should appear on the main screen in a colored box.
  9. there is also an option to add a new family member.
  10. Click on each family member to go to their dashboard and begin enrollment.

If at any point a family has trouble they can click the "CHAT" box at the bottom of their screen and chat with a ZSuite support person.

If you would like to add information or announcements to this newsletter please email dacooper@flathead.mt.gov

From the Extension Office

Notes from Nori

Yay!  It’s September!  Time to wrap up this 4-H year and get ready to begin a new one! 

2020 has been quite the year.  I was really looking forward to 2020.  However, this wasn’t what I was expecting.  I have traveled to other countries where most people wore masks in public, but I hoped it would never happen here.  I have had many illnesses and accidents, but never dealt with something quite like a pandemic.  I have always been proud to be a part of 4-H and what it means while supporting change and growth in our communities, but this year 4-H, like most of the world, has struggled with finding a place and new ways of doing things. 

4-H will keep going on!  We will continue to thrive in our 4-H programs in this upcoming new year!  Before we get started, wrap things up first by completing the following tasks.

Be sure to get your records completed and turned in to your leaders so your year is complete.  If you are doing your records on ZSuites you may have already shared them with your leader.  ZSuites and recordkeeping has been one of the most positive things in 4-H this year for a lot of people.  It makes record keeping simple, and you can get help from your leader while showing what you have completed. 

If you haven’t opened your account in ZSuites, you will be using it soon as we rollover to this system for 4-H enrollment this fall.   4-H Online will not be available after October 1st.  Your 4-H information and history from 4-H Online is in the new system.  Be sure to use the same “Family email” for ZSuites that you used for 4-H Online!  That is the only way you will be able to access any of your 4-H information before October 1st.  Follow the steps on the first page of the newsletter closely for best results.  ZSuites has an excellent chat system for helping us when we are in the system and it is very user friendly. 

We have new Covid-19 Best Practices for club and project meetings, virtual and in person, from the Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development.  Those two documents are attached to this newsletter.  Please do all you can to make sure your 4-H members are as safe as possible.  Please read these documents closely and follow the steps they outline 

The Flathead 4-H Zoom account is still available for clubs to use for virtual meetings, demonstrations, or club needs.  Just let me know when you need it and I will set up the meeting room for you.  Then you can extend the invitation to your members.  Think of all the driving time your 4-H families can save by doing meetings virtually.  Please read the guidance for virtual 4-H meetings document closely.  We want to keep our members safe!

There will be 4-H enrollment deadlines for members with market livestock projects this year.  Please note these dates if you want to have a market hog, lamb, steer, meat rabbit or poultry pen this year.  You must have your 4-H enrollment completed and your enrollment fees must have been paid in the Extension office by 4 pm on the date (or the next business day if on a weekend):

Market Beef – November 1st, 2020

Market Sheep & Hog – February 1st, 2021

Market Poultry/Rabbit Meat Pens – June 1st, 2021

Have a wonderful and safe September!  Go with the flow and any changes you may encounter.  May they all be positive. 

Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development

COVID-19 Best Practices

Guidance for Virtual 4-H Meetings

Virtual 4-H meetings can help keep 4-H members connected and on track with their 4-H projects. Like in-person programming, there are best practices for keeping youth safe. Virtual meetings have their own unique considerations and his guidance will help you reduce risks. Consider all platforms on the Internet as public and engagement of youth, families, and volunteers should be treated as if you were interacting in public.

The following are expectations for holding a virtual 4-H club or project meeting:

  • Parental consent for engaging with their children online will be gathered during 4-H enrollment. MSU Extension will clearly communicate to parents how Extension agents or volunteers will provide content online, what website and services will be used, and what sort of alternatives will be provided for students who are unable to access those services.
  • Volunteers must work with 4-H faculty or staff on options for conference call or virtual or 4-H meetings.
  • In times of shelter-in-place orders, do not encourage 4-H members to congregate with others for the virtual meeting to gain access to the technology.
  • Virtual or conference call 4-H meetings should have a purpose and must have an educational component, this includes members giving presentations about their projects, virtual judging skill-a-thon, project instruction, etc.
  • Only recognized Montana 4-H adult volunteers registered with their county Extension office and having passed the background check may host official virtual or conference call 4-H meetings.
  • Ensure a minimum of two adults are in place for virtual or conference calls, and that they are present on the virtual platform prior to the start of the meeting and youth should be
  • supervised at home by their parent or guardian.
  • Guest Speakers who are not registered 4-H volunteers will not be provided Internet or direct access to the youth after the meeting.
  • If a youth directly contacts an adult, a second adult should be included in all responses.
  • Members should identify themselves with their first name only.
  • Meeting admin should change the label of any attendees who dial in to reflect the attendee's name rather than their phone number, which can be compromised.
  • Use only "group chat" and turn off "private chat" in any virtual meeting.
  • Turn off "screen sharing" for participants.

