Staff and Volunteer Policies A.1
MISSION: Recognizing that Extension’s mission is directly related to its legislative mandate, its legal partnerships and the focus of the land-grant university in which it resides, the mission of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is… “to help Maine people improve their lives through education that uses research-based knowledge focused on issues, needs and aspirations.”
A Vision for the People of Maine: University of Maine Cooperative Extension envisions a future in which, as a direct result of its educational programs, the people of Maine will
- direct and adapt to change to improve their lives;
- make decisions about their lives and the resources at their disposal to improve health, economic well-being and satisfaction;
- know where to find reliable information and how to use it in solving the problems they face, individually and collectively, through voluntary action;
- see themselves as citizens of a nation and a planet where human culture is related to the protection of national resources, and act as stewards to sustain them;
- recognize their relationships to one another and act in ways that honor and respect all people;
- direct public policy through active participation in identifying problems, selecting among alternative solutions and setting priorities; and
- understand the inter-relationship of issues facing communities and the state and their individual actions.
Maine 4-H Youth Development Mission
To educate and empower Maine youth through hands-on and community-based experiences.
Maine 4-H Youth Development Vision
Maine youth acquire the knowledge, life skills, leadership abilities and attitudes to help them succeed now and in the future through effective collaborations, hands-on experiential education and self-directed learning.
Maine 4-H Youth Development programs are research-based and founded on the principles of positive youth development.
Our educational programs focus on:
- Science, engineering, and technology tied to agriculture, the environment and our communities
- Healthy lifestyles tied to informed decision-making and action for health and safety
- Citizenship tied to youth involvement with government and other institutions
- Sustainable lifestyles and communities tied to ecological literacy and responsible choices
Our youth can expect the opportunity to:
- Be valued and contributing members of their clubs and communities (belonging)
- Identify and meet goals for their own hands-on learning (mastery)
- Take meaningful learning and leadership roles (independence)
- Engage in community service (generosity)
Volunteers, youth leaders, families, and staff can expect:
- The education, training, and support needed to make this vision a reality.
4-H is the youth development education program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. 4-H participants range in age from 5 to 18 and, traditionally, have organized themselves into 4-H clubs to support each other as they take on “learning-by-doing” projects. Young people can also become involved in 4-H through school enrichment programs, 4-H camps, by creating individual 4-H projects of their own, and many other activities. 4-H teaches young people life skills necessary for success in the world.
The Maine 4‑H Youth Development Program is founded on the concepts of positive youth development. The main educational thrust of 4‑H comes through activities focused on learning “4-H Life Skills.”
Based on research that indicates cooperation and competition are both learned behaviors, all 4‑H members have access to educational activities that teach both cooperative and competitive skills. Educational activities are designed to meet the developmental needs of youth at different developmental stages.
Activities and programs for youth age 5 to 8 emphasize the development of cooperative skills. 4‑H members at this level should not engage in individual one-on-one competitions. Appropriate types of competition for members of this age include the Danish system, group competitions, and other similar activities.
Programs designed for youth age 9 to 18 should provide an age-appropriate mix of activities that teach both cooperative and competitive skills. Appropriate types of competition for members of this age include the Danish system, self‑improvement, one-on-one competition, and other similar activities.
All learning takes place in relationship between teacher and learner. All 4-H Youth Development staff, volunteers and members strive to develop positive, trusting and caring relationships with one another. Children learn positive self-esteem by being cared for, nurtured, encouraged and given responsibility for doing all they are capable of doing.
Extension employees and authorized volunteers are protected by the University’s General Liability (bodily injury and property damage) and educator’s legal liability (wrongful acts) insurance while they are engaged in educational activities on behalf of the University so long as the employee or volunteer is acting with the good faith belief that the actions are in the best interests of the University and the action is not criminal.
This insurance includes liability protection for accidents or injury to the general public resulting from alleged negligence on the part of the University or its employees/volunteers while on University property, property leased by the University, or at University functions. It also covers liability stemming from injury to the general public resulting from consumption of food or drink that the University distributes.
UMaine Extension volunteers have the same liability protection as an employee when the volunteer is enrolled, has been provided with orientation and/or training and is engaged in an approved Extension activity at the time an incident occurs that gives rise to a liability action.
