Guide to Montana 4-H Congress
You can make Congress what you want it to be. Plan to put a lot into Congress so you will get a lot out of it. Take notes and gather ideas to report to clubs, newspapers or groups when you get home. Create a plan to share your delegations experience with others.
Congress provides opportunities to:
- Exchange ideas with peers from around the state
- Make new friends
- See and learn about the Montana State University
- Learn more about selected subject matter
- Grow in self confidence
- Gain ideas for use on a local and county level
- Recognize 4‐H members for work in project and competitive events
Attendance at all sessions, meals and workshops is mandatory for the ultimate Congress experience. Sitting in dorm rooms or not participating in activities will NOT be tolerated. We want you to have an enjoyable time while you are at State 4‐H Congress; we cannot, however, permit damage to equipment or property, or any other irresponsible behavior. Youth are expected to exercise good judgment at all times for the welfare of yourself and others.
Communication While at Congress
Delegates needing to receive mail should have it sent to the following address:
Delegate’s Name and County
Montana 4‐H Congress
210 Taylor Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717‐3580
Best practice is for all parents and guardian to have a cell phone number for their youth's designated chaperone. This is the quickest and most efficient way to stay in contact while youth are attending congress events. However, if a delegate needs to be contacted by phone while in the dorm, the caller should dial 994‐3281 to reach the 24 hour service desk in South Hedges (2023). For daytime calls the Montana 4‐H Center for Youth Development will have all calls forwarded to the Congress Headquarters.(406) 994‐3501. A message will be put outside headquarters. If there is an emergency at home please try to contact your county chaperone first. We cannot ensure that messages will be delivered quickly.
Showcasing the excellence of 4‐H is reflected in our individual and group appearances. Choice of clothing will represent the best in 4‐H as well as the best in each individual. The dress code is designed to assure that each 4‐H member wears the appropriate attire to represent themselves and the group. Any youth attending 4‐H events are expected to adhere to standards of dress and appearance that are compatible with an effective learning environment. Presenting an appearance or wearing clothing which is disruptive, provocative, revealing, profane, vulgar, offensive or obscene, or which endangers the health and safety of the youth or others is prohibited.
Most Congress events accommodate casual dress. Jeans, shorts, t‐shirts and tank tops with straps at least 2 inches wide are all acceptable. Does not include cut‐offs or worn jeans with holes.
Dress Attire or Buisiness Professional
This type of attire will be required for all those appearing on stage as presenters or recipients of awards.
For boys: dress pants or dress jeans and a button down shirts
For girls: dress pants and dress shirt or blouse, dresses or skirts
Banquet on Thursday evening will be semi-formal attire.
For boys: Dress shirt and dress pants, tie, jacket (optional)
For girls: Cocktail dress, dress pants/skirt and dress shirt
Knowing what to wear is always a challenge, if you have questions about what to pack contact your chaperone or county Extension Agent for more detailed information and help.
The following is not acceptable to wear:
- Exposed mid riffs
- Excessively LOW‐CUT shirts
- Excessively SHORT dress or skirt
- Spaghetti straps, except on semi‐formal dresses
- Exposed undergarments
- Bleached, un‐hemmed, holey jeans or cutoffs
- Clothing with graphic pictures and offensive or tasteless
- Hats or caps during indoor
2023 NOTE: All workshop will be casual dress and many of them will take place outside. participants should be prepared with comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and water bottle.
Some of the workshop sessions will require functional dress. Prior to congress participants will receive a letter informing them of their assigned track. Any specific clothing will be listed in this letter.
This dress code applies to all congress events with the exception of spaghetti straps on formal dresses. If you do not bring appropriate clothing with you, items will be provided for you.
Participants will NOT sign up for workshops during registraiton. Workshops tickets will be distributed by county chaperones on Wednesday evening at the county meeting. There will be plenty of workshops to interest everyone. Topics include video production, healthy living and wellness, wildlife, agriculture and much more.
What to Bring
all bedding (sheets, pillow and pillowcase) will be provided. However, only one blanket is provided.
Some items to remember:
- Towel & Soap and toiletry items
- Alarm Clock
- Rain coat/umbrella/ other clothing for inclement weather conditions
- Good Walking Shoes
- Casual and appropriate clothing
- Sun screen
- water bottle
- A small fan
- Banquet attire: Semi Formal
- Clothing and supplies appropriate for the contest you have chosen
- Fan, the dorm will only have a limited number to check out. DO NOT COUNT ON THE DORM HAVING FANS TO CHECKOUT!!!!
