Policies and procedures

section 9: Risk management


9.1 4-H Youth Development Liability Release Policy

It is required by Risk Management at Purdue University that a signed 4-H Youth Development Liability Release Statement shall be obtained annually from each and every 4-H participant in the 4-H Youth Development Program on the 4-H participant’s online or paper enrollment form.

4-H participants who do not have on file with the County Extension Office a liability release statement that has been signed by at least one parent or legal guardian will not be allowed to participate in 4-H projects, events, or activities.

This form must be signed and obtained from participants annually.

****Those 4-H members who have reached age 18 (or older) by the time the forms are distributed are not exempt from having a signed release form on file. However, these individuals are not required to have a parent or guardian signature.

NOTE: The 4-H Youth Development Liability Release Statement provided by Purdue University 4-H Youth Development and Risk Management shall be used as provided. The language in the form shall not be altered in any way.

Release forms shall be maintained for a period of 7 years after the member turns 18 years of age.


9.2 Safety Policy for Mini 4-H Members

The safety and well-being of our 4-H youth is of the utmost importance. Although kindergarten is specified as the time when a child may begin participation in some 4-H events and activities, parents are encouraged to take into consideration their child’s physical and mental development before agreeing to let the child begin to show, work with, or care for animals. Each child matures at a different rate, and children in grades K-2 may still be too young to begin showing, working with, or caring for animals.

Purdue Extension 4-H Youth Development allows Mini 4-H members in grades K-2, to participate in some animal projects subject to certain conditions. These conditions are specified below.

Each county may determine its own NON-COMPETITIVE programs, classes, and participation requirements subject to the following safety guidelines:

“Mini 4-H members, in grades K through 2, will be allowed to show, work with, or care for animal projects after their parent or legal guardian has signed a Mini 4-H liability release. Mini 4-H members may independently show, work with, or care for animals that weigh 300 pounds or less. Mini 4-H members may only show, work with, or care for animals over 300 pounds when they are assisted by a parent, legal guardian, or another adult designated in writing by parent or legal guardian.” (The word assisted means that the adult has control of the animal at all times.) Mini 4-H members are not required to own the animals they participate with in Mini 4-H. All animals on exhibit should meet the regulations of the Indiana Board of Animal Health Requirements for Exhibition of Domestic Animals in Indiana and meet the vaccination requirements set by Indiana 4-H.

Mini 4-H members exhibiting horses must wear ASTM or SEI standard F1163 (or above) certified helmets whenever mounted. The parent/guardian is responsible to see that this specified headgear is properly fitted with the approved harness in place and fastened whenever a rider is mounted.

If the guidelines stated in this policy are not followed for a particular event or activity, then such event or activity shall not be considered to be a 4-H event or activity and shall not be under the auspices of Extension 4-H Educators or covered by Purdue University.

NOTE: Purdue University and the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program do not support, endorse, or encourage 4-H programming for children prior to Kindergarten. 4-H Youth Development Extension staff members and 4-H Volunteers may not offer, or encourage others to offer, programming for children prior to Kindergarten.


9.3 Accident/Incident Reporting

Occasionally, accidents, injuries, or incidents occur at approved Purdue Extension events and activities.

A Purdue Extension Incident Report Form (RM 27, revised 2022) - must be completed whenever a Purdue Extension participant or volunteer receives an injury that requires medical or dental attention or is involved in an incident.

Incidents include, but are not limited to, behavioral, abuse, bullying, theft, tobacco or illegal drugs, threat, alcohol, property damage, or act of a sexual nature.

If a youth or adult is in immediate danger, call 911 or appropriate emergency personnel, then immediately report the incident to the State 4-H Office (State4HLeader@purdue.edu). All other reports are to be submitted within 24 hours of the incident.

Volunteers who are working with an event where an accident, injury, or incident occurs should contact the Extension Educator immediately for further guidance.


9.4 Certificate of Insurance

Educators do not need to request a Certificate of Insurance (COI) in order to have the Purdue University insurance coverage in place for a 4-H sponsored event. The coverage is continuously in place and is automatic.

The only time a COI should be requested by an Educator is when a 4-H-approved event is to be held at a location owned by a third party (usually a commercial property like a conference center, or local business) and the owner of that property requires proof of insurance in order for the event to be held there.

A COI may also be requested to verify insurance coverage for equipment owned by an individual or business that will be used at a 4-H-approved event (e.g., tractors loaned for a Tractor Driving Contest).

There is a cost associated with issuing a COI, so these certificates will only be authorized if they are required to facilitate an event.

Volunteers who have received a request for a Certificate of Insurance from a property owner should contact the County 4-H Extension Educator for assistance.

Educators who receive requests from property or equipment owners for a COI should complete a “Request for Certificate of Insurance” form, RM02 (Revised 10-2022), which is available at the Risk Management “Forms” website, http://www.purdue.edu/business/risk_mgmt/Forms/ (and also included in the Risk Management Forms section). The form should be sent directly to the Purdue Risk Management Office at RiskMgmt@purdue.edu.

If the request is for a Shooting Sports range, the Risk Management Office will contact the State 4-H office to be sure we have an approved range plan on file for the range for which the certificate is being requested.

NOTE: The Purdue University insurance coverage would come into play if the University is found negligent in some way associated with the approved event and its operations. If a loss or claim is associated with the general condition of the premises not owned by Purdue and over which Purdue had no control, then the claim goes to the property owner and their personal insurance carrier.


