- Author: Gwyn W Vanoni
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>