Ohio 4-H Youth Development
OSU Extension

How Can You Plan to Meet All Members' Needs?

Unlike sports teams, that may allow a coach to work with a narrow age range of kids. Your 4-H club team will likely be comprised of a wide age range of youth with varying needs and interests. Your challenge is to effectively plan programs to meet the needs of all youth, including cloverbuds and those with special needs.

No two 4-H teams will look alike. Acknowledge your players' differences and celebrate their uniqueness.

Cloverbud Members
You will need to become aware of the programming requirements for Cloverbuds, members age 5 and in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. You must follow the policies and guidelines outlined for Cloverbud programming for any youth ages 8 and under.

Co-Sponsorship of Activities for Young Children and Animals
Activities that are not currently supported by 4-H Youth Development must have a clearly stated sponsor. In such cases, the specific sponsor of a given activity must be clearly noted in writing on promotional materials, and the sponsoring organization must take overall responsibility for the activity.

Youth With Special Needs
The American Disabilities Act requires that people with disabilities be allowed to participate in programs in the most integrated setting possible. You should hold all 4-H club meetings, activities and events in facilities that meet ADA standards. People with disabilities are entitled to specific accommodations, such as interpreters or enlarged-text materials, which will enable them to participate in a program or activity. If you are working with a special needs participant and need assistance in providing specific accommodations, please contact your County 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator for assistance.

Some guidelines to remember when working with special needs youth.
  • Learn about the child and his/her special need. Talk to the parents/legal guardian, research on the internet or at the library, contact local support groups, etc. Visit these websites:

  • Treat each child as a special child - regardless of special need or not. Recognize each child's skills, abilities, talents and needs.

  • Recognize and give lots of positive reinforcement. Make expectations realistic.
  • Help the total club membership appreciate and understand special needs of members.
  • Have parents/legal guardians of special need youth share information with the Extension Office - to help professionals and volunteers better prepare skillathon/project judging facilitators and judges, make appropriate arrangements at facilities, camps, provide necessary interpreters, etc. The goal is to provide a positive enriching experience for every 4-H member.

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