What happens at 4-H club meetings?
Having a well-balanced 4-H meeting with learning, fun and business makes for a good meeting.
4-H meetings offer a variety of experiences for members. Meetings contain business, project work, educational programs, community service, recreation and social activities. All of these may not be part of every meeting, but each should be included during the year for a well-balanced program. Members should decide what to include and when with the assistance of 4-H volunteers. A club meeting outline provides structure for conducting a meeting. A typical 4-H club meeting has three components: fun (group building), business (group decisions) and learning (program/activity).
1. Group building/fun: 15-20 minutes
A variety of fun activities adds enthusiasm and enjoyment to meetings. This might include:
- Fellowship, or an informal time set aside for members and leaders to get to know each other.
- Ice breakers and team building activities that have intentional outcomes.
- Recreation, during which time a variety of organized games could be included.
- Refreshments, which can give members a chance to serve as hosts as well as socialize with their fellow members.
- Celebration, which can help members feel good about what they have accomplished or learned.
2. Group decisions/business: 15-20 minutes
The business section should demonstrate democracy in action. Members learn how to express themselves in a group, listen to the views of others, come to a decision either through consensus or parliamentary procedure, and abide by majority rule. A typical business agenda is as follows:
- Call to order
- Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge
- Roll Call – answering in any way the group decides
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- Treasurer’s report
- Committee reports
- Old business
- New business
3. Program activity/learning: 45-60 minutes
“Learning by doing” is one of the 4-H program’s unique strengths. This is the place for members to give demonstrations, work on project books and participate in tours or community service and other activities. Use a variety of activities to involve members in program planning, self-esteem development and decision making. Ingenuity and creativity can make this section of the meeting interesting and active. Providing work space during project work makes learning easier. Examples of learning opportunities during meetings include:
- Community service activities
- Guest speakers and presentations
- Special programs
- Project work
- Demonstrations and talks
To learn more about the 4-H Club Meeting Wheel, please visit Michigan State University Extension’s “Helping You Help Officers and Committees” for more information. The Leadership Civic Engagement work team offers trainings around effective meetings utilizing parliamentary procedure. Contact them at 4-HLeadership@anr.msu.edu.