4-H Community Clubs

Shawano County Community Club Map

Club Meetings & Activities Basics

What is a 4-H Club?
A 4-H club is an organized group of at least five youth from three different families with at least two 4-H approved adult volunteers. Members and leaders meet regularly and have a planned program that is carried out through all or most of the year. The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development opportunities that enable youth to reach their full potential as competent, confident, leaders of character who contribute and are connected to their communities.

4‐H Clubs strive to create, within their group, a quality learning environment that gives members a chance to be an active part of the decision making process; values and respects the voices of all; provides members an opportunity to reflect on and demonstrate their learning; connects members to their community through service; encourages the development of positive relationships with peers and adults; is welcoming and accessible to all; celebrates individual and group achievements; challenges youth to establish and meet individual goals; and provides for the physical and emotional safety of all.

4-H club meetings and activities, like community service projects, project meetings, and recreation events, are run by youth leaders or youth officers with guidance from adult volunteers. The 4-H Club and Project Area meetings usually include three types of activities:

  • Leading (Business/Group Decisions): This is where youth get to practice democracy in action. Members learn how to express themselves in a group, listen to the views of others, come to a decision either through consensus or parliamentary procedure, and abide by majority rule.
  • Laughing (Group Building/Recreation): A variety of activities add enjoyment to the meeting. This could include icebreakers, organized games, refreshments, and celebrations.
  • Learning (Education): “Learning by doing” is one of the key elements of 4-H. Youth can do demonstrations at club meetings to teach skills to others. Clubs may also bring in guest speakers or do service learning activities.

All 4-H clubs must be chartered, which includes having an approved constitution and bylaws. The 4-H charter allows clubs to use the 4-H name and emblem, raise funds in the name of 4-H, and carry out the 4-H educational program.

Youth Roles in 4-H Clubs

Who can join a 4-H Club?
4‐H is open to all youth in 5K through one year after high school regardless of race, color, sex, creed, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital or parental status.

Cloverbud – Any youth in 5K – 2nd grade who enrolls in 4-H is in the Cloverbud project. Explores 4-H through fun, non-competitive, activity-centered learning experiences.

Club Member – Youth in Grades 3-13. Participate in club meetings, events, and service projects. Set and strive to complete 4‐H goals. Share your knowledge with other club members.

Youth Leader – Shares experience or knowledge in a project to help younger members learn and grow. Takes an active role in teaching younger members or serving as a club officer or committee chairperson. Some of the officer positions youth may serve as are: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Reporter.

Adult Roles in 4-H Clubs

Adult Volunteers, Club Leaders and parents are a valued and essential part of the 4-H program and have a profound impact on the life trajectory of 4-H members.   They help provide a safe, engaging place for youth to take risks, practice their independence and master new skills.

Volunteers help make 4-H possible. Extension volunteers work with staff to deliver educational programs using University and other high-quality educational resources. Adults can serve in a variety of volunteer roles in a 4-H club including Club Leader, Enrollment Coordinator, Activity Volunteer, Project Leader, Committee Volunteer, and Adult Chaperone.

The Role of Parents: Advise your child in the selection of projects. Show your interest and enthusiasm for the projects they selected. Help guide your child with their projects, but do not do it for them. Assist your child in getting to meetings or other events. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to attend local club meetings and county‐wide events with their children. Be informed by reading the 4‐H information sent to your family and asking questions when unclear. Ask for a copy of your club’s bylaws and constitution or operating guidelines and yearly calendar of events. Be a role model of a good sport so that children will learn to celebrate and appreciate the successes of others. Check the Shawano County Extension 4‐H Youth Development website for the latest updates on 4‐H programs and opportunities. Volunteer to assist with club events and activities when possible.

Parents can also sign up to be leaders! In order to be eligible, they need to have completed the Volunteer In Preparation (VIP) process and completed the online enrollment process described.  If you would like to explore becoming a leader, contact your club general leader.

Enroll in 4-H

In order to join just take a look at the Shawano County Community Club Map (find in the drop-down above) and find the club(s) closest to you. Then refer to the club’s corresponding page linked below the map to see the contact for that club.

Next, call the club’s general leader and find out more information about the club and its members. Most 4-H members join in the fall, but new members can join at any time. (The deadline to enroll to be eligible to show in the Junior Division of the Shawano County Fair is February 1st.)

Most folks find it beneficial to actually visit at a meeting of one or more of the clubs you may be interested in joining to ensure it will be a good fit for you. Clubs vary by meeting times, project emphasis (although you can enroll in any project in our clubs), amount and type of community service done by the members and other factors.

Some questions to ask those club club contacts:

  • When and where does your club meet? (just to confirm what you found on the club page)
  • Can you tell me a little about your club? (Some are larger, some smaller, so that may affect your decision as larger clubs may have more to offer but if you want a more intimate feel and more one on one assistance a smaller club may be to your liking.)
  • What are the predominant projects in your club? (just to confirm what you found on the club page)
  • Can you tell me who some of your other families are? (Your kids may know some of them)
  • What types of community service do you do? (Each club has different interests and therefore do different things, but all do community service.)

Once you have selected your club, you can go to http://v2.4honline.com to create a family profile and to complete your member enrollment by selecting your projects. Then get ready to discover what 4-H is all about!

Helpful instructions are available on the UW-Madison Extension website.