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Clover Conversations – Member in Good Standing

Welcome to Clay County 4-H!  This blog is the first in a series that is intended to help YOU, our awesome 4-H members and families, become familiar with all the ins, outs, and expectations of Clay County 4-H.  We offer a wide variety of programs and we want you to get the most out of your time in 4-H without any headaches or heartbreaks.

To start this series off, let’s talk about a topic that comes up every year: being a 4-H member in good standing. When we refer to a 4-H member being in good standing, it means that a 4-H member has accomplished four basic expectations during the 4-H year.  Our 4-H year starts September 1st each year and ends the following August 31st.  For simplicity, I’ll use the 2020-2021 4-H year, which started on September 1, 2020 and will end August 31, 2021.

For a 4-H member to be in good standing for the 2020-2021 4-H year, they must:

  • Be registered and approved in 4-H online on or before October 1, 2020.
  • Attend 70% of their primary 4-H Club’s business meetings between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021 which is verified through 4-H Club meeting sign in sheets.
  • Present one demonstration, illustrated talk, speech, or Teach Me in 3 (county level only) at either the club or county level between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021 which is verified through 4-H Club meeting sign in sheets.
  • Submit a Clay County 4-H Record Book which includes the Member’s Record and at least one 4-H Project Area Record on or before May 14, 2021.
Why should I be a member in good standing?
A 4-H member with their Goat

When it comes to showing in the Clay County Agricultural Fair, particularly swine and steer, 4-H members have to be a member in good standing for 1 year prior to the fair to be eligible.

Some of you reading this may be thinking “Why is this important?” The short answer to that is unfortunately, many of our opportunities are limited due to space or availability of funds.

For example, The Clay County Agricultural Fair limits the number of 4-H members who can participate in the Swine and Steer show and sale. 4-H members must have been a verified member in good standing for 1 year to earn eligibility to show market livestock in the Clay County Agricultural Fair. Members who are not in good standing or have not been a verified member in good standing of 4-H for 1 year are not eligible to exhibit. In plain terms, if a member wants to exhibit in the 2022 Clay County Agricultural Fair, they must be a member in good standing for the 2020-2021 4-H year and complete the four expectations listed above.

We’re also fortunate in Clay County to have an outstanding 4-H Foundation that offers monetary scholarships to our 4-H members to attend 4-H camps, overnight programs, and even competitions. In the 2018-2019 4-H year, the Clay County 4-H Foundation gave $12,266 in scholarships to 4-H members. 4-H members who are in good standing get priority for scholarship funds if they are available. Don’t worry, we’ll cover the scholarship opportunities available to you in an upcoming edition of Clover Conversations.

How do I make sure I’m a member in good standing?
Clay County 4-H Sign in Sheet

Each club meeting will have a sign in sheet that looks like this. Most of the time your name will be pre-filled in and all you’ll need to do is put your initials in the space next to your name. If you name isn’t on the sign-in sheet, write your name and mark your initials that you’ve attended.

The best way to make sure you’re a member in good standing each year is to make a plan. Make sure you know when your 4-H Club meetings are and be sure to note any conflicts. Many 4-H Clubs will offer accommodations in an extenuating circumstance. Just don’t miss every meeting and expect an accommodation.  Make sure to talk with your 4-H leader in advance of the meeting you’ll miss or as soon as possible if it is an emergency.  You’ll also want to be sure that you sign-in to each meeting on the sign-in sheet. Every meeting will have a sign-in sheet, so be sure to ask your 4-H leader where it is and sign-in.

The next thing to make sure to do is start deciding on a presentation to give at your club or at the annual county showcase which takes place in February or March each year. We’ll be covering all the presentation types and options in an upcoming edition of Clover Conversations so you’re familiar with all the options available to you.

Last up is to complete a 4-H Record Book each year. Again, this is something to start now and become familiar with. The sooner you start it, the easier it will be when May 14, 2021 comes around. We’ll be covering the 4-H Record Book in an upcoming edition of Clover Conversations so you’re familiar with how to complete it and make sure your tracking your 4-H work. Remember, if you need help or have questions, make sure to ask your 4-H Club leader or contact the Clay County 4-H Office.

What if I have questions or want to check my status?

Your progress towards being a member in good standing is not a great mystery. If you’re attending your 4-H Club meetings, give a presentation at the club or county level, and turn in your 4-H Record Book you’ll be a member in good standing. The biggest area for error is with club sign-in sheets to document you were at the meeting. Clay County 4-H Office staff aren’t at all 4-H Club meetings, meaning we go with the information we are given. That information is the club sign-in sheets, so making sure you sign-in first thing at each meeting will ensure there is no confusion.

We’ll also be pro-active and send out updates to club members with their attendance record and, if you want to check on your status, you can always contact the Clay County 4-H Office.

On a final note, each year we’ll be sending the Clay County 4-H  Membership Policy & Acknowledgement Form by USPS and email. We’re asking all Clay County 4-H Members and their parents or guardians to sign and return the form. You can fill out the Qualtrics link, or print off the paper form, sign and return to the Clay County 4-H Office.