Tis the season to think about your next program year!
The life of a 4-H agent is busy. There is no denying this fact. However, effective planning can help you to feel a little less as though you are flying off the rails at any given point, and as an added bonus, can help you progress professionally and move your program forward.
Things to think about now:
- When are you going to dedicate time to planning next year’s 4-H program? Think in terms of days not hours. Mark it on your calendar now.
- When are you going to work on your POW/ROA? Many people break the packet into sections and work on one section a week throughout October-Deadline. Mark it on your calendar now.
- Which core component of your 4-H program (Clubs, Council, County/District Events, Camps) a) Need the most love and b) if were more functioning would create the largest impact on your program? Dedicate time to working on this over the next year. Mark it on your calendar now.
- What will you evaluate next year? (Hint: Take a look at your objectives in your POW/ROA). More on this at our upcoming District Evaluation IST. Mark these evaluations on your calendar now.
- How are you going to market next year? How can you streamline these efforts (i.e. using Hootsuite for social media posts, scheduling blog posts in advance, etc.). Mark these on your calendar now.
- Are you assisting 4-H’ers getting to and from events? Will volunteers coordinate these efforts? Will you? How will you handle two-deep? Call your neighboring agents and start working these things out now (Hint: Devising a reciprocal system of transportation in your 4-H District now can relieve much stress later).
- How will you develop professionally over the next year? What books will you read? What videos will you watch? What ISTs, Webinars, and Conferences will you attend next year? Mark these on your calendar.
- How will you financially support your programs next year? Fundraisers? Grants? Make a plan now, and mark it on your calendar.
- How will you conduct ongoing education for your volunteers? What topics will you cover? Will they be covered through webinars, in-person, newsletters, other? Mark these on your calendar now.
- What will you need short-term volunteer assistance with next year? Judges for County/District Events? Chaperones for events? Contact these people now (not a few weeks before the event).
- When and how will you refresh yourself? Plan your vacations now.
While these are far from the only things to think about when planning your 4-H program year, this does present a “jumping off point”. The more planning you can accomplish in advance, the less stress (and more saved time for reflection) you will have later.