Written by Andrea Knox, former SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development & Resiliency Field Specialist.
Being part of a community 4-H club can provide many factors that help promote positive youth development. Successful 4-H club meetings can make a real difference in participation and help everyone enjoy themselves, learn and feel excited about participating. Normally, meetings contain three parts; business, education and recreation. For a 90 minute period, experienced volunteers suggest that 15 to 20 minutes be spent on “Business,” 40 to 45 minutes on ”Education,” and 20 to 25 minutes on “Recreation.”
The following excerpt from the 4-H Club Management Guide gives some great tips on the business portion of the meeting.
It is important to remember that the 4-H meeting is a teaching tool. It provides an opportunity for youth to practice decision making, to take part in discussions, to learn new ideas and new methods, and to provide leadership and citizenship experiences. The 4-H club models democracy in action!
The “Business” portion, though important, can become an obstacle if it is boring to the members. Keys to preventing the boring business blues are:
- Keep the meeting short and to the point.
- Have a well-planned meeting that is conducted by the members.
- Provide multiple opportunities for all members to express their views and be involved in the meeting.
Although following parliamentary procedure or “consensus building” are important tools for meetings, it is important to not get obsessed with a perfect meeting to the detriment of fun and fellowship. Again, balance is the key. As leaders, we must not forget that the Business meeting is for the youth, and it is to be run by the youth. We are there to coach the group through the decision making process (helping them to consider the consequences of each alternative) and then allow them to make the decision.
Basic Meeting Plan
- Call to order.
- Roll call.
- Read and approve minutes.
- Treasurer’s report, bills.
- Committee reports.
- Unfinished business.
- New business.