The following are questions that may be asked by your various stakeholder groups, some answers are provided as they are based on Alberta 4-H guidelines, and others however do not, as the answers may be school specific. Preparing responses to some of these in advance of the proposal presentation may alleviate a lot of fears upfront. This list is by no means all inclusive but should help the process.
Isn’t 4-H just for farm kids?
The 4-H program is designed for all youth between the ages of nine and 20 years old. There are numerous projects that range from life skills to technology, and livestock to exchanges; there is literally something for everyone regardless of where they live.
I am already in one club; can I still be in this club too?
Yes, members can be in more than one club provided you meet the 4-H requirements for each club, which means attending 70% of each clubs activities, completing record books for all projects, completing a communication activity and a community service activity for each club, as well as participating in both achievement events.
Do I have to complete the project/record book by a set standard (like school assignments) or can I be creative?
That would depend on the Project Leader and school; however, 4-H does encourage creativity as long as the information is completed.
Do I get marked (graded) on the quality of my project work and record book?
4-H does not have any grading/marking system (unless the member is entering the record book competition which does have judging criteria/guidelines), it is just expected that the work will be completed to the best of each member’s ability.
Do I only have to complete one record book per year?
A record book must be completed and signed by a leader for each project taken. Failure to do so will result in members not being granted credit for the 4-H year or permission to attend Provincial 4-H events and programs.
What is the communication activity?
The communication activity is some form of public speaking (speech, presentation, emceeing, report to the club, etc.) that is prepared and presented by the member and is at least three minutes in length.
Do I have to do public speaking?
Yes, in order to gain credit for the year, each member must complete some form of communication activity as described above.
What if I miss the community service activity? Will I lose credit for the year?
If you do not complete a community service activity then you will not gain credit; however, check with your club’s General Leader and see if there is another activity you can complete to meet this requirement (some clubs offer more than one opportunity per year).
What will being in 4-H do for me?
Being a registered member will provide the chance for you to participate in 4-H district, regional, provincial and national activities such as summer programs, exchanges, conferences, apply for scholarships/bursaries, etc.
It will also allow you to develop skills that will benefit you throughout your life.
There is the potential to gain CTS (Career and Technology Studies) credits in high school.
I am very shy, do I have to participate in camps that are beyond my school club?
4-H programs are incredible opportunities to meet new people and try new things; the staff that are involved in hosting these programs are very understanding and helpful and will assist even the shyest of individuals feel comfortable. This is a terrific chance to come out of your shell in the safety of an encouraging group; however, the activities outside of your club are not mandatory.
Will having a school-based 4-H club add to my work load?
No, if you are a Project Leader, the materials are provided for you from the Alberta 4-H Branch. You can follow and add to the information and ideas in these manuals. Some teachers have said: is far less preparation, etc than teaching a regular core subject. (Response based on teacher feedback from Ardmore School)
I have never been involved in 4-H and I know nothing about the program, can I still be a leader?
Absolutely; however, you will need to meet the 4-H leader regulations, learn about the program and its requirements and work as partners with the members in achieving their project goals.
Do I have to complete the leader screening process if I am a qualified teacher?
Yes, school-based 4-H clubs must follow the same rules and guidelines as any other registered 4-H club. All leaders must complete the screening process, including the Level I Leader Training or they may not work alone with 4-H members. The screening application package must be submitted within two months of club startup while the Level I training must be completed within twelve months of approval. (4-H Alberta Leader Policy 3.02)
Do qualified teachers have to be the leaders?
As far as Alberta 4-H is concerned, no, leaders do not have to be qualified teachers; however, any registered leader must complete the leader screening process.
As far as school jurisdications are usually concerned, a qualified teacher would likely have to be present and in charge of the group with a volunteer leader or teacher assistant that would carry out the 4-H portion under that teacher’s supervision. Check with your school jurisdiction to confirm this information.
When the school-based club is being organized, should there be a General Leader and who would best serve the position?
Yes there should be a General Leader who can oversee the program, complete paperwork, answer questions, etc. It is best if you can have a General Leader that is already working within the school; they already know the staff and students. This person has access to information, can organize meetings, meet with leaders, etc right there during the school day. Parents generally do make great General Leaders; however, they have found it very difficult to deal with any problems that arise, paperwork, etc without being directly in the school during the day.
Do I have to follow the project materials from Alberta 4-H precisely or can I be creative?
That is the beauty of 4-H, the materials are there to guide and support but leaders along with their project members can work together to provide and gain the best learning experience possible.
Do I have to assign grades or marks to the work the members do?
4-H does not have any grading/marking system (unless the member is entering the record book competition which does have judging criteria/guidelines), it is just expected that the work will be completed to the best of each member’s individual ability.
Who will cover the registration fees and can we ask parents to supply project materials (ex: craft materials) or is the school responsible for the costs?
Be sure to research the answer to this question in your own school and school jurisdiction thoroughly before answering, as it could determine approval from the Board. Some school districts will not allow for the families to cover these costs as they consider it to be a part of the regular school programming which all students should have access to. If this is the case, either the school will have to cover the fees or other sources of funding will need to be found (refer to “Funding Opportunities” in this resource for possible options).
How do we deal with students that are underage but in a class that will participate in 4-H?
The underage students are not recognized by Alberta 4-H and cannot therefore, be registered members. One of the school-based 4-H clubs has had a couple of underage members whom they allowed in the project groups to participate like a regular member, they completed the expectations like any other member (they could not compete in the communication competition but they did complete a communication activity); however, they were not registered, they could not participate in any 4-H programs that were offered outside of their own school program, and they could not be covered under the 4-H insurance and liability.
For schools that may have grade 3/4 split classes and have to deal with half the class being underage, they could follow the above scenario for these underage students so that they could still participate in project work and club activities just like their classmates.
The above are examples; in these circumstances, you must first adhere to Alberta 4-H policy then it is generally up to each individual school to handle.
How will being involved in this school-based 4-H club help my child?
Refer to both areas of this resource “Alberta 4-H” and “School-based Clubs” for ideas regarding the benefits, member opportunities, program opportunities, etc.
Include information that will be specific to your school.
Can parents be involved in the school 4-H program? Can we attend meetings and activities?
Yes! Parental involvement is encouraged!
Who will cover the registration fees?
Be sure to research the answer to this question in your own school and school jurisdiction thoroughly before answering as it could determine approval from the Board. Some school districts will not allow for the families to cover these costs as they consider it to be a part of the regular school programming which all students should have access to. If this is the case, either the school will have to cover the fees or other sources of funding will need to be found (refer to “Funding Opportunities” in this resource for possible options).
Will all students of 4-H age participate?
Yes, members between ages 9 and 20 are all eligible to participate.
Will it interfere with curriculum and school work?
This is a great opportunity to reiterate the potential curriculum fit but be sure to include when the program would be offered (scheduled).
Will teachers and school staff be the project leaders?
Not necessarily, each school operates differently in this regard; however, participation by teachers and staff is greatly encouraged.