Preparing 4-H members to become future volunteer leaders

Ideas on ways to prepare 4-H members to become potential 4-H volunteer leaders of the future.

Have you thought about how current 4-H members may be the next generation of 4-H volunteers? As 4-H members participate in 4-H or serve as the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary of a 4-H club, think of how you can expose them to the different leadership roles and responsibilities as 4-H volunteers. Michigan State University Extension has the following ideas.

One thing you can do is take notice of the projects 4-H members have a passion for or thrive in. Encourage them to teach about that project or work with other youth in the 4-H club. Match them with other project leaders in the 4-H club to learn, observe and gain experience working with youth as a project leader.

4-H clubs have opportunities to schedule different activities. Encourage 4-H members to plan an activity for the club. This could be a session for someone to come speak to the club about a topic, an event that can help educate members relating to a project, or members can take the lead in organizing a fundraising activity. Another idea is planning and implementing a recreation activity for the 4-H club. Match them with an activity leader and allow them to gain experience carrying out the roles of an activity leader.

As 4-H members age out of 4-H, think of ways they can serve as a 4-H resource leader. Their involvement as a resource leader may depend on their schedule as a college student or trade or technical school student, or their work schedule if they entered the workforce after high school. If there is a resource leader enrolled in your 4-H club, match the 4-H members with a resource leader to learn about this role.

For administrative leaders of a 4-H club, think of ways or information that can be shared with them and involve them in some leadership responsibilities to help them learn about the skills needed to facilitate a 4-H club.

The Michigan 4-H Club Development Guide provides the roles and responsibilities of the different type of 4-H volunteer leaders. Take the time to think about how 4-H members can learn these roles through experience or allow 4-H members to come up with ideas on activities they can participate in to learn these roles for their potential future 4-H involvement.

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