9.5 Accident/Medical Insurance

9.5.1 Coverage provided to 4-H members and approved 4-H Volunteers

4-H members and approved 4-H Volunteers are included in the annual accident/medical insurance policy purchased by the Indiana 4-H program. Should a 4-H member or approved 4-H Volunteer be involved in an accident or have some type of medical emergency, the 4-H Educator can provide information on how to submit a claim for the coverage. The coverage provided is limited and is considered secondary to an individual’s/family’s personal coverage. Often the accident/medical coverage is used to help pay a family’s deductible if it has not yet been met.

An additional accident/medical insurance special activities policy should be purchased for overnight or out- of-county events. Contact your County 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator for more information about these policies.

9.5.2 Accident/Medical Insurance – Annual Policy

TO: Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development County Clerical Support Staff

RE: Indiana State 4-H Program Insurance through American Income Life Insurance Company

DATE: July 9, 2012

 As you are aware, Purdue University has purchased a Group Activities Master Accident Policy through American Income Life Insurance Company for all 4-H Youth members (Mini 4-H and grades 3-12) and 4-H volunteers who have been screened according to current 4-H volunteer management guidelines and are “enrolled” in 4HOnline. This policy has been purchased from funds generated by the State 4-H Program Fee.

In delivering your programs and working with a variety of youth and adults, an accident will occasionally happen and you need to know how to make a claim for those accidents that occur at county based 4-H events/educational meetings.

Insurance for County Based 4-H Program Accidents/Injuries:

Use the American Income Life Insurance Claim form that is found in 4-H Policies/Procedures on-line. This form may be found on the Indiana 4-H Hub, in the Policy and Procedures, Risk Management Forms section. It contains the Indiana Policy number AIN48180 in Part 1 of the form. Parts 2, 3, and 4 must be completed by an Extension Educator prior to submission. Contact the witness to the accident for information to complete Part 3 Injury Report section of the form. This form has been made editable so that you can type the required information into the form before printing. All claim reports must be signed by the Extension Educator and either mailed or faxed to American Income Life Insurance. A copy of the form submitted to American Income Life will also be mailed to the family with the sample letter provided.

A sample parent/guardian letter has been prepared so that you can communicate to the family and provide them with a copy of the accident/claim form for them to follow up on insurance payment. Please place this letter on your county Purdue Extension letterhead and save for future use.

You will also find a copy of the Group Activities Master Accident Policy. This is just information to know and should you have a family ask questions, you have a copy to which you may refer. Do not disseminate this policy to volunteers or families making claims. To summarize the provisions of the policy:

  1. Benefits are payable on a primary basis with no deductibles—which means that the policy can pay first, regardless of other insurance. We recommend that families with health insurance coverage utilize this policy as secondary and let their insurance pay first – then utilize the AIL Indiana 4-H Program Policy to pay secondary (required co-pay, 20% not covered, out-of-pocket medications, etc.).
  2. Coverage is in effect during ADULT SUPERVISED 4-H activities
  3. 4-H members and volunteers registering after the issue/renewal date of the policy are AUTOMATICALLY covered without additional premium (until the subsequent year’s policy renewal).

Insurance for Out-of-County events (i.e. camps, club achievement trips, etc.):

Staff and 4-H Volunteers should continue to acquire Special Events Insurance Coverage through American Income Life Insurance for those events and use AIL’s generic claim report. To acquire coverage and print/complete the AIL generic claim report form go to www.AILSpecialRisk.com.

AIL Master State Policy FOR INTERNAL REFERENCE BY EXTENSION STAFF ONLY, a copy of the American Income Life Insurance Policy has been posted. Claim form instructions for Educators have been prepared

A claim form template has been created to submit claims from the Indiana State 4-H Program annual policy to American Income Life Insurance.

 A template of a letter to parents has also been created to inform them of the claim process with AIL.


9.5.3 Accident/Medical Insurance – Special Activities Policy

A resource has been created for use by Extension Staff to help determine when Special Activities Policies should be purchased from American Income Life Insurance.

The Special Activities Policy may be completed online at: www.AILSpecialRisk.com. Click on the Submit Activity tab.

This table is found in the Risk Management Forms Section, titled “Special Activity Policy with AIL.”

A special activity policy claim form is also in the Risk Management Forms section.

9.6 Health Forms

As a part of the 4-H Online registration process, each 4-H member and Adult Volunteer will have the opportunity to complete a health form. These can be updated by the individual throughout the year as needed. Event organizers/ 4-H Online administrators can access this information if needed during a 4-H event.

For privacy reasons, 4-H Volunteers and 4-H Extension staff should NOT keep paper copies of the health form with them beyond the dates of the actual event/activity.


9.7 Policy Regarding Overnight Stay at Fairgrounds (4-H Volunteer Liability Insurance Coverage)

Effective January 1, 1998, there will be no liability coverage provided to 4-H volunteers and staff during overnight stays at fairs unless each 4-H Youth participant is accompanied by his/her parent or legal guardian at all times. The time normally associated with overnight is that time when the fair shuts down for the evening or by midnight and until early morning feeding of animals (early morning is normally construed as morning light in our summer season). Adults/volunteers officially assigned to watch 4-H projects overnight at county/state fairs are still covered by Purdue University liability insurance. However, this is not to be confused with aforementioned policy regarding 4-H youth.

