University of Illinois Extension

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

Junior Leader Responsibilities

Many young people who have been 4-H members for two or three years are ready to expand their leadership role within their 4-H club. These members may have shown leadership qualities by serving as an officer or committee member or through their project work. Older 4-H members may gain new leadership skills by assisting other members with their 4-H project work.

The following is a list of ideas of responsibilities that junior leaders may assume in their own 4-H community club:

Recruit two new members to the club - Many young people today have very little knowledge about 4-H and know nothing about the variety of opportunities available to them through 4-H. Personal contact is our best recruiting tool.

Serve as a "mentor" or "big friend" to a new member - Many new members do not have siblings who are in 4-H or parents who are alumni. So they need help to get started on the "right foot" from the very beginning.

Guide new members in the selection of their projects - Junior leaders may be able to share information about projects that they have enrolled in during their years of membership. They may be able to talk about the types of activities and learning experiences that are included in the project manuals. They can show new members samples of project manuals, leader guides and other resources available to members in their project area.

Assist members in setting project goals - Junior leaders can help members select activities and learning experiences from their project manuals that they would like to work on during the year. They can also discuss ideas that they have completed themselves in the project area as well as talk about the work they have done in project meetings or groups within their club.

Suggest topics for talks/demonstrations in a particular project area - Junior leaders can help generate a list of possible topics for talks or demonstrations in a project area. They can refer members to ideas that are often included in project manuals or leader guides.

Help members in developing and presenting a talk/demo - Junior leaders might demonstrate a "good" and a "bad" talk/demo for a group of members. They may help members develop an introduction, body and summary for their talk/demo using the information in the Public Presentations manual. They may help members secure this publication from their leader or Extension office.

Assist members in the completion of their project records or "My 4-H Activities" sheet - Junior leaders may help members individually or in small groups to complete their project records. This could be spread out over several meetings during the year. They may also help members make notes on a calendar so they keep track of the information they need to complete the "My 4-H Activities" sheet.

Assist a project leader with one or more meetings for a project area - Junior leaders may volunteer to help an adult project leader conduct one or more meetings in a particular project area that they have had experience or training. They may help set up the supplies for the activities, help explain the steps of the activity, answer questions, or help members complete their work.

Conduct a project meeting for members - Older members may feel confident enough in a project area that they would like to conduct a project meeting on their own. Work with the 4-H organizational leader to set a time, date, and place for the meeting. They will have information on how to plan a project meeting and help junior leaders get started.

Demonstrate the "conference judging" concept for members - Junior leaders can help members learn about judging standards, practice the questions that are often asked by the judge in conference judging, and learn to evaluate their own work and progress.

Help members understand exhibit rules for county show in project area - Junior leaders can help members read through the exhibit guidelines for projects, explain the process and procedure for judging day, share what the ribbons mean, and talk about how to properly put together a display or exhibit in a project area.

Junior leaders should select what they are interested in doing as a junior leader from these ideas or come up with ideas of their own. The possibilities are endless! They should share these ideas with their parents and 4-H organizational leader. Junior leaders should then develop a plan of action for the year. The plan should be quite specific and agreed upon by the junior leader and the adult volunteer. Junior leaders will need some supervision and advice from the adult leaders and their parents in order to be successful.

For more information about "Working with Youth Leaders," contact your local Extension office about volunteer training opportunities on this topic and about materials you can use to assist youth leaders with their leadership roles.