Editor’s note: While the following information is from Michigan State University and relates to that location, all states have 4-H organizations, and many extension offices work closely with 4-H youth programs. Learning more about starting or becoming involved in an existing horse-related 4-H program might be a good boost to your farm or stable.
Michigan 4-H has variety of different approaches in the types of 4-H clubs volunteers can start and lead. No matter what your passion area is, a 4-H club can be created to fit. The first step is contact your local Michigan State University Extension county office and talk to the 4-H program coordinator. They can walk you through all the steps in the Volunteer Selection Process and the specifics to get a club started in your county. In addition, the Michigan 4-H Club Development Guide will provide a lot of in-depth information about what goes into a 4-H club. However, having some knowledge about the types of clubs that can be created will help you be prepared about what experience will fit your passion and your time commitment best.
- Community clubs focus on multiple projects and involve members of a variety of ages and interests. Community clubs normally have monthly general clubs meetings that can include icebreakers, team-building activities, club business and educational programs. In addition to the general club meetings, members will participate in separate project meetings with different volunteer project leaders.
- Project clubs are centered around one primary 4-H project that all members of the group participate in. Meetings may be monthly or weekly and focus on the specific project along with any club business such as team building, service projects and fund-raising. A project club can be the simplest club to start if you are looking for a year-round volunteer experience as it focuses on just one interest area of youth.
- SPIN clubs combine concepts of special interest groups with the 4-H club model. A 4-H SPIN club focuses on one specific topic for a set length of time. This type of club provides a volunteer leader with a set timeframe they will volunteer for and will focus on one topic. Typically, SPIN clubs meet six to eight times for about one hour.
Thinking you want to volunteer with 4-H, but a club experience isn’t the best fit for you? 4-H has a lot of other volunteer opportunities.
Find more articles from Michigan State University Extension.