Resources to help your club meetings be effective – Part 2

Evaluate the effectiveness of your 4-H club’s meetings using these helpful tools.

Planning effective club meetings takes skill and determination on the part of the club leader and the club youth officers. According to Michigan State University Extension, sitting through ineffective meetings is not how anyone wants to spend their precious time. 4-H club meetings are no exception! There are many ways that volunteer club leaders can assess club meetings to make sure that youth are getting the most out of their club time.

This article is a continuation of a series of articles by MSU Extension exploring many different resources and tools that can help volunteers determine the effectiveness of their club. Article 1 in this series explored a resource from Texas Tech University - Lubbock. A volunteer’s check list, How Effective is Your 4-H Club? A Checklist for Success, from Clemson University Extension will be highlighted. In Clemson’s club evaluation tool, the five sequential phases of learning—getting acquainted, goal setting, action, measuring progress and recognition of members’ achievements—are used.

The Yes/No checklist begins with an assessment of organization and meetings. Asking questions such as:

  • Are meetings held at regular times, places, and convenient for all or most of the members?
  • Does your club meet regularly (at least once a month) for nine months of the year?
  • Do meetings follow basic parliamentary procedure and flow in an orderly fashion?

Second, member involvement is examined. A sample of member involvement questions are:

  • Do all members know each other? If not, are they provided with opportunities to mix well and learn about each other?
  • Are members elected as officers to run club meetings?
  • Are both boys and girls readily accepted into your club without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status?

Third, the outside activities of the club are explored, using questions such as:

  • Are main points of the county 4-H newsletter announced or discussed at each meeting?
  • Is your club involved in service learning to help others in the community?
  • Do members give public presentations at club, community and/or county level activities?

Lastly, learning and fun activities of the club are reviewed:

  • Does each member participate in at least one approved 4-H project?
  • Are activities/projects done by the club interesting and challenging to both younger and older members?
  • Are members able to learn by doing?

These examples provided are only a few to highlight what this resource has to offer that will help volunteers and teen club leaders to evaluate and think critically about their club experiences.  

The next article in this series explores the Vibrant Club Assessment tool produced by the National 4-H Council. Stay tuned for more resources to easily help volunteers to ensure that their clubs are meeting youth’s needs.

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