Policies and procedures

Section 9: County 4-H Program Governance

9.1 Establishing policies for County 4-H Programs

Purdue Extension holds responsibility in cooperation with the county 4-H governing entities (4-H Council and/or Fair Board) for developing 4-H policies for all County 4-H programs, fairs, and events. These policies must be consistent with the 4-H mission, affirmative action regulations, grade definitions, enrollment, methods of participation, and place of residence.
4-H Extension Educators are placed in the county by Purdue University to work and communicate with local governing bodies and ensure that State and National 4-H policies are upheld.
Local 4-H program and fair policies must be in compliance with,and will not supersedeState and National 4-H policy; however, fairs may design local classes and events that enhance the educational mission of the 4-H program. For example: Classes and events designed for Mini 4-must not be competitive at any level in the organization.
In addition, fair policies should strive to offer programs that are:
  • In the best interest of all youth
  • Educational
  • Inclusive to all families
  • Fun
Counties should establish a grievance process in conjunction with the local 4-H Council and/or Fair Board. For information on developing a grievance process see section 8.

9.2 Structures of County 4-H Governing Entities

Three primary structures of 4-H Governing Entities are found in Indiana Counties. All entities within the county (4-H Council, 4-H or non 4-H Fair Board, and the Purdue Extension Office) should maintain open communication with each other to ensure that all roles and responsibilities related to the 4-H Program are fulfilled successfully. Because of the unique characteristics of these structures, a county should be reluctant to adopt practices from other counties without knowing how the structures have been implemented in these other counties.

9.2.1 Two entities, with a separate 4-H Council and 4-H Fair Board

In this structure, the 4-H Council focuses on working in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator to provide guidance and support for the year-round County 4-H Youth Development Program, including 4-H delivery methods such as clubs, projects, in school, after school, and camps.

A separate 4-H Fair Board is responsible for the year-round operation and maintenance of the fairgrounds property, which the Fair Board may own and/or manage. The Fair Board works in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator and 4-H Council to establishing the dates and schedule for the annual 4-H Fair exhibition. The 4-H Fair Board also follows a process that allows other Purdue Extension and non Extension groups to utilize the facilities and fairgrounds throughout the year.

9.2.2 One entity fulfilling responsibilities of both a 4-H Council and a 4-H Fair Board

This structure of a single board has an entity that is sometimes referred to as an Ag Association or a Fair Association. The single board is responsible for working in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator to provide guidance and support for both the year-round County 4-H Youth Development Program and the planning and operation of the annual 4-H exhibition at the 4-H Fair. This entity may own and manage the property on which the fair is held.

9.2.3 A 4-H Council and a non 4-H Fair Board

In this structure, the 4-H Council fulfills the duties outlined above, while working in conjunction with the County 4-H Extension Educator and with a Fair Board that is not affiliated with the 4-H program. The non 4-H Fair Board is separately organized and operates separately from Purdue University. Its responsibilities are similar to those defined for the 4-H Fair Board above.

A facilities use agreement is in place between the non 4-H Fair Board, the 4-H Council, and the County Purdue Extension Office to outline the procedures under which Purdue Extension, including the 4-H Program, may utilize the facilities on the fairgrounds.

See Section 12 for information regarding 4-H Affiliate Standards.