Ohio 4-H has put together this great article to help prep your incoming club leadership. Nominations are just around the corner and this will help get everyone on board.
By Sarah Jane Lindsey
Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, Coshocton County
Elected officers are an important part of the leadership team in the local 4-H club. Serving as officers helps members develop leadership skills as they perform the duties required.
Committees can help the 4-H club function effectively and involve everyone. Serving on a committee can give members a chance to "grow into" responsibility, which will help them develop leadership skills.
Successful club meetings depend on leadership from effective officers. 4-H club officers are usually elected each year near the beginning of the club's program year.
Allowing 4-H groups to elect their own officers serves several purposes. Members:
- learn about and participate in elections.
- learn to be responsible to their group, develop leadership skills, and practice basic parliamentary procedure.
- establish ownership in their club meetings.
Before elections take place, an advisor or teen leader should do the following: 1) explain the duties of each office; 2) discuss the need to elect members for their ability rather than for their popularity; and 3) discuss the procedures to be followed in the election.
4-H clubs usually elect the following officers:
President-Prepares an agenda and presides at all meetings. Understands and follows basic parliamentary procedure. Appoints committees. Works with advisors to insure that each meeting runs effectively.
Vice President-Presides over the meeting in the absence of the president. Serves as chairman of the program planning committee. Coordinates the work of committees.
Secretary-Keeps compete and accurate minutes of each business meeting. Writes club correspondence. Records attendance of members and advisors.
Treasurer-Handles club money. Maintains accurate and current financial records.
News Reporter-Writes interesting and accurate reports of the club meetings and special activities. Sends reports of meetings and activities to local media. Maintains a club scrapbook.
Recreation Leader-Plans and leads recreation at each meeting. Plans special events and parties. Involves other members in leading recreational activities.
Health and/or Safety Leaders-Helps members understand health and safety principles. Arranges for educational programs such as field trips or speakers on health or safety.
A club may elect additional officers. For example, an energy officer, environmental leader, or historian may be elected. The size of the club and the age of the members may determine the number and kinds of officers to be elected.
As one of the goals of 4-H is to develop leadership skills, it is a good idea to pass jobs around so members gain different experiences. This usually means that a member should not hold the same office in successive years. A variety of experiences will help the member grow in leadership and develop new skills.
One common problem in clubs of mixed ages is the tendency to elect the youngest members in the club to one of the three following jobs - Recreation, Health, and/or Safety. A club may want to elect both an older and a younger member to these offices. This can help meet the needs and interests of the different age groups.
Election of Officers
Time is needed for members to become acquainted with potential officers. It may be best to elect officers at the second or third meeting of the year, after members have had a chance to get to know each other. Clubs that meet throughout the year may elect officers at any time during the year. There are several acceptable methods to elect officers.
The first method, often used in larger clubs, is a nominating committee. This committee of three to five members is usually appointed by the president. The committee meets with the organizational advisor prior to the club meeting when the election of officers is to take place. Two persons are usually nominated for each office. Each prospective officer is asked if they will serve prior to completing the slate of officers. The slate of officers is then presented at the club meeting as a committee report. It is always acceptable to nominate others from the floor.
The second method is to have members at one meeting sign up for the offices for which they would like to be elected. At the next meeting, these members give a short statement as to why they should be elected to the office.
The third method of electing officers is by nomination from the floor. In this method, the past president (or in a new club, organizational advisor) calls for nominations from the floor for president. After nominations are closed for president, the nominees are voted on prior to receiving nominations for vice president.
For all methods, voting should be by secret ballot as members write the name of their choice on a slip of paper. One by one, each office is filled by members elected by the majority of votes casted.
Any member not voted into an office can be nominated for another office from the floor. Candidates may be given the opportunity to address the club about why they wish to be elected.
Installation of Officers
An installation ceremony is one way to stress the importance of officers and their contribution to the club. Plus, it will inform the members of the officer roles. Being chosen as a 4-H club officer is an honor which deserves recognition.