This liability insurance protection is the only protection provided by the University. It covers costs that you may be ordered to pay if you and/or the University are sued for damages incurred during an approved Extension activity.
Health, accident, and life insurance are not the same as liability insurance or protections. The University does not provide any of these forms of insurance for someone hurt or injured in connection with its activities, unless caused by the trained enrolled volunteer’s/University’s negligence. The Maine 4-H Program does work with county 4-H programs to purchase accident insurance from American Income Life for all enrolled Maine 4-H members and 4-H adult volunteers. Each county collects its funding differently for this policy so we encourage you to contact your local County Cooperative Extension Office for more information. If counties and 4-H clubs purchase this insurance, the insurance has a $2,500 limit, no deductible, and applies to all 4-H members and leaders participating in a university-approved 4-H activity. Additional special-event accident insurance may be purchased from American Income Life that covers anyone who is participating in the event (i.e., it covers those not affiliated with 4-H or not covered by the insurance). Only enrolled participants are covered under this insurance (not spectators).
Vehicle Liability Protection
Enrolled volunteers in good standing are also given liability protection when driving University vehicles for official travel. However, the University does not provide liability insurance coverage or physical damage insurance coverage (collision and comprehensive) for non-University vehicles. If a volunteer uses a personal vehicle for University related business, that person’s own vehicle insurance will be responsible for any insurance claims. The University recommends that personally owned vehicles used for University business carry at least $300,00 liability insurance coverage. The University will not reimburse a volunteer, or their insurer for any deductible or liability claim paid by by their auto insurance or for damage to a personally-owned vehicle.
All university volunteers who will drive a University vehicle must complete a University Vehicle Faculty & Staff Driver Information and Agreement form and return it to the Motor Pool on the Orono campus. If vehicles are used from another University of Maine System campus, that campus’s procedures must be followed.
Personally-owned vehicles used for University-related business should be properly registered and inspected and appropriate for such use. All staff should review the University Administrative Practice Letter #27, Section II-B (PDF) for full details on motor vehicle use.
- Volunteers transporting others in their personal vehicles must carry automobile insurance. Recommended minimum liability coverage is $300,000. The person causing an accident is responsible.
- Volunteers transporting youth in University vehicles must be 21 years of age and approved through the University Motor Pool.
- Volunteers transporting youth in private vehicles must be 21 years of age.
- Volunteers who use their personal vehicles while performing their assigned duties shall be in compliance with all federal and state laws pertaining to use of such vehicles, including but not limited to, possession of a valid operators license, vehicle registration and inspection, and availability and use of safety devices.
- Everyone must wear a seat belt at all times while in a moving motor vehicle in the state of Maine.
- The use of full-size 15 passenger style vans is prohibited.
In the event of an accident, these are the steps staff and volunteers must follow
- report the accident to your county Extension contact person and ask him/her to contact the office of the Operations Administrator or the Program Administrator for the 4-H Youth Development Program;
- file a Driver’s Report of a Traffic Accident, available from the police, with the Secretary of State’s office, 29 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333 within 48 hours; and
- send a copy of the accident report to the office of the Operations Administrator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 5741 Libby Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5741.
Liability for Errors and Omissions
The University’s errors and omissions insurance provides coverage for all employees and volunteers who are engaged in educational activities in case of a lawsuit brought against the University or one or its employees or volunteers because of an alleged wrongful act. The limit is in excess of $1 million per individual per suit, per year. This insurance covers most wrongful acts as long as the employee or volunteer is performing their University-related job or function, and is acting with the good faith belief that the actions were in the best interests of the University and the action is not criminal.
To be covered by this liability insurance it is important for 4-H volunteers to be Volunteer Orientation and Leadership Training certified, currently enrolled with their county Extension office, and make sure their county Extension contact person is knowledgeable about their 4-H activities. Documentation is important in case there is a question about whether a specific volunteer or activity is covered. Authorized activities include all educational activities in which the volunteer is acting on behalf of Extension, or in place of a regular Extension employee.
Extension staff and authorized volunteers have liability protection while doing educational activities on behalf of University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
4-H volunteers should follow these steps to make sure they are protected by the University’s liability insurance while performing University-related activities:
- Be Volunteer Orientation and Leadership Training certified and enrolled with their Extension office.
- Teach, model and emphasize safety in all 4-H activities.
