The 4-H program provides youth with opportunities to develop and practice critical leadership skills. At the local level, members have the opportunity to work as club officers and 4-H Junior Leaders. 4-H offers teen members additional leadership development opportunities through conferences and events at the state and national levels.
Leadership Development in 4-H Clubs
Members of 4-H clubs may be elected or appointed to a position as an officer or committee chairman within their 4-H club. These leadership roles allow youth to begin learning responsibility and accountability as they take on peer leadership roles. Through training and mentoring, 4-H officers and chairmen are taught the fundamentals of planning and conducting a business meeting, facilitating group discussion and the basics of Roberts Rules of Order.
The purpose of junior leadership is to teach youth the importance of understanding themselves as leaders and how to apply leadership skills in a team setting, and then assist them in identifying opportunities to practice their leadership skills. Junior leaders learn the value of teamwork, goal setting, and decision making. These skills are put into action as 4-H Junior Leaders assist club leaders in club management and outreach activities.
A 4-H junior leader serves in the role of assisting the adult club leader. In this way, the adult leader serves as a mentor to the teen. The club leader and junior leader work out an agreement about what the role of the junior leader will be. Responsibilities of the junior leader could include: club record keeping, researching local community service opportunities, planning for a club activity such as a recognition banquet or field trip, and teaching younger members. The junior leader documents his/her goals for the year and the knowledge and skills he/she gained in the 4-H leadership project record.
Opportunities at 4-H Camps to be Counselors-in-Training (CITs)
4-H members may apply to be a CIT at any of the 4-H camps. Counselors-in-Training have the opportunity to learn about youth development and develop leadership skills as they work alongside camp counselors to assist youth in having a positive camping experience.
Apply to be a Youth Leader for Summer of Science "Explore UMass"
SOS Youth Leaders are a group of selected young people, between the ages of 15 and 18 who serve as members on the Explore UMass Committee. Youth Leaders assist in planning, implementing, and overseeing the Explore UMass program. Summer of Science Youth Leaders Position Description and Application Information (Note that Explore UMass has been postponed until June 2022 due to COVID restrictions in place.)
4-H members who have excelled in the program are encouraged to check out the scholarship opportunities offered by 4-H.
Massachusetts 4-H Ambassadors Program
Are you a 4-H member who thinks 4-H has a positive influence on your life? Helps you develop great friendships? Assists you in learning about yourself and others? Enables you to develop life skills such as communicating, and decision making skills you will use for the rest of your life? Introduces you to areas that you might pursue as a future career? Then we need your help! 4-H is looking for teens (ages 13 and older) and adults willing to help us tell the 4-H story in Massachusetts.
4-H Ambassador sessions are offered throughout the state to help participants develop and improve their communication skills, including writing speeches, brochures, flyers, and public service announcements, putting together exciting exhibits and delivering persuasive speeches.
We suggest that leaders, parents and Educators nominate 4-H members to be 4-H Ambassadors. To nominate a 4-H member, you must provide information about the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of speaking, writing, teaching, organizing, leadership and ability to work alone and as a team member. You must also explain why you feel the member would make a good Ambassador. The nominations go to your local 4-H Educator.
4-H Ambassador sessions are scheduled within each region every few years or may be included as part of a statewide teen program. For information about upcoming Ambassador training sessions, contact your local Educator.
National 4-H Conference and National 4-H Congress
NEW Rotation and Schedule
- National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference are pinnacle events for our 4-H teens. Massachusetts 4-H has made some changes in the way delegates will be selected to attend these events. In the past, delegates were selected to attend in alternate calendar years. However, this caused the trips to be actually held during the same school year which meant eligible 4-H members would only be eligible to apply every other year. Starting in 2020, Massachusetts 4-H youth will attend both National Congress and National Conference during the same calendar year. This rotation places each trip in a different school year.
The new schedule will be: (NOTE things have been updated due to the cancellation of 2020 National Events.)
- National 4-H Conference Spring in odd years (2021, 2023..)
- National 4-H Congress Fall in odd years (2021, 2023...)
Delegates will be selected based on an application process which is posted below. Each delegate is expected to contribute $300 toward the cost of the experience; all remaining costs are paid by the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation.
On alternate years, Massachusetts teens will be able to attend the MA 4-H State Leadership program.
2021 National 4-H Conference – Virtual Event for Teens
This year’s National 4-H Conference will be a virtual event on April 10-15, 2021. Participants will be assigned to round table groups and be assigned a topic to discuss prior to the event. The Conference will have all the primary elements that an in-person event would have, including speakers, workshops, youth voice opportunities, topic briefing development and presentation, interaction with Capitol Hill and USDA officials and fun mixers and recreation. The virtual platform will employ the best practices that we have learned thus far about working in this space. Don’t worry, delegates will NOT bon on Zoom all day, every day for the six day conference!
Teens 15 and up who are interested should apply to Kim Pond at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday January 25th.
You need to include a cover letter and either a Resume or 4-H Experience Sheet.
- Resume (1 page preferred, 2 pages maximum)
- Completed 4-H Experience Sheet – This is not your 4-H Summary Sheet in your records. • The 4-H Experience Sheet answers these 4 questions on a separate sheet of paper
1. Briefly describe the leadership experiences that you have had in the 4-H program and through other organizations/school.
2. Why do you feel it is important to develop communication skills?
3. How will you apply your leadership experiences/skills to benefit the 4-H program in the next 2 years?
4. Discuss any Community Service work that you have done and how it has impacted you and/or your community