County 4-H councils and Extension boards and /or fair boards not abiding by this policy do so at their own risk and should seek their own liability insurance.

The safety and well-being of 4-H youth is our primary concern. The mission of 4-H is education. Overnight stays at fairgrounds do nothing to further that mission.



9.8.1 4-H Shooting Sports Policy Statement

** The Following Policy Supersedes All Previous Drafts**

Preamble: One of the goals of the Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports program is to encourage and support volunteers upon whom 4-H depends to extend its programs for the benefit of the youth of Indiana. A very important liability issue associated with volunteers is the teaching of age-appropriate instruction and effective supervision. Thus, the certification of 4-H Shooting Sports instructors and coordinators through state-sponsored workshops is essential to the integrity and success of the program. These workshops teach volunteers about program safety and the developmental abilities and maturity of 4-H youth. Purdue University provides liability coverage for adult volunteers while they are acting at the direction of, and within the scope of, their duties in the Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports program.

Policy statement: The primary goal of the Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports program is to teach young people how to safely and appropriately handle firearms and archery equipment. While it is understood that many parents choose to involve their children in this activity as a “prelude” to hunting activities, the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program under no circumstances provides authority to volunteers to arrange or conduct hunting activities with (or for) 4-H members.

Certified Shooting Sports volunteers involved with the Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Program must complete the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Application/Screening Process and participate in the State 4-H Shooting Sports Certification Workshop prior to participating as a volunteer with the program. All Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Programs must have a 4-H Shooting Sports Certified Coordinator. All 4-H shooting activities must be directly supervised by an Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Certified Instructor.

If a program divides the participants into groups for concurrent shooting sessions, each group must be under the on-site supervision of an Indiana 4-H Certified Shooting Sports Instructor, teaching in only the discipline in which he/she holds certification. Associate instructors and other 4-H adult volunteers must be under the direct physical supervision of an Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Certified Instructor while engaged in any activity which involves the use of firearms and/or archery equipment.

Tree climbing and activities involving tree stands must be taught by Outdoor Skills discipline instructors who have received training from the state 4-H Shooting Sports team. Teaching and using firearm reloads (cartridges and shells) is prohibited in 4-H Shooting Sports educational activities. For safety reasons, cartridges and shells should be purchased from authorized manufacturers who apply industry standards in the manufacturing and loading process.

To avoid potential problems in the event of a claim, Extension office files should contain a complete list of volunteers working on each activity for at least one year after the activity. In order for coverage to respond for either a staff member or a volunteer, it is imperative that potential claims be reported immediately to the local County 4-H Extension Educator.

9.8.2 Role Definitions

  • 4-H Shooting Sports disciplines: archery, outdoor skills, muzzleloading, rifle, pistol, and shotgun.

  • Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports State Coordinator: Purdue University employee responsible for training  4-H Shooting Sports Coordinators and working with Indiana Extension Educators to provide the 4-H Shooting Sports program to youth across Indiana.

  • Indiana Hunter Education Coordinator: Indiana Department of Natural Resources employee responsible for selecting and training Indiana State 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors; planning, coordinating and managing training workshops; and certifying Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors.

  • Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports State Instructor: An adult volunteer or staff person who has been selected by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Hunter Education Coordinators, trained by the state discipline team, passed a probationary period, has joined the state instructor team, attends state instructor team meetings and provides training to county instructors.

  • Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Certified Instructor: An Extension Educator or adult volunteer who has county background validation and has successfully completed a course of training at an Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Workshop (Sponsored by the Indiana 4-H Program at Purdue University and Indiana Department of Natural Resources).

  • Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Certified Coordinator: A 4-H Shooting Sports Program Coordinator is an Extension Educator or adult volunteer who works primarily with other volunteers to deliver the 4-H Shooting Sports program in the county. Volunteers work under the guidance of their county 4-H Youth Extension Educator.

  • Associate 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor: An Extension Educator or adult volunteer who has locally recognized experience in the 4-H Shooting Sports program and/or youth development and proper county background validation and who has been trained at the local level by an Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Certified Instructor in the discipline which he/she is teaching.

9.8.3 Compliance Statements (See risk management forms)

A Shooting Sports compliance statement must be completed and filed with the State 4-H Office each time a new Extension Educator assumes responsibility in a county that conducts a Shooting Sports program. The compliance statement (see Risk Management Forms) is an opportunity for the Extension Educator to verify the following:

  • An Indiana 4-H Certified Shooting Sports Instructor must directly supervise all 4-H Shooting Sports activities. If a program divides the members into groups for concurrent shooting sessions, groups must be under the on-site supervision of an Indiana 4-H Certified Shooting Sports Instructor.
  • Adult volunteers who are primarily responsible for a concurrent session, which involves the use of firearms and/or archery equipment, must be Indiana 4-H Certified Shooting Sports Instructors in the discipline, which she/he is teaching.
  • Associate Instructors and all remaining adult volunteers must be under the direct physical supervision of an Indiana 4-H Certified Shooting Sports Instructor while engaged in an activity which involves the use of firearms and/or archery equipment. All adult volunteers and youth engaged in the use of firearms and/or archery equipment must be advised of the basic range safety rules before shooting starts. All Shooting Sports programs must have an Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Certified Coordinator.
  • 4-H Shooting Sports instructors are certified to provide shooting instruction to youth in grades 3-12 who are enrolled in the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program. Youth in grades 3-12 who are not enrolled in Indiana 4-H may participate in a “public shoot” if certain conditions are met. See “Role of 4-H Shooting Sports Volunteers” (Shooting Sports Coordinator Handbook) for additional details.

