Club or group meetings are the cornerstone of the 4-H experience. Ask beginning members or participants what they like about 4-H, and they will tell you about their club, their new friends, new experiences, and fun activities. Well-planned meetings allow youth to:
- Acquire new knowledge and share ideas.
- Develop self-confidence and leadership.
- Participate in decision making.
- Develop responsibility and commitment.
- Make new friends.
- Enjoy recreational activities.
Setting the Stage
Young people like to be active and take part in club activities. The volunteer can make it easier for them to participate by setting the stage for involvement and learning.
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. Youth need to see and hear everyone during discussions or demonstrations.
Young people feel best and gain the most when they are at ease. Youth need opportunities to get to know each other, talk together, and build trust. Team-building activities, small group discussions, and committee work are ways to create positive situations where members feel free to join in.
Feelings of Acceptance
Each person wants to be an active part of the group, but sometimes he or she needs help. Provide opportunities for members to contribute to the club. Many groups accomplish this by getting members involved through club offices, committees, demonstrations, community service, fundraisers, and group projects. The key is to enable all youth to participate with specific jobs and responsibilities.
The initial work for a 4-H meeting takes place long before the actual gathering. The planning committee develops a yearly plan in the beginning of the club’s year. 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?
- Where is it being held?
Advisors need to work with officers or committee members before meetings to help them prepare and complete assignments. Keep youth involved and include a variety of projects to help them learn and grow through club work.