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Monday, May 16, 2022

‘Club in a tub’ program provides resources for new and returning 4-H club leaders

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By Rebekah Hall
U of A System Division of Agriculture 

Among the many things the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted, the passing along of leadership roles within organizations — 4-H clubs among them — can be one of the most difficult to navigate. 

To help new and returning 4-H leaders gain their footing within their respective clubs, Johnson County extension 4-H agent Jeanie Rowbotham designed “Club in a tub,” a new resource for 4-H club leaders containing information and tools.  

Rowbotham said she worked with Clark County extension 4-H agent Cindy Ham to create a tub that contains “everything you need for a club in one spot” and aids 4-H leaders in starting the new program year.  

“Right now, I think recruiting and promotion for clubs is such a big deal, more so than it’s ever been before, because of these last few years,” Rowbotham said. “I think the tubs make that easier, and it gives leaders a resource that has everything right in front of them, so if someone is interested in becoming a 4-H leader, they have something to go off. This gets them started, this helps them, and it takes a little bit of stress off them.”  

Rowbotham said it was important to ensure the tubs were self-contained and portable, as many clubs meet in shared conference rooms or community buildings. The clear tubs, usually used to store files, measure 18 ½ inches long, 14 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The tubs contain a variety of tools and information for leaders, starting with the basics: a 4-H and American flag set, a first aid kit, hand sanitizer and disposable masks, pencils, a stapler and tape.  

Each tub also comes with file folders that have “everything you would need to conduct your club meetings,” Rowbotham said. This includes the Arkansas Volunteer Guidebook, a laminated copy of the 4-H pledge, club charter forms and bylaws, the club ritual agenda and 12 copies of the monthly 4-H club agenda, promotional materials, registration information and forms to enroll or re-enroll club members, leadership information packets and a list of officers with a book of officer responsibilities. The tubs also contain icebreakers, project ideas, programming resources, game ideas and club songs.  

Rowbotham said she and Ham came up with the idea for the tubs around Christmastime because “there’s so much transition in leadership with clubs.” After brainstorming what should be in the tubs, they also consulted with new and longtime 4-H club leaders about what items should be added or taken out. The leaders suggested they add record books, which club members use to keep track of their community service, leadership and projects throughout the year, “so kids could get started on record books from the very beginning.”  

The club in a tub program is still in its beginning stages, and Rowbotham said she hopes to eventually expand it to provide club leaders in all counties with the resource. So far, only club leaders in Rowbotham’s Johnson County and Ham’s Clark County will receive tubs. Rowbotham said she and Ham have plans to discuss the program with their district directors and with Angie Freel, Associate Department Head for 4-H.  

Rowbotham said she is excited about the potential for the tubs to help smooth leadership transitions and provide a fresh start for returning leaders.  

“In 4-H, you always have lulls where you have a change of leaders and new clubs forming, but right now, it seems like all of our clubs are there,” Rowbotham said. “We’ve kind of been on pause, and we’re getting things back going, so I think it’s the perfect time to implement this.” 

For more information about getting involved with Arkansas 4-H, visit 4h.uada.edu/ or contact your county extension agent.  

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