March 2007
4-H Extension Corner



 
  Eighty-four youth participated in the 4-H Wiregrass Region Outdoor Sports Day 2006, held last November.
Welcome to the March issue of this great news magazine. I want to congratulate AFC for a great Annual Meeting and say thank you to Katie Harbour for representing 4-H at the opening ceremony. I want to first tell you of a very successful event down in the south part of the state, then finish up with part two on effectively running 4-H meetings and end up with a great opportunity for you to help support 4-H as you prepare your taxes this year.

Outdoor Sports Day

On Friday, November 10, 84 youth and 29 parents and volunteers traveled to Camp Alaflo in New Brockton to attend the Wiregrass Region Outdoor Sports Day. The program started with a flag-raising ceremony and tribute to America’s Veterans. 4-H members were even able to thank and honor some veterans serving as volunteer leaders and instructors for the day.

Youth and adults came from four Wiregrass counties: Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva and Houston; participants were divided into 5 groups. Each group participated in a round-robin format of Outdoor Sporting activities. Sessions included rifle, skeet shooting, archery, sport fishing and frisbee golf. 4-H Agents, 4-H volunteers and 4-H Shooting Sports volunteers, along with Department of Conservation and Natural Resource Agents, served as instructors for the one-day program.

The program is designed to give youth not already involved in Natural Resource and Environmental Education or the Shooting Sports program a taste of what 4-H has to offer in these fields. All youth were able to have a hands-on experience at each session. Participants had a picnic lunch and were able to view some of the new Alabama Motorized Outdoor Adventures displays. Each participant received a t-shirt and snack. Amazingly we can report that this year’s participation more than doubled from last year’s 40 youth and 16 adults! The Wiregrass Region plans on having this event again next year, November 12, 2007. Mark your calendars!

Effective 4-H Club Meetings

Effective 4-H Club meetings are very important, and over the last two months I have given you a few suggestions on how to get more out of your meetings.

Club or group meetings are the cornerstone of the 4-H experience for boys and girls. Ask beginning members or participants what they like about 4-H, and they will tell you about their club, their new friends, new experiences, and fun activities. Well-planned meetings allow youth to:

• Acquire new knowledge and share ideas

• Develop self-confidence and leadership

• Participate in decision making

• Develop responsibility and commitment

• Make new friends

• Enjoy recreational activities

What Happens at 4-H Club Meetings?

Meetings offer a variety of experiences for youth. Meetings include business, project work, educational programs, community service, recreation, and social activities. All of these may not be a part of every meeting, but each should be included during the year for a well-balanced program. With the assistance of the 4-H volunteer leader, participants decide what to include and when. A meeting outline can provide structure for conducting a meeting.

Sample Meeting Outline
Business: 15 to 20 minutes

The business section should demonstrate democracy in action. Members learn how to express themselves in a group, listen to the views of others, come to consensus, reach a decision, and abide by majority rule. It is important to keep meetings interesting and educational. Unless it is an annual business meeting, please don’t let the business component become the heart of the 4-H club meeting.

The following is a typical business agenda:

1. Call to order

2. Pledge of Allegiance and

4-H Pledge

3. Roll call with members answering in any way the group decides

4. Minutes of the previous meeting

5. Treasurer’s report

6. Committee reports

7. Old business

8. New business

9. Adjournment

Education and Project Work: 30 to 45 minutes

Learning by doing is one of the 4-H program’s unique strengths. This is the place for members to give demonstrations, work on project books, or participate in tours, community service, and other activities. Use a variety of activities to involve members in program planning, self-esteem development, and decision making. Ingenuity and creativity can make this section interesting and active. Providing space during project work makes learning easier.

Recreation and Social Activities: 15 to 25 minutes

A variety of fun activities add enthusiasm and enjoyment to the meetings. Some clubs have a different recreation committee for each meeting, while others elect recreation officers for the year. A few ideas include games, charades, relays, sports, puzzles, parties for parents, picnics, and hikes. Refreshments can be a part of recreation, with different members responsible for them throughout the year.

Tips For Effective Meetings

• Start and stop on time.

• Limit meeting time to 1 or 2 hours of well planned activities that will hold interest, help reach goals, and be fun. The club officers and advisors set the standard for the group.

• Let the officers fulfill their responsibilities.

• Let the president call the meeting to order and be in charge. Let other officers and committee chairpersons do their assigned jobs.

• Allow volunteers to help officers develop confidence in their abilities by providing guidance, while remaining in the background.

• Encourage the use of parliamentary procedure.

• Support democratic participation by allowing all members to have a chance to express themselves. Basic parliamentary procedure is an orderly way of making this possible.

• Communicate upcoming events, dates, and responsibilities. Use a variety of methods including telephone calls, personal visits, media reports, written notes, newsletters, and telephone chains to convey the message to members and parents. Repeat important dates and events at several meetings. Distribute county and club calendars, constitution, project requirements, and copies of assignments to each family. Communicate with parents about club meeting locations and beginning and ending times.

Set Behavior Standards

Youth need to know what is expected of them. Youth and volunteers should come to consensus about behavioral expectations early in the year. Meetings are excellent places to learn and practice good citizenship and respect for people and property.

Plan Meetings With Variety

Remember this formula to plan meetings: one-fourth business, one-half education, and one-fourth recreation. Mix it up with lots of variety to keep interest, encourage learning, and have fun. Keep the business section effective and to the point.

Conclusion

Know what needs to be accomplished at each meeting. Make sure each member has a chance to do and learn something at every meeting. Keep youth involved and include lots of variety to help them learn and grow through club work. Unless you have a guest speaker, the adults should not be the center of the meeting. It’s all about young people learning by doing.

Support 4-H

It’s the income tax season once again, and Alabama 4-H is part of a great program that brings in donations to support 4-H programs and activities.

The state of Alabama’s Income Tax Check-Off program allows all state residents to give a portion of their tax return when filing their individual income tax returns. Those wishing to make a donation to Alabama 4-H simply have to check line 31K and indicate the amount they want to give.

In the three years Alabama 4-H has participated in the program, $27,938 has been donated to Alabama 4-H. Money is used to supplement local, regional, state and national programs through resources, training, and financial assistance to 4-H members who represent Alabama on national 4-H delegations.

To find out how you can support 4-H, talk to your tax preparer, contact your local Extension office, or call Beth Lawrence in ACES Development at 334/844-2247 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Until next time, God Bless!

James Shropshire is the Alabama 4-H Regional Extension Agent for the Central Alabama Region. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..