4-H’ers create Covid-19 time capsule with mementos from tough year

Posted 13 November 2020 at 7:50 am

Package includes toilet paper, hand sanitizer, facial masks, and historic 2020 4-H Fair ribbons and T-shirts

Photos courtesy of Orleans County 4-H Program: Items are set out to be placed in the time capsule. Senior Council members signed the cloth face mask.

Press Release, Orleans County 4-H Program

KNOWLESVILLE – A Covid-19 time capsule created by Orleans County 4-H members both documents the events of the ongoing pandemic and also serves as a message to their future selves.

Members of the Orleans County 4-H Senior Council recently spent several weeks compiling items to place in the capsule including hand sanitizer, facial masks, toilet paper and historic 2020 4-H Fair ribbons and T-shirts. They also worked to include letters written to themselves which they will be able to read when the capsule is opened, probably in 15-20 years, said Grace Gregoire, 15, of Murray, Senior Council President.

The letters are the most important item in the time capsule, according to Grace.  In her own letter, Grace wrote about the challenges and anxieties of living through a pandemic, “… in reality, Grace, you are beautiful and perfect in God’s eyes, never forget that.”

John Gabalski, 19, of Byron, who aged out of the 4-H program in October, wrote the pandemic gave him the opportunity to help out at food distributions, but, “The Covid-19 pandemic took away my last chance to participate in 4-H rabbit shows, the Orleans County 4-H Fair and the New York State Fair.” John wrote that despite the disappointments, he is now beginning his life as a 4-H alumnus.

Kate Bennett, 9, of Brockport wrote that there were big changes when Covid-19 hit with so many activities and school going virtual. “I started baking a lot and watching movies,” she wrote.  She also was able to spend more time taking care of her goat.

Members of Orleans County 4-H Senior Council (Zach Neal, 16, of Albion is at the front of the photo looking at the camera) met recently to put the time capsule together.

“It was the worst year ever,” wrote Sadie Gregoire, 13, of Murray.  “If you are reading this, hopefully you can say you survived a pandemic.”

Orleans County CCE 4-H Administrative Assistant, Natalie Mrzywka, of Clarendon, wrote about making many masks for local farmers with her grandmother. “You would go places and not recognize people with face masks on,” she said.

4-H Program Coordinator Kristina Gabalski wrote that the pandemic made people realize that something so tiny we can’t even see it with our eyes can have a huge impact on our lives and that, “things can change forever in an instant.”

“The whole idea was a good idea,” Will Gregoire, 18, of Murray said of the project to create a time capsule.

Jeana Kidney, 17, of Medina said, “everything in the time capsule is significant, I can’t pick one item that is the most important.”

The time capsule will be stored in an archive room in the Education Center on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds.  Senior Council members say they look forward to seeing it again when they are adults.

“It will be fun to open in 15 years,” said Hugh Gabalski, 14, of Byron.

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