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4-H Club Charters Clarified

checklist for club charter criteriaDid you know that the 4-H name and emblem are protected by United States Congress?  Using the 4-H name and emblem is a crime, and could result in thousands of dollars in fees or even jail time!  Permission to use the 4-H name and emblem is granted through our club chartering process. Club charters are granted on an annual basis; to be chartered, new and returning clubs need to meet five criteria.

4-H agents meet with club volunteers to determine whether the club meets each of the criteria below. The information is documented and maintained at the county extension office and updated in our online enrollment system. This blog post covers each criteria and includes links to helpful resources for members, parents, and volunteers.  You can use the checklist or video at the end of this post during our 4-H club meeting to explain the club chartering process to members, parents, and other volunteers.

  1. First, clubs need at least two appointed volunteers who have completed the application, screening, and orientation process.  If you are not sure of your volunteer status, ask your local UF/IFAS Extension agent. Our volunteers must be re-screened every five years or in the event they have had a 90 day (or more) lapse in service per our youth protection policy.
  2. Second, clubs need to have at least five members from two different families enrolled in in the 4-H program. If you need to recruit some new members, word of mouth is a great strategy, but your local 4-H agent would be happy to help. You can also check out a previous blog posts about club marketing tips: Facebook Tips for 4-H ClubsInstagram Tips for 4-H ClubsClub Marketing Basics
  3. Third, clubs must have a non-discriminatory name. You don’t want anything in the club name giving the impression that the club is not open to a certain group- such as only males or only females, or only members of a certain religion. It is also important that “4-H” is in the name of the club. For example, instead of the “Clover Bakers,” “Clover Bakers 4-H Club,” or “4-H Clover Bakers” is more appropriate.  This fact sheet can help guide clubs when selecting a name. 
  4. Fourth- the club needs an established set of rules. These rules can be in the form of by-laws, or even a list of ground rules. To keep things simple, we have included downloadable templates for bylaws and club ground rules.
  5. Fifth and finally…clubs need to have an established meeting date, time and location with a minimum of six meetings. In 4-H, we commonly refer to this as the club program. We have several tools to help members and volunteers plan the club year. For younger youth, the Clover Planning worksheet is a great tool. For other youth, the club planning guide is a great resource. You can also download this fillable PDF from Idaho 4-H to plan and share your club program.

Finally, this short video can be shared with your club members and parents to help explain the club chartering process. The process is fairly straightforward, but if you need assistance with any of the steps, check out the links in this blog, or reach out to your local UF/IFAS Extension Office– we want your club to be successful and are happy to help!