- Make sure that activities are approved by appropriate Extension staff.
- Make sure their Extension staff knows when and where the approved activities take place.
Appropriate activities include all educational activities in which a 4-H volunteer is acting on behalf of Extension, or in place of a regular Extension employee. Documentation, such as 4-H volunteer enrollment records and written information from the volunteer to their Extension contact person about the activities they undertake, is important in case there is a question about whether a specific volunteer or activity is covered by the University’s liability insurance.
Other adults who support the 4-H program should be under the direction of enrolled, certified volunteers. The Good Samaritan Law and the Volunteer Protection Act may provide protection for other volunteers.
If needed, Extension staff must make the appropriate arrangements for Certificates of Liability coverage for specific events. Staff should complete a Liability Insurance Certificate Request, available on the University of Maine System’s Certificates of Insurance website and email or fax it to the person indicated on the form.
One goal of the 4-H Youth Development program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is to provide opportunities for children and youth to develop character. To assure that the 4-H Youth Development program of UMaine Extension provides positive environments for all individuals to learn and grow, volunteers agree to behave appropriately as described in the Maine 4-H Youth Development Program Behavioral Expectations statement.
The Maine 4-H Youth Development Program prides itself on providing quality educational programs accessible to all Maine youth. The UMaine Extension Volunteer Standards of Behavior Form: Word | PDF is a contractual agreement accepted by volunteers and Extension staff that guides their behavior during their involvement in Maine 4-H. Just as it is a privilege and responsibility for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to work with individuals who volunteer their time and energies to 4-H, a volunteer’s involvement in Maine 4-H is a privilege and a responsibility, not a right. The opportunity to work with youth is a position of trust that should be held only by those who are willing to demonstrate behaviors that fulfill this trust.
The primary purpose of the Standards of Behavior is to ensure the safety and well being of all 4-H participants including members, their parents and families, staff and volunteers. It is signed by the 4-H volunteer when the volunteer becomes certified. Maine 4-H volunteers are expected to function within the guidelines of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine 4-H Youth Development program. Maine 4-H volunteers are individuals of personal integrity.
All adults who work with the 4-H Youth Development program are encouraged to follow the Low-Risk Program Management Practices in this manual.
The Risk Management Checklist for Program, Activity or Event Planning (Word) can be used to help volunteers think about various aspects of risk management when planning a program or event.
All volunteer coordinators should be aware of volunteer liability policies in Maine as found at the Maine Association for Nonprofits website (scroll down to “Volunteer Liability in Maine”).
In instances of suspected animal abuse or neglect, there are no designated mandatory reporters as there are with instances of suspected child abuse or neglect. Staff, volunteers, members, and member’s parents or guardians working with the Maine 4-H Youth Development program are encouraged to use their best judgment in making a decision about whether or not to report known or reasonable suspicions of animal abuse or neglect.
Allegations of animal abuse or neglect are a very serious matter for all parties concerned. Clearly, the protection of animals is an important concern for us all. At the same time, it must be recognized that casual allegations of abuse or neglect can have serious consequences to the person accused. Maine 4-H volunteers, members, and parents or guardians of members who make casual allegations of abuse or neglect will be asked to either make a report to the appropriate state agency or stop repeating the allegation. Failure to do so may result in the suspension or dismissal of the volunteer or member who is making repeated allegations, or notification of the parent or guardian that their behavior is inappropriate and may result in their being asked not to attend or participate in 4-H events and activities.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff who are contacted with allegations of animal abuse or neglect will refer the individual to this policy and to the appropriate state agency. Generally, anonymous allegations, verbal or written, will not be acted upon. UMaine Extension staff who are contacted with questions about an ongoing investigation of an allegation of animal abuse or neglect will refer the caller to the appropriate state agency.
Process for handling an allegation of animal abuse or neglect:
1. Contact the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Animal Welfare Program at 207.287.3847 or 1.800.269.9200, or by email at email@example.com. Be prepared to give your name, address, and phone number, a description of the complaint, and the name, address, and phone number of the individual about whom you are making the complaint. If it is determined that the complaint merits investigation, it will be assigned to a humane agent.
2. If the complaint is against a Maine 4-H volunteer, contact the county educator or professional immediately and inform them that you have filed a complaint.
