The first club meeting

Tips for planning your first club meeting.

Starting a 4-H club and thinking about that first meeting can make anyone a bit nervous, but with a little planning, and assistance from Michigan State University Extension, you can make that first experience a great one. Your first step to success is to secure a location, set a time and date, and inform your group of when you will be meeting. If you have already recruited your members then you know who to share this information with. If you are still recruiting be sure to indicate on your flyers or Facebook posts what your 4-H Club is all about and provide your contact information. Next think about why you are getting together this first time and list those out so that when you review your meeting plan you can be sure you have addressed each of those items. Your purpose may be recruitment, introducing 4-H to them or for your group to get to know each other. A great way to get to know each other is to provide name tags or tents for everyone; have them try an icebreaker. Icebreakers help people get to know each other and can be completed in three to 20 minutes, depending on the activity you choose.

Think about establishing some ground rules for your meetings before you go any further to build an environment where young people can feel safe and know that their ideas will be heard. Ground rules can be very simple, and help everyone to know what type of behavior is expected at meetings. Some examples of ground rules might be you need to raise your hand and be called on by the President, every idea gets listed on the board and then talk about the favored ones, or everyone cleans up after themselves at meetings.   

The next item on your agenda might be talking about why you have started the club and what opportunities 4-H has to offer. Share with members what you hope to accomplish and get them involved in the discussion and planning for your club. Members can help you decide what projects to explore; parents might volunteer to help with a project or be willing to share a skill. The young people may have ideas for field trips, speakers or community service projects.

Provide an activity to get them up and moving so they are not getting anxious or bored. They have already had a full day just like you and a quick activity, project or healthy snack can help to break up the meeting and offer the variety they need to keep from being bored.

Always make sure that families know how to get in contact with you and know when you will meet next so they can plan ahead. A typical club meeting may last about 45 to an hour and includes a variety of items to keep it fresh. Check out the Michigan 4-H website, to see all that 4-H has to offer.

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