 NOTE: Purdue University only extends liability coverage to certified volunteers working in their capacity as 4-H volunteers and to 4-H members (grades 3-12).

9.8.4 Range Plans (see risk management forms)

Each county Shooting Sports program shall keep on file with the State 4-H Office a range plan for EACH range utilized for local Shooting Sports workshops and activities (see Risk Management Forms). When new ranges are utilized or the configuration of a range is changed, the range plans must be updated. These range plans are critical in terms of liability issues and Purdue University’s insurance coverage and protection for the volunteers involved with the program.

9.8.5 Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Project Meetings

The 4-H Shooting Sports project is successful because of all the dedicated, Shooting Sports certified volunteers. Volunteers work hard to achieve the shooting sports program goals and to maintain the highest standards of safety. When scheduling meetings, please make every effort to work through scheduling conflicts that some youth will have, to be as inclusive as possible. We know that this can be difficult for volunteers who give so much time to the program and try hard to schedule meetings at a time that works best for all. Remember, however, that as difficult as it is for you to schedule time, it may be even more difficult for the 4-H youth, because they must coordinate their schedule with both the meeting time and their parents’ schedules.


Volunteers and Extension Educators may not require youth to attend 4-H club meetings. There is one exception to this policy: if the County 4-H Youth Extension Educator and county Shooting Sports instructors feel it is necessary, one safety meeting may be required of 4-H youth enrolled in Shooting Sports. A review of safety guidelines is required at all range meetings, whether or not a special safety meeting is held.

Safety meeting requirements:

  • An educational lesson plan for the meeting must be approved by the 4-H Extension Educator and on file in the county extension office.
  • The lesson plan should list the safety topics that will be taught in the required meeting and estimated time to be spent on each topic. An educationally-appropriate length for a safety meeting is no longer than 60-90 minutes.
  • An example agenda is given at https://extension.purdue.edu/4-H/volunteer/resources-and- development/shooting-sports-volunteer-resources.html
  • If a safety meeting is required, it should be offered at multiple times and in multiple formats to provide opportunities for all 4-H members to receive this information. The required safety meeting can be held at the shooting range or at a separate meeting before range shooting

 Hunter Education (IDNR program)

Many 4-H shooting sports instructor teams choose to offer the IDNR Hunter Education (HE) course to 4-H members. This course gives an overview of firearms and hunting and includes some safety

information. Note, however, that while the course may be recommended, it may not be required in 4-H Shooting Sports.


9.9 4-H Sportfishing Policy Statement

Effective in the spring of 2004, Purdue University’s Risk Management team determined that certification of 4-H instructors for Sportfishing will no longer be required. There are some precautions related to the Sportfishing program however, that must be adhered to.

It is expected that any 4-H volunteer who wishes to conduct 4-H Sportfishing events or activities from a boat must have documentation to demonstrate successful completion of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Boater Safety Course prior to taking youth on water.

There is also an expectation that youth participating in any 4-H Sportfishing activity in which they will be boating, will be wearing an appropriate flotation device in accordance with Indiana law. A wearable type of Personal Flotation Device (PFD) must be provided for each person on board. In addition, boats 16 feet in length and over are required to carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved, throwable PFD.


9.10 Equipment Use Agreement

Some implement dealers and 4-H Volunteers in the Petroleum Power project areas (including Ag Tractors and Lawn & Garden Tractor) request proof that Purdue University provides insurance coverage for equipment that is borrowed for use at 4-H contests, workshops, and meetings at the county, area, and state levels.

Volunteers who receive a request for Purdue University insurance coverage should contact the 4-H Extension Educator for assistance with the Equipment Use Agreement.

The Equipment Use Agreement in the Risk Management Forms Section is designed for this purpose. It is a protected file with editable fields. This agreement can be made between the owner of the equipment (an individual or an implement dealer) and Purdue University, for the date and event specified. A separate form will be completed for each piece of equipment to be used. If the same piece of equipment will be used for multiple events, all of the dates that specific piece of equipment will be used may be listed on one form.

Once the agreement is signed by both parties, the equipment will be insured under Purdue’s liability/property insurance while in 4-H’s care and use.

If the 4-H Educator receives a request for such an agreement from the equipment owner, this Equipment Use Agreement may be provided to the owner. The 4-H Educator would complete the information requested in the opening paragraph and in #1. The owner would complete the information requested in #2.

The owner would sign and print his/her name on the document. The form would then be scanned and e-mailed to state4hleader@purdue.edu. In the e-mail, the 4-H Educator will verify that the event/meeting/contest has been recognized as an approved 4-H event. State 4-H staff will review and sign the form, then e-mail it back to the 4-H Educator. A copy can then be shared by the Educator with the Owner.

9.11 4-H ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) Required Adult Volunteer Training

The following policy will be implemented beginning April 1, 2017 and will take precedence over previous published 4-H ATV policies.

