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Virtual 4-H Club Meeting Guide

Just because 4-H club meetings can’t be “in-person,” it doesn’t mean clubs can’t meet!  There are several free, user friendly ways to have face-to-face club meetings in a virtual format.  After all, if you can still see each other, it’s still face-to-face! A sense of belonging (heart), is one of the most important elements of 4-H. Now more than ever, 4-H youth need connection with one another and especially with their 4-H club leaders.

Here are three FREE tools for meeting with your 4-H club virtually:

Zoom- UF/IFAS Extension uses Zoom extensively, and if you have been a volunteer for very long, you have most likely been invited to a Zoom meeting.  Anyone can get a free account from Zoom.  It is limited to 40 minutes, but that is probably as long as you will want to be online for a club meeting.  Zoom will work on your desktop, smartphone or tablet, so it is a great option that most families will have access to.  And if you are a volunteer who happens to also be a teacher, then you qualify for a free Zoom Pro teacher account (with unlimited minutes) through June 30th!

  Pros Cons Privacy Precautions
Zoom Free
Access from smartphone, tablet or computer
Screen-sharing
Chat
Calendar integration
Free (basic) account is limited to 40 minutes Do not publish your meeting URL publicly- send the link through email or text message to your 4-H club families.  Only post on social media if it is a closed, private group for your club.

Adding a meeting password is  recommended.

Skype- Like Zoom, families can access Skype from their desktop, smartphone or tablet.Skype is one of the largest video conferencing services and anyone can sign up for a free account.  Minutes are not limited, but the free account is limited to 25 participants.  If you have hearing impaired youth in your club, Skype has live closed captioning, which is a plus!

  Pros Cons Privacy Precautions
Skype Free
Unlimited minutes
Access from smartphone, tablet or computer
Screen-sharing
Chat
Live captions
Free (basic) account is limited to 25 participants Do not publish your meeting URL publicly- send the link through email or text message to your 4-H club families.  Only post on social media if it is a closed, private group for your club.

Parents should manage the privacy settings for skype calling and messaging for their child. The default allows anyone to call or message. Here’s a great guide for parents to manage privacy setting on their children’s devices for Skype.

Cisco WebEx- Similar to Zoom, Cisco WebEx offers free accounts with up to 40 minutes of meeting time.  Meetings and recordings are encrypted to keep things private and secure. Cisco WebEx offers many of the same features as Zoom, and includes 1GB of storage space.

  Pros Cons Privacy Precautions
Cisco WebEx Free
Screen-sharing
Polling
1 GB of storage
Calendar integration
Encryption for meetings
Free (basic) account is limited to 40 minutes Meetings are encrypted, so only the people invited can connect.

As a best practice, do not publish your meeting URL publicly- send the link through email or text message to your 4-H club families.  Only post on social media if it is a closed, private group for your club.

Just like “in-person” meetings, volunteers should still follow our youth protection policy.  Avoid private, one-on-one meetings with youth. Arrange for a second adult to participate in your virtual meetings.  At least one of the adults should be level II screened. Read our UF/IFAS Youth Protection Policy or contact your local 4-H agent for more information.

If you are interested in learning more about virtual 4-H club programming, join us on April 16th at 11:30 central/ 12:30 eastern for our Virtual Volunteer Leadership Academy.  We will be discussing our 4-H Awards and Recognition Program and sharing ideas for virtual club celebrations. Registration is free but limited to the first 100 participants.