Promote a 4-H History Dance Night

At the local club or county level, you may want to consider planning and holding a 4-H Dance Night based on history as a special activity. This could be fun for current 4-H members and leaders, parents and grandparents, and 4-H alumni.

Determine your time frame — for example, from the 1920’s through current. Feature music from every decade. In this case, it may be easier to have a disc jockey handle the music rather than expect a live band to feature all the various types of music.

Consider having table top displays or cork-board display panels that can feature photos of 4-H history, county 4-H king and queen contests from years  past, and perhaps photos of proms or homecoming dances from the local high schools. Those attending will be interested in identifying people they recognize or remember.

Maybe highlight a dance competition for various eras… the Charleston from the 1920’s… the big band music of the 40’s… jitterbug… rock and roll… maybe even throw in a polka or a Texas two step… you get the idea. Encourage couples to dress for their specialty if they are competing in the competition. At some point during the evening you may want to consider a special feature that breaks the audience down… a special dance only for those under 20, another for those 20-40, and 40-60, and maybe even participants 60 and over, playing an appropriate music selection for each group. A spin-off might be to consider playing a rather fast paced music selection over and over and hold a mini-dance marathon… say 15 or 20 minutes, and see how many people are still dancing when the music stops. You can consider judges and prizes for any of these activities. The more ways you can think of to weave 4-H history into the evening, the better.

A 4-H History Dance Night can also be a fund-raiser, although perhaps rather than attempting to sell tickets, having a way to solicit donations as people leave might be a more appropriate way of fund-raising.

(From the “Hands-On 4-H History” section of the National 4-H History Preservation Program website at )

Larry Krug