Virtual Platforms

There are many virtual platforms that you can use for sharing information. However, virtual meetings should use the Montana State University Extension recommended platform that is ADA compliant for transcription. County Extension Offices should train volunteers in setting up meetings and help with ADA accessibility.

Using Webex or Similar Platforms

Webex meetings should have the waiting room feature enabled. The waiting room empowers the meeting host to allow only official individuals into the meeting.

Password protection is also an appropriate strategy to ensure attendance is limited to 4-H members, families, and guests.

Ensure that invitations for meetings intended for a limited audience are shared in such a way as to limit attendance (email, text, internal group messaging program). Remember that when you share links to virtual meetings through social media, anyone who has access to the link will have access to the meeting.

The meeting host should always add another adult as a co-host when using Webex. The role of the cohost can be used to help manage the chat boxes, monitor the "Waiting Room," and manage the "Mute" functions. Additionally, adding a co-host is essential to allow for

connectivity in case of internet issues with the main host.

Tips for Success

During your virtual 4-H meeting, you will want to consider the following to ensure a positive and safe experience for all in attendance.

  • Set ground rules for the virtual meeting and share them with all participants at the start of every meeting.
  • Mute everyone upon entering to ensure audio quality.
  • Please keep track of virtual or conference call 4-H meetings and participation for your county records.
  • Do not record the meeting. The secretary or assigned person should take minutes.

Types of Meetings

Virtual meetings can occur at the club, county, or state level. If you are conducting a meeting that is not dealing with club-specific content, please talk to your county 4-H agent about the possibility of making it a county-wide or even statewide opportunity. By leveraging the tools at our disposal, we can offer more high-quality positive youth development programming to a broader audience.

Social Media: An Engagement Strategy

Social media is a great strategy for youth engagement, and it poses a unique challenge for transparency. Social media messaging between 4-H members and authorized adults should be treated like communication in-person. If you wouldn't say it in person, face-to-face, and with witnesses, you should not communicate these thoughts via social media where there can be a feeling of anonymity.

The adult and youth code of conduct apply to all social media content

and messages that transpire between 4-H members and adults affiliated with the 4-H program. Communications on social media must comply to the two adults rule by group messaging or messaging parents along with youth.


Keep in mind that not all 4-H members have access to technology to participate in virtual 4-H meetings or conference calls. Since this is the case, virtual or conference call 4-H meetings cannot be mandatory and will not count against attendance policies.

If you need something that is compliant for transcription per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your county-based 4-H youth development professional can set up the meeting and help you with your ADA needs.

Work with your county-based 4-H youth development professional on options for virtual or conference call 4-H meetings or when you have any questions. 

When Covid-19 changed our world, we learned some different ways of doing things we have always done.  What we learned at county fair 2020.

There is more than one way to do almost anything…. 

Everyone is a judge.  Fair judges are hired for their opinion.  Judges are not hired to choose what is best in my opinion.   Some judges can make their minds up really quickly.  Other judges may take quite some time.  A judge is a human with knowledge about a subject.  He or she is not perfect.  A judge is not at Fair to judge me as a person, only to judge my project and help me learn about my project and how to get better if I want to, according the standards he or she is looking for. 

The ribbon is only one judge’s opinion, not everyone’s opinion….  A blue ribbon means I have an excellent project that highly meets or exceeds the standards and expectations of the project.  My exhibit shows high quality work and needs little to no improvement.  Champions and Reserve Champions can only be selected from projects that receive a blue ribbon.  A red ribbon means my 4-H exhibit meets most of the standards and expectations of the project.  There is room for some improvements in workmanship, design, or overall quality of my project.  A white ribbon means my exhibit doesn’t meet all the standards and expectations of the project.  My 4-H project has room for improvement in overall quality and composition.  Perhaps, my market project has too much fat or not enough fat, which I can improve.  Maybe the animal lacks some of the muscling that the higher placed projects have, which is something that has to be bred into the animal.  I can improve muscling with exercise if I work hard, but it is most important to select an animal with the most to offer.  If I get a red or white ribbon I can ask my 4-H leaders, Extension agent or other people for help to improve my project for next year.  Sometimes a judge doesn’t choose any blue ribbons.  Sometimes a judge chooses several white ribbons.  That is the judge’s opinion and they were hired for their opinion about the level of the projects completed.  

