COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA,
FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE FOR WOMEN,
AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
WILMON NEWELL, Director.
THE LOCAL 4-H CLUB LEADER
By R. W. BLACKLOCK,
Stn' i. '.'- '.i-W '-
Mischief, rowdine an. directedd effort.
Vitality and high spirits muLsU 1,n1 an outlet. T1 's is particularly
true with boys. When a crowd of boys get together they are going
to do something. What they do will depend upon the character
and ability of the boy who is the moving spirit. If definite plans
are not made and leadership of the right type furnished, chance
will determine what is to be done. Spontaneous action with a
crowd of boys stands an even chance of being in the wrong direc-
Four-H club work is bringing the farm boys together in its local
clubs. After bringing them together, 4-H club work must not
fail to supply the right kind or quality of leadership. Organiza-
tion without definite plans and intelligent leadership is dangerous.
We must supply leaders with the vision of a well rounded program
for the Head, Heart, Hand and Health.
AIM OF 4-H CLUB WORK
Club work is a nation-wide organized effort to improve farm and
home life through the efforts and by the aid of the boys and girls
now living on the farms.
Dr. C. B. Smith, Chief, Office of Cooperative Extension Work
of the United States Department of Agriculture, in discussing
4-H club work says:
"The outstanding characteristic of 4-H club work is that each
member conducts a substantial piece of work, designed to show
some better practice on the farm or in the home or community;
keeps a record of results; explains the work to others; and makes
a final report on the work.
"Boys' and girls' work is voluntary, centering around living
beings like growing plants and animals, and concerned with the
active phases of home making, farm accounting, or other matters
related directly to the daily life of the farm and the farm home.
"Club work is learning by doing.
"Probably one of the most valuable things club work does is
to bring boys and girls into responsible contact with the life prob-
lems of the community and, through having them do something
on the farm and in the home that is worth while, to get them in
touch with the problems of the community and with inspiring
men and women who may encourage them to finish school, to go
on to college, or otherwise to fit themselves for life-work."
Many Florida farm boys are finding themselves through 4-H
club work. There are many who have not caught the vision of
its aims and ideals. Our job is to carry the opportunities to the
other thousands and guide them into the road leading toward
WHAT IS A LEADER?
A leader is one who thinks and plans ahead, then stands out in
front and says, "Let us go this way." A leader is one who has
the ability to so influence others that they will think as he wants
them to think, do what he wants them to do, but still feel they
are acting on their own thinking and planning.
Leadership can be wholesome or evil. Four-H club work must
have leaders who are striving to build their communities by de-
veloping the boys and girls into honest, industrious, efficient
citizens. They must have caught the vision of the development
of the Head, Heart, Hand and Health. They do not always need
to "boost", sometimes the real leader puts on the brakes when
action or thought has turned in the wrong direction.
Four-H club leadership depends more upon the mental attitude
than it does upon education or physical size. It is not necessary
that a successful leader of a 4-H boys' club be a specialist in agri-
culture. All he needs to be is a "boys' man." Any intelligent man
or woman can keep ahead of his club in the technical knowledge
required. This will be supplied through bulletins and by the
County Agent. The leader's work is more social than educational.
Following are some of the qualities of a club leader.
1. Moral character-a person whom the boys will respect.
2. Belief in 4-H club work-firm faith in its ideals and its value
to a boy.
3. Enthusiasm-ability to communicate his own faith to others.
4. Vision-ability to look into the future and plan.
5. Fairness-ability to judge impartially and to see things as
they really are-not stubbornness.
6. Patience-ability to continue when all looks wrong.
7. Sacrifice-willingness to give of himself and his time under
8. Initiative-ability to think ahead of his club members.
9. Youthful viewpoint-ability to put himself in the boy's place
and see things as he sees them.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LEADER
The average boy wants to have a hero. He wants to think that
his teacher, his County Agent, his club leader is the best. As
long as he feels that way he will follow with a song in his heart.