3. If a report of suspected animal abuse or neglect is made against a Maine 4-H volunteer, the county educator or professional will contact Animal Welfare Program to determine whether or not an investigation is being conducted, and if so, whether or not the volunteer has been notified that they are being investigated.
If the volunteer has been notified that they are being investigated, the volunteer will be suspended as a Maine 4-H volunteer until such time as the results of the investigation are known, and club members and their parents or guardians will be informed of the suspension. Refer to Letter Template A, Letter to Volunteer Regarding Suspension, and Letter Template B, Letter to Parent or Guardian and Members Regarding Volunteer Not Serving in the Role. (Note: All template letters can be found in Section F of this manual.)
4. If there is a finding that the allegation is groundless, the volunteer will be reinstated as a Maine 4-H volunteer, and club members and their parents or guardians will be informed of the reinstatement. Refer to Letter Template C, Letter to Volunteer Regarding Reinstatement, and Letter Template D, Letter to Parent(s) or Guardian(s) and Member(s) Regarding Volunteer Continuing in the Role.
5. If there is a finding of guilt, the volunteer will be dismissed, and club members and their parents or guardians will be informed of the dismissal. Refer to Letter Template E, Letter to Volunteer Regarding Dismissal, and Template F, Letter to Parent(s) or Guardian(s) and Member(s) Regarding Volunteer No Longer in the Role.
Notes: There are other circumstances, beyond suspected or substantiated reports of animal abuse, that would result in the suspension or dismissal of a Maine 4-H volunteer or leader.
It is also important to note that the letters to parents and club members do not use language such as suspension or dismissal. These terms are disciplinary in nature, and while they may be appropriate to use with the volunteer, these issues are confidential in nature. Therefore we should avoid using these terms verbally or in writing with others.
For more information on animal welfare, and animal abuse and neglect, contact:
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Animal Welfare Program
Phone 207.287.3846 or 1.877.269.9200
Maine laws concerning animal welfare are available on the Animal Welfare Program website. Click on “Downloads and Documents.” Definitions of animal abuse and neglect can be found in Title 7, M.R.S.A., Part 9, Chapter 717, Section 3901, et seq.; Title 7, M.R.S.A., Ch 42, Sub-chapter 3, sections 1031 and 1032.
Child abuse or neglect is defined as a threat to a child’s health or welfare by physical, mental or emotional injury or impairment, sexual abuse or exploitation, deprivation of essential needs, or lack of protection from these. As part of the Maine 4-H Youth Development program, all staff and enrolled volunteers should act when you know or have reason to suspect that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected.
Allegations of child abuse or neglect are a very serious matter for all parties concerned. Clearly, the protection of children is the primary concern for us all. At the same time, it must be recognized that casual allegations of abuse or neglect can have serious consequences to the person accused. Maine 4-H volunteers, members, and parents and guardians of members who make allegations of abuse or neglect will be asked to provide their complaint in writing to University of Maine Cooperative Extension and, if appropriate, to make a report to local law enforcement or to the Bureau of Child and Family Services (if the alleged abuse is toward a child of whom the volunteer or staff member is the parent or legal guardian). If the complainant is not willing to put their complaint in writing, they will be asked to stop making casual complaints or face suspension or dismissal from the program.
Although the consequences to the accused may be serious, erring on the side of the child’s safety is paramount. Doing nothing may cost a child’s life.
UMaine Extension staff who are contacted with allegations of child abuse or neglect will refer the individual to this policy. Generally, anonymous allegations, verbal or written, will not be acted upon. UMaine Extension staff who are contacted with questions about an ongoing investigation of an allegation of child abuse or neglect will refer the caller to the Program Administrator or UMaine Extension’s Operations Administrator.
Process for handling allegations of child abuse or neglect; if the complaint is against a parent or guardian:
- A Maine 4-H staff member or volunteer who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected should contact the Program Administrator or Operations Administrator, local authorities (if appropriate), and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services at 1.800.452.1999 to make a report. The Maine Child and Family Services number is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
- A Maine 4-H volunteer who needs to report child abuse or neglect should also inform their county educator or professional immediately.
