What is a 4-H Club or Youth Group?
It's a group of young people interested in coming together to learn, socialize and to have fun under the leadership of a caring adult(s).
Why do young people like 4-H?
They have fun with friends at meetings, social activities, tours, camps and fairs. They learn to do interesting things like raise animals and plants, fix their bikes, take pictures, learn cooking and collect insects. Teenage 4-H members have the opportunity to serve as junior leaders, teaching younger members.
How do you get a 4-H group organized?
First of all, contact your local 4-H Educator. You must successfully complete the 4-H screening process before you start a group. Your local Educator will also provide you with an orientation and any assistance that you need. Then, have a meeting with the young people who are interested and adults who are willing to help. Publicize it through the school or any place where young people and their parents can be reached.
What do you do at the first meeting?
Get acquainted and have fun with a group mixer. Invite parents as well as new members. Share and talk about some projects the group might like. Give this some thought in advance and talk with the 4-H Educator or an experienced 4-H volunteer for ideas. Discuss when and how often the group will meet.
What do 4-H clubs do at other meetings?
4-H clubs usually do four general kinds of things: project work, business meetings, recreation or social activities, and special interest programs such as field trips, guest speakers and community service projects.
Do they do all of those things at one meeting?
Sometimes. If they have a little business to conduct they will start the meeting with it. They also work on their projects for a time and have a social or recreational part of the meeting. Sometimes the entire meeting is devoted to one project or task.
Who plans the program for the club?
Members of the club working with the volunteer leader. If the club is small, this might be done at a meeting of the whole group. If the club is large, ideas come from everybody and a committee puts together a program. It is helpful to establish an annual calendar for your group at the beginning of the year (including dates, locations and activities) so that everyone knows what to expect and can plan ahead.
When do clubs meet and how long do meetings last?
This depends on the group. Many clubs meet for an hour or two after school, in the evening or on a Saturday. Some meet once a week, others once or twice a month. The most important thing is to have a regular time to get together, one that members and their families can remember and schedule other activities around.
Where do 4-H clubs meet?
Any place large enough that is convenient for the members of the group. Some clubs meet in the leaders’ or members' homes. Some meet in a central place such as a school, church, community room or library.
What about club officers?
4-H clubs should have officers and whatever committees they need to run their own business. 4-H has guides available for presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries, treasurers, news reporters and recreation leaders. The club may have more or fewer officers, depending on its needs. It is a good idea to wait until the second or third meeting to elect officers so members know each other. Officers don’t have to be elected; some clubs rotate officer duties among members so that everyone gets a chance to serve in the different roles.
Who names a club?
The members of the club do... with their leader's guidance. The name can’t exclude any group or gender.
Should 4-H clubs have dues?
This depends on their need for money. There is a fee to join a 4-H club that goes to support the state 4-H program. If a club wants money for some activities, it usually charges dues or conducts money-making activities. Dues are usually a small amount of money to cover expenses for club activities. The local 4-H office also asks for a simple annual financial statement.
How big should a club be?
A 4-H club must have a minimum of 5 members. Club size depends on the age of the members, the place they have to meet and the leadership available. The ideal club is big enough to have fun and learn together, but small enough for everybody to feel a part of the group.
How do you join?
First you may check our on-line club directory to see if there are 4-H clubs in your area. Or you may call or send an email to your local 4-H Educator to see if there is a club near you.
What if there is no club in my area to join or local clubs are all full?
If there is no club available in your local area, your 4-H Educator would love to help you start a new 4-H club. You need an adult (age 21) volunteer(s) who likes to work with youth. 4-H will provide the curricula and assistance needed. Another option is for a child to enroll as an independent member with his/her parent listed as the leader. This is a temporary situation since this does not provide the club experience but it does allow the child to participate in 4-H activities such as Visual Presentations, 4-H record keeping, Winter Workshops, 4-H fairs, etc.
What are 4-H projects?
4-H projects offer learning experiences in many different subjects for young people. Animal science projects are popular choices and include dog care and training and horse care and management. Other examples are science projects, such as robotics and aerospace, nutrition and fitness, photography and environmental stewardship, just to name a few.
What does a 4-H project cost?
It depends on the project. A member enrolled in crafts might use supplies from around the house to practice skills he is learning and have few additional expenses. A member who buys and keeps (or leases) a large animal will have to make a larger investment. Discuss cost with members as they select a project. It should be realistic to the family situation. Be aware that ownership is not required for animal science projects.
Are 4-H members expected to do their own project work?
Yes...with help. 4-H is a "learn by doing" program. Leaders, junior leaders and parents may tell or show a member, but members are expected to do the project work themselves as a part of the learning process.
4-H Club Leaders
What is a 4-H Club Leader?
A caring adult (age 21) who works as a volunteer (no payment) with a group of 4-H members. All 4-H volunteers must successfully complete the 4-H screening process, including a CORI check.
Are there different kinds of leaders?
Yes, some adults teach members to do things. They usually have a special interest or skill such as photography, clothing or gardening. Other adults help organize a group, complete required paperwork and run the meetings. Many do both. Sometimes big clubs divide these tasks and have several leaders to meet all the interests the 4-H members have.
How many leaders should a 4-H club have?
That depends on the size of the club and how old the members are. Some clubs have junior leaders, who can assist with running the club. It is recommended that every 4-H club have a minimum of 2 leaders.
Can an adult be involved in 4-H without being a leader?
Yes. There are many opportunities for volunteers within the 4-H program. Contact the local Extension 4-H Educator for ideas.
Where would I learn how to be a 4-H leader or volunteer?
Contact your local Extension 4-H Educator who will meet with you and provide the materials you need to organize a club. All potential leaders need to successfully complete the 4-H screening process before being accepted as a leader in the program. 4-H is a “learn by doing” program; volunteers often learn along with the youth members!
How do you explain the role of a 4-H leader to parents?
Be sure they realize leaders are volunteers who are not being paid. Invite parents to a 4-H meeting or ask if they would like to help plan an activity so they can learn more about 4-H club activities and how they may assist the leader.
How do you get parents to help?
Ask them. Be specific about jobs the club needs help with. Think positively. People who expect help usually get it. Offer a choice of jobs. People have different time and abilities. Ask the young people to ask their parents to help.