Let a boy learn that his ideal is not what he had thought, his
interest will lag and he is soon out of club work. The leader has
a responsibility of being an example to young and responsive
Four-H club work in a community is judged in a large measure
by the standing of the leader in charge. If the leader does not
believe in his work and in his boys, he cannot expect the com-
munity to back club work.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF A LOCAL LEADER
The local leader's duties and opportunities are limited only by
his willingness and ability. A real leader can make his club the
biggest factor in community progress or he can be content with
simply leading his club in carrying on the projects. Both are of
value to club work but the first is worth more to the boys and to
the community. The following are some of the things a leader
is expected to do:
1. To help plan the year's club program.
2. To assist officers in conducting meetings.
3. To encourage and assist lagging members.
4.. To explain club work to parents where necessary.
5. To see that necessary club supplies are in hands of members.
(County Agent will furnish leader with supplies).
6. To help steer all activities into right channels.
7. To help keep club enthusiasm in community.
8. To attend leaders' conference if one is held.
SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL LEADERS
The first thing a leader should do is to study 4-H club work.
Read all bulletins on 4-H club work published in the state and by
the United States Department of Agriculture. Try to get a full
understanding of what club work can do for the boys and the
community. The County Agent and the State Club Agent will
supply any bulletins desired. They are anxious to help.
The second thing a leader should do is to study those things
that appeal to boys. Boys are the material with which the leader
is trying to build a community. He must remember that 4-H club
work is voluntary, he must lead and not push. The interest of the
members must be held by other means than force. The man who
knows what boys like and what appeals to them has no trouble in
keeping a club going. The following points are among those which
have been found to appeal to the boy in his teens:
Ownership-Something which is his own. This is the basis of
4-H club work.
Spirit of Competition-Every boy wants to compete against
someone else. Contests of all kinds appeal to boys.
Having a Part-Give a boy something to do. No boy wants to
sit back and see the other fellow get all the work to do.
Spirit of Service-A boy likes to feel that what he is doing
amounts to something. He wants to be worth while-help him to
do something of service.
A Job Fitting His Age-The 17-year-old boy does not want to
do the same things as a 10-year-old. Give the older boys bigger
Desire for Recognition-All people like praise. The boys want
to be told that they are doing well.
Being with a Crowd-Boys like to "gang together." The local
club answers this need-it is a "doing" club.
Spirit of Play-Recreation is indispensable in handling boys.
"Let's have some fun," is their slogan. This is normal and cannot
The leader who understands the desires of a normal boy and
trys to direct his club so that they are met, will succeed. While
the carrying out of a money-making demonstration is funda-
mental and must never be neglected, the social and recreational
side of a boy's life is the most easily influenced. Give the boy an
opportunity for a good time and he will do his work with a will.
Social meetings, games, hikes, picnics, tours, camps, etc., are ways
to a boy's heart.
TROUBLE A LEADER WILL HAVE
Criticism is bound to come. The man doing anything worth
while will be criticized by someone. The local leader must not let
criticism cause him to quit his job. It does not do to take criticism
too seriously, neither does it do to disregard it completely. The
leader must judge each case by itself. Remember, the leader
might be wrong. He should find out the reason for the complaints,
and explain if possible. If he is misunderstood it can be made
plain. If he was wrong, he can correct it. If criticism is delib-
erate with the intention of harming 4-H club work, explain the
whole situation to the club members. A boy is hard to fool and it
is impossible to fool a crowd of boys for long. Some criticism is
beneath notice; forget it.
Another cause of woe to the local leader is indifference and
sometimes opposition on the part of the parents. It will take
personal visits to correct this in some cases, while in others it can
be cured by getting the parents to attend a club meeting.
The "smart Aleck," unless handled in the right way, can break
up a club. Each case of this kind is a case by itself. No rule can
be laid down for handling such a boy. Sometimes he can be made
ridiculous by being shown that he doesn't know so much as he
thought; sometimes the other boys will see through him. He must
be "tamed" or else dropped from the club.
Some or all the boys getting discouraged will make the going
hard at times. The leader must have initiative enough to start
something which will raise the club enthusiasm to the proper
pitch. A "drive" to get all projects in as good shape as possible
to be followed by a fish-fry or picnic has been used to get things
going again after a slump. A discouraged leader, who admits his
defeat, means a dead club and a crowd of boys who have lost more
than they have gained from club work.