- Lights out time and quiet hours will be printed in the Congress You are expected to observe them, no exceptions.
- You are expected to maintain your own room, there is no maid service.
- Furniture, bedding and other furnishings are to remain in their original location.
- Boys and girls are not permitted to visit each other in dorm rooms at any time.
Follow signage for gender-specific areas, and use commonareas to gather.
- In the event of an emergency please contact your adult chaperone.
- Please be sure to wear clothing in the hallways, even to and from the bathrooms. Do not walk down the hall in a towel or without pants or a shirt. Pajamas are ok.
- Property damages will be billed to counties and/or to individuals causing the damage.
- No illicit substances
- Don’t Drive or leave campus without a chaperone.
- Be on time
- No inappropriate behavior between participants, including Personal Displays of Affection (PDA), as it is distracting and inappropriate for this setting.
- Dress neatly and appropriately for the occasion, and know the event dress code
- Delegates are accountable to all chaperones and staff while attending Congress. Respect of all adults giving of their time is a must.
Guidelines for Dance at State 4‐H Events
As a Positive Youth Development organization, the Montana 4‐H Center has developed the following guidelines for dances at state level 4‐H events.
We believe that 4‐H Dances are designed to provide a safe, fun environment that promotes positive interactions, celebrates diversity, and respects individual differences. 4‐H youth, adults, and faculty should respect themselves and others, be self‐responsible, and be kind and courteous.
At dances at State 4‐H Events, participants should portray suitable behavior for public interactions.
- No inappropriate touching is
- Dancing commonly referred to as “Grinding” or “Freak Dancing” is
- Any dancing that is unwanted, unwelcome, and unreturned by another dancer is not
What is considered inappropriate may vary from person to person, however youth should respect adults that ask them to discontinue behavior that is outlined above. Adults should approach youth in a respectful way as not to embarrass or humiliate. While no youth should be asked to leave the dance building without their chaperone, youth may be asked to refrain from participating in the dance for an amount of time.
All efforts will be made to ensure that the music played is the radio edited version and that song selection and rotation appeals to diverse musical tastes.
It is the ultimate responsibility of program participants to follow these guidelines.
State 4‐H Congress is a 4‐H youth development activity sponsored by MSU Extension. As such, Congress is an “extension” of the 4‐H program. Chaperones have volunteered to help make 4‐H Congress the most educational and meaningful experience possible for your delegation. Likewise, we would like to help make it enjoyable and an educational opportunity for you, as well. Each county must arrange for one or two full time adult chaperones as indicated in the chaperone policies. These adults must attend full time and may be county staff or 4‐H volunteers (age 21 or older).
During 4‐H Congress
- Pick up county packets in the lobby of dormitory where check‐in is conducted. (see schedule)
- Review contents of packet with your delegates.
- Other information stations will be set up to distribute tshirts shirts, give information on workshops, and opportunities to help and all other Congress
- Use “Check in/Check out” lists provided to check delegates’ rooms for damages. Counties and/or individual delegates will be held responsible for damage to rooms or other property during State 4‐ H
- Participate in chaperone orientation session on Tuesday night (see schedule for time and location).
- Understand that Montana 4‐H Congress is a statewide event with almost all Montana counties participating. Policies may differ from those in your county.
- Arrange times and locations for daily county delegation meeting. We recommend having at least one if not two meetings per day with your group. The first could be before, at or after breakfast to point out important program features or workshop events. Another meeting should be held in the evening before lights out.
- It is the chaperone’s responsibility to make sure delegates participate in Congress events and activities.
- Help each delegate get maximum benefit from the State 4‐H Congress experience (i.e., knowledge gained, assuming self‐responsibility, decision making, leadership development, social skills, )
- Help delegates identify ways to use new ideas back home in their
- Supervision and advising of county delegation and any needed disciplinary action are the responsibility of county chaperones. State 4‐H Congress salaried and volunteer staff will assist the chaperones, but primary responsibility rests with the county chaperones who are acting on behalf of the County Extension program.
Evening Dormitory Procedures
- County chaperones are responsible for their entire delegation during all Congress events.
- Evening dormitory chaperoning requires same gender chaperone.
- A hired chaperone or chaperone appointed from another county is only responsible between lights out and Hired chaperones will be introduced at the chaperone meeting on Tuesday. Communication between the hired and county chaperone is the responsibility of the county chaperone.
- Chaperones MUST do a room check at lights out and MUST visually see that all delegates are in their assigned Delegates must remain there until morning.
In order to provide a positive experience for ALL youth participants it is extremely important that all county chaperones understand their roles and responsibilities prior to attending Congress. If chaperones have any questions about their role please reach out to the county extension agent or state 4-H office.
