4-H Youth Development Council Functions
Successful 4-H Youth Development Councils work
in conjunction with the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educators to plan and
activities for participants. This arrangement
results in the creation of a quality, county wide 4-H Youth Development
1. Program Planning
The first function of the 4-H Youth
Development Council is to help plan
a 4-H Youth Development Program that meets the needs of youth and families in
the county. The steps to consider during program planning are listed and described at the links below. Programs must be
based on the needs and interests of young people and the developmental stages
2. Audience Development
Recruitment for 4-H youth programs occurs
throughout the year. Recruitment for particular programs may be focused at a
special time of the year, but the total program recruitment should take place
year round. Therefore, program opportunities need to be available for newcomers having
short-term interests. Program visibility and
program development make recruitment more successful.
It may be advisable for a 4-H Youth
Development Council to focus an audience development effort toward a specific group of
young people or adults. Intentionally promoting the 4-H Youth Development Program to new
audiences will likely be necessary as the demographics of a community and
family lifestyles change. 4-H youth development needs to be available to all
members of a community to assure non-discrimination and open access to the 4-H Youth Development Program.
The 4-H Youth Development Council is
responsible to guide and aid in promoting the total 4-H Youth Development
Program. There should be a written public notification plan that focuses on audience
development and identifies specific promotion tasks for each council member to complete.
3. Volunteer Staff Development
Supporting the 4-H Youth Development
Extension Educator’s efforts to provide adequate volunteer development is a
significant function of a 4-H Youth Development Council.
The 4-H Youth Development Program will not
exist without a significant number of qualified, screened, and approved volunteers.
Volunteers with the 4-H Program are also considered to be volunteers of Purdue
University. Various roles and opportunities for volunteers are explained later in this handbook.
While it is the
responsibility of the 4-H Educator to administer the volunteer program, the 4-H Youth Development
Council can work alongside the Educator to assure that there is a group of
volunteers who are involved and ready to offer their time and energy to help
make their county 4-H Youth Development Program
Volunteers must be recruited, selected,
oriented, educated, evaluated, and recognized in order to be contributing
members of the 4-H Youth Development Program. While the 4-H Youth Development
Council can provide valuable assistance with the majority of these aspects, the
4-H Educator will have the responsibility to confidentially select and evaluate
the 4-H Volunteers, following the policies set forth by the Indiana 4-H Youth
A first step the 4-H Council can take with
the 4-H Educator is to identify the many different roles volunteers can fill.
Orientation of new volunteers is critical, because 4-H volunteers need to know
what is expected of them,
what skills they will use, and who will help them. The 4-H Youth Development
Council can provide 4-H volunteers with
ample opportunity to learn and grow. Learning opportunities need to be provided and supported locally
and beyond. Learning relevant and appropriate
information is a motivator for many
Recognition is also critical to a
volunteer's continued involvement. Different volunteers seek different forms of
recognition. Educational opportunities and local acknowledgement are significant, but
tangible awards are also often appreciated. 4-H Youth Development Councils are asked to
assure that a well-balanced, relevant, and appropriate recognition system is in place for all volunteers who
contribute to the 4-H Youth Development Program. Guidelines to help each 4-H Youth Development Council design appropriate recognition programs are found here.
4. Resource Development
The 4-H Youth Development Council has the
responsibility to support, in principle and with financial resources, the
opportunities available to all youth in the community through the many 4-H
A 4-H Youth Development Council should prepare an annual program budget detailing
the projected income and expenses for the fiscal year (January 1 – December
31). If part of these funds are to be provided by local tax dollars, a budget request is normally submitted through the
county Extension board to the county council.
To supplement public funds, the 4-H Youth
Development Council should also raise private funds, according to approved guidelines, to help support
the wide variety of programs.
Below are some general tips and guidelines
related to resource development:
Volunteers are well-suited for raising funds in support of the 4-H
Private donors and public decision makers are interested in the needs and interests of the members of their community.
Private donors are careful to listen to
people who live, work, and volunteer in their community.
Donors will be more likely to give funds to programs or groups that ask for it, that have a well-developed financial plan, and that have
a reputation of being fair, community-minded, and
People give to people. People who are excited, knowledgeable, and
involved give of themselves.
Members of the Council should consider giving a personal gift to the
4-H Program first, before they ask others to also contribute.
4-H Youth Development Programs need funds to
and the 4-H Youth Development Councils are well-positioned to manage a
coordinated resource development effort.
5. Resource Accountability
4-H is a public organization. Funds received from dues, fund-raising, county appropriations, and other sources
are 4-H property intended for the benefit of all 4-H participants. No single
member, volunteer, or committee owns these funds.
4-H Youth Development Council members can ensure accountability of funds by following the basic operating procedures outlined in this section. Council
members are obligated to
document financial activity in accordance with state law and to follow guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture, Purdue Extension, and
the Indiana 4-H Youth Development
Club/Unit Financial Checklist” incudes basic accounting procedures that the 4-H Youth
Development Council and all other 4-H groups should follow to help ensure
the appropriate and acceptable use and management of public and private funds given to support the
4-H Youth Development Program.
