Agriculture & Livestock: 4-H Code of Conduct designed to instill values |

Agriculture & Livestock: 4-H Code of Conduct designed to instill values

Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Parents want their children to grow up to be responsible, respectful, happy adults. In addition, parents see their children as adult leaders in their communities — even in their nation.

So on their way to becoming adults, children learn life's lessons through a variety of experiences. Certainly their lessons begin with their own family values, but children learn through school and extracurricular activities, too.

For example, some young people join 4-H clubs where they learn skills concerning their chosen project areas (how to sew a dress or bake bread or identify insects, among others). But, perhaps more importantly, the members participate in workshops, conferences, county fairs and other events that help instill life's values.

Some years ago, Colorado State 4-H established a 4-H Code of Conduct, which includes a Colorado State 4-H Dress Code. The reason for the Code of Conduct is "to ensure the safety of the 4-H member and to ensure conduct and behavior that will result in each participant receiving the full benefit of enjoyment and educational experience from this event."

Each member and parent/guardian signs the Code of Conduct agreement when enrolling in 4-H. Alisa Comstock, Moffat County 4-H youth development agent, said that a member's enrollment form is not accepted without signatures on the 4-H Code of Conduct form.

Program participants at all levels are expected to abide by the stated rules for 4-H activities and events and will:

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• Conduct themselves in a courteous, respectful manner, use appropriate language, exhibit good sportsmanship and act as a positive role model.

• Adhere to program rules, curfews, dress codes, policies and guidelines.

• Fully participate in scheduled activities.

• Respect others' property and privacy rights.

• Apply rules of safety to individuals, groups and property.

• Accept personal responsibility for behavior.

The following behaviors will not be tolerated:

• Behaviors including the possession or use of: alcohol or illegal drugs, tobacco products, weapons (unless a part of a sanctioned shooting sports event) or fireworks.

• Sexual, physical or verbal abuse.

• Females in rooms of males and males in rooms of females.

Violation of the above code will result in consequences to the participant. Law enforcement may be called, and illegal behaviors may result in citations or arrest. Consequences may include removal, at the individual's expense and without refund, from participation in the event; restitution or repayment of damages; sanctions on participation in future local, state, regional or national events; forfeiture of financial support for this event; removal from offices held in 4-H; and loss of status as a member of good standing.

The dress code is to be followed by all junior and senior 4-H members, adult leaders, advisors and chaperones of Colorado State 4-H-sponsored events, including but not limited to the Colorado State Fair, State 4-H Conference, Colorado Leadership Camp and upcoming county fair. Deviations from the dress code will result in a request to change. The dress code is not subject to personal interpretation. A state officer, adult leader, advisor or chaperone may deem clothing inappropriate.

Some of the dress requirements of the Colorado State 4-H Dress Code include:

• Clothes are clean and in good repair, free of holes, tears or slashes.

• Clothes are free from violent or drug-related material and anything that alludes to violations of the 4-H Code of Conduct.

• Shorts must be mid-thigh length. No cut-off shorts are allowed.

• All items designated as underwear are kept under cover.

• No halter-tops, tube tops or tops that expose undergarments.

• No pants or shorts that expose undergarments.

• Hats need to be removed for meetings, workshops, meals and other times when asked to remove them.

• Shoes must be worn at all times deemed appropriate.

• No see-through garments or muscle shirts.

• No spaghetti straps on shirts or dresses, with the exception of formal attire.

"I'm a stickler for the dress code," Comstock said. "I hope everybody follows it. If myself or a fair board member (during county fair) asks a member to change clothes or cover up, I hope the member will be respectful and do it."

The Code of Conduct and Colorado 4-H Dress Code — they're all about teaching values.

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