Successful Summer with Cloverbuds

Summer is such a fun time of year for our 4-H Cloverbud members, but it can be a very busy and stressful time. With all the rush to jump into summer and start working on 4-H activities, members may feel overwhelmed. Families also have a lot of changes in job schedules and childcare with the transition into summer. Here are a few ideas for 4-H volunteers to consider when helping Cloverbud members positively jump into a successful summer 4-H season.

First, make sure Cloverbuds have a specific time at each club meeting to work on Cloverbud projects and activities. Having enough 4-H volunteers in place to help teach and guide the members will help meetings go smoothly and give the Cloverbuds a calm environment to have fun while working on projects and being with friends. Utilize the 4-H Cloverbud Volunteer Guidebook to plan club meetings.

A fun way to help our Cloverbud members succeed in 4-H at this busy time of year is with a 4-H partner or mentor. Utilize teens in your 4-H club and partner them with a Cloverbud member to talk, share, learn, and have fun. Knowing that at each meeting there is a time just to work with an older member and ask questions will create routine and structure for your Cloverbuds.

It is very important to explain to the members about Cloverbud events offered in your county and spend time at the meetings reviewing those events. This will allow the Cloverbud members to learn about the events in a smaller learning environment. A great example is project “show & tell” or interview. Many county programs offer a “show & tell” or interview during the junior fair to give Cloverbud members the opportunity to interact with an adult.  This helps Cloverbud members start developing very important communication and interview skills. Remember Cloverbuds are not competing. These events should provide a learning environment to have fun and develop new skills.

Try to hold a meeting at a place where county 4-H Cloverbud events will be held during the summer. For example, many counties offer Cloverbud opportunities such as day camp or special Cloverbud fair events. One location idea could be the county fairgrounds. Check with your 4-H staff or Senior Fair Board to see if your 4-H club could reserve a spot to hold a meeting at the fairgrounds. Getting the members on the fairgrounds to explore the buildings will help ease nerves and allow them a quiet time before the hustle of the fair.  Show your Cloverbuds where activities are held, where to go in an emergency, and where projects are located during the fair so they will feel safe and comfortable. Another fun way for kids to learn about a location, like the fairgrounds, is through a fun game like a scavenger hunt.  Volunteers and Cloverbud members can work together to find clues while exploring the fairgrounds.

Develop a 4-H Cloverbud packet with a calendar of dates and events. This will help your 4-H Cloverbud families know what is offered and designed for Cloverbud members in your club and county. A printed handout with dates and information will help Cloverbud members and families feel more informed. Trying to find important information online can be stressful for families.

Hold a parent meeting to explain events specific to your county. Many counties offer several events for Cloverbuds such as camp, project show and tell, club events, daily fair events, pre-fair practice sessions, the opportunity to display a project during fair, and more! These can all be overwhelming to the parents too! Make sure parents know where to find information for Cloverbud opportunities such as camp and other county events. Many 4-H programs have information posted on their county’s Ohio State University Extension website as well as a 4-H App. Taking the time to meet with the parents and explain the Cloverbud opportunities will help the members have a better experience. If you have volunteers available, it might be helpful to have a volunteer meet with parents for a few minutes at each meeting while the Cloverbuds are working on their activities. We also must remember many of our 4-H families are new to 4-H and have never experienced the Cloverbud program.

These are just a few ideas to help 4-H club volunteers make the transition into the busy 4-H season a success for our youngest 4-H members. Offering a wide variety of learning opportunities will help Cloverbuds and their families know what to expect and enhance their 4-H experience. Always remember to reach out to your county’s Ohio State University Extension staff for additional help and resources.