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Volunteer Training Series

Volunteer Training Series: Parliamentary Procedure for 4-H Clubs

Parliamentary procedure allows for business to be conducted in the most fair and efficient way during meetings. This method of conducting business is used in any type of business meeting throughout life. The skills learned from conducting 4-H Clubs in parliamentary procedure will carry forward and can be used in governmental proceedings, organizational meetings, and any other business meetings that you might encounter in your life.

Why Do We Use Parliamentary Procedure?

We use parliamentary procedure in 4-H business meetings because it provides:

  • An orderly way to conduct a meeting.
  • a fair way to make a group decision.
  • A method that respects everyone.
  • A means for everyone to have a chance to speak.
  • A method that allows majority rule while protecting the minority.
  • A way to learn a method of business that is common to many groups.
Business Meeting Procedures

Meetings are conducted by the President or Presiding Officer. Members must be “recognized” by the President before speaking. Members must stand up to speak. Only one person may speak at a time. Only the subject under discussion may be addressed by those speaking. Decisions are made through “motions.” Motions require a second. Motions will be discussed until all members have had a chance to speak. Decisions will be made by voting using: voice vote, show of hands, or secret ballot.

Main Motion

To start a discussion about some proposed action, you will use a main motion. There can be only one main motion at a time in your 4-H club. There can be only one main motion at a time and these motions are made by saying, “I move…” For instance, “I move our club sell meat sticks at the festival” or “I move we donate $50.00 to Relay for Life.” Someone must second the motion: “I second the motion” before it can be discussed. In this process, no thirds or fourths. At this time, the presiding officer will say “It has been moved and seconded that (state motion again). Is there any discussion?” At the conclusion of discussion, the group will vote on the motion. The conclusion can be noted by a club member simply saying “I call question” and then the group moving forward with the vote.

Other Types of Motions

There are a lot of different types of motions. The main motion and the following two motions are the basic ones you need to know for a 4-H club. Contact us if you want to learn more about Parliamentary Procedure and/or get your own copy of Roberts Rules of Order.

Motion to Amend

To amend means to change. The motion to amend is made if you want to change the main motion. You can change the main motion that you or someone else has made by adding something to it, changing some words or taking something out of the motion. For example, “I want to move to amend the motion by [adding][changing][deleting] what you want changed.” The motion to amend requires a second.  Discuss the amendment only. Vote on the amendment only.

If the amendment passes then the main motion is changed—if it does not, then the main motion is not changed. Then discuss the main motion (as amended if the amendment passed). Vote on the main motion.

Motion to Adjourn

To end the meeting, a motion to adjourn will be needed. You should word it as “I move to adjourn this meeting.” A motion to adjourn will need a second but does not have a discussion. Members must vote on the motion to adjourn as soon as it is made.

Meetings ran with parliamentary procedure help to ensure that everyone’s opinion will be heard and ensures that they will flow smoothly. These meetings will address all of the items on an agenda and will help youth to gain confidence and certainty in themselves for the purpose of becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

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