THINGS A LEADER MUST WATCH
The leader should not try to have his way in everything. He
should talk things over with the boys and get them to suggest
doing the thing he wants done. A "bossy" leader is only half
If he has criticism to make he should try to make it to the boy
privately. No boy wants to be "blessed out" in public. Some-
times holding a boy up to ridicule is necessary if he is a smartiee,"
but usually it has a tendency to kill his enthusiasm.
Be fair. If a leader has his own children in the club he must
be very particular. Nothing disgusts a boy quicker than to think
some other boy is "teacher's pet." The bright, attractive boys
should not have all the agreeable work to do. Club work is to
develop the awkward boy and to bring out the diffident one. Work
and favors should be divided among all the boys.
Let the boys do the disciplining. Build up the right spirit and
the boys will take care of the trouble-maker. In case the boys
seem to be on the wrong track, appeal to their sense of fairness-
they have it in large quantities. If a boy does that which is not
right, let the club sit as a court. There are times when the leader
must take matters into his own hands, but ordinarily the boys
can be trusted to do the right thing.
Don't lose your own enthusiasm. This is fatal.
Regular club meetings help hold interest. At least six business
meetings should be held each year. Going six months without a
meeting will ruin almost any club.
Watch the community feeling toward club work. Sometimes
the community must be "sold" before club work can be made
effective. You know the leaders in the community. Get them
interested. Ask them to the meetings.
Don't make it altogether a one-man club. If there is a man in
the neighborhood who does one thing exceptionally well ask him
to tell how he does it. Don't ask him to make a speech but to tell
the boys in their meeting how he raises cotton or feeds a pig.
Sometimes ajnan can be won to a side by giving him a chance to
help in a club meeting. The community is being built through
club work and the leader needs all the help he can get. On the
other hand some meddlesome person who is unwelcome to the
boys should not be allowed to spoil the meetings by talking too
Four-H spirit grows stronger with age. It may take two or
three years to build a real community club. The first year will
be discouraging as enthusiasm will get low and will be at low
ebb until after the first contest has been held. The second year
it should be better and it should increase each year unless some
two or three old members start monopolizing everything.
REWARDS FOR THE LOCAL LEADER
Like all community work, club leadership has to be done by
someone without hope of tangible reward. The reward will come
when some boy brings his problems, because he feels that the
leader is his friend and one that he can trust. The leader's reward
will come when he sees some boy starting to college whom he has
nursed through his moments of discouragement; when he sees
the farmers using some method and making money from it, that
he helped introduce through the club boys; the leader's reward
will come through knowledge that the boys in his community are
just a little better for having been under his leadership.
THE CLUB PLEDGE
I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking, my HEART to greater
loyalty, my HANDS to larger service, and my HEALTH to better
living, for my club, my community, and my country.
THE CLUB MOTTO
To Make the Best Better.
THE CLUB EMBLEM
Four-leaf clover, with an H on each leaf.
TO GET CLUB MATERIAL AND HELP
See your County Agent or write to State Club Agent, Gaines-
PUBLICATIONS THAT WILL AID YOU
The following bulletins, circulars, etc., may be obtained from the
Agricultural Extension Service at Gainesville or in the office of
the County Agent.
Bul. 43-Club Work and the Farm Boy.
Bul. 52-Lessons for Pig Club Members.
Circ. 15-How to Organize and Conduct a Boys' 4-H Club.
Circ. 17-Program Building and Goals for Boys' 4-H Clubs.
Circ. 18-Boys' 4-H Club Officers and Their Duties.
Circ. 20-The Parents' Place in Boys' 4-H Club Work.
Circ. 21-Boys' 4-H Club Meetings and How to Make Them
Ten Lessons for Poultry Club Members.
Ten Lessons for Club Boys on Citrus Insects.
Also various record books, such as secretary's record book, and
record books for members of crop, poultry and livestock clubs.
The following may be obtained by writing to the Office of Infor-
mation, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington,
Misc. Circ. 77-Boys' and Girls' 4-H Club Work.
Misc. Circ. 85-Boys' and Girls' 4-H Club Work, 1914-1924.
Farmers' Bulletin 1190-How to Grow an Acre of Potatoes.