My self-perception and self-worth should not be dependent upon how a judge places my project….  I am a good person and I have completed my 4-H project to the best of my ability and with whatever happened this year.  If I want, I can work harder on my project next year and learn more about the standards and expectations I need to improve.  

I am proud of the work I have done on my project and I have done the best I could with what I had….  If not, I will make a promise to myself to work harder next year and to make changes that will improve my project and myself.  Or perhaps it’s time to try a different project or focus on something else in my life. 

Things do change.  We can get through change….  Sometimes things we fear, can turn out better than we expect.  It’s possible to learn to accept other people the way they are. 

Fair isn’t about being the best or getting the championship ribbon….  It’s about learning and becoming better people.  A pandemic does not mean the same thing to all people.  4-H does not mean the same thing to all people. One of the most important things 4-H teaches us is resiliency and patience. 

There is more than one way to do almost anything.

Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development

COVID-19 Best Practices

Guidelines for 4-H Club and Project Meetings to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Volunteers serving youth through the 4-H program take on a large, but rewarding responsibility in educating tomorrow's leaders. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this responsibility is extended to include the health and wellness of the members, parents, and other volunteers who participate in your club or project. This guide outlines best practices for preventing the spread of the virus.

As a first step, please assess the risk factors for the individuals in your 4-H community. Postponing or not holding events where physical distancing is difficult is the best way to prevent contamination and transmission of the disease. Most club and project activities can take place, however, by simply increasing your sanitary practices, reducing close contact between participants, and eliminate or disinfect shared items that many people touch.

The guidance below will help you reduce the risk of spreading disease at your 4-H events and meetings. Most cause very little inconvenience.

Following the Governor's mandate, all participants must wear masks while participating in 4-H in-person programming while indoors or closer than six feet apart.


  • If masks cannot be worn, or a participant chooses not to, work to find virtual alternatives for engagement.

Move activities outside.


  • Open air reduces the risk of airborne illness. Meet outside as much as possible.
  • If you can't move outside, find a fun way to have those attending spread out while inside.

Schedule time for hand washing.

  • Take the opportunity to teach about proper hand washing and include hand washing in your program; particularly before eating.

Start a new greeting.

  • Involve the youth in inventing a new way to greet one another from a distance? The 4-H members will enjoy coming up with something our of the ordinary to say hello that does not involve touching.

Have tissues available.

  • Bring a box of tissues for use by anyone sneezing or coughing to catch those germs. Teach how to cough into the side of the elbow and distance any coughing youth from the rest of the group.
  • Send individuals home with their parent of guardian if they show signs of an illness.

Change how you open doors.

  • Due to all the touching, doorknobs are one of the worst places for germs. Study the facility to see if any doors can be propped open so not everyone needs to touch them. If it is not possible to prop open doors, assign a greeter and open the door for everyone.
  • Make sure paper towels and garbage cans are available by bathroom doors, so people can open the door with a towel and then throw it away.

Choose activities where participants are able to stay six feet apart.

  • Do not engage in activities requiring close physical contact. If you planned a game or icebreaker that requires close physical contact, save it for another time or modify the procedures.

Use single serving beverage containers.

  • Offer individual juice boxes, water bottles, etc. instead of serving beverages from a large container or push-button cooler that multiple people touch.

Serve individually wrapped food.

  • Do not serve food in a potluck or buffet style. Offer individual food items such as individually wrapped sandwiches, muffins, or cookies.
  • Ask a single server with proper hygiene to place bulk items like chips or cookies in individual cups or bags or serve prepackaged individually wrapped single servings.
  • The increased volume of individual packaging may overflow garbage containers.
  • Empty the trash as needed so that items having been touched and licked are not spilling out onto the floor.

Schedule back-up volunteers.

  • Parents inclined to bring a sick child with them to an event at which they are volunteering should be discouraged from doing so. Flexibility in attendance is expected to ensure the health and wellness of the 4-H community.
  • To avoid gaps in help, try to add a few more volunteers to your roster for each activity to cover unplanned absences.

Use no-touch educational resources.