Agents Attending Congress
- If attending as a county chaperone, agents should assume that role completely and refer to described chaperone responsibilities, including evening dormitory responsibiliteis.
- Agents attending Congress, but not as an official county chaperone should plan to assist their counties designated chaperons as needed. Agents can also sign up to assist with contests and workshops.
Rooms will be assigned based on the gender indicated during 4-H enrollemnt. Registration for on campus housing is included with COngress registration. All delegates and chaperones will be housed in Yellowstone Hall (2022). Please see the attached map to locate all Congress event locations.
Blocks of rooms will be pre‐assigned to each county based on the number of paid reservations received For safety reasons the exact housing location of each delegate and chaperone must be registered with the 4‐H Center.
Counties providing their own chaperones will be housed in consecutive rooms. County chaperones will be placed on the same floor as delegates. No youth can room with an adult chaperone unless an accomidation is approved by county extension office and the 4‐H center.
Delegates whose counties are hiring chaperones or have designated a chaperone from another county to be responsible during dorm hours will be housed together in a block of rooms with the hired/designated chaperone placed on the same floor. Please note that hired chaperone room reservations are included in the hired chaperon fee. DO NOT include in your reservation packet.
Chaperones will receive the rooms assigned to their blocks at check in. Chaperones are responsible for issuing room assignments and distributing keys. Youth are not to change rooms!
Counties have the option of arranging their own off campus housing. A list of local accommodations is available by calling the 4‐H Center. Counties must register off campus locations with the 4‐H Center upon arrival at check in.
Registration fees include all activity and meal fees and are not prorated. Registration for partial attendance at Congress is permitted. However, full registration fees still apply. In these cases appropriate arrangements must be made for travel to and from the event.
All meals, EXCEPT Friday breakfast, are included in the Congress registration fee. Every effort is made to provide ample healthy and varied meal choices for all participants.
Meals can be purchased directly at Miller Dining Pavillion for Friday (breakfast $11) directly from the cashier at the entrance to the dining hall. If your delegates plan to purchase breakfast friday please let us know so we can inform the staff of numbers.
Special Meals and Food Allergies
The MSU catering and residence life staff have excellent meal options for those individuals with a special diet due to food intolerences and allergies. However, these accomidations take significent pre planning. Please be sure that these accomidations are specifically outlined during resgistration. We cannot guarentee that requests for special meals can be accomedated on site.
Delegates attending Congress have submited a signed copy of the Medical Form to the 4‐H Center with registration. A signed form must be kept by the county chaperone(s) to, from, and during Congress. It is extremely important to have access to the printed authorization form in the event of a medical emergency. The authroization is a release for treatment by the minor child’s parent or guardian to their chaperone. These can be downloaded and printed from Zsuite Profile by the MSU Extension office.
The 4‐H Congress headquarters will be manned during all of Congress by members of the 4‐H Center staff. Questions about registration, meals, behavior, etc. can be answered here. Headquarters will be located in the Exit Gallery (2023) in the SUB across from the Entrance to Ballroom A.
Contest Policies to Note when Registering
4‐H members must register under the county they are currently enrolled in. Delegates cannot be
registered in one county and represent and/or judge for another.
At this time, 4‐H members may compete in only one contest at Congress. Please note contest participation as a part of the online registration process. Contest guidelines and scoring information can be found here.
Contest times and locations are listed in the master schedule. Specific platform or start times for individual contests will be given to the county chaperone at registration and posted on the schedule on Tuesday at the start of the event.
Congress apparel will be available for order prior to Congress. Pre –ordered t‐shirts and sweatshirts will be handed out during registration. There will be a limited number of apparel available to purchase during the event. If there is an error in you order please see us at headquarter. There will also be a 4-H merchandise store set up in ballroom A to purchase any of the available 4-H Items. To preview these items visit the MSU Extension store page. https://store.msuextension.org/Departments/4-H- Materials.aspx
Cancellations received by the 4‐H Center before June 23rd will receive a refund for half of the registration fees. Cancellations after June 23rd will receive no refund. However, each individual situation is at the discretion of the 4‐H Center.
It is the expectation that each delegate has made a commitment to participate in the entire Congress experience. Full attendance at all workshops and sessions communicates each 4‐Her’s commitment of excellence to our speakers and peers. All activities are designed to accommodate maximum attendance. Sleeping or sitting around dorm rooms and other campus facilities will not be tolerated. Chaperones are also expected to meet the same standard of excellence and set a positive example for youth participants.