Making 4-H Meetings Fun (and more manageable)
4-H Meetings should be fun for both the members and the volunteers. Club environments that cultivate belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. Leading a 4-H club should be a fun and rewarding experience. Earlier this month, during our Make a Difference Monday Volunteer Leader Series, Tycee Prevatt shared some simple, but creative ideas to make club meetings fun, but also more manageable!
Divide your club into teams of 3-5 youth. Assign an older 4-Her (intermediate or teen) to serve as the team leader. This will not only make your club more manageable, but it also fosters leadership, teamwork, and cooperation- three essential skills for a happy and productive life.
How this works:
- Assign each team a color (buy inexpensive plastic tablecloths at the dollar store in each team color).
- Teams sit together during club meetings/functions. Parents sit behind the teams so as not to interfere.
- Teams can earn points for: attendance, being prepared for club meetings, being on time, doing a club demonstration, participating in a club service project, and attending 4-H events and activities beyond the club level (such as a day camp or canning workshop).
- As the leader, you can also use “pop quizzes” or project skill a thons to allow more opportunities to collect points. Parent can help with the skill a thon stations and your 4-H agent can help you set up a skill a thon. Stations can be project specific, such as naming the parts of a saddle, or they can be more general, such as reciting the 4-H pledge from memory or answering 4-H trivia questions.
It is important to set up a points system before introducing this to the club. This idea is really easy to adapt to any club situation. This example of a club points system is from a livestock club.
You will also need to decide on appropriate incentives. Some clubs give out a grand prize to the top team, others give prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams. Ideas include: partial scholarships to 4-H camp, cash award, pizza or bowling party, or a fun field trip related to their project. Your club may need to do some fundraising to help pay for the prizes.
The team approach works well because it really encourages the members to attend the meetings on time and prepared. It helps motivate them to become more engaged. You will also have fewer interruptions or discipline issues, because teams can lose points for that! This approach works particularly well for medium to large clubs and can even be adapted for use during camp.
What are your best tips for making meetings fun? Let us know in the comment box below. Also, make plans to join us on October 20th for Make a Difference Monday at 7/6 central. Dr. Dale Pracht will be sharing how to create safe environments in our 4-H clubs. If you cannot make our live presentation, it will be archived along with this month’s presentation at http://florida4h.org/madmondays.