  • Instead of passing around something cool for members to see, consider walking around with it and showing them at eye level. This eliminates the need for them to touch it.
  • Instead of the take-one-and-pass-it-along method of paper distribution, hand out papers one at a time.
  • If participants must share items (e.g. scissors, a camera, a glue bottle), use disinfectant wipes to clean the item at the beginning and end of the event and between each use.

Don't share pens and pencils.

  • Have one person take attendance to avoid sharing one pen.

Carefully clean and disinfect after the meeting.

  • Disinfect after hosting a project meeting. Plan to take fifteen minutes after everyone has left to wipe down all frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant spray or bleach solution. The CDC and EPA provide the following guidance :
  • Cleaning removes germs and dirt from surfaces. You can use soap and water to clean surfaces. This doesn't always kill germs but removing them lowers their numbers. It's suggested to clean surfaces before you disinfect them.
  • Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. Disinfectant chemicals are stronger than soap but do not necessarily clean visibly dirty surfaces or remove germs. Killing germs lowers the risk of infection. To properly disinfect, products need to remain on a surface for a specific amount of time -- usually 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Sanitizing also kills germs, but disinfecting kills more of them. Still, sanitizers effectively lower the risk of infection.

Manage your risk while getting supplies.

  • Germs are picked up everywhere. When shopping, use a tissue on your fingertip so you don't need to touch the PIN pad when paying.
  • Wipe down the handle on your shopping cart or basket, and if a plastic produce bag is available use that as an added layer between you and the handle.
  • Pumping gas? Grab a paper towel from the window cleaning station and use that to hold the gas handle.
  • Grabbing something to eat while you run these errands? Remember that tables are not disinfected between customers, so don't let your food or utensils touch the table. Put them on napkins or plates.

Carefully consider attendance at large events.


  • It is up to each of us to decide if and how we will participate in large events. For example, you might decide it's okay to participate in an outdoor event, but not to participate in an activity with a lot of people in a small enclosed area.
  • Also be sure to consider not only your personal risk factors, but those of others living in your household and whether your activity would increase exposure for others at higher risk.
  • The CDC has information about who is at higher risk: https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications. Html

This document has been adapted from a University of Arizona Cooperative Extension publication (az1830) created by Jeremy Elliot Engel and Cathy L. Martinez.

4-H/FFA Achievement Ceremony

Monday September 14, 2020 6pm

Expo Building on the Fairgrounds

No Potluck this Year

 2020 Montana 4-H State Horse Show

September 18-20, 2020 at the Heart K Arena in Livingston, MT

The Montana 4-H State Horse Show is an opportunity for 4-H horse project members to test their skills alongside their peers from across the state in an educational and enjoyable competitive contest. Classes are offered to include nearly every aspect of the 4-H horse project as well as nearly every skill level of rider. Youth, ages 9-19 years old, may enter and compete based on the qualifying guidelines of their county.

The registration fee is $125.00 per rider and includes stalls. Camping spots are $20 per night with electricity. All this detailed in the information in the links below.

Website: http://www.montana4h.org/programs/events/state_horse_show/index.html

FairEntry: http://www.fairentry.com/Fair/SignIn/14870

Need 4-H Project Manuals and you can’t get to the Extension Office?

No worries, go to https://store.msuextension.org/  and search for the 4-H project manuals you need, select them, go to the check out, then use your credit card or debit card, then finish your purchase, and have them shipped right to your door. It’s that easy!

Friendly Reminder –

Just a gentle reminder…If the Extension Office isn’t aware of an event or activity happening, it isn’t a 4-H event or activity.  If suddenly, at the last moment, you realize you didn’t tell Nori or Dee that you were meeting with your members, call the office 758-5552, and leave a message letting them know it is happening.  If possible, please let us know the date, time, location, how many you expect to attend and what is happening before a 4-H event, meeting, or activity.  You can use the Event, Activity and Fundraising Form if you like so you don’t forget anything.  If your group is doing a fundraiser, of any type, you must submit a Fundraiser Form to the Extension office to be put in your club file.  We often get questions when a group is doing a fundraiser.  We will not approve or disapprove your event.  We just need to be notified.  Or it just is not a 4-H event. 


Who has the copyrights on a photo or logo? Can we just use any photo or logo we want at any time? Just because the website may say free clipart doesn’t mean it’s free! Always check the copyright on photos and logos before you use them. The user, the county, and MSU are all at risk when copyrights are infringed upon.


