New Member Handbook
Welcome to Wheatland County 4-H!
We are so pleased to have you and your family involved in our 4-H programs!
Please take the time to look through this booklet and let us know if you have any questions.We know that starting 4-H the first year can seem overwhelming, but we are here to help.Our Wheatland County Extension Agent, Mandie Reed, is always willing to give clarity, answer questions and point you in the right direction.Kristi Williams, the Extension Administrative Assistant, can help you with any online or registration question you have.And your child's club leader is also available for questions and help.Don't be afraid to ask!
Sincerely, Mandie Reed
There are several online resources listed below that you many want to check out.First is the Wheatland County Extension website at: https://www.montana.edu/extension/wheatland/4HandYouthDevelopment.html where you will find upcoming events, links to records book pages, registrations forms and other helpful links.Second is the Montana State 4-H website at: https://www.montana.edu/extension/4h/ where you can learn about our programs, projects, resources and much more.Third, is the family registration website at: https://4h.zsuite.org/ where you can register all your kids in one place, keep your family records up-to-date, register for events, select what projects and activities your kids want to be involved in and receive emails with important information from our County (we do not sell or share your information to anyone).
4-H Age Definitions
4-H age is always calculated using October 1 of the current 4-H year. For example, if a 4-H member turns 14 on December 15 their 4-H age is still 13 years old until the next 4-H year.
Cloverbuds: 4-H members 5-8 years old (as of Oct. 1st). This is the only option for members under 8 years old. It is a non-competitive educational project and is the only project they can enroll in.Cloverbuds meet at the same time as Lucky Leprechauns.
Traditional 4-H members: 4-H members 8 - 18 (as of Oct. 1st). Members may participate fully in the program and competitive activities. This category is broken down further into the following clubs often used for competitions and events: (It is possible to be involved in more than one club.)
Lucky Leprechauns - ages 8-13 (meets monthly during the school year)
Silver Sage –ages 14-18 (meets monthly during the school year)
Shooting Sports– Air Rifle - ages 9-18 (meets TBD)
Shooting Sports –Archery –ages 9-18 (meets weekly October - March)
4-H membership is open to all eligible youth. Montana State University Extension does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status.
4-H Clubs are the backbone of the 4-H program! Parents are encourage to attend and participate in club meetings and activities.
Attend your monthly club meetings! This is your opportunity to learn about parliamentary procedure and experience youth in action. You will complete important paperwork at meetings, get updates on club and county activities and reminders about deadlines. Clubs have varying expectations for members and their parents; be sure you know what those expectations are in your club.
Improve your community! Every club generally has at least one community service project they complete each year. Members and their families take pride in seeing the results of this project and enjoy the teamwork required to complete it.
Have fun! Games and activities are generally part of every club meeting; clubs will have special fun events throughout the year.
Meet New Friends! You will truly get to know your fellow members that can create life-long friendships with entire families.
Youth/Adult Partnerships! Members learn to appreciate their fellow 4-H members of all ages, working with them as partners on a team.
Family Opportunity! Whole families can be involved in 4-H together. While each member can pursue their own special interests and set their individual goals.
Every member must enroll in and complete a minimum of one project per year. 4-H is based on a “Learn by Doing” model. Projects are hands-on educational activities. There is a huge variety of projects for members to choose. Projects should hold a special interest for members. Although members can choose any number of projects, please encourage them to enroll in a realistic number of projects that they can complete each year. Project workshops may be available on the club or county levels if parents, teens and adult leaders are willing to volunteer as project leaders.
One of the fundamental life skills in 4-H is described as “making decisions and taking responsibility for choices.” Another life skill important in Montana 4-H is “developing an inquiring mind.” Both of these life skills are related to project completion. By learning how to complete a project, youngsters can work toward another of the life skills: fostering positive self-concept.
1. When is a 4-H project complete? Each 4-H project has unique and specific guidelines for project completion. However, there are a few criteria that we have established for most projects. For all the animal science projects, food, sewing & textiles, child development, entomology, woodworking, electricity, aerospace and others, the following general guidelines apply:
- Complete a minimum of 7 activities found in the project book within the 4-H year. There are usually 21 activities required to complete the book; therefore completing the project for the year does not necessarily mean completing the level.
