Thank you for volunteering your time to the Montana 4-H program. The role of Organizational Leader is one of the most important in the 4-H program. We know the club experience has the potential to have the greatest impact on a 4-H'ers development.
The Role of the Volunteer Organizational or Club Leader
Guide the overall organization of the club, help it function smoothly and maintain communications among the member families, the club and the county. Be the primary club contact person with the MSU Extension county staff. Time commitment is 10 to 15 hours monthly (depends on club size and activities) through the 4-H year, October to September. //Learn more about the role and responsibilities of the volunteer Organizational Leader//
Montana 4-H is currently working on updating our own resources for clubs, in the meantime here are some excellent materials that can help you to organize and maintain your 4-H club.
Michigan State University Helping You Help Offiers & Committees
What Happens at a Club Meeting
4-H club meetings are the foundation of our program and they provide the experience for youth to work and learn together while having a good time and having fun. A well planned meeting enables youth to gain new ideas and increase their knowledge, assists in building self-confidence, engages youth in making decisions, provides opportunities for youth to develop responsibility and commitment and naturally helps them make new friends and have fun.
Meetings contain business, project work, educational programs, community service, recreation and social activities. All of these may not be part of every meeting, but each should be included during the year for a well-balanced program. Members should decide what to include and when with the assistance of 4-H volunteers. A club meeting outline provides structure for conducting a meeting. A typical 4-H club meeting has three components: fun (group building), business (group decisions) and learning (program/activity).
1. Group building/fun: 15-20 minutes
A variety of fun activities adds enthusiasm and enjoyment to meetings. This might include:
- Fellowship, or an informal time set aside for members and leaders to get to know each other.
- Ice breakers and team building activities that have intentional outcomes.
- Recreation, during which time a variety of organized games could be included.
- Refreshments, which can give members a chance to serve as hosts as well as socialize with their fellow members.
- Celebration, which can help members feel good about what they have accomplished or learned.
2. Group decisions/business: 15-20 minutes
The business section should demonstrate democracy in action. Members learn how to express themselves in a group, listen to the views of others, come to a decision either through consensus or parliamentary procedure, and abide by majority rule. A typical business agenda is as follows:
- Call to order
- Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge
- Roll Call – answering in any way the group decides
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- Treasurer’s report
- Committee reports
- Old business
- New business
3. Program activity/learning: 45-60 minutes
“Learning by doing” is one of the 4-H program’s unique strengths. This is the place for members to give demonstrations, work on project books and participate in tours or community service and other activities. Use a variety of activities to involve members in program planning, self-esteem development and decision making. Ingenuity and creativity can make this section of the meeting interesting and active. Providing work space during project work makes learning easier. Examples of learning opportunities during meetings include:
- Community service activities
- Guest speakers and presentations
- Special programs
- Project work
- Demonstrations and talks
Tips for meeting members and families want to attend
Wether it is the first meeting of the year or the last, club meetings should be a safe and comfortable place for 4-H members and their families. It is important that the Organizational Leader(s) and club officers take intentional steps to create a welcoming environment.
Below are three tips on how to provide the most effective and productive 4-H club experience for youth members. Youth like to be active and take part in the club’s program of activities. Leaders can make it easier for them to participate by “setting the state” for involvement and learning. Consider these three key items:
- Pleasant meeting place. Ideal meeting places have plenty of light, comfortable temperature and adequate space and facilities for planned activities. Room arrangement is important. Set the room to fit the activities. Members need to see and hear every speaker or person during a group discussion or demonstration. Providing tables and chairs for officers may give them support and confidence. A flip chart or small whiteboard may be a useful tool to record ideas.
- Comfortable atmosphere. Members feel best and gain the most when they are at ease. 4-Hers need opportunities to get to know each other, talk together and build trust. A few ideas to help create positive situations where members feel free to “join in” are get-acquainted games, team-building activities, small group discussion and committee work.
- Feelings of acceptance. Each person wants to be an active part of the group, but sometimes a member needs help. Provide opportunities for members to contribute to the club. Many clubs accomplish this by getting members involved through club officers, committees, demonstrations and talks, community service, fundraisers and group projects. The key is to enable all members to participate with specific jobs and responsibilities.
Planning ahead and being intentional regarding the atmosphere of a 4-H meeting will help in making the members feel welcome as well as insure the success of a meeting. The initial work for a 4-H meeting takes place long before the actual gathering. This plan includes the “who, what, when and where” for club meetings and activities. Who is responsible, what is going to happen, when is it taking place and where is it being held.
Information adapted for Michican State University, "What happens at 4-H club meetings?", Janelle Stewart, Michigan State University Extension -
Need some help with your club? Use this parent survey to learn more about the parents in your club and how their specific skills might help with club activities.
Visit the volunteer page for general information about Montana 4-H Volunteers.