Why does a 4-H club (for youth ages 8–18) need bylaws? For the same reason our country needs a constitution! By having fair and written rules, the rights of all members can be protected. The following is a suggested format for 4-H bylaws. The bylaws below may be adapted to meet local conditions. Be sure to send a copy of your club's approved bylaws to your county 4-H office. Include in the bylaws the date when they were approved and most recently revised.
Developing bylaws does not pertain to Cloverbuds. Children ages 5–7 are not developmentally ready for this type of activity. If a Cloverbud group is meeting on an ongoing basis, it is recommended that children be guided by their adult leader to create a set of rules.
Sample Format for Club Bylaws
The name of this organization shall be the 4-H Club.
The club motto shall be "To Make the Best Better."
The club emblem shall be a green four-leaf clover bearing a white "H" on each leaflet.
The club pledge shall be: I pledge. . .
My Head to clearer thinking,
My Heart to greater loyalty,
My Hands to larger service, and
My Health to better living, for
My club, my community, my country, and my world.
ARTICLE II—Mission and Purpose
Section 1—Mission of 4-H
The UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program uses a learn-by-doing approach to help youth gain the knowledge and skills they need to be responsible, productive citizens. This mission is accomplished by creating safe and inclusive learning environments, involving caring adults, and utilizing the expertise and resources of the University of Florida and the nationwide land-grant university system.
Section 2—Purpose of Club
The purpose of this club shall be to improve ourselves, our homes, our club, and our community. (Note: Different or additional purposes can be used.)
ARTICLE III—Nonprofit status
This club is a nonprofit organization. Any funds received by the club for carrying out its purpose shall not accrue to the benefit of individuals, but to the benefit of the 4-H program.
Any boy or girl in this county, ages 8–18 (as of September 1 of the current 4-H year, which spans from September 1 through August 31), may become a member of this club by enrolling in the county 4-H program for membership in at least one of the approved club projects and agreeing to live up to the standards set by the club. (However, the size of the club may be limited due to space limitations or the leader's available time or ability to accommodate more members.) Membership shall not be denied on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or political opinions or affiliations.
Each member must attend at least percent of the meetings during the year. If a member is unable to attend a meeting due to a valid excuse (such as sickness or an important school or family event), the member must contact the club leader, secretary, or president in advance to be excused. Each member should also complete an approved club project, keep a project record book up to date, and do a club, community, or county 4-H presentation annually.
(Note: Additional or different membership requirements may be used. However, the non-discrimination statement must be included exactly as printed in section 1. Club dues are optional and determined by the club's membership.)
The club shall meet regularly every (day of the week)
at (time) at (place).
Special meetings may be called by the president and 4-H leader as needed. Adequate notice is needed.
A simple majority (one-half plus one) of members must be present to conduct official business of the club.
Section 3—Order of business
The following order of business shall be followed at regular club meetings:
Meeting called to order
Club rises, salutes the American flag with the Pledge of Allegiance, and then recites the 4-H pledge (to the 4-H flag)
Minutes of last meeting
Report of committees
Old or unfinished business
-H leader's report
Educational program/project work
Standing and/or special committees will be created as needed. Members are expected to volunteer for committee assignments. The president has the authority to appoint committee chairs and members.
The officers of this club shall include president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and reporter. Their duties shall be as follows:
The president will preside at all meetings, uphold the constitution, and adhere to parliamentary procedure. The president shall appoint committee chairs and members.
The vice-president shall preside over the club in the absence of the president. The vice-president shall assist the president and serve as a link to all committees.
The secretary shall write minutes of each meeting and report at the next meeting. The secretary will also keep attendance records and write club correspondence.
The treasurer shall be responsible for all club funds and property, along with the club leader. The treasurer will give a report of the club's finances at each meeting.
The reporter/historian shall collect newspaper and county newsletter clippings, photos, etc., for a club scrapbook, bulletin board, history, and/or web page. The reporter regularly completes and sends a 4-H club activity report to the county 4-H office, and also may write and send club news to local newspapers, radio stations, etc.
(Note: If the club has more or fewer than these five officers, duties of each one should be written and included in this article.)
ARTICLE VIII—Election of Officers
The officers of this club shall be elected at the first regular meeting in _____________________ (month). They shall hold office for one year. All active members are eligible to run for an office and to vote. Voting is by majority rule and done by secret ballot.
Bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting by a two-thirds vote cast by those in attendance, providing notice has been given at the previous meeting.
If this club disbands, all club assets shall be assigned to ___________________ (non-profit countywide 4-H organization. Ask your county 4-H staff the name of this organization.).