- Complete the appropriate minimum number of required and optional activities in each level within at least 3 years. Many will move along more quickly, but all 4-H members should aim to complete their project book in three years. Usually this means completing 14 of the required activities found in most project books and seven of the optional. The number of required and optional activities may vary from project to project.
- Participate in Communication Day by doing a demonstration, speech, interview or video.
- Complete a set of records for the project (including My 4-H Year, Animal or Non-Animal Project & Financial Journal) each year.
2. What if my project doesn’t have these kinds of requirements? Some of our 4-H projects don’t have specific completion requirements. In this case, there are a couple of options. First, sit down with the child and help him/her set some specific goals for the year. These become the requirements for completion. Second, research whether the Montana 4-H Clover Project Selection Guide has specific requirements for the project. Third, talk with your 4-H club leader or MSU Extension Agent to make sure your goals/requirements meet the standards for completion of the project.
3. When are records complete? Records must be completed in order to complete a project. The minimum set of records that must be completed consist of at least two forms: My 4-H Year and Animal/Non-Animal Project & Financial Journal. In order to receive a “Gold Seal of Excellence,” each member must complete a set of records for EACH project in which he/she is enrolled. Complete sets of records include the 8 criteria listed on the Record Book Completion Checklist. The Extension Agent checks to see if records are complete.
4.What happens if I don’t complete my project? Through 4-H we aim to establish a system for youth to self-motivate to complete a project by offering incentives and opportunities to succeed. If a project is not completed within the appropriate timeframe, members may retake the project another year to try to complete it. By advancing through the project, members will have access to greater learning opportunities and more advanced materials to match their interests and level. To gain the maximum learning experience, it is beneficial to complete the project each year but we understand that may not always be possible. As another incentive to complete project and record books, they must be complete in order to be eligible for County 4-H awards.
All projects offered in Wheatland County are listed in the “Clover” magazine and can also be found online at https://www.montana.edu/extension/4h/projects/index.html. The cost of the project literature is listed in the “Clover” under the project summary. Project books will be invoiced to the family. Please inform the Wheatland County Extension Office of all the projects books you will need for your 4-H year by the publicized date in December. You may also request the literature your child needs when you register each year on the Zsuite website. Requests submitted after the cut-off date in December may not get ordered.
This is a “life skill” opportunity that 4-H teaches. Record keeping is required to complete the 4-H year. Records books are checked by the Wheatland County Extension Agent and must be turned into the office by the designated date.
The “My 4-H Year” is a general record kept each year that gives each member an opportunity to record all of their general activities and awards - 4-H and non-4-H. They also keep separate records for each project that include “For the Record” and either an “Animal Project & Financial record” or a “Non-animal Project & Financial Record”. Members will input what they did, what they learned and the costs for their project. These forms can be downloaded from the Wheatland County Extension Website or can be picked up at the Extension Office. It is recommended that members spend 10-15 minutes each month updating their record books.
If a member wants to advance to higher levels in a project they must complete the records and project requirements for that project.
For a member to receive a yearly completion award and/or move on to the next level in 4-H, they must complete all sections of the 3 above named record sheets and the requirements for at least one project. These sheets are also required to be eligible for any County awards.
Silver Sage members find these records are very valuable as references for scholarship and job applications.
Green 4-H folders or binders can be found at the Wheatland County Extension Office to keep your records organized. Although your child does not have to use the 4-H binders, it is recommended that they use some kind of folder/binder to organize their records.
Wheatland County Youth Fair
The Wheatland County Youth Fair is open to everyone regardless of whether they are involved in 4-H or FFA.Please read the current Fair Entry Book for all rules, ages, guidelines, etc. pertaining to the fair.
For those entering Market Animals, there are deadlines for weighing and tagging market animals that will be sold at the Wheatland County Youth Fair.Please make a careful note of the weigh-in and tagging deadlines for each species.They will be listed in the monthly newsletter and on the Wheatland County 4-H Facebook page.The Extension Office has clippers that can be checked out to members as needed.
Thank you notes:all members who sell animals or indoor projects at the Wheatland County Fair are expected to write their buyer(s) a thank you note.Notes can be sent out with your buyer card and your 4-H leader can help with this.
Payments:Your check will be mailed out from the Extension Office typically the last week of August or first of September after all buyer checks have been received.
Promotion & Marketing:We ask that each member who is selling a project contact potential buyers and invite them to the shows, buyer's dinner and livestock sale.
