4-H Virtual Leader Handbook

Scott County 4-H Leaders’ Virtual Handbook                                          

About 4-H:

4-H is a community of young people across America that is learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.  It is the non-formal, dynamic youth development education program of the United States Department of Agriculture.  Whether youth live in a town, a suburb, a farm or in a city, 4th through 12th graders can belong to 4-H.

 Click here for more information about the history of 4-H.

 Guiding principles of Iowa 4-H:

·    Our vision: A world in which youth and adults learn, grow and work for positive change.

·    Our mission: 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

·    Our values:

o   Youth as powerful members of society

o   Youth and adults as caring partners

o   Learning as a lifelong commitment

o   Diversity and social conscience

o   Doing our best and making it better

Click here for more information about our vision, mission and values.

 4-H teaches five important outcomes:

1.      Communication

2.      Citizenship

3.      Leadership

4.      Personal life management

5.      Knowledge

Click here for more information about our outcome areas.

 The 4-Hs stand for:

  • Heart: Belonging
  • Head: Independence
  • Hands: Generosity
  • Health: Mastery

Click here for more information about the Circle of Courage.

4-H youth development programs encompass the eight essential elements of positive youth development.  They are:

1.      Caring Adult

2.      Safe environment

3.      Mastery

4.      Service

5.      Self-determination

6.      Inclusiveness

7.      Futuristic

8.      Engagement

Click here for more information about the eight essential elements of positive youth development.


4-H Enrollment:

General Marketing Brochure for all 4-H Youth Development Programs

General Marketing Brochure for 4-H Clubs

New Member Booklet


Program Planning:

Annual Program Plan Instructions

Annual Program Plan Template

Annual Program Plan Revision Form

What to discuss at each month’s meeting

Suggested outline for club meetings

Techniques for teaching youth

Guidelines for planning 4-H Trips and Tours

Leader’s Monthly Meeting Planning Guide


Business Meeting:

The point of the business meeting is for members to determine and plan the activities and events of the club. It should demonstrate democracy in action. Members learn how to express themselves in a group, listen to the views of others, come to consensus and reach a decision, and abide by majority rule. The business meeting should be no longer than 15-20 minutes—especially if members are young.

Information about 4-H Club Officers


Understaning Youth:

At each age, youth are focused on the development of different skills.  We can help youth make the most of their youth development experience when we plan activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

 Click here for planning meaningful learning experiences for each age.


Experiential Learning:

What is the experiential learning model?

National 4-H Council talks about experiential learning

Ways to reflect and apply with your youth


Project Areas:

4-H projects are tools for teaching young people skills by developing their interests in certain areas. This is done through:

  • setting goals for learning,
  • planning and carrying out goals,
  • reflecting on experiences, and
  • keeping records about each project area.

Click here for project area suggestions.


Record Keeping: 

The 4-H Record Keeping Philosophy aims to teach how to keep records, which is an important life skill. Recordkeeping is an ongoing process that does not end when the 4-H year ends. Youth are encouraged to select from a variety of alternatives to meet their individual recordkeeping needs and learning styles.  The purpose of 4-H record keeping is:

  1. To learn how to set goals, how to make plans for action, and how to decide how well you did (evaluation).
  2. To learn the skills of record keeping and organization to use now and in the future.
  3. To learn to communicate and summarize.
  4. To learn responsibility by completing a task.
  5. To evaluate information that will market personal skills through future resumes and application forms.

Achieving Goals through 4-H Record Keeping

Click here for the 4-H Record Book Annual Summary.

Click here for the 4-H Record Keeping Self-evaluation.

Suggested format for 4-H Record Books

Click here for the 4-H Project Records.

Click here for Livestock Project Worksheets.



Communication is the exchange of thoughts, information or messages between individuals, as well as the sending and receiving of information using speech, writing and gestures.  Effective communication skills are critical to success in school, work and relationships.  4-H assists youth in learning to successfully receive and send messages using written, oral and/or visual means in through a variety of activities and experiences.

 Click here for the Pieces to the 4-H Presentation Puzzle.

No Problem Presentations

Educational Presentation Topic Suggestions

Click here for the Educational Presentation Evaluation Form.

Click here to find out about working exhibits.

Click here for the Working Exhibit Evaluation Form.

Click here for the Extemporaneous Speaking Evaluation Form.

What is Share the Fun?

Share the Fun Critiquer’s Comments 



Recognition is an acknowledgment and affirmation of the personal growth in an individual. It can be public or private. It can be within the individual or provided by others. Recognition in 4-H is the encouragement and support for learning. It comes as a result of participation in educational experiences.  4-H uses recognition as one strategy to help youth become more capable and competent.  It does this through recognizing and appreciating each person's effort and providing positive reinforcement to continue participating in learning activities. 4-H'ers experiences must be structured so as to incorporate opportunities to build positive esteem and self reliance.

 Click here for more information about the 4-H recognition philosophy.

Click here for Iowa State 4-H Youth Development Recognition Opportunities

Click here for Scott County 4-H Recognition Opportunities

Award Application

4-H Project Award Evaluation Form Explanation Sheet

4-H Project Award Evaluation Form

UP (Utilizing Your Potential) Award Application

I Dare You Award Application

Merit and Excellence Awards – Club Summary

Merit and Excellence Award Application

Volunteer Award Nomination Form 



The Mississippi Valley Fair provides 4-Hers the opportunity to showcase exhibits that represent learning experiences they have had in their project areas all year.  Fair exhibition allows youth to talk with judges about their goals, experiences, mistakes and successes while exploring a project area.  Exhibition at fair is optional.  4-Hers will receive a fair book each spring to assist them in fair exhibit preparation.

Click here to go to the Mississippi Valley Fair forms website.

Click here for more information about the role of fair exhibition in 4-H.


Volunteer Policies and Procedures:

Click here for the Volunteer statement for Scott County Extension 4-H Youth Development Volunteers.

Click here for information on Incident Reports.

Iowa Legislation for Protection of 4-H Volunteers

4-H Member Insurance

4-H Special Event Insurance

Risk Management Waivers

Emergency Procedures

Click here for rules about the use of the 4-H Clover.

Financial Guidelines for Iowa 4-H Clubs and Groups  

Scott County 4-H Club Financial Report     

 4-H Club Non Discrimination Form (4H 3)


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