University of Illinois Extension

Helping Leaders Be 4-H Savvy - University of Illinois Extension

Setting Project Goals

Planning For My 4-H Project Work is the title of the goal sheet for 8 -11 year olds. Illinois Project Plan is for 12 -14 year olds and Illinois Advanced Project Plan is for 15-19 year olds. Cloverbud members have their own sheets called Cloverbud Story Level I, II, and III.

4-H volunteers, parents and junior leaders can help members set goals. Members and their "goal setting" helper should sit down and go through the project manual to see what types of learning activities are offered. They may also want to review The Illinois Clover to see the suggestions of things that can be done in the project. Finally they may want to review the county 4-H fairbook to see what are the exhibit opportunities in each project. They may want to ask for a copy of the score sheet for the project at the local Extension Office as well.

Goal setting could be done individually with a member and parent and/or leader, could be done in project groups, or could be done at a club meeting with members and leaders divided into small groups. What is important is that someone takes the time to help the members plan what they would like to do early in the year. Members then can figure out who can help them with the project and set a reasonable timeline to accomplish their goals before the fair or end of the year. Members should spread the project work over the entire year. Parents can help to determine the number of realistic goals per project.

Goal setting is important because 4-H'ers have a "stake" in their learning. They can match their interests and goals. They are more likely to learn more if it is something they are interested in and members and parents can set their own pace for the work to be done.

Having a goal is like having a road map. It helps members decide how to get from where they are to where they want to go. Project goals are tools that help members look ahead to plan what they want to do. A project goal should have three parts:

  1. How they plan to do something
  2. What will happen when they do that, and
  3. When they will do it.

The three parts are also called 1) the action, 2) the result, and 3) the timetable. Members should check to see that each goal has the three parts and that they can be measured. Once members have written their goals, help them do a control test. Look over the goal and ask, "Do I have control over what I what to do, or does someone else? Does the action part of the goal tell what you will do? The goal will pass the control test if the action is something the member can do, rather than something someone else will do.

A club activity outline for leaders on Setting Project Goals is available from the local Extension Office.

Goal Setting Yearly Planning Guide for Leaders

September - October

November - December

January - February - March

April - June

June - August