The local 4-H Youth Development Council is
responsible for working with the 4-H Extension Educator to be
certain that on an annual
basis each 4-H unit (council, club,
committee, project group, etc.) completes the following:
record of its activities (4-H Unit Activity Report Form) including a calendar of events;
Prepares and keeps on file a record of its financial
transactions and the contributions it
all necessary state and federal forms (including
the IRS Form 990 return by May 15th annually - contact the 4-H Youth Extension Educator for current filing
annual report (Annual 4-H Club/Unit Financial Report) to the Extension Educator responsible for the
county 4-H program.
Annually, a financial review using the “4-H Unit/Club Financial Review/Audit” form shall be conducted on one-fifth of the county's 4-H units, resulting in a review being
conducted for each unit at least once
every five years. A review shall also be conducted at any time there is a change in the primary adult
volunteer working with the finances
of the unit. A signed copy of the financial review results for each club/unit
will be maintained in a file in the Extension Office. The Extension Educator will establish the schedule
for financial reviews and notify the clubs of the review. Reviews for 4-H Clubs
and committees may be conducted by a committee selected by the local 4-H Youth
Development Council. Under no
circumstances should the members of the financial review committee be related
to the adult volunteer who is a
signatory on the account.
4-H Clubs and 4-H Youth Development Councils
which have completed the required steps to be part of the Purdue Group Federal Tax Exemption Number are considered to
have federal tax exempt status. This status means
that the participating 4-H groups are exempt from paying federal income taxes and
may receive charitable contributions.
6. Program Visibility
The 4-H Youth Development Council also
functions to promote the many
different 4-H opportunities. Program visibility is ultimately a link to future
4-H program success. First, if people do not know about the program, they will
not participate. Second, if decision makers do not understand what is happening
in 4-H, they will become less willing to support the program with both
private and public dollars. The 4-H Youth
Development Council must promote the
program to make sure that the program will remain successful. The use of
the 4-H Name & Emblem must be conducted in
compliance with federal USDA guidelines.
Purdue Extension guidelines for branding and marketing should be incorporated.
Program visibility can be achieved in many
ways. Several are listed below:
Assure that all forms of media have timely
and accurate information.
participants in all programs.
information about volunteers' contributions.
Publish complete program information in county 4-H Youth Development materials.
Talk to many people and community groups about 4-H opportunities and accomplishments.
Describe the total 4-H Youth Development Program,
program direction, impact, and
Update 4-H social media accounts regularly with timely
Publish special flyers explaining new program
Ask to explain program opportunities and successes to decision makers.
Become a speaker and
an advocate for 4-H Youth Development
Help conduct a needs
assessment and share the results.
Staff an information booth at a community
informational exhibit for community gatherings.
Send program reports
to decision makers, including evaluation data and accomplishments.
Developing a positive public image and a
community awareness of the program makes recruitment for the program easier. People
will want to belong to and join a program that is relevant, has flexibility,
and provides an opportunity for achievement and recognition.
Social media is technology that is used to
connect people with others, and this includes such applications as Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat and many more. Social media can be an
excellent way to promote the Indiana 4-H Youth Development program, to
encourage participation, and to keep connected to other 4-H members and
National 4-H Council has 4-H training materials
to help 4-H professionals and volunteers learn how to use social media to
promote and support 4-H. A free and simple registration is required to access
the materials available at http://www.4-h.org/resource-library/4H-marketing-online-resource-center/4H-training-templates/.
College of Agriculture also has resources and guidelines for using social media
for professional use located at the following site: https://ag.purdue.edu/Extension/communication/Pages/socialmedia.aspx.
your reference, Indiana 4-H and National 4-H social media sites are listed below.
7. Interagency Programming
The council ensures that the 4-H Youth
Development Program is operating cooperatively with other youth-serving
educational programs. This includes schools (both curricular and extracurricular),
Boys' and Girls' Clubs, YWCA and YMCA programs, Junior Achievement, church and
homeschool groups, etc. It is important for the 4-H Youth Development Council
to view the community as a whole and to make sure that young people take
advantage of available opportunities and learn to make choices that enhance
their personal development. The 4-H Youth Development Council and other youth-serving groups can
create a stronger total community by sharing resources, information, equipment,
facilities, and expertise.
Networking with other
Extension-related groups is also important. The process of
conducting 4-H Youth Development Programs at the county level is shared by several groups:
County Extension board
County Extension staff
4-H Expansion and Review
County 4-H leaders and
County 4-H fair board
Agriculture and Natural
Resources, Health and Human Sciences, and Community
Development Educators and Advisory Committees
To be effective, each group must fully
understand its own functions, be familiar with functions of the other groups, and be
familiar with the relationship among the groups. You may refer to the organizational chart that shows the Extension organization that
exists in most counties. It is incorrect to say that a particular function
to any one of the groups in every county situation, even though some functions
are normally aligned with each group. The diagram may provide insights into needed
associations among the groups.