What is a 4-H Club?
Because of the key role clubs play in 4-H delivery, it is important to have a clear definition of what a 4-H club is. The goals and structure of 4-H clubs vary according to the needs of the members they serve. Some clubs focus on one project at a time that the entire membership experiences together at the club meeting (project club). Some clubs offer a selection of projects delivered through project meetings held at times outside the club (community club). Some clubs have a singular focus such as community service clubs, or they target a specific audience such as tribal reservation clubs or after school clubs or home school clubs. But there are components and characteristics that are common to all 4-H clubs and these commonalities provide the definition of a 4-H club. These are the minimum requirements of all 4-H clubs to support a quality 4-H club experience. County 4-H Staff may include additional requirements for 4-H clubs in their county.
The characteristics of the 4-H project club are as follows:
- Composed of at least six 4-H members
- Elects officers
- Meet regularly throughout the year
- Has two non-related adults volunteering to guide the club
- Has junior and teen leaders
- Has a club community service project
- Involves parents/supporting adults
Types of Clubs
Traditional Method (Community/Project Clubs)Community Clubs- A 4-H Community Club is a way for youth to get involved with peers and learn new skills. This type of club involves members of a variety of ages and interests.
The traditional 4-H club usually holds meetings monthly throughout the year. Members can be a part of a project group or club that meets at other times to explore the specific project interests of the group. Community clubs are formed within geographic areas, schools or housing communities.
Project Clubs - Typically meet in the evenings or on weekends and offer one project area (from the list of projects on the 4-H enrollment card) to work within through multiple learning experiences and activities.
The 4-H project club is an ideal way to expand membership and to create interest in new project areas.
4-H After-School Clubs
4-H Afterschool Clubs provide experiences for young people that address healthy development is the goal of 4-H. They are designed to combine the resources of 4-H and the Cooperative Extension System with community/school-based organizations that provide out-of-school time programs that address community needs. The 4-H club operates within the structure of the community/school-based organization that sponsors the out-of-school time program.
The characteristics of the 4-H Afterschool Clubs are:
Composed of at least five six 4-H members. Clubs meet regularly and members participate in community service and project activities. Club meetings include conducting business by officers, educational programs, and group building or recreational activities, and may vary by site. 4-H Afterschool clubs are organized groups of youth led by adult volunteer/staff.
In-School ClubsIn-School 4-H clubs meet during school hours, but have officers and planned activities beyond school enrichment. These clubs operate much the same as community clubs, but a teacher may serve in the role of club leader. In-School clubs provide the opportunity: to reach more of your county's potential audience (youth 5-19), to build a relationship with the county school system, and demonstrate how 4-H can add to current academic learning.
A School Enrichment project is a cooperative effort between a school and Arkansas Cooperative Extension. This may be a public, private, or home school. Members participate in an educational program planned and coordinated by Extension staff in cooperation with school officials to supplement and compliment the school curriculum. The school enrichment project is taught by a teacher or volunteer and consists of at least six learning experiences. School enrichment can build a relationship between the school system and Extension that will lead to an in-school 4-H club.
These students should understand that they have participated in an Extension/4-H program.