Box it up for success

Eliminate the stress of your next meeting by planning ahead with a “Meeting in a Box!”

Take the stress out of preparing for your next meeting by planning ahead now for success all year. Many times we are in a hurry to get out the door and get to the next place on time; in the process we may forget a few supplies. In order to always be prepared Michigan State University Extension  recommends creating a simple box with a few basic supplies that can be carried in the family van or set in the hall closet until 4-H night. You may also use a bag if that is easier for you.

Assembling your box to go requires only a small amount of time, a few supplies and a box, or bag of your choice. We begin with pencils and pens that can easy be stored in an empty peanut butter jar or other container from your kitchen; this prevents the items from breaking and marking other items in your box. Some paper and index cards always come in handy and can easily be stored in a folder in the box. Next it is recommended to include some paper plates, cups, napkins, a colander and a large bowl. Don’t forget to include your set of flags and the gavel if you have one. 

You may be wondering why we have included a colander and large bowl in our box; these two basic items allow for you to serve simple nutritious snacks at your next meeting. Many times a family will go through the grocery store when it is there turn to bring refreshments and would be happy to purchase a nutritious snack if it could easily be washed and set out. Therefore, having these two items make it simple and offers a no excuse way of promoting healthy choices at your next meeting. Some snack suggestions include fresh items like berries, grapes, bananas or carrots. Drinks can easily be retrieved from a drinking fountain or sink at your meeting sight since you have cups available; the cups may be used for purchased beverages as well. 

The list of items for you to add to your box is limitless. Now you have a few ideas to get you thinking about what your group might enjoy. Playing cards provide an opportunity to play a variety of games or to divide participants in groups based on the numbers, suits or any combination you like. Dice are great for selecting numbers or letters for a quick game of scrabble based on the topic at hand. Consider adding small stuffed animals to use for games, talking items or a friend for the shy new member. Just remember to keep it simple, and light, so you can easily carry it with you to always be prepared for your next meeting.

If you would like to learn more about “Meeting in a Box,” attend the 4-H Volunteer Forum on November 9 at MSU. To find out more about Michigan 4-H Youth Development or to find a club in your area, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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