Here are some tips for making fair time run smooth:
- Preparation will reduce stress.Work on your projects and books throughout the year.
- Keep your record books up-to-date.
- Practice with your animals.(No "wild" animals will be allowed in the fair.)
- Attend workshops and clinics to get all the information and advice you can.The Extension Office has showmanship videos that can be checked out.
- Read the 4-H newsletters and Fair Entry Book so you understand schedules and policies:
- Copies of the current Wheatland County Youth Fair Entry Book are available at the Extension Office or can be downloaded from our website usually in June.
- Refer to the Fair Entry Book to complete your entries.
- All schedules and rules are in the Entry Book.
- Be sure you know the dress codes for animals shows.
- Please respect the fair entry deadline, plan ahead if you are busy in July since late entries will not be accepted.
- If you want to compete in showmanship, enter it on your fair entries.
- All pen and cage numbers are assigend by first come first serve.
- All indoor entries are judged by interview on the Wednesday of the Fair.
Fair entries must be done online at www.fairentry.com.
Have fun!Fair time should be a positive learning experience that your entire family enjoys and shares.
4-H has a reputation of producing members that are fluent speakers and great communicators.Members learn this skill by participating in their club business meetings, Communication Day, fair interviews and County competitions.Cloverbuds can begin this tradition with a show and tell.Communication Day is usually held the end of May.Look for dates and registration forms in the monthly newsletter.
Communication Day PRESENTATION Options
Demonstrated or Illustrated Talks exhibit the knowledge of the 4-H member by using the “show and tell” method to teach skills they possess to the audience. Demonstrated or Illustrated Talks are expected to take 3-5 minutes for 9-10 year olds, 5-7 minutes for 11-13 year olds and 10-30 minutes for 14 year olds and up.
A demonstrated talk is a hands-on, step-by-step presentation which prepares the audience to complete a task. This is a “how to” presentation; as you show how, you tell how; there is a final product.
An illustrated talk is telling how and using visual aids. Illustrated talks can use charts, posters, photos, computer programs, slide shows, pictures, and models. Illustrated talks should have clearly identifiable sections, including introductions, main body, and conclusion.
Prepared speech is a communication technique in which only the spoken word and gestures of the presenter are used. No props or posters are used in 4-H public speaking contests. A prepared speech should be from 5 to 7 minutes in length. The speech should be of original material prepared by the contestant. The speaker will inform or educate the audience on a single issue or topic.
Career Communications/Interview helps prepare the 4-H member for the many times in life where an interview situation will happen – whether it is your first babysitting job, an interview with your school newspaper, or a job interview. This contest could be up to 20 minutes in length. Résumés, cover letters, completed job applications are all part of this process.
The Video contest helps 4-H members to learn communication skills through preparing and presenting a video, as well as answering questions from the audience. All videography and editing is to be done by the contestant. All copyright laws regarding music, images, clip art, etc. must be followed.
Leader/Adult Volunteer Opportunities
- Club Organizational Leader: Engage in youth/adult partnerships as a Club Organizational Leader by facilitating the club learning process and communicating with the Extension Office. Help students conduct monthly meetings, plan service projects and work on project books.
- Project Leader: Do you have expertise or interest in one of the project areas? Consider forming a project group or assisting with an existing group either with your child’s club or a countywide group.
- Shooting Sports Leader: Adult leaders can become a certified instructor in Archery, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, Hunting, Muzzle Loading, Cowboy Action and Shotgun. Teens, 4-H age 14 or older, can become Junior leaders in their sport.
- Event Volunteer: Use your organization skills to plan, organize and implement an one-time event that benefits 4-H kids and/or the community.You don't need a lot of time and events can be scheduled around your time frame.
- 4-H Friday Instructor:Pass on your skills to the next generation - teach a class each Friday afternoon for one month on a topic/skill that interests you.Groups size is limited and supplies are provided.
- Chaperoning Opportunities:
- County: chaperone, teach or volunteer at our multi-county 4-H camp; travel with a small group of teens to Rec Lab; be in charge of a Showmanship Clinic; counsel at a Cloverbud day camp.
- State: Take a group of youth to the 4-H legislative breakfast and Citizenship Seminar in Helena; chaperone a group of youth leaders from our County at the State 4-H Congress.
- National: Travel with a group of youth to Japan, Australia, Costa Rica or Finland for an overseas adventure or host an inbound youth from any of these countries and Norway.