Process for handling allegations of child abuse or neglect; if the complaint is against a 4-H volunteer:
- Upon receiving a formal complaint the Program Administrator and Operations Administrator, in consultation with the Dean and other UM resources, will conduct an investigation of the report. While the investigation is being conducted it is likely that the volunteer will be asked to step down from their role until the conclusion of the investigation. Refer to Letter Templates A and B.
- If at the conclusion of the investigation, the volunteer is found to be suitable to provide services, the volunteer will be told of their ability to continue in their role as a Maine 4-H volunteer, and club members and their parents or guardians will be informed of their continuance as well. Refer to Letter Template C and D.
- If at the conclusion of the investigation, the volunteer is found not to be suitable to continue in their role, the volunteer will be dismissed, and club members and their parents or guardians will be informed that the volunteer is no longer serving in the role of volunteer. Refer to Letter Templates E and F.
Note: If an individual who is not a Maine 4-H volunteer contacts a UMaine Extension staff member with a suspicion or allegation of child abuse or neglect, the individual will be referred to the Program Administrator or Operations Administrator and may be instructed to contact the proper authorities as well.
Note: There are other circumstances, beyond suspected or substantiated reports of child abuse, that would result in the suspension or dismissal of a Maine 4-H volunteer or leader. The letter templates that follow could be used in those circumstances as well.
It is also important to note that the letters to parents and club members do not use language such as suspension or dismissal. These terms are disciplinary in nature, and while they may be appropriate to use with the volunteer, these issues are confidential. Therefore we should avoid using these terms verbally or in writing with others.
For more information on child welfare, and child abuse and neglect, contact:
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Child and Family Services
2 Anthony Avenue, Augusta, ME 04333
Phone 207.624.7900, Fax 207.287.5282
TTY: Maine relay 711
Additional information can be found on many websites, a few of which we have listed here. Remember that some of the information is specific to the state for which they were written, and may not apply in Maine. For example, volunteers appear to meet the standard of mandatory reporters in Maine (if they suspect abuse of a child by the parent or legal guardian), but are not mandatory reporters in Ohio.
Recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect:
Ohio State University fact sheet: Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF)
Precautions volunteers can take to deter false accusations of child abuse or neglect:
Pennsylvania State University 4-H VIP Facts: Protecting Youth and Volunteers: Reporting Child Neglect and Abuse (PDF)
In situations where a 4-H youth is suspected of abusing (i.e., sexual abuse, physical violence) another 4-H youth member, the following steps should be followed:
- If the scenario includes serious physical assault, involves a weapon or there is any immediate concern for the safety of individuals or sexual abuse (that just occurred and the parties are still present), then call local law enforcement.
- Contact your 4-H staff person if possible.
- 4-H staff should contact the 4-H Program Administrator or Operations Administrator to determine next steps.
- If possible, work with 4-H staff and the Program Administrator to notify the parent(s) or guardian(s) of all youth directly involved with the incident.
Whenever 4-H staff or volunteers use photographs of people in a publication (including newspaper articles) or a web page, we must obtain a signed release from the people in the pictures. If the faces can’t be recognized, because they are too small, turned away from the camera, or blocked by another person or object, no release is necessary. If the person is recognizable, a signed release is necessary.
Do not rely on a verbal okay to use a photo, particularly if the picture is of a child. Get written permission from the child’s legal guardian. You can use the 4-H Program Participation Permission, Agreements, and Photo Release Form (Word | PDF).
Many counties ask parents to sign the Release Form when members enroll at the beginning of the 4-H year. This release form would be valid for one year. Images for which you have a signed release may be used at any time. Otherwise, the most convenient time to get a release signed is when participants sign up for an event or program or at a preplanned photo shoot, before any pictures are taken. Make it a practice. Keep all your signed release forms in an easy-to-find file.
If you’re submitting a picture of a 4-H member to the media, you must have a signed release form.
Do not put photos of children on web pages that identify the names or locations of the children, EVEN IF YOU HAVE A SIGNED RELEASE FORM FROM THE CHILD’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN. For example, do not use pictures of children standing in front of their homes, schools, well-known landmarks, or places with obvious signs posted nearby. Don’t include captions beneath your photos that include the child’s last name, home address or any address that locates the child. This simple practice will help ensure the safety of the children who participate in our programs. It’s unfortunate we have to take precautions of this nature, but that’s the reality. Internet predators are real. Please do all you can to protect the anonymity of our 4-H members and their families.
