Youth treasurers gain priceless skills

Many of the Michigan 4-H Guiding Principles are put into action when a teen serves as the youth treasurer of a 4-H club or group.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development encourages all 4-H clubs to be youth-driven. Putting the leadership for the club in the hands of the members is a valuable hands-on learning experience. According to Michigan State University Extension, serving as the treasurer of the club or group is a key role a young person can fulfill.

Seven overarching 4-H Guiding Principles provide the framework for the way Michigan 4-H clubs and groups operate. When put into practice related to the treasurer’s role, the Guiding Principles may be expressed in these ways:

  1. The 4-H officers and adult leaders experience the value of shared leadership. Prior to the full membership meeting, the youth treasurer, other youth officers and adults discuss the financial matters of the club.
  2. Through frequent contact, an adult mentors the 4-H treasurer in his/her financial responsibilities.
  3. At club meetings the youth treasurer is the spokesperson; the leader provides behind-the-scenes “shadow” leadership.
  4. All the members of the club establish financial goals and make financial decisions together. Adult leaders provide guidance remembering that youth learn best from the mistakes as well as the decisions they themselves make.
  5. By fulfilling the role of treasurer, the member practices key life skills including timeliness, accountability, record keeping and integrity. The member also learns basic financial management skills like developing a budget, handling cash, preparing bank deposits, writing checks, recording transactions, reconciling bank statements, and preparing monthly and annual financial reports. The treasurer may also learn advanced financial skills including fundraising, sales tax, the review process for financial records, and IRS reporting among others.
  6. The practical financial skills the member develops are a valuable asset to his/her future success. They may even lead that member to pursue further education to prepare for a career in the financial world.
  7. Ultimately, through the 4-H experience, a 4-H club treasurer has the opportunity to learn skills and develop a positive perspective that prepares him/her for taking on the responsibilities of adulthood. The member also understands the important role they can play to contribute to the well-being of the community and world.

For more information on youth money management topics, check out the 4-H Youth Development website, contact your local MSU Extension office or go to eXtension’s personal finance page.

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