4-H ATV instruction must be provided by a 4-H adult volunteer who has successfully completed the Indiana 4-H Volunteer screening process. ATV instruction provided in a classroom/workshop or similar style format that does not include participants riding an ATV is to be provided by an adult who the County 4-H Extension Educator has deemed to be knowledgeable of ATV safety. Adult volunteers should use the Indiana OHV/ORV (off-highway vehicle/off-road vehicle) Safety Course as an instructional guide. www.offroad-ed.com/indiana

4-H ATV instruction provided in a hands-on style format that does include participants riding an ATV is to be provided only by an adult who has successfully completed the Indiana 4-H Volunteer screening process, successfully completed the Indiana OHV/ORV Online Safety Course, and has successfully completed an Indiana 4-H ATV Skills Assessment class provided by the State 4-H Office. Adult volunteers should use the Indiana OHV/ORV Safety Course as an instructional guide. www.offroad-ed.com/indiana. 4-H adult volunteers assigned to the 4-H ATV Safety program by their county educator will be reimbursed the online safety course cost after submitting a copy of their completion certificate to the State 4-H Office.

4-H ATV instructors are certified to provide instruction to 4-H members (grades 3-12). ATV instructors are NOT certified to provide instruction to parents, siblings, other family members, or to the general public. This means that parents, siblings, other family members, and the general public may attend 4-H ATV workshops or other events, but they cannot be active participants by riding ATVs during these times. Liability insurance protection for 4-H ATV extends only to approved 4-H Volunteers providing instruction to 4-H members.

9.12 Movie License Procedure

Public law requires groups showing a copyright protected movie to obtain a license to show that movie to a group outside one’s home. This license is for not-for-profit groups showing movies indoors to invited participants and the organizer is not charging an admission fee. For 4-H purposes this includes events such as 4-H Round-Up, single and multi-county overnight camps, county sponsored movie nights, and other events.

If a 4-H Volunteer wishes to show a movie as a part of a 4-H event, contact the County 4-H Extension Educator who will connect with the State 4-H Office for next steps.

The State 4-H Office will work with Motion Picture Licensing Corporation to determine pricing.

The State 4-H Office will work with the Ag Business Office to purchase licenses quarterly using the following procedure:

  1. Event organizers are to notify The State 4-H Office their intent to show one or more copyright movies and provide the following information:
    1. Facility address where movie is to be shown
    2. Name of event(s) movie will be shown to participants
    3. Person in charge
    4. County or state account to be invoiced
  2. The State 4-H Office will submit information to MPLC for invoicing.
  3. Invoice will be submitted to Ag Business Office for processing and payment.
  4. Ag Business Office will invoice event organizer.
  5. License will be sent to event organizer when received. 

Anyone planning to show a copyright protected movie as part of a 4-H event is to notify The State 4-H Office using the following chart:

Movie to be shown in

Request to be made to State 4-H Office

December, January or February

November 1

March, April, or May

February 1

June, July, or August

May 1

September, October or November

August 1

Questions about this process should be directed to The State 4-H Office.


9.13 Horse & Pony

9.13.1 Horse & Pony Helmet Policy

All 4-H members are required to wear a properly fitted ASTM or SEI standard F1163 (or above) certified helmet whenever mounted, or driving, at a 4-H horse and pony event, show, or activity. The 4-H member is responsible to see that this specified headgear is properly fitted with the approved harness fastened in place whenever mounted. Original tags must be present in all approved helmets.

This policy was placed in effect during the 2003 4-H program year and applies to all county, area, and state 4-H horse and pony events, shows, and activities.

Adults riding horses are also at risk of head injury; therefore, adults are also strongly encouraged to wear properly fitted, certified helmets when they are riding at any 4-H sponsored activity/event so that they will serve as role models of safe behavior, as well as protect themselves.

The helmet policy, along with other 4-H policies, are in effect during shows that have been organized, sponsored, and/or led by a 4-H entity (4-H Club, 4-H Committee, 4-H Council, 4-H Fair Board, etc.) – these include open Horse & Pony Shows that invite youth and adults to participate from within the county and beyond the county borders.

Concussion Safety in Sports Reference: www.usef.org/compete/resources-forms/rules-regulations/concussion.

9.13.2 Equine Liability Signs

Equine Liability Signs should be posted anywhere people are riding on the fairgrounds and at any equine business in the community. As part of the statute, the verbiage included on the sign must be posted in visible places on the grounds where people exposed to horses will see it.

At a minimum, one sign should be posted at each entrance to the barn and one on any riding area.

Signage may be ordered from a variety of sources.


9.14 Indiana 4-H Aggressive Dog Policy

The safety and well-being of 4-H members and volunteers is a primary concern with all Indiana 4-H Program opportunities. Families should err on the side of caution in selecting a dog for the 4-H member to exhibit. A dog that has a known history of aggression or biting is not appropriate for involvement in the 4-H Program. On occasion, the 4-H member may have difficulty managing their dog within the 4-H Program. The following guidance has been provided for the Indiana 4-H Dog Program as the owner/exhibitor of the dog bears responsibility for the dog’s actions. In the subsequent policy, the term “4-H Dog Personnel” will include County 4-H Volunteers, County Extension Educators, State 4-H Staff and appropriate County and State Fair Directors.

A dog that bites a human or another dog at any 4-H Dog Event must be immediately removed from that event by the 4-H member and will subsequently be excused from the 4-H Program. The member should be directed by 4-H Dog Personnel on-site to remove the dog if the member does not do so willingly. If a determination is made by the 4-H Dog Personnel that a dog bit in self-defense, it may be allowed to remain at the 4-H Dog Event.

