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4-H Club Resources - Staff Resources - 4-H Youth Development UW-Extension
Cooperative Extension University of Wisconsin-Extension
Home Search Contact About Home Skip Navigation

Some Staff Resources are employee-only resources and require a NetID and password for access. Log In on the Staff Home.

4-H Youth Development Home »  Staff Resources & Youth Line Home » Program Management

4-H Community Club Resources

Youth development research documents that multi-year involvement in an on-going youth organization has the greatest positive impact on the lives of young people. The 4-H club provides youth essential elements of positive youth development of belonging, mastery, independence and mastery. Through participation in the 4-H club, youth build critical on-going relationship with adults, opportunities for leadership and citizenship, life skill development and increase their connection to peers and the community. It is vital that the 4-H club provide a “youth-centered” approach.

4-H Youth Development programs are delivered primarily through volunteers. Providing the essential orientation, training, support and recognition for 4-H volunteers is critical to the quality of the 4-H experience for youth.  To help insure that Wisconsin 4-H volunteers possess the needed tools and resources, the Strengthening 4-H Clubs Work Team has researched and reviewed best practice programs. Thank you for your support as we work to strengthen the 4-H club program for all 4-H members.

This web site includes variety of resources available to help start, strengthen and revitalize 4-H Community Clubs. Additional tools and resources are also available at the 4-H Community Club Central web page.

butterflyQuick Links: Annual Volunteer Leader Training Web Site; Member Retention Web Site

4-H Charter and Annual Renewal Process for 4-H Clubs and Groups

A 4-H Charter indicates the 4-H Club or Group is organized in accordance with objectives of the 4-H program. The University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension grants 4-H Charters which formally authorizes the 4-H Club or Group to use the 4-H Name and Emblem for educational purposes in accordance with laws and regulations established by Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • The purpose of the 4-H Charter is education, communication and accountability.
  • All 4-H Clubs must be chartered.
  • All 4-H Groups (including committees, boards or other organizations) that hold any financial accounts must be chartered.  If a 4-H Group does not hold financial accounts, it must be formally recognized and accountable to the County 4-H Leaders Organization.
  • The 4-H Charter allows the Club or Group to qualify for federal tax exempt status under the UW-Extension General Exemption Number (GEN) for Wisconsin 4-H Clubs and Groups.
  • A 4-H Charter is given to a new 4-H Club or Group as they are formed and meeting the requirements of a 4-H Club or Group.  The successful completion of the 4-H Charter Application begins this process.
  • 4-H Charters are renewed annually and will be granted upon successful completion of the 4-H Charter Annual Renewal packet. This packet is due to the 4-H Youth Development Educator by November 1 or an earlier date as determined by the Educator.
  • Requirements for a 4-H Club and chartered Groups are listed in the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development Policies at

The Wisconsin 4-H Charter Application and Renewal packet provides timely communication between 4-H volunteers, Clubs and Groups and the 4-H Youth Development Educator.  This ensures timely database updates resulting in better communication.  The 4-H Charter Application and Annual Renewal packet provides the documentation of educational activities of the 4-H Club or Group/Committee needed for liability coverage for 4-H volunteers and members, program impact evaluation and educational planning.  And finally, the 4-H Charter Application and Annual Renewal packets provide documentation of compliance by 4-H Clubs and Groups with EEO and ADA guidelines, civil rights laws and accountability of handling 4-H money appropriately including IRS rules.

Staff Responsibilities: 4-H Charter Applications and Renewal forms are reviewed and approved by the 4-H Youth Development Educator and posted on the Wisconsin 4-H Clubs and Groups Data Collection site. Charters certificates or letters of renewal are sent to 4-H clubs and groups that have successfully completed the charter process.  Provisional charters are available to a 4-H club or group as they work to meet the necessary requirements of a 4-H Club or Group. This information is posted on 4-H Community Club Central Home Page for Volunteers.

4-H Charter Certificates are located in the For Employee box on the 4-H Name and Emblem Website. A letter to affirm annual charter renewal and a provisional renewal are also available.

The Dissolution or Non-Renewal of Wisconsin 4-H Charters Form is a checklist tool for 4-H Youth Development Educators as they work with a 4-H Club or Group when they choose to dissolve or there is a non renewal of the 4-H Charter. It is located on the 4-H Name and Emblem web site in the Employees Box.

Dates and Deadlines for 4-H Charter Documents and Reports

Annual Volunteer Leader Training

  • Annual 4-H Volunteer Leader Training Web Site This web site includes the lesson plans and all teaching materials. for the annual 4-H volunteer leader trainings.
  • MS Word Document Overview Annual Leader Training Process and Plan (2 pages, 59 KB) This document outlines the process, timeline and schedule for the annual 4-H leader required leader training. The annual required volunteer leader training is encouraged for the 2008-2009 4-H enrollment year and required for 2009-2010 4-H enrollment year.

Member Retention Survey and Resources

Understanding why 4-H members leave 4-H is critical to addressing the issue of member retention. This web page includes the process for staff to collect this data from non-returning members, how the information will be gathered and reported and to the most current tools in place to increase member retention. The results of the survey will be used to develop additional tools and strategies to support all staff and county 4-H programs. Retention surveys should be sent out as soon as current enrollments are entered into the 4-HPlus enrollment system and no later than March 31 each year. Data will be collected an analyzed each May.

County 4-H Program Structures

In many counties, the county 4-H Leader's organization supports the 4-H program through conducting educational programs, raising supplemental funds, and representing 4-H in the community.

  • 4-H Youth Development Educators and County 4-H Leader Organizations Identifying the specific roles of the 4-H Youth Development Educator, 4-H Leader Organizations, 4-H Boards and Committees is important to insure quality educational programs for 4-H members and effective organizations. This document outlines these roles and accountability so the work of the groups can be accomplished, improve communication, and assist in developing operational guidelines and bylaws. (Update 1-2011)
  • PDF file County 4-H Program Structures (2 pages, 45 KB) - While the structure of a county 4-H program varies from county to county, there are consistent foundations in all county programs.
  • PDF file Sample County 4-H Program Flowchart (1 page, 24 KB) - 4-H groups and associations are accountable to Cooperative Extension for their activities and finances.

Teaching Tools

  • Getting to Know 4-H Community Club Central Located on the 4-H Community Club Central Home Page, this Power Point can be used to assist volunteers on how to navigate 4-H Community Club Central web site and to access the multitudes of valuable resources it holds to strengthen the local 4-H club.

4-H Shooting Sports Website for Staff:

The 4-H Shooting Sports Staff Resources Website provides a variety of guidelines, resources and training tools for staff to support shooting sports volunteers and members.