Do you have a club calendar?

Clubs that plan ahead experience greater involvement by 4-H families.

Kick off the year by developing a club calendar! Planning a club calendar can help your 4-H club accomplish the goals of your members and keep everyone focused. According to Michigan State University Extension, club officers can lead the club members in this process.  4-H clubs that plan ahead by securing dates, locations, times, and planning activities and events experience greater involvement by families. The Michigan 4-H club development guide offers resources for members and leaders to assist with this process including tips and tools for planning your club year.

Begin by looking at the goals that your club has decided on for the year. What projects or specific skills did your members want to focus on or gain? Did you already decide how you would accomplish those goals by discussing action steps; if you did then you can insert those into the club calendar and arrange for the resources you need for those to happen. If goals have not been developed by the group, now is a great time to at least brainstorm ideas with the group. You can do this by simply posting a large sheet of paper and recording all of the ideas that your group can think of even the ones that seem unrealistic.

Next, create a list of the months in which you will meet. You may want to put these up on large sheets of paper and begin listing what needs to happen in those months to achieve your goals. Remembering that the weather conditions may affect which activities you want to place in different months. Think about the order and timing of tasks so that they make sense. Once you have items on your monthly lists decide who will be responsible for ensuring that these things happen. Who will get the supplies, contact the speakers and plan the activities? This is a great time to divide up the work or delegate the tasks. You may ask for volunteers and list their name next to the item they will be responsible for and when they will have it completed by. You may also want to be sure they will check in with someone such as the leader to let them know the activity has been approved or if they are experiencing challenges getting something completed. 

Decide who will record all of the information and distribute it to the families by printing or posting it for everyone to see. When families have this information they can place it on their schedules and stay connected to what is happening in the club. We find that when families can plan ahead and know what to expect they are more willing to help out and contribute.  When your members are involved in planning the events and activities for the year, they are learning planning skills and will be excited for what is happening in the future. Being a part of making the plan reality is exciting for youth and allows parents who may have specific connections or talents to contribute to the club experience. When families can plan ahead and get excited about what is going to happen next the enthusiasm just builds.

If you are interested in learning more about MSU Extension or Michigan 4-H, visit your local MSU Extension office.

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