Browse the new Montana 4-H merchandise at the MSU Extension Store and paint our state green with 4-H T-shirts, mugs, buttons, and stickers! Start shopping at the 4-H Mall!

Upcoming 4-H Meetings and Special Events

See our Google Calendar for Extension scheduled events!

Forums, Committees & Councils

  • Ag/Livestock Committee: Thursday, Sept. 3rd at 5:45 pm in the 4-H Building at the fairgrounds
  • Flathead 4-H Foundation: Tuesday,  Oct. 27th at 6 pm Location Country Kitchen
  • Flathead 4-H Council: Thursday, Sept. 24th at  6 pm in the 4-H Building on the Fairgrounds
  • Horse Committee: TBA at 6pm at the 4-H Building-Canceled-to be rescheduled

Upcoming Activities & Other Meetings

🍀 Sept. 7, Extension Office Closed

🍀 Sept. 14, Awards Ceremony

🍀 Sept. 15, 4honlie roll-over

🍀 Sept. 18-20, State Horse Show

🍀 Sept. 30, List of Record Books Checked-off due to Extension Office

🍀 Oct. 1, 4-H Enrollment Begins in new enrollment system (ZSuite

Watch your emails for dates and upcoming programs on ZOOM!


Administrative Support goes to lunch every day from 1-2pm, so many times the Extension office doors are locked during that time. She also has occasional meetings for the county. If you need special accommodations or a guaranteed meeting with someone, please feel free to call ahead and make an appointment.


Dear Flathead 4-H members, leaders & families:

The MSU Extension Flathead County Office will be closed September 7th for Labor Day. We may be periodically closed for meetings or to run errands. If you need to speak with us personally, please call for an appointment time. Please leave paperwork in basket or leave in mailbox on front of building for confidential information.  Our schedule is subject to change at anytime.

Thank you,

Patricia McGlynn

Montana State University

Agriculture Extension Agent


Phone: 406-758-5554

Nori Pearce

Montana State University

4-H Extension Agent


Phone: 406-758-5552

Dee Cooper

Administrative Assistant

MSU Extension, Flathead County


(406) 758-5553 phone

SNAP Recipe of the Month

Oatmeal On-The-Go Breakfast Bars

This is a great recipe for grab-and-go breakfasts or a tasty snack featuring March’s Harvest of the Month- Grains! Make busy weekday mornings easier by making enough bars for the whole week!

Adapted from Weelicious.com.

Servings 18 bars


  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (any kind of milk — rice, almond, soy, cow’s — will work) or water
  • 1/4  cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or baked squash or pumpkin puree  if available)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, blueberries, cherries, etc.) optional
  • 1/2 cup nuts (walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.) optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking  powder in a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, applesauce, egg, sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, stir to combine and then stir in the dried fruits and nuts.
  5. Pour the oatmeal mixture into a greased 9 x 11 inch  baking dish.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until thickened and golden.
  7. Cool, cut into squares, and serve. Refrigerating:  allow to cool, cut into squares, place in an airtight  container, and refrigerate up to 5 days.
  8. Freezing: allow to cool, cut into squares, and place in a plastic bag to freeze up to 4 months. When ready, allow to defrost in fridge for 24-48 hours.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education enables young families, single recipients and seniors to learn how to best use their food stamp dollars in providing healthy nutrition for  themselves and their families. Adults can sign up for a 6 week course that is fun and provide the basic concepts of good nutrition. The only requirements to join in the classes are: that a person is receiving WIC assistance;  either receiving food stamps or are eligible to receive them; or are getting commodity foods. Please call Caitlin at the Flathead County Extension office at 758-2448 to sign-up for classes.

MSU Extension Service—Flathead County

Patricia McGlynn

Agriculture, Natural Resource & Community Development Extension Agent

Nori Pearce

4-H & Youth Development Agent

Dee Cooper

Administrative Assistant 

Caitlin Coghlan

Nutrition Educator 


1108 South Main Street Ste. 4

Kalispell,  MT 59901  

Phone:  (406) 758-5553

Fax:       (406) 758-5881

Email:   extension@flathead.mt.gov

Web:     http://flathead.msuextension.org

Calendar: http://flathead.msuextension.org/calendar.html

Find us on Facebook at Flathead4H

State Web Sites:



Office Hours

Mon-Thurs 8am-5pm, Fri 8am-4:30pm,

Closed 1-2pm for lunch

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status. Issued in furtherance of cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture,  Cody Stone, Director of Extension, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717