Committees are a critical part of a 4-H club. These groups plan and supervise various club activities, helping members develop a sense of teamwork. Parents and club advisors can also be appointed to help committees be successful.
Committees may be appointed by the president with the assistance of the advisor or members may volunteer to serve on committees. All members should serve on at least one committee each year.
Some clubs may have standing committees which are appointed each year and serve throughout the entire year. Examples of standing committees are program, phoning, or membership committee. Special committees appointed during the year may plan a club tour, fair booth, or achievement program.
4-H Advisors' Handbook, 4-H Circular 952, Columbus, OH, The Ohio State University.
Ohio 4-H Club Advisor's Guide, Working With Officers and Committees, 4-H Circular 955, Columbus, OH, The Ohio State University./h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
Now, is the perfect time to do an inventory check-up. Why, you wonder? Because you probably aren’t doing a lot with your inventory in the middle of winter. So, it’s a good time to check it out. Update values as needed and maybe even get rid of some things.
So, first things first – look at your club’s inventory log. Reviewing the log at a board meeting might be the most productive way to get through the whole list. On the log, it should list everything owned by the club (shovels, scales, curriculum, sewing machines, etc.), when it was purchased, its value and where it is stored. You’ll want to review each item on the list – maybe not physically, but touch base with whomever is housing it. Ask…
- What is its overall condition? Is there any damage?
- Was there an adequate supply last time this was used?
- When was the last time it was used?
Asking these questions will help you gain a better understanding of what pieces of inventory are the most used, in need of repair/replacement or may just not be needed by the club anymore. This will help you create your list of action items for the club’s inventory.
For things that are in good shape and used regularly, you may want to do a little research and determine if the value listed for the property is accurate. As an example, a livestock scale kept in good condition since its purchase in 2001, is still an important part of the clubs inventory, but it isn’t worth the same value that it was when it was purchased. To reduce the value of an item, you’ll need to do a little research to find a more accurate price and the internet can help. Doing a search for your exact item will usually turn up several classified ads. Find the best 3-4 recent ads with similar condition and then averaging the price will help you determine the true value of your item.
Now, bring your action items to the club members for review and ratification. Often times this is done by the Treasurer, but whomever serves as your property custodian can take on this job. To do this, you will need “to make a motion to amend your club’s inventory log to reflect…” the points from your action list 1, 2, 3. Once the motion is made and a second is heard, the club can discuss each item in detail. Remember to bring your research so that you can answer questions about why you are recommending updated values or removing specific pieces of inventory all together. Supplies that need to be replenished or new items that are needed can be discussed now, but really need to be handled in a different motion with the clubs budget in hand.
Once the discussion has taken place the motion can either be amended, tabled or voted upon as is. This is the tricky part for the club secretary, because they need to record the original motion and any subsequent motions and changes made during the discussion. The minutes become the record that the whole club made these decisions, not just one member or a small group.
An inventory check-up can be done at any time of the year, but starting in January/February gives you plenty of time to do the inventory review, research and bring it to the club well before you have to prepare the inventory log to be included with year-end reporting during summer.
Annual Inventory Log Form 6.2 http://4h.ucanr.edu/files/19875.pdf
So, we've reached the half-way point for the 4-H program year. How is it going?
If you are president, you might still be tripping up on a couple of those presidential catch phrases. If so, I have the perfect agenda template for you, compliments of Ohio State 4-H.
Another way the president can get a message across without saying a word is with a gavel. In gavel-talk, the number of taps and quickness with which it is tapped can convey different meanings...
One tap follows the announcement of adjournment, the completion of a business item, or is a message to the members to be seated following the opening ceremony.
Two taps of the gavel calls the meeting to order.
Three taps of the gavel is the signal for all members to stand in unison on the third tap.
