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Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > State Fair > Chaperones


Minnesota 4-H State Fair Chaperones

exhibitors in bright shirts performing

County 4-H programs designate Minnesota 4-H Volunteers as chaperones who are responsible for the conduct of their assigned delegations during the Minnesota State Fair. Chaperones have additional responsibilities when staying overnight with youth in dormitories. The Minnesota State Fair employs dormitory staff who oversees the safety and order of the dormitories during 4-H encampments and assist chaperones with some duties. Each dormitory has a male and female manager who may have additional staff to assist them with these responsibilities.

A male and female adult Minnesota 4-H Volunteer must be designated for mixed delegations. It may be an adult volunteer or Extension staff member.  Minnesota 4-H Volunteer chaperones must be at least 21 years of age at the time of service and have successfully completed volunteer screening. Paid intern staff, who meet the University of Minnesota summer intern requirements, may be put into a chaperone role upon specific request of their supervisor.  If chaperones are not Extension staff, it is expected they have successfully completed the volunteer screening process and orientation. Volunteer to youth ratio must be followed

Chaperones are to be designated prior to the fair, with Extension staff identifying a Lead Chaperone in theCounty Container.  Where several counties cooperate to provide adult chaperones, care must be taken that the chaperone(s) has a complete list of the delegates, for which he/she is responsible and that each delegate know he/she is responsible to that adult. Below is a role description:

State Fair Chaperone Description

All Minnesota 4-H Volunteers must complete the volunteer screening process and orientation, which will explain the policies, expectations, and vision of serving as a Minnesota 4-H Volunteer. They should genuinely enjoy young people and be committed to working in partnership with the University of Minnesota to ensure their positive growth and development. In return, the University of Minnesota Extension staff will provide access to local, regional, and statewide training, share appropriate curriculum, coaching and feedback for success, and openness toward program improvement.

Purpose:  Understand, support and create an educational experience that:

  1. Ensures a safe and positive experience for 4-H members attending the Minnesota State Fair.  Chaperones are responsible for the conduct of youth county delegation, including when youth are in the 4-H dormitory. 


  1. Prior to serving as a chaperone, complete online training module for 4-H chaperones.  Training can be accessed in 4HOnline; detailed access instructions can be found in this user guide.
  2. Check with the 4-H Program Coordinator to obtain a list of all delegates including phone numbers and information pertaining to any 4-H members that are leaving the grounds, day or overnight, during the encampment. 
  3. Plan and conduct orientation of county’s Minnesota State Fair 4-H delegates.  Specific policies should include
    1. Delegate schedules and expectation that they take part in all scheduled programs and activities.
    2. Code of Conduct for Youth that include the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco (chewing and smoking), and any non-prescription drug use during a 4-H event. Breaking the Code of Conduct may result in 4-H participant being sent home at own expense and loss of all awards and premiums.
    3. Leaving the grounds during the event is permitted only during a scheduled part of the program or through completion of the appropriate written consent form in advance of Minnesota State Fair.  This form is signed by the 4-H participant’s legal guardian.
    4. Evening check-in procedures.
  4. Attend the adult chaperone meeting at the designated time in assigned dormitory on the first night of the encampment.
  5. Be present in the dorm by 10:30 p.m. to check in the county(ies) for which you are responsible.  Curfew is 11:00 p.m. 
  6. Quiet your delegates and see they get to their beds without disturbing others.
  7. Sleep in the 4-H dormitory every night of your encampment.
  8. Handle discipline problems referred by dormitory staff; you will be notified of any problems via the 4-H dorm infraction/problem report.
  9. Keep in touch with your delegation to encourage and support them.  You are their counselor and advisor for this event.
  10. Assist at the evening dance and other events as needed.
  11. Ensure youth from your county are selected and work at their assigned KP time.
  12. Encourage youth to participate as appropriate in the Minnesota Meats Contest, Chef for a Day, and other 4-H opportunities.
  13. Engage youth in reflection during the event to help them learn from their experience.
  14. Work with your county staff to collect, transport and turn in any prescription medications and forms.

This Role is Ideal for an Individual who:

Resources available:


Dormitory manager responsibilities

The state 4-H staff employs a few dormitory assistants, supervised by the facilities coordinator. The dorm staff have the following responsibilities:

  1. Assign all participants to bunks prior to their arrival.
  2. Maintain neatness and sanitation in the dormitory and lavatory facilities. Dorms and staircases are swept daily and sanitary facilities are inspected hourly.
  3. Assist the chaperone to register his/her group into the dorm and in making bunk assignments.
  4. Provide 24-hour safety watch for fire protection and/or unauthorized persons in dorm.
  5. Alert the nurse on duty when first aid and treatment of illness is necessary.
  6. Maintain order and provide friendly counseling.
  7. Contact the chaperone concerning:
    1. Personal concerns for a delegate.
    2. Illness or injury to a delegate.
    3. Discipline problems.
  8. Serve as a liaison between the dormitory residents and their chaperones and the facilities coordinator.
  9. Conduct informational meeting for chaperones.

Educator and program coordinator/program director responsibilities

  1. Educators and program coordinators/directors are responsible for recruiting and briefing the chaperones if they do not serve in this capacity themselves.
  2. Educators and program coordinators/directors are encouraged to sleep in the dormitory unless a chaperone have been designated. A bunk number must be listed in case of emergency.
  3. Educators and program coordinators/directors not staying in the dormitory must be available throughout the night by telephone in case of an emergency.

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