Volunteer Training Series: 4-H Club Meeting Design
4-H Club Meetings are the highlight of each month during the club year! Usually they involve meeting at a location with everyone to learn and enjoy being around each other. With the current events in the world, club meetings could now be moved to online. Contact us if you need help with trying to move things online. There are still some main things we need to think about when having 4-H Club meetings.
Have something for the early arrivals to do. How can these activities be moved online? We can create polls on Zoom and Google has lots of tools available to create interactive activities. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach put together some ideas that can help with activities:
- Estimation Games
- Brain Teasers
- Friendly Competitions
- Creative Creations
- Physical Feats
- 4-H Publication Ideas: Publications can be found on EDIS by visiting http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. If you can’t find what you need there, try searching online, but ALWAYS include “ext” and “edu” when you search. Only use information that comes from the University of Florida or other Cooperative Extension Universities.
- Educational Presentation Titles: Provide a variety of 4-H publications for youth to peruse. Challenge youth to create as many titles for educational presentations as time allows. Direction could be to create titles of presentations they would like to hear or something they would like to learn.
- Fun Facts: Encourage youth to dig through 4-H publications and find a fun fact to share with the group. The fun fact can be something they already know or something new.
- Exhibit ideas: Distribute 4-H publications to youth. Challenge them to generate as many exhibit ideas as possible from a single publication.
- Citizenship and Community Service: Give youth a pile of 4-H publications to search for community service ideas. Ask them to create a list of citizenship ideas they could do individually or as a club. If time allows ask them to create a plan for implementing the suggested service project.
Always think of how you can move these activities to an online format. Providing links might work but are youth advanced enough with computer activity to be able to maneuver between multiple windows? Be sure to only use the tools that meet your youth’s capabilities.
Have an opening activity. The purpose of this activity is group building. The pre-meeting activity can lead right into this or one activity can sometimes serve both purposes. This is especially important with new groups, but still important for a continuing 4-H Club to do. Getting acquainted is one of the best activities for the first meeting of the year or after a lapse in meetings have happened. North Dakota 4-H has so activities you can check out or check here for some other ideas for these activities:
The organizational leader (or leader in charge of the business meeting) should meet or speak with the President ahead of the meeting so that the President has an agenda prepared. Give the President as much information as you can so he (or she) can run the meeting. For tips on Parliamentary procedure, read Volunteer Training Series: Parliamentary Procedure for 4-H Clubs.
Educational Program or Activity
The learning experiences in this activity can take many forms including demonstrations, guest speakers, movies, tours, learning games and hands-on activities, such as crafts and project related activities. The program or activity should be fun, interesting and a learning experience for the members. Well-planned programs and activities take into account the needs, ages, and interests of young people and contribute greatly to the value of the meeting.
Youth (and most adults) come to meetings to have fun and get something done. Include some recreation in every meeting. The recreation can be placed anywhere in the meeting schedule. Just be sure it is there somewhere! Ideas for recreation include: games, thought for the day, music, skits, group activities, stories and story telling, and drama activities.This guide put together by Michigan 4-H can help with ideas. How can these activities be moved online?
Youth like to eat, so be sure to have refreshments. If the meeting is right after school, refreshments should be the first activity on the agenda. However, currently, UF/IFAS Extension’s policy is no food or drink because according to research it does increase the possibility of transmission for COVID-19 but if we are meeting virtually, no need to worry about it! Just have everyone bring a snack to the meeting!
Almost all of these parts of the meeting can be delegated to teens, parents, and other interested adults. The more people you can get involved contributing to and feeling a part of the club, the better the club will function and then better you will feel about it. Struggling for things that youth might be able to do virtually? Talk to your teens for ideas! They’ve been exposed to A LOT over the last few months with school and everything else that they’ve been a part of virtually. Trust them, they have ideas!
Create a Checklist for Yourself
Use this checklist to do a quick evaluation of your 4-H Club’s meeting. Ask yourself for each item, did it go okay, great, or did it need improvement?
- The meeting was well planned.
- Each officer did his/her job well.
- The President used an agenda.
- The Vice-President organized the program.
- The Secretary had minutes prepared.
- Other officers had reports prepared.
- The business meeting moved along well.
- All members took part in discussion.
- The meeting place was set up for the meeting before members began to arrive.
- The meeting place was comfortable. Yes, was Zoom comfortable?
- A program of presentations and/or other activities were part of the meeting.
- The program or activity was interesting.
- Recreation was part of the meeting.
- The recreation was well led.
- Refreshments were served or eaten virtually together.
- Each member participated in the meeting.
There’s a lot of think about in club meetings. Yes, for the next few months at least, virtual will be our world. Its new to us but our youth have walked straight into having to perform at a high level for virtual interactions and we’ll have to catch up! Read Volunteer Training Series: Virtual Tools for Interactive Education for some examples of virtual tools to use with youth. For using zoom, read Using Zoom in our New Digital World and talk with us for setting things up.