SPIN into something new

by kentucky4h

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Source: Martha Welch, 4-H youth development specialist

4-H special interest (SPIN) clubs are a way for a group of youth to learn a new skill or hobby that excites or intrigues them.

In SPIN clubs, 4-H’ers are guided by at least one caring adult volunteer who has a strong interest in the same topic. The possibilities for types of clubs are really endless. A gardener might form a 4-H Garden Club to teach children in the neighborhood to plant and care for a small vegetable garden.  A consumer-wise shopper might teach youth to watch store ads or clip coupons before making purchases. An avid walker might teach youth the importance of daily exercise and host weekly walks through the neighborhood as part of each club meeting. Parents of soon-to-be college freshman might band together and teach basic skills of cooking, laundry and car maintenance—things that might be more fun when learned with friends. An attorney who is also a passionate photographer might start a 4-H Photography Club. Engineers at a local manufacturing plant might start a 4-H Robotics Club for the children of the plant’s employees.  

One thing that makes a 4-H SPIN club attractive to youth and potential volunteers is that it usually meets six to 12 times in a short period of time rather than throughout the year. For example, a robotics club might meet once a week for six weeks or twice a week for three weeks. This allows busy adults and youth involved in athletics or other extracurricular activities to also participate in a 4-H club. 

SPIN Clubs need at least five members. As with other 4-H clubs, members elect officers who conduct a short business meeting at the start of each group get-together.

Volunteering is a great way to share your interests with others and help young people develop essential leadership skills that they’ll need as adults. If you’re interested in being a 4-H volunteer for a particular SPIN club, contact your county extension agent for 4-H youth development. All volunteers must complete an application and go through an approval process.

Many counties already have several active SPIN clubs. To find out about the SPIN clubs currently in your county or how to start one, contact the (COUNTY NAME) office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.