Youth Development Leadership Structure and Decision-Making Process


The University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development (4-HYD) leadership structure and decision-making process has been designed to effectively allocate resources to focus on positive youth development with respect to our UMCE plan of work.  The structure includes a central 4-H Program Leadership Team (4-H PLT) designed to be a core communication link and policy-making body, and to promote visionary leadership, direction and coordination within the program with respect to state and national initiatives. The 4-H PLT consists of all 4-H educators and professionals.  In addition, four core program teams have been created to direct statewide youth educational programs and initiatives.

4-H Program Leadership Team (PLT)

  • Membership: all 4-HYD educators and professionals and Pine Tree State 4-H Foundation Executive Director, this would also include Bryant Pond and Tanglewood staff.
  • Responsibilities:
    • Meet every other month (or as needed) to report on and coordinate the work of all Program Teams
    • Ensure the implementation of the 4-HYD strategic plan
    • Make any decisions needing to be addressed by the entire PLT
    • Responsible for the usage of the 4-H Name and Emblem
    • Serve as a point of final approval and accountability on all 4-HYD policies and procedures
    • Ensure development and implementation of appropriate 4-HYD policies and procedures, including issues related to liability, risk management, and dispute resolution
    • Seek input of staff, volunteers and youth as needed for decision making
    • Provide leadership in addressing staff development needs, evaluation of programs, and connecting 4-HYD staff with academic departments
    • Encourage collaborations among staff (4-H and UMCE)
    • Liaison Team to National 4-H, CSREES, other states, etc.
    • Promote visionary leadership, direction and coordination within UMCE 4-HYD program in cooperation with the 4-HYD PLT

Decision-Making Process

  • 4-H PLT makes final decisions regarding 4-H policies and procedures
  • All PLT members can contact the Policy Team to put business/policy items on the PLT agenda
  • 4-H PLT seeks input from staff, volunteers and youth as needed throughout the decision making process
  • 4-H Policy Team will  prepare background information on changes or additions to 4-HYD policies and procedures for recommendation to the 4-H PLT
  • 4-H Policy Team will send the proposed policy change to the PLT for a decision via e-mail or at the next PLT meeting
  • At each 4-H PLT meeting there will be one hour designated to discuss and decide on new policy and policy revisions that can not be handled via e-mail.  In the event that a resolution can not be achieved then the new policy or policy revision will be delegated to a subcommittee for further research and revision.

Procedure for amending the Policies and Procedures Manual

  • Any 4-H staff, volunteer, or youth may propose amendments to the Policies and Procedures manual
  • The proposed amendment should be presented to the Policy Team.  4-H volunteers and youth may give proposals to county staff, to be passed on to the Policy Team
  • The 4-H PLT will serve as a point of final approval and accountability on all 4-H Youth Development policies and procedures.
  • The Policy Team insures that approved amendments are integrated into the web-based manual.  All approved amendments include a date of revision and staff will be notified when revisions are made.
  • Staff will keep the 4-H community informed of changes

Communication Process

  • Minutes are taken at all PLT meetings and sent out to PLT members
  • Updates on Program Team activities are included in PLT minutes
  • Reports on Program Team activities are made to the broader 4-H community and other stakeholders on a regular basis

Individual Roles & Responsibilities

Program Administrator with 4-HYD responsibilities

  • Provide link between Administrative Council and 4-HYD PLT
  • Review and analyze roles and responsibilities of all 4-HYD staff
  • Prompt and guide strategic planning with the 4-H PLT
  • Conduct ongoing review of staffing and its implications with Administrative Council with advice from the 4-HYD PLT
  • Inform constituents of and represent the 4-HYD program with others (Administrative Council/Cooperative Extension/UM/state)
  • Encourage collaborations among staff (4-H and Cooperative Extension)
  • Supervise state 4-HYD Office
  • Review and approve budgets, with Administrative Council
  • Member of sub-committee for policy development (Policy Team) with Program Coordinator and 4-H Staff (as needed depending on issue)

Pine Tree State 4-H Foundation Executive Director

  • Act as programmatic liaison with Pine Tree State 4-H Foundation
  • Provide resources for funding opportunities to support the Program Teams and 4-H PLT
  • Provide leadership and a link between national funding sources and other 4-H Foundations to the Program Teams and PLT
  • Review and approve budgets, with Administrative Council
  • Review and present Pine Tree State 4-H Foundation Budget to the PLT
  • Coordinate Pine Tree State 4-H Foundation annual appeal, county fund development campaigns and state wide initiatives