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Start a 4-H Club

4-H Clubs are the most traditional and effective delivery mode of 4-H programming to youth. Club meetings are learning “laboratories” where members develop social skills including communicating and working with others, practicing leadership skills, developing strong character, and becoming responsible citizens by participating in community service activities. It’s a wonderful way for youth to become exposed to new and exciting experiences and activities in a safe and familiar environment.

Steps to Start a 4-H Club

1. Contact the 4-H Office to express interest in starting your own 4-H Club.

  • The 4-H Educator will walk you through all the steps and offer leader trainings.

2. Join other families with similar interests.

  • A club is made up of five or more youth from at least two families.
  • Members are usually close in age and live in the same area.

3. Determine what role each adult will take on and apply to become a 4-H Volunteer.

  • Each club must have at least two approved adult leaders.
  • Leaders can be parents, guardians, or other adults from the community.
  • All 4-H Leaders/Volunteers must consent to a DMV and background check.

4. Have a first club meeting!

  • Your club is whatever you want it to be.
  • Determine how many members you want to include and how often you will meet.
  • Agree on project areas (members can also choose a project to work on outside the club).
  • Choose a club name that fits your group.
  • Determine club rules and bylaws.
  • Elect Club Officers (optional).

5. Apply for Club Charter.

6. Stay in contact with the 4-H Educator. 

The 4-H staff is here to provide support to Club Leaders:

  • Following NYS 4-H policies.
  • Staying up-to-date on upcoming County, Regional and State 4-H Programs.
  • Learning about current 4-H curricula.
  • Get assistance recruiting club volunteers and new members.

Types of Clubs

Neighborhood 4-H Clubs: Groups of five or more youth usually led by at least 2 parents/guardians. Families participating in these clubs tend to live in the same local area or attend the same schools. These clubs meet in schools, churches, community centers, or homes to complete a variety of 4-H projects throughout the year. Neighborhood 4-H clubs hold business meetings on a regular basis, elect officers, participate in public presentations, care for their community, learn through project work, and exhibit learning at the local county fair. If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood 4-H Club, please contact the 4-H office for more information.

4-H STEP (Short-Term Exploratory Projects) Clubs: STEP Clubs generally meet once a week for 3-8 weeks and are designed to provide an opportunity for youth to explore a particular project area in a shorter period while learning about the larger 4-H program. Program offerings vary throughout the 4-H year and are tailored toward member desires. STEP clubs are open to any enrolled 4-H youth.(Non-members may participate for a fee). Any screened adult volunteer or 4-H staff member may lead a STEP club.

4-H SPIN (Special Interest) Clubs: SPIN clubs are continuous STEP clubs. These clubs are designed to allow youth a deeper exploration of specific project areas. These clubs usually meet one to two times per month throughout the 4-H year. SPIN clubs are facilitated by 4-H staff and volunteers and include activities, guest speakers, and field trips pertaining to a distinct project topic. SPIN clubs are open to any enrolled 4-H youth.

Cloverbud Clubs: Cloverbuds are the youngest members (aged 5-8) in the 4-H program. Cloverbud clubs can be either Neighborhood Clubs (run by parents/guardians) or SPIN clubs (run by 4-H staff and other volunteers). These clubs help young people develop confidence, social skills, decision-making abilities, subject matter knowledge, and physical skills. Cloverbuds are involved in noncompetitive group activities, rather than individual projects.

Community Clubs: These clubs were created to involve Independent 4-H members in the club experience. Community clubs are an opportunity for youth in a specific geographic to engage with other 4-H members. Activities in these clubs are created based on topics chosen by the localized 4-H members.

Last updated March 15, 2024