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Kansas 4-H Tip Sheet

October 16, 2023

Independent Study Option for Members

Submitted by Kelsey Nordyke

Local units with members enrolling in as Independent Members should review Kansas 4-H Program Policy regarding independent members.  The Independent Member option does not simply allow a youth to enroll in the program with no guidance and no mentorship.  

Kansas 4-H Policy 6.3.5:  "This mode includes learning that occurs independently of a formal group setting. It might be individual, in a pair, or a family learning effort. This includes self-directed learning, usually with limited adult involvement except for parents (or a mentor). Examples include self-study, home study courses, advanced placement courses, mentoring or shadowing with an “expert,” or entire families learning together.

An independent membership is not valid until the youth project and study plan is reviewed and approved.
Resources for independent member expectations and a project and study plan template are available at https://www.kansas4-h.org/4-h-programs/independent-members/index.html.

Independent members should be engaging regularly with local agents and must review their project and study plans annually.

Independent members can contribute to the larger 4-H program by participating in county, district, regional, and state events; volunteering to lead or assist with 4-H committees, programs, and activities; reading and responding to extension office correspondence; and remaining informed and current on 4-H opportunities, procedures, and guidelines.

Independent members may participate in organized fundraising activities that benefit the local unit program. Independent 4-H youths may not do independent fundraising as 4-H youths.

Additional resources are available at Kansas 4-H under staff resources."

Reach out to your Regional Specialist if you need additional clarification.