4-H Leaders and Teen Leaders

4-H Leader's Manual

What is a 4-H adult leader?

Volunteers make 4-H happen

Club leaders oversee the operation of a club and coordinate its activities.
Project and activity leaders help 4-H’ers plan and conduct projects and group activities.
Behind-the-scenes volunteers provide support for club activites, events, trainings, etc.
County-level volunteers may assist with after-school programs or help at fairs.
State-level volunteers help with statewide activities and conferences such as Capitol Experience and Exploration Days.

Just five steps to becoming a 4-H volunteer!

  1. Decide that you have the time and interest to help kids explore and chart positive futures.
  2. Consider volunteering to lead a 4-H group in your community, your local school (before or after school), your church or any other location where there are kids who need positive, committed adult role models in their lives.
  3. Contact your county MSU Extension office to find out about local opportunities for 4-H involvement.
  4. Complete Michigan State University Extension’s Child Well-Being Volunteer Selection Process.
  5. Share your skills, knowledge and talents while having fun with kids, and you’re sure to make a difference in their lives.

How much time, and do I need to be an expert?

You can plan the time you spend in 4-H around your family and job. You don’t have to know a lot about a subject to be a volunteer. Many resources are available to give you a working knowledge of 4-H project areas. Many volunteers learn right along with the youth they work with! MSU Extension provides low-cost materials and workshops for volunteers on an ongoing basis.

Getting started with your 4-H club or group

Michigan 4-H youth programs are open to youth ages 5 to 19. Although 4-H provides learning materials, events and training in a variety of program areas, the opportunities for 4-H involvement are only restricted by participants’ interests and imaginations. Leaders should survey the youth they work with to decide what projects and activities to pursue. 4-H clubs and groups include at least five members. For more information on specific requirements for registering your 4-H club or group, contact your closest MSU Extension office.

Where to find learning resources

Michigan 4-H Youth Development offers a wide variety of projects and learning opportunities for young people and the adults and older teens who work with them. Look in the Programs area of this website to find statewide resources and events listed by interest area.

4-H Leader Application and Agreement Forms

Please email completed forms to 4hvolunteers@anr.msu.edu and let your references know that we will be contacting them via email if possible.

What is a 4-H teen leader?

For the purpose of using the 4-H Teen Leadership materials, a 4-H teen leader will be defined as a young person who is:

  • Between the ages of 13 and 19 years old.
  • Learning and developing leadership skills.
  • Using his or her knowledge, skills and abilities to help others meet their goals.
  • Practicing leadership skills through various activities and reflecting on the leadership experiences.

Though a 4-H teen may be learning and developing leadership skills, to be a 4-H teen leader, the young person also needs to be practicing what he or she has learned and reflecting on the leadership experiences. First-time activities should be designed so that the teen can gain confidence in his or her skills and abilities. Experiences should become more challenging as the teens develop their leadership skills.

MSUE 4-H Teen Leader Book
4-H Horse Project Area Teen Leader Expectations
4-H Horse Teen Leader Application