Dogs that display other signs of aggression, including but not limited to, barking and standing ground, growling, lunging and snapping will be give one verbal warning. They will be removed from the event after the second violation at the same event. To be removed from a 4-H Dog Event, there must be two violations at the same event.

Any dog that is removed from a 4-H Dog Event due to aggressive behavior will be placed on probation for 2 weeks. Written notification of the probation will be given to the 4-H member. The 2-week period will start upon written notification to the 4-H member. While on probation, the 4-H Dog Personnel and the 4-H member and parents will work together to determine the best course of action for the dog.

This may include (but is not limited to) working individually with the dog and 4-H member, asking the 4-H member to use a different dog or having the 4-H member attend events without their dog. At the end of the designated probation period, 4-H Dog Personnel will decide regarding the dog’s return to 4- H Dog Events.

Dogs that are removed from a 4-H Dog Event twice will be immediately excused from the 4-H program and will not be allowed to re-enter. Excusing a dog from the 4-H Program is rare but could be necessary for the safety of 4-H members, volunteers, and other participating dogs. Should a dog be excused from the program, it must be remembered that the action is against the dog and not the 4-H member. 4-H Dog Personnel should look at many solutions and encourage the 4-H member to attend classes without their dog while training it at home or potentially bringing another dog to 4-H events. 4- H members will always be welcome in every other part of the dog project.

In the event that a dog is removed from a 4-H Dog Event or excused from the 4-H program, 4-H Dog Personnel should report such to the State 4-H Office so that the information is available at all county 4- H dog programs and the Indiana State Fair.

The Indiana 4-H Aggressive Dog Policy Incident Reporting Form is included in the Risk Management Forms section.


9.15 Transportation Policies

9.15.1 Use of 12 and 15-passenger vans

In order to minimize the threat of personal injury and in keeping with Purdue University guidelines established in July 2001, 12 and 15 passenger vans may not be utilized to transport more than eight (8) people (including the driver). This policy applies to all vans including, but not limited to, those owned, borrowed, rented, or leased and operated by Purdue University staff or volunteers. Proper vehicle seat restraints must be worn.

Anyone who violates this policy will be deemed utilizing a vehicle outside of the University’s use policies, subjecting them to possible personal liability with no indemnification from the university.

9.15.2 Parent Drivers

When asking parents to drive youth to Purdue Extension events and activities, Purdue Extension personnel:

  • Should encourage parents to arrange their own rides for their children.
  • Will direct parents to complete the 4-H Volunteer Application and Screening process, including completion of the Adult Behavioral Expectations form and the Programs for Minors training. Parents will also be provided a “Request for Driver Authorization” form to be completed and submitted at least 5-7 days ahead of the activity/event.
  • Must obtain visual evidence of valid driver’s license and proof of insurance if Purdue Extension staff has asked a parent to transport youth other than their own to events and activities.
  • Will inform drivers that under no circumstances should personal vehicles carry more persons than the vehicle is designed for (a seat belt for each occupant).
  • Must not ask anyone under the age of 21 to serve as a driver and transport other youth to or from Purdue Extension events and activities.
  • Must deny any person who refuses to provide a license and verification of insurance the opportunity to transport youth to Purdue Extension events and activities.

9.15.3 School Bus Liability

School bus liability insurance coverage is NOT available through Purdue University

When there is a need to transport a group of youth to an event (camps, workshops, completion trips, etc.), the following guidelines should be followed.

  • School buses owned by school corporations should be utilized whenever possible.
  • In the case of buses driven for school corporations and owned by private individuals, extension staff must request a copy of the driver’s CDL and proof of insurance. Indiana law requires that school bus drivers be insured with $1 million of coverage. A copy of the license and proof of insurance must be requested annually and kept on file with the Extension Office. The use of other individually or church owned buses should be discouraged. These vehicles are not subject to annual safety inspections.

9.15.4 Private/Commercial Bus

Private/commercial bus companies may be utilized. Extension staff must request and keep on file proof of insurance from the company. Contracts with these companies should move through the normal contractual procedure as per University guidelines.

9.15.5 Recommended Automobile Liability Insurance

University Risk Management has required automobile liability limits in the amount of $100,000 per accident. Individuals are encouraged to obtain higher limits if they will be transporting youth.

9.15.6 Registration of drivers with the University

Each person who drives on behalf of Purdue University must be approved in advance to do so using the RM01 Forms from the Purdue Risk Management website:

NOTE: Area Extension Directors complete this process for County Educators and County Staff. Campus departments will complete this process for Extension Specialists.

If a Purdue Extension Professional specifically asks an approved volunteer or parent to drive youth to an event or activity, that volunteer or parent needs to be approved as a driver with the University.

Arranging for transportation for youth to an event such as the State 4-H Leadership Summit would be an appropriate step for the Extension Educator to take. In this case, the Educator would be specifically asking a volunteer or parent to drive youth participants to an approved Purdue Extension program.

That volunteer or parent would be asked to complete the RM01D form at least 5-7 days prior to the activity/event to allow time for processing.

A volunteer who arranges transportation on their own may believe that they are driving on behalf of the university. It is best practice to ensure that volunteers transporting youth who are not their own children have an RM01D approving their ability to transport youth.

