Designing the First 4-H Meeting
Goal To involve all members in making decisions; including activities, goals, and project(s)Plan for the Meeting Prior to your first 4-H group meeting, set the time, date, and place. You and your co-leader also should think about the following details prior to the first meeting:
• How often will the club meet and what are the meeting times?
• Should members be notified of each subsequent meeting? If so, how?
• How should members notify the leader if they cannot attend a meeting?
• Does the leader need contributions from members to cover things such as refreshments?
• How will financial arrangements be handled for the project? Be prepared to estimate the cost.
• Plan to have each member be responsible for something during the club year.
• Think of ways to involve all members. Do something different at each meeting to make it fun.
• Members will be making many of these decisions and will need your guidance and suggestions.
Involve Parents Early
Invite parents to the first meeting. They need to be informed directly about the 4-H leader's expectations and what decisions the group has made regarding the project. Ask parents to sign up and take turns attending the meetings. It is important that you have another adult present.
Discuss 4-H Projects
Discuss suitable projects with members to generate ideas about what they want to do and learn. Use information from this discussion to organize future club meetings in a logical sequence (project work sessions, field trips, guest speakers, etc.). Refer to the Pennsylvania 4-H Publications Guide.[[This document is being updated. Please check with Judy to see if it is ready. If so, we will link to it.]]
Develop an Outline for the First Meeting
10 minutes Get acquainted activity. An example would be having members spell out their first and last names diagonally on a sheet of paper and then write a word that begins with each letter that reminds them of something they want to do in 4-H this year. After five minutes, have them pair off and share their lists with each other.
10 minutes Introduction to the project; completion of members' enrollments
10 minutes Roles and responsibilities of members, leaders, and parents
5 minutes Leader's guidelines and ground rules
15 minutes Ideas generated about projects that members will take this year
15 minutes Group decision making on what members want to do/achieve during the year
5 minutes Review of assignments and plans for next meeting
15 minutes Recreation and refreshments
From Handbook for Organization Leaders
Plan Future Meetings
When planning future meetings, remember to include one or more of the following:
• Learning exercise about 4-H
• New skill related to the project
• Leadership experience
• Updates on county activities
• Member presentation
Conducting Club Meetings
A key to a successful 4-H meeting is planning. Identifying what will be included at the meeting and who will be responsible for each part of the meeting is very important. Officers, a planning committee, or teen leaders could assist with developing a meeting agenda and recruiting different people to carry out the various tasks.
How lively is your club
Use this checklist to evaluate the success of your club.
Additional Resources available from your extension educator:
• The ABC’s of Planning Your 4-H Club Programs
• Pennsylvania 4-H Leader’s Program Planning Workbook
• Handbook for Organization Leaders