A request for background check information on a 4-H volunteer who has been screened must be made in writing to the State 4-H Office. When the volunteer returns the signed form to the State 4-H Office, a copy of the approved background check will be mailed to the individual, school, or organization making the written request.
- Any county may have a minimum of eight hours of 4-H aide time.
- When a 4-H educator/professional is assigned to two county offices, the county where the educator/professional is housed may have eight hours of aide time, while the second county may have sixteen hours of aide time.
- When a 4-H educator/professional is expected to devote a significant percentage of his or her time to a program area other than 4-H Youth Development, the county where the educator/professional is housed may have sixteen hours of aide time.
- In Aroostook county, where there is more than one office within a county, the educator/professional may have sixteen hours of aide time, enabling an eight-hour aide in the office where the educator/professional is housed, and eight hours elsewhere.
- The above policy does not preclude any county from raising funds using approved methods from other sources to augment aide time.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension recognizes the value of overnight experiences for members, leaders and staff. UMaine Extension also understands that those adults acting as chaperones carry a great deal of responsibility. The following guidelines have been created to assist 4-H volunteers and UMaine Extension staff in the role of program chaperone. Chaperoning 4-H events is a wonderful experience for everyone involved and these guidelines are to help each volunteer and staff member understand the details involved when you have an opportunity to travel with young people.
- 4-H Volunteer Orientation and Leadership Training (VOLT) certified volunteers and UMaine Extension staff may act as chaperones on overnight 4-H trips/events.
- 4-H volunteers and UMaine Extension staff are covered by university liability insurance while on 4-H trips.
- If at all possible, 4-H volunteers and UMaine Extension staff taking on the leadership role on a specific 4-H trip should have been on the trip before as an assistant.
- 4-H volunteers and UMaine Extension staff chaperoning 4-H trips are expected to be role models for all youth and abide by all 4-H policies. (These can be found on the UMaine Extension website or a copy may be requested at your county Extension Office.)
- A chaperone is defined as someone who will have independent supervision of 4-H youth/member(s) overnight.
- 4-H volunteers who would like to be considered for chaperoning a 4-H trip may need to submit an application form to the committee overseeing each specific program. This requirement will depend on each planning committee. The minimum age for an assistant state event chaperone will be 21 and the minimum age for the chaperone acting in the role of group leader will be 25 (25 is also the minimum age for rental from an auto rental agency).
4-H volunteers and staff should have all of the necessary emergency contact information and be prepared for emergencies prior to the trip.
4-H volunteers and staff need to abide by the following steps in the event of an accident:
- Seek immediate medical help.
- Notify the appropriate Extension staff liaison to the trip.
- Notify the parents, and discuss any further information and action needed.
- Fill out the University Accident form. This form is on the UMaine Extension website.
- Follow-up with staff and parents.
The 4-H program may want to purchase the minor health and accident insurance for participants and chaperones for the duration of the trip. (See your county staff for information.)
4-H volunteers should follow these guidelines when chaperoning overnight:
- 4-H volunteers may not stay in the same rooms as 4-H members (the program will look into available condo/suite housing).
- Teens may stay in rooms in pairs, with no more than 4 in a room, same sex only.
- Chaperones should conduct room checks at times during the evening until late at night (this will take some individual judgment as to how often and when the room checks need to take place).
- Teen leaders and delegate advisers should be given leadership responsibilities during the event and can be a designated direct contact for a small group of teens housed with the delegate adviser attending the event.
- Chaperones should never be alone (i.e., one-on-one) with youth participants.
Please read the Policy Manual section on Low-Risk Management Practices — Chaperones.
- Chaperones must make sure all permission slips, emergency information, photo consent and health forms are filled out prior to the trip and the chaperone should carry a copy of each with them at all times.
- Chaperones must adequately supervise all activities, meals, recreation and free time during a trip.
- Chaperones must realize that while these trips are very rewarding they can be physically and mentally exhausting. (Chaperones should expect to get very little sleep.)
- Chaperones should review all program schedules and events with staff prior to attending the trip. A parent meeting and a review of the schedule should also be held prior to the trip.
- Chaperones and staff should try to identify all possible risks prior to attending the event.