A series of short taps is used to restore order at a meeting. For instance, if discussion ventures away from the main motion and attention needs to be brought back to the matter at hand, the chairman should rap a gavel a number of times to get the group’s attention.
Keep up the great work! There are more tips and articles to come.
Here's a great activity that I was recently able to test drive with a club. It is great as a parliamentary procedure reminder or to help get everyone acquainted with parliamentary basics.
I've pasted it into the blog here and attached so that it can easily be printed up and shared. Feel free to mix it up at your club too.
Mix It Up: Parliamentary Procedure Activity
Desired Outcome: Provide group a quick introduction or refresher in parliamentary procedure, specifically effective group discussions and decision making.
Items needed: Large bowl, spoon, ingredients for Trail Mix (such as Cheerios, raisins, peanuts, plain or peanut butter M and M’s, others as desired), and one unlikely Trail Mix ingredient (broccoli, green beans etc.) serving utensil (paper cups or baggies, napkins, etc.)
Time: 15-25 minutes
Group Size: 5+
Set-up: Display the ingredients at the front of room with the bowl and spoon. I labeled the ingredients so that the audience could see them, but this is optional. A flipchart that outlines the parts of the discussion can also be helpful, but is not required.
Activity: Introduce yourself and explain the activity…
“Parliamentary procedure is an agreement between all the members in the group to participate… giving everyone a chance to voice their ideas and everyone a chance to listen. This provides an efficient way to have discussions and address issues as a group. So, tonight we are going to talk about the ingredients that go into effective group discussions – one of the key pieces to parliamentary procedure. While we have this discussion, we are going to be making a delicious snack.
In order to add an ingredient, we will need to have a motion, a second, discussion and a vote. It is the duty of the presiding officer, usually the president to keep order. That means that they will be recognizing, calling on us, to let us know when it is time to say something.
To make a motion, you need to say ‘I move that we do this.’ I will make the first motion to get us started. ‘I move that we add the cereal to the snack mix.’
Now the presiding officer will ask, ‘Do I hear a second?’ Getting a second lets the president know that there is more than one person that would like to discuss this.
With a motion and second, it’s time to discuss. Because parliamentary procedure is all about getting participation from the group, we are going to need to hear discussion from at least 3 members before we call for a vote. Discussion is the time for members to ask questions about the effects of the proposal or add their opinions. ”
- Proceed in encouraging discussion and help get motions to add the other ingredients.
- Encourage/Walk-through an amended motion (perhaps to add only ½ of the sweet treat into the mix).
- Plant two members to make a motion and a second to add the “undesirable” ingredient (i.e. broccoli). This will allow the members to voice dissension and vote down a motion.
Debrief: Now that we have made our tasty snack mix, let’s review what we have learned about parliamentary procedure.
What is parliamentary procedure? An agreement to keep meetings orderly and give everyone a chance to participate.
How do we start a discussion? Make a motion.
Why do we need a second, before we discuss a topic? To confirm that more than one person want to discuss the matter.
If I want to disagree or ask a question, when should I do it? During the discussion.
Who can make a motion? Any member.
Who is the presiding officer? The president, or other officer, leading the meeting.
Do I have to vote? No. You can choose to abstain, which means you choose to not vote.
Adapted from Kansas State 4-H activity http://www.kansas4h.org/doc6656.ashx
Club Officers & Leaders,
This blog is the offspring of the club officer training held each September. Several seasoned officers mentioned that they are really motivated to do "it" right immediately following the training each fall, but as the year progresses they feel themselves slipping into "easy". They wished that there was a way to keep the motivation going...getting little sparks of innovation and new ideas throughout the year. We are hoping this blog will help provide this.
I will supply some ideas, timely suggestions, cool activities, and more throughout the year. I'd love to post your innovations, ideas and helpful hints as well. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking for something on a particular topic, let me know.
Look for another blog post very, very shortly.
Gwyn Vanoni, 4-H Office