Section 25: Designing the First Meeting

This fact sheet is intended to help you design your first 4-H meeting with group members. The goal is 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. Remind parents that the club experience is for their children and they should allow the officers to run the club meeting.

Set Guidelines for the Meeting

During your first 4-H meeting, discuss the following items with members and help them establish guidelines:
• How often will the group meet and what are the meeting times?
• Should notification for each meeting continue? If so, how?
• How should members notify the leader if they cannot attend a meeting?
• Try to have all members take responsibility for something during the course of the year.
• How will financial arrangements be handled for the project?

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.).

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.
5 minutes: 4-H pledge and 4-H background
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

Plan Future Meetings

When planning future meetings, remember to include one or more of the following:
• Recreation
• Learning exercise about 4-H
• New skill related to the project
• Leadership experience
• Updates on county activities
• Member presentation
• Community service and/or service learning experiences

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Section 25: Designing the First Meeting


V.I.P. Facts 25

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