Strengthen your 4-H club

Strengthen your 4-H club by using the experiential learning model and engagement with 4-H members.

A graphic with the center circle saying
Experiential Learning Model.

One of the goals of the 4-H program is to help youth develop life skills that can be used to navigate in a complex and changing world. Youth involved in 4-H can experience a sense of belonging, build positive relationships with others, and develop their spark. Strong and healthy 4-H clubs provide a great environment for this and for helping youth to foster life skills.

One way to strengthen 4-H clubs is to focus on utilizing the experiential learning process. The experiential learning process consists of three specific parts: doing the experience, reflecting on the experience and applying the experience. Youth engage better in experiences that focus on “learning-by-doing” activities. As 4-H clubs use this model and learn together, individuals will acquire life skills and assets that will help them develop into successful adults. These can include skills such as self-discipline, problem solving, goal setting and teamwork; all of which are valuable skills.

Looking for more ways to strengthen your club? Here are ten suggestions from Michigan State University Extension:

  1. Spend time with the 4-H members and do fun and educational activities together as a 4-H club.
  2. Plan ahead with members so everyone knows what to expect.
  3. Establish a balance between project activities, club meetings, community service and fun.
  4. Listen carefully to understand each member’s viewpoint.
  5. Show consideration and appreciation. Celebrate your club.
  6. Develop pride in your club. This could be through club shirts, signs, notes, folders or some other youth-generated idea.
  7. Help each other and be willing to let others help you.
  8. Connect with other 4-H clubs and plan programs together.
  9. Take part in county, regional and state 4-H activities.
  10. Give back to your 4-H program and the community.

MSU Extension has also created other resources with tips and tools to help clubs evaluate how they are doing as a 4-H club. It doesn’t hurt to do a self-reflection every few years to make sure your 4-H club is strong and thriving.

Michigan 4-H Youth Programs help youth grow and learn. If you are interested in getting your youth involved in 4-H or would like help to strengthen your 4-H club, please contact your local MSU Extension office.

Did you find this article useful?