How To Start a 4-H Club!

How To Start a 4-H Club!

Hey there! I'm thrilled that you're interested in starting your own 4-H club. Trust me, it's easier than you might think. We've actually launched two clubs in the past few years, and it's been such a rewarding experience for our families. As you get started, there's a lot to figure out, but my advice is to keep it simple. Don't feel pressured to take on a lot of kids right away, and don't overwhelm yourself with too many projects. Here are some key things to help you kick-start your journey:

  1. Get Familiar with 4-H: Start by getting to know what 4-H is all about. Understand its mission, values, and goals, and familiarize yourself with the programs it offers for youth development. Find your local Extension Agency, they have a lot of resources.

  2. Assess Community Interest: Gauge the interest and need for a 4-H club chapter in your community. Talk to parents, educators, and local leaders to understand if there's enthusiasm for starting a new club. Our county is always looking for new leaders. Your local extension office can be a great place to find out the needs of your community! The first year we started we were just interested in making a club for our own kids to participate in and that is ok too!

  3. Gather a Team: Make sure to have multiple leaders who share your vision for the club. Look for individuals who bring diverse skills and experiences to the table. Many counties require multiple approved leaders and I would recommend that for any club. It is too much for one person to be responsible for. 

  4. Choose a Focus Area: Think about what you want your 4-H club to focus on. Maybe you want a mix of everything, and that's great! But here's a tip from our experience: trying to do too many different types of projects can be a bit overwhelming. We learned the hard way when we had a bunch of different projects going on at once—it was tricky to keep up with everything! So, consider picking a main focus (or a couple) for your club. Our club members primarily show pigs at the fair. If you have members with specific interests, you can also have smaller focus groups within your club that meet separately. 

  5. Organize Club Structure: Establish the structure of your club, including meeting schedules, membership criteria, officer roles, and planned activities. Develop a clear plan for how the club will operate and achieve its goals. For the first year or (couple of years!) it is ok to keep it simple! The first year we didn't elect officers, and met only once per month January - July. After that we have added new things every year including officers, community service and species specific workshops. We now start in October and hold meetings/events through July. Another tip is to establish your meetings at the same day and time per month. We do the first Thursday of the month. That allows parents to plan ahead and hopefully attend.

  6. Complete Necessary Paperwork: Contact your local Extension office or 4-H program coordinator to gather the required paperwork and guidelines for starting a club. For us this included creating a club charter, background check, and leader trainings. 

  7. Decide on Funding and Resources: There are a few different ways you can do this. You can charge club dues each month or year. You could do fundraising or just ask for donations from your members. Keep in mind if you are doing fundraising or charging dues your state may require that you have a bank account.

  8. Have Fun!: Don't feel like you need to have all of the answers right away! We have relied on ag educators in our community, vets, our breeders and extension when we needed help. You can also join Facebook groups to ask your questions, I have a facebook group called and we would love you to join!

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