The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
4H GCL 20
I *:lw o 0 r a U A~ l i:.,uLJF411 S n
Good 4-H club programs don't just happen. A lot of planning comes first. A 4-H
club program plan serves as a road map of the club's activities, helping to guide
the club toward its goals.
In general, conducting a club program requires the following steps:
1. Defining the club's goals Where are we going?
2. Planning steps toward these goals How do we get there?
3. Sharing responsibilities toward goal accomplishment. Who does what toward
reaching these goals?
4. Carrying out these responsibilities The actual program.
5. Evaluation Did we get where we were going?
The Value of a Plan
The process of planning can be used to help the club define its goals more clearly
and agree on steps to be taken toward these goals. Planning can allow for sharing
the responsibilities for a successful club program among the members, parents, and
leaders. A plan provides a basis for evaluation of a club's program by serving as a
yardstick to which accomplishments can be compared.
Teens stay in 4-H in greater numbers than with many other youth organizations.
One of the main reasons this is true is that in 4-H, young people are involved in
planning their programs and activities. It is widely accepted as fact that people
support and take part in activities they helped to develop. This process helps
members feel that the club's program belongs to them.
By participating in the planning process, young people have a chance to practice
decision-making skills. We help children gain experience in making wise choices
by involving them in planning.
Early planning gives enough time before the activity to adequately prepared. If it is
known in October that a resource person will be needed in January to speak to
the club on bike safety, there will be plenty of time to find such a person and for
that person to prepare.
Having an annual plan lets those involved plan for 4-H participation along with
other family activities. It can reduce the number of times that a member has
another activity in conflict with a 4-H activity.
A plan makes it easier to spread the responsibility of having a successful club
among people. Each member can assume responsibility for a part of the plan by
locating a speaker, presenting a demonstration on the topic of the meeting, bringing
refreshments, making arrangements for a hike, or other tasks.
A potential member, donor, or parent helper can better see what your club is and
how they can fit into what your club is doing, if you have a plan.
Getting Member Input
One of the key ingredients in creating a successful 4-H club program plan is getting
input from the members. Some ways to get this input are discussed in this section.
You may choose to use any one of these methods, a combination of these
methods, or your own creation in getting member input for those developing the
An on-going club might begin to gather information for a new plan by reviewing the
past year's program. New clubs must use other methods. The club as a whole or
in small groups might discuss the following questions:
1. What did we do last year?
2. What did we like best about it?
3. Are there things about last year's program that we want to be sure are in this
4. What about last year's program needs to be improved?
The answers to these questions can provide valuable insight to the planners.
A technique for getting member input used by leaders in several states is called
Design Your Own Clover. To use this technique, you should give each
member a sheet of paper with a large clover drawn on it, or four sets of index
cards works. On each leaf of the clover, or card, should be written a phrase to be
For instance the phrases might be
(a) I would like to learn.......
(b) We could help our community by....,
(c) For fun we could .....,
(d) Some of the things I'd like to do in my
4-H club this year are......
Information gathered on this form can be used by the planners to find out what
sorts of club programs, special activities, and community service projects are
wanted by club members.
Brainstorming is used in some clubs to come up with program ideas. Members
call out program ideas as someone writes them down for everyone to see. The
rules of brainstorming require that no comments or criticism of ideas be given until
all the ideas are listed. After the list is formed, then the group discusses the ideas
and selects those to be recommended to the planning group.
A program suggestion box is made available to members at each meeting by
some clubs. Throughout the year members may add ideas for the next year's
program. These suggestions may be given directly to the planning committee or
reviewed by the club first.
Group discussions can be used and work for some leaders seeking member
input in planning. The members are divided into small groups and each group is
given the task of recommending three or four ideas for educational programs,
community service projects, and club special events. The club discusses the
suggestions made by the groups and this information goes to the planning
Regardless of how you get the information it is very important to use member input
in planning your club program.
The Planning Committee
If you have a very small club your whole club may serve as the group that actually
puts your plan together. Otherwise, the club might need a planning committee to
serve this purpose.
The committee might be made up of youngsters who volunteer to serve or
members appointed by the club president. If an appointed committee is used, the
president should be reminded of the benefit of having different ages, sexes, and
project interests represented on the committee. Some clubs find it useful to invite
several parents to meet with the planning committee.
The committee seeks input from the members and develops a tentative plan that is
brought back to the members for approval.
Elements of the Completed Plan
Among the parts of a club's annual program for which planning should occur are:
* Club's annual goals
* Educational programs for each regular club meeting
* Club special events (i.e. parents' night, cookouts, camping trips)
* Involvement in activities beyond the club level. (Community service, county
and multi-county participation)
A number of different ways of recording the plan can be used, but one is included
as an example. If possible each member should get a copy of the club goals and
the club calendar.
An additional aid for helping in planning is the "4-H Club Planning Workbook."
Ask your agent for a copy.
CLUB GOALS (example)
1. Enroll 5 new members
2. Increase family participation
3. Have 100% of members complete at least one project record
4. Have 75% of members participate in one community service project
5. Have at least 50% of members give at least one demonstration or illustrated
CLUB CALENDAR (example)
PROGRAM, EVENT OR
Regular Club meeting topic:
Beef project meeting
Regular Club meeting topic:
National 4-H Club Week
Jim to contact
Jim, Tom, Mr.
Julie, Fire Chief
to be arranged
DATE: September 8th,
PROGRAM TOPIC: Energy Conservation
Arrange for meeting place
Arrange for program
Pledge to American Flag
MEETING PLAN (example)
This publication was originally created by John A. Rutledge, Jr., Extension 4-H Youth Specialist, August, 1985 and was
revised by Joy C. Jordan, Extension 4-H Specialist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, August, 2002.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL
SCIENCES, Christine Taylor Waddill, Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture,
publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to
provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without
regard to race, color, age, sex, disability or national origin. The information in this publication is available in alternate
formats. Single copies of extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida
residents from county extension offices. The 4-H Name and Emblem are protected under 18 U.S.C. 707. This information
was published as 4H 378.1 in August 1985 and was revised August, 2002.
Design Your Own Clover!
4 T.-N TVFRSTTY OT
I &*:ltu to rT.UI A. 1 iu:LJrajl Sc < ra.