Parents who drive their children to a youth activity do NOT need to be an approved driver with the University. Purdue Extension Program Staff have NOT specifically asked the parents to transport their children; the parents are NOT considered program staff.


9.16 Indiana 4-H Youth Development Camp Chaperone and Counselor Guidelines

Below are recommended practices for 4-H Camp groups in Indiana to follow related to chaperone and counselor housing and training.

9.16.1 General 4-H Camp Supervision and Training Guidelines

  • The 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator(s) responsible for oversight of the 4-H Camp are charged with insuring that adequate supervision is in place to provide a safe 4-H Camp environment at all times.

  • Adult Chaperones (paid staff and approved adult and youth volunteers) have the responsibility to provide adequate supervision and a safe environment for 4-H Campers throughout the duration of the 4-H Camp experience.

  • Volunteer Adult Chaperones must be approved through the normal Indiana 4-H Volunteer application and screening procedures. Placement of volunteers in these roles is the responsibility of the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator.

  • 4-H Camp Counselors must complete the normal Youth Volunteer approval process, along with training that will enable them to appropriately supervise the campers. Camp Counselors should be at least three years older than the oldest 4-H Camper. Placement of youth volunteers in the role of Camp Counselor is the responsibility of the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator.

  • Prior to serving in a voluntary role at 4-H Camp as overnight chaperone/counselor, Adult and Youth Volunteers will have completed the Minors Safety Training related to the Operating Procedures for Programs with Minors university policy.

  • Staff to camper ratios will meet Purdue University youth protection guidance in accordance with American Camping Association standards.
  • Adult Chaperones and 4-H Camp Counselors should always keep themselves above suspicion (see below) to protect both salaried and volunteer youth and adult staff from situations that potentially could occur in any 4-H youth program where there is potential for individuals to be accused of abuse. All Adult Chaperones (salaried and volunteers) and 4-H Camp Counselors should avoid one-on-one situations with campers whenever possible. If one-on-one conversations are necessary with a camper, they should be conducted in view of other adult chaperones.

  • All Adult Chaperones (salaried and volunteers) and 4-H Camp Counselors should also follow the modesty guidelines outlined below.

  • The 4-H Educator responsible for the overall coordination of the 4-H Camp will register the camp as a Program for Minors with the University.

9.16.2 Housing of Adult Chaperones, 4-H Camp Counselors and 4-H Campers

  • For the safety and well-being of the 4-H Campers, at least two approved adult chaperones should be housed in the same building as the campers, when the facilities permit them to do so. Trained 4-H Camp Counselors may also be housed with the 4-H Campers to support the Adult Chaperones.

  • When the facilities do not reasonably permit Adult Chaperones to be housed in the same building as the campers, Adult Chaperones should be housed in a building that is in close proximity to the facilities in which the campers and 4-H Camp Counselors are housed. In this case, at least two approved, trained Camp Counselors should be housed in the same building with the campers.
  •  An individual adult chaperone or youth counselor should NEVER be housed by himself or herself with a group of campers. Always insure that at least two chaperones/counselors are housed with a group of campers.

  •  When considering where to house adult chaperones, consider how you would answer these hypothetical questions:
    • Do you want to be the staff member on a witness stand with an attorney asking, “Why was there not an adult in a cabin full of youth at camp?”
    • Why would anyone think it is acceptable to leave a cabin full of young campers with teenagers and no adult supervision?

9.16.3 Above Suspicion Policy

  • The purpose of the Above Suspicion Policy is:
    • To provide a safe and caring environment for youth and adults in all 4-H program situations; and
    • To protect both salaried and volunteer staff from situations that potentially could occur in any 4-H youth program, including camps, trips, and other events, where there is potential for being accused of abuse.

  • At times, volunteers may need to stay in a room with 4-H youth in order to provide During those situations, there will be at least two or more adults in the room. All supervisory staff (salaried and volunteer) should avoid one-on-one situations whenever possible.

9.16.4 Modesty at 4-H Camp

  • In 4-H camp, “modesty” refers to the manner in which a person behaves while showering, getting dressed, and taking care of personal hygiene. Showering behind a door or curtain, keeping a towel/clothing over one’s genitals before getting dressed, and refraining from making any comments about your own or someone else’s body would be examples of modest behavior at 4-H camp.
  • Appropriate clothing should be worn by all youth and adult staff throughout the camp experience, fully covering the parts of the body that should not be revealed in a 4-H setting.
  • It is important that 4-H camp volunteers and paid staff – anyone in a supervisory role over youth campers – are aware of the importance of maintaining modesty at all times, especially when in the presence of other 4-H camp participants.


9.17 4-H Policy on Alcohol

Under no circumstances shall youth or adults allow, consume, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at 4-H Youth Development Program events or activities.

Current state law prohibits a temporary beer permit to be issued for the expressed purpose of selling beer at a place where an organized 4-H club association has an exhibit. Alcohol has no place at Purdue Extension educational activities, club, board or council meetings.

Policies for all 4-H Entities/Volunteers

  • No alcohol may be purchased with funds generated from the use of the 4-H Name and Emblem. Therefore, no 4-H Club, 4-H Council, 4-H Fair Board, or other entity utilizing the 4-H Name and Emblem may purchase alcohol.
  • No 4-H Volunteers or 4-H Youth may dispense alcohol as part of their 4-H roles or responsibilities, perceived or actual.

