4-H meetings that members want to attend

Three easy steps to make meetings comfortable for 4-H members.

4-H club meetings are the foundation of our program and they provide the experience for youth to work and learn together while having a good time and having fun. A well planned meeting enables youth to gain new ideas and increase their knowledge, assists in building self-confidence, engages youth in making decisions, provides opportunities for youth to develop responsibility and commitment and naturally helps them make new friends and have fun.

Below are three tips on how to provide the most effective and productive 4-H club experience for youth members. Youth like to be active and take part in the club’s program of activities. Leaders can make it easier for them to participate by “setting the state” for involvement and learning. Consider these three key items:

  1. Pleasant meeting place. Ideal meeting places have plenty of light, comfortable temperature and adequate space and facilities for planned activities. Room arrangement is important. Set the room to fit the activities. Members need to see and hear every speaker or person during a group discussion or demonstration. Providing tables and chairs for officers may give them support and confidence. A flip chart or small whiteboard may be a useful tool to record ideas.
  2. Comfortable atmosphere. Members feel best and gain the most when they are at ease. 4-Hers need opportunities to get to know each other, talk together and build trust. A few ideas to help create positive situations where members feel free to “join in” are get-acquainted games, team-building activities, small group discussion and committee work.
  3. Feelings of acceptance. Each person wants to be an active part of the group, but sometimes a member needs help. Provide opportunities for members to contribute to the club. Many clubs accomplish this by getting members involved through club officers, committees, demonstrations and talks, community service, fundraisers and group projects. The key is to enable all members to participate with specific jobs and responsibilities.

Planning ahead and being intentional regarding the atmosphere of a 4-H meeting will help in making the members feel welcome as well as insure the success of a meeting. The initial work for a 4-H meeting takes place long before the actual gathering. This plan includes the “who, what, when and where” for club meetings and activities. Who is responsible, what is going to happen, when is it taking place and where is it being held.

4-H leaders need to work with officers and committee chairs before the meetings in order to make the meeting run smoothly and for the success of everyone involved. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development programs can help 4-H clubs in developing a meeting that members will want to attend. 

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