Session Helpers Guidelines

Session Instructors are expected to:

Help youth make connections between their interests and career opportunities, as well as available higher education opportunities.

Teach the subject-matter in a way that makes the session educational, hands-on and fun. 4-H specializes in providing opportunities for “learning by doing.”

Provide youth with leadership opportunities.

Session content must be planned to fill the entire time allocated for the session (five hours each for 1st-half and 2nd-half sessions, nine hours for full sessions). Event chaperones and staff expect all youth to be in their sessions for the full amount of time scheduled and not let out early. They will have plenty of recreation time after sessions are over.

Instructors should ensure the session supports and reflects the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Guiding Principles.

Session instructors receive free meals and lodging. Volunteered time and effort are greatly appreciated however; a $25 honorarium for volunteers is available upon request to help offset travel and other expenses. If a volunteer instructor chooses to commute and declines free meals and lodging, a $50 honorarium may be requested for those teaching one session; $75 for those teaching two.

4-H program leaders and educators responsible for program area content serve as Session Contact People and are responsible for recruiting instructors. If an instructor is a county volunteer, the Session Contact should inform the instructor’s county. Once counties have been notified of those serving as session instructors, the county needs to register the instructors who’ve requested to be housed with the county. In late April, a list of instructor names, identifying both county and session number, will be sent to all counties for verification. Instructors housed with their county should be included in the county housing count and pre-event orientation meeting.

Counties with volunteers who express interest in being instructors should contact the Session Contact in the respective program area in September through November. Sessions for the upcoming year must be determined by early December of the prior year.

Session needs will be collected from each lead instructor in March by the Session Contact Person.

Determining the number of Instructors (and/or session helpers):

  • One instructor for a session of 15 participants or fewer should be adequate.
    • An additional instructor or a session helper can be involved per every 15 participants if there is need. (In most cases, one lead instructor with an additional instructor or a session helper is sufficient.) While it’s recognized that involving additional people in instructional roles contributes to their leadership development, the event budget is unable to subsidize the cost for more people than necessary.
  • A session helper assists the instructor as needed with instruction and hands-on activities and must be skilled in the session content but doesn’t have the level of expertise or experience of an instructor. 
  • Sessions requiring a higher ratio of instructors/helpers to participants need to be worked out in advance between the session contact person and the overall 4-H Exploration Days coordinator. They will agree upon maximum that will be supported by the event budget based on risk and content complexity.

Session coordinators need to be prepared to scale back the number of additional instructors and helpers in early May if the session enrollment is significantly less than the estimated enrollment.

All instructors will receive a direct mailing in June related to their responsibilities for the conference. Those identified as session helpers do not receive a direct mailing; they should be provided information from either the lead instructor or session contact person regarding the session. Helpers not receiving event lodging are an exception to this. Commuting helpers receive a direct mailing that includes their session location and a parking permit if applicable.