Alcohol can be a part of third-party rentals of 4-H Fairgrounds facilities (e.g., for weddings and/or other non-4-H events and activities). 4-H Entities which choose to allow third-party rentals to have alcohol at their functions may do so only under these conditions: 

  • Individuals or groups that rent facilities at a county 4-H fairgrounds throughout the year (e.g., wedding receptions, reunions, etc.) may serve alcohol if:
    • There is a written plan in place outlining:
      • how the distribution of alcohol will be monitored (to ensure that no one receives more than they should)
      • security that is in place for the duration of the event
      • a third party responsible for dispensing the alcohol that is licensed, bonded/insured is utilized
      • a plan that addresses individuals who consume too much alcohol will not drive themselves from the fairgrounds.
    • Any plan involving alcohol fulfills the policies of Purdue University.
    • The owners of the fairgrounds must have written documentation from their insurance company showing that the sale/consumption of alcohol on the grounds is covered by the grounds’ liability insurance policy.
    • No 4-H Youth event or activity may be scheduled in the same proximity or held at the same time as the event where alcohol will be served.
  • As considerations are made for whether or not to allow the consumption of alcohol on the county fairgrounds, keep in mind the public perception of such a Some communities are more tolerant of alcohol than others.

 NOTE: A separate state law has been passed providing permission for the Indiana State Fair to sell alcoholic beverages on the State Fairgrounds: iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2022/ic/titles/7.1#7.1- 3-21-14. This is distinct from the law that prohibits a temporary beer permit at a place where an organized 4-H club association has an exhibit.


9.18 Operating Procedures for Programs Involving Minors

In 2015 the Purdue University Office of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance implemented campus-wide policies related to programs involving minors. These policies are designed to ensure the protection of minors who participate in any University-supported program or activity. Purdue Extension programs across the State of Indiana are included in this policy, and were represented at the table when the policies were designed and implemented.

WHO: All faculty and staff working on behalf of Purdue Extension, approved Purdue University Adult Volunteers, and approved Purdue University Youth Volunteers.

WHAT: Required “Programs for Minors Registration” for all programs involving minors.

WHEN/WHERE: Applies to all programs involving minors that started on or after May 1, 2015 and that are supported by Purdue Extension at the county, area, district, state, and national levels. Policies were revised in 2022 for all programs starting on or after May 1, 2022.

WHY: To ensure that programs involving minors are planned carefully and include safety as the highest priority.

HOW: Read on to learn about the steps necessary to complete the required training for faculty, staff, and volunteers and to register programs involving minor participants with Purdue University.

The Operating Procedures for Programs Involving Minors includes two primary steps:

  1. Completion of training by staff and volunteers
  2. Registration of program involving minors with the University

For more information about these policies, contact the 4-H Extension Educator.

9.18.1 Required Training

Training must be completed ...
  • Every two years for Extension Educators: complete the following two staff training courses from the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance website:
  • For 4-H Volunteers, complete the following training annually:
    • Welcome to Indiana 4-H by State 4-H Program Leader, Casey Mull
    • Orientation to 4-H
    • Youth Protection Training for Program Staff

  • Adult 4-H Volunteers have two options to complete the trainings listed above:
    • Option A: complete the training via 4-H Online (v2.4honline.com) as a part of the volunteers’ annual re-enrollment. The quiz questions are incorporated throughout the trainings
    • Option B: complete a face-to-face training offered by the 4-H Extension Educator, then complete the corresponding quizzes. (This option is what will be used for youth volunteers who are asked to complete the training; e.g., 4-H Camp Counselors.)

9.18.2 Registration of a program involving minorS

Once the training for volunteers and Extension staff has been completed, the Extension Educator will be able to submit a “Programs for Minors Registration Form.”

Programs to be registered are described below:

County Level:

  • The 4-H Educator will annually submit ONE “Programs for Minors Registration Form” to cover all 4-H activities/events offered in the county for the program year (October 1 to September 30) that are considered part of the youths’ 4-H enrollment.
  • County-only events that have a separate registration process and/or that deviate from the answers included in the template will be registered separately by the 4-H Educator (e.g., an overnight completion trip that requires a residential component and/or transportation).
  • This form will certify that the 4-H Educator has completed all of the required

Multi-County/Area/District Level:

  • The 4-H Educator responsible for an Area or District event will annually submit ONE “Programs for Minors Registration Form” for EACH area or district level 4-H activity or event that is coordinated by the Extension Educators on a multi-county, an area, or district level (e.g., Area Career Development Events - CDEs).

State Level:

  • The 4-H Specialist will annually submit ONE “Programs for Minors Registration Form” for EACH state level 4-H activity or event that is coordinated by the State 4-H Office (e.g. Round-Up, 4-H Academy @ Purdue, State 4-H Jr. Leader Conference, Career Development Events, etc.)

9.18.3 Participant registration

All youth and adult participants will be registered to participate in the Purdue Extension activity or event. Extension Educators will assist with this process for county-based activities or events. Volunteers who have a special activity they would like to plan should contact the Extension Educator for further information.

9.18.4 Incident reporting (refer to section 9.3)

Any incident that occurs during a Purdue Extension event where a youth or adult is in danger needs to be reported immediately! All other incidents need to be reported to the individuals on the form within 24 hours. Refer to Section 9.3 for further details.