Tips for running a successful 4-H meeting

Consider these six easy steps to running an efficient 4-H meeting.

As 4-H club meetings continue to be the foundation for many 4-H programs, conducting a meeting members want to attend is key to the success of a club. “4-H meetings that members want to attend” explored the concept of creating an inviting atmosphere that members want during meetings. In another Michigan State University Extension article, “What happens at 4-H club meetings?” the three components of an engaging meeting – fun, business and learning – was outlined. This article will explore practical tips to managing what happens at a 4-H club meeting.

  1. Start and stop on time. Starting a meeting at the designated time and finishing within a time frame of one to two hours can hold the interest, reach goals and be fun for club members. The club officers and leaders set the tone for the club.
  2. Let the officers fulfill their responsibilities. The president calls the meeting to order and is in charge. Let other officers and committee chairpersons do their assigned jobs. Volunteers should help officers develop confidence in their abilities by providing guidance while remaining in the background.
  3. Communicate upcoming events, dates and responsibilities. Use a variety of methods to convey the message to members and parents including phone, personal visits, social media, written notes, newsletters and phone chains. Repeat important dates and events at several meetings. Communicate with parents about club meeting locations along with beginning and ending times and stick to them.
  4. Set behavior standards. Members and parents need to know what is expected of them. Club meetings are an excellent place to learn and practice good citizenship and respect for people and property.
  5. Plan meetings with variety. Utilizing the format of 15-20 minutes of fun, 15-20 minutes of business and 45-60 minutes of learning will keep the meeting full of variety and interest of participants. Mix up meetings with lots of variety to keep interest, encourage learning and just for fun. Keep the business section effective and to the point.
  6. Conclusion. Make sure each members has a chance to do and learn something at every meeting. Keep members involved and include lots of variety to help 4-Hers learn and grow through club work. Know what needs to be accomplished at each club meeting and be intentional about the learning and fun.

4-H club meetings are often the first introduction youth have to meeting settings. Making sure meetings are something youth want to attend and are meaningful and engaging will set the tone for youth’s interest and possibly future civic engagement.

To learn more about 4-H club structures and meetings, contact your local MSU Extension county office or visit the 4-H Youth Development website.

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