New 4-H year, new 4-H officers

Fall is the time of electing new 4-H officers for a yearlong of learning.

With fall comes the excitement of a new 4-H year as clubs gear up to face new challenges, especially reorganizing clubs with new officers. 4-H clubs are run by youth officers, including a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and reporter, with the support of adult volunteer leaders. Other offices can also be included like historian and parliamentarian. Officers are responsible for the monthly meetings running smoothly and efficiently, as well as setting the tone for the club and its members. In lending support to their clubs, officers are also learning leadership skills that they will be able to put to use in many settings beyond their 4-H club.

Clubs generally use parliamentary procedure to elect officers. Officers are nominated by a committee or nominations are taken from the floor at the meeting. Regardless of the method used to elect officers, nominees must be asked if they accept the nomination before voting takes place.

The office of the president should be elected first and then the offices of vice president, secretary and treasurer done individually thereafter, with an opportunity for those not elected to the previous office to run for the next elected office. A helpful resource in electing officers is the “Helping You Help Officers and Committees” by Michigan State University Extension. There is a section for each officer to help them assume their role with confidence.

In general, what are the main duties of each office? “Helping You Help Officers and Committees” states the following:

  • President: Presides at all meetings, manages the business of the club meeting, appoints committees and keeps order during the meeting.
  • Vice president: Takes charge of the meeting in the president’s absence, serves as chairperson of program committee and is responsible for the program portion of the club meeting.
  • Secretary: Keeps written minutes of all meetings and keeps record of the attendance of all members.
  • Treasurer: Takes care of all club funds and keeps an accurate record of club funds.
  • Reporter: Writes interesting and accurate reports of club meetings and special club activities, sends these to the local newspaper and helps keep local people informed of 4-H activities.

Club officers set the tone of the 4-H club as they are the role models for the rest of the members. Officers should be dependable and attend every club meeting early so they are prepared to run the meeting. They should know what’s on the agenda each month and be ready to lead the discussion, but also give everyone in the club a chance to participate. Club officers need to work together in a positive way and be able to work with committee members, leaders and parents. Club officers should be involved in setting the year’s plan for the club using input from other members. The officer unit should work well with the club leader to make the meeting fun and interesting for all members.

Club officers are very important to the overall success of the club along with the club leader. The officer roles give youth a good chance to experience the leadership role and learn the duties of that role.

MSU Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program helps to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas. To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, civic engagement, citizenship and global/cultural programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.”

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