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Making the best better today for a brighter tomorrow

Posted: January 25, 2014 - 6:28pm

“I now call this meeting to order!” When you visit a 4-H Club meeting, this is the first statement made by the club’s president to open the official 4-H Club business meeting. In this week’s County Extension article, I want to put some order (give insight) to the “4-H Club” experience.

The 4-H Youth Development Program, conducted through the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, provides research based education and life skill development opportunities to youth ages 5-19 years of age, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or any other legally protected status.

The main approach 4-H utilizes to educate and teach life skills is through the youth’s membership in a local 4-H Club. 4-H Clubs are organized groups of at least six youth from at least two families who meet regularly with certified adult volunteers or staff for a long-term, progressive series of educational experiences. The Club’s purpose is to provide positive youth development opportunities which meet young people’s needs to experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity — better known as the Essential Elements.

Many 4-H Clubs meet on a regular, monthly basis such as meeting on the first Monday of each month at a regular meeting location. Each club, under the guidance of at least two adult volunteer leaders, elects individual youth officers, including a club president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and reporter. Some clubs elect a song leader, photographer, recreation leader, and other officers as needed. These leadership roles provide a chance for members to develop self-confidence and decision making skills.

During 4-H Club meetings, members use basic parliamentary procedure to conduct club business such as planning educational activities, community service and leadership events, and fundraisers. The Club meeting program allows youth to take leadership roles through officer positions, project reports and presentations, leading pledges, providing refreshments, and serving on individual planning committees.

There are currently twenty-three, organized community and special interest project 4-H clubs located throughout Faulkner County and involve over 400 youth members and 150 adult volunteers.

The official 4-H year runs from October 1 through September 30 of each year. New members may join at any time during the year and returning members must re-enroll by February 1. All members must be a member of an organized 4-H club.

To find out about 4-H Club opportunities in your community or for more information on the 4-H Youth Development Program, contact the Faulkner County Extension Office at 501-329-8344 or email lhelms@uaex.edu.

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