4-H Youth Development Council Structure
The purpose of the 4-H Youth Development Council is to help plan and implement a 4-H Youth Development Program that is consistent with the mission and vision of both Purdue Extension and the Indiana 4-H Youth Development Program. The county 4-H program should offer a variety of high-quality 4-H youth educational opportunities, be adequately supported, and be in accordance with the developmental needs of today’s young people.
Goals and ObjectivesThe county 4-H Youth Development Council goals should be similar to and supportive of the statewide 4-H youth program goals previously listed. In addition, it would be advisable for each 4-H Youth Development Council to establish three to five long-term goals to serve as a guide for future decisions. Realistic goal setting is not easy to accomplish, but if a group fails to plan, it plans to fail. Long-term goals and short-term objectives are needed to guide a program effectively in the current changing environment. Short-term objectives should help focus work to achieve long-term goals. Council tasks and activities should be based on objectives and address specific goals. Some objectives a 4-H Youth Development Council may wish to consider:
- Conduct an annual program-planning process to assure the relevancy of the program.
- Maintain and support a year-round 4-H Youth Development Program.
- Maintain and support qualified 4-H Youth Development professionals.
- Assure representation of the County’s demographic categories on the 4-H Youth Development Council.
- Assure representation of the County’s demographic categories as 4-H participants and volunteers.
- Assure reasonable and friendly access for all grade-eligible youth to participate in 4-H Youth Development Programs.
- Assure year-round program promotion in local media.
It is recommended that 4-H Youth Development Councils consist of 12-30 members. A group this size can effectively achieve progress. The following criteria are good guidelines to use when selecting 4-H Youth Development Council members. Each council member should:
- Show enthusiasm.
- Be willing to grow.
- Demonstrate effective, reasonable problem-solving ability.
- Have an understanding of youth development.
- Demonstrate leadership ability.
- Be grounded in the present.
- Have a focus on the future.
- Be interested in helping 4-H Youth Development serve the entire community.
- Represents all geographic areas of the county.
- Includes people of different ages (youth, young adults, and older adults).
- Represents all ethnic groups included in the county.
- Includes a mix of community leaders including educators, business representatives, public servants, clergy, professionals, and homemakers.
- Brings an understanding of various family structures, economic levels, and related concerns.
- Understands the planning function.
- Needs of local citizens, youth, and volunteers.
- Goals and objectives to be achieved.
- Tasks to achieve those goals and objectives.
- Action plan.
- Extension mission.
- 4-H mission.
- Philosophy of the Extension system.
- Conducting organized meetings in a democratic way; (i.e. using basic format and guidelines of parliamentary procedure).
- Taking action that is consistent with state and federal laws.
- Using an agenda that is written and communicated to members.
- Valuing different opinions.
- Making group decisions.
- Sharing the workload through the use of committees (Note: Committees can include non-council members as long as they are approved volunteers).
- Operating within a consistent, yet flexible, structure (i.e., constitution).
- Following appropriate and accepted financial procedures.
- Communicating actions and decisions clearly and within a reasonable time frame (i.e., posting meeting minutes to accessible website).
- Communicating and interacting with the 4-H Youth Development