- All 4-H volunteers and staff in leadership roles should be aware that they will need to assist with program evaluations from all participants.
- All 4-H volunteers and staff attending the trip will need to take part in a follow-up report about the experience.
- Make sure the facility is clean, safe, healthy and handicapped-accessible if needed.
- Make sure all participants are aware of emergency numbers and how to reach you in the event of need.
- Make sure all participants know where to meet you in the event of a building evacuation.
- Make sure all participants know that they will be charged for phone use, pay-for-view TV, refrigerator snacks, etc. and how to avoid the charges.
- Check in with the hotel and have any inappropriate TV channels blocked from view (this should include late night movie channels with inappropriate selections).
- Set up a system of communication room to room with your teen leaders if appropriate given the size of the group.
- Make sure the entire group knows your room number, cell phone number and schedule.
- Have a sign-in and -out system if members are leaving their rooms to attend conference presentations, programs, etc.
- Call the hotel prior to the trip and arrange for the rooms to be located together in the hotel.
- Work to provide accessibility for all.
- Review environmental surroundings and safety concerns.
- Review all program expectations and rules with all members and parents of members attending the overnight program.
- 4-H volunteers will be instructed on all expenses that are required to be filed with the IRS as potential income.
- 4-H volunteers and staff who are responsible for program funds, checks and receipts will be asked to maintain a log of funds, keep all receipts and account for all program funds upon the return of the group.
When Traveling by Plane
- Verify flight arrangements at least a week in advance and then the day before. Remind youth who are traveling with you to verify arrangements as well.
- Make sure youth have 2 forms of Photo ID with them. Acceptable forms of Photo ID are: School Photo ID (only if under the age of 18), Driver’s License, Passport, and State of Maine ID. We realize that airlines only require one form of ID but the second form serves as a backup in case the first form of ID is lost or stolen on the trip.
- Remind youth about safety issues and what they can and cannot pack. When in doubt refer them to the information about airport security and/or the airlines. It is better to check things ahead of time instead of on the day of travel at the airport.
- Advise youth to be at the airport 2 hours before departure.
- Send out flight departure and arrival information (include airline, times, airports and flight numbers) to youth and parents/guardians well before the trip.
- Have a communication system in place so that people can reach you both to and from the airport in case of travel delays – usually providing a cell phone number works well.
- When passing through airport security if there are 2 chaperones have one go first and the other go last to make sure all of the youth make it through the screening. If you are the only chaperone then go through security last.
- Plan ahead of time how you will get from the airport to where you are staying and also confirm how you get back to the airport once you are there. Work with your staff liaison about these arrangements.
- On the return trip verify flight information and remind youth to contact their parents/guardians about flight arrival information.
- Once the plane has arrived back in Maine please ask the youth to check in with you so that you know for sure they have been picked up at the airport by the appropriate person.
For all 4-H raffles please refer to the Fundraising policies and practices in the Maine 4-H Low-Risk Management manual before setting up a raffle as all raffles/fundraisers need to be approved by 4-H staff.
Raffles (games of chance) are legal in Maine. Information concerning raffles can be found in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 17: Crimes, Chapter 14: Games of Chance.
Youth under the age of 16 may not purchase raffle tickets. Youth under the age of 16 may sell raffle tickets (chances) if they are affiliated with a recognized youth association, such as 4-H.
There are special rules for raffling livestock for fundraising purposes (see Procedures below).
Procedures for Raffling Livestock
It is illegal to award a live animal as the result of a raffle. Rather, the animal should be in freezer-ready form.
Any Extension program that is considering a livestock raffle as a fund raiser should:
- Contact and inform county Extension staff of the proposal.
- Obtain a permit from the Maine Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry by calling (207) 287-3419.
To a 4-H youth, a show judge is an important authority – someone who willingly shares skills and knowledge that can help members increase their ability to show successfully and pursue their interest with improved results. As such, the judge of a 4-H show can have much influence and even power over a young person. While this power is almost always used for good purposes, we must be aware the potential for abuse of a youth by a person in this position of authority exists. In recognition of this possibility, the Maine 4-H program has adopted the following procedure to be used when hiring a 4-H judge.
4-H volunteers and staff who have the responsibility of hiring a judge for a 4-H show must check the name of the potential judge against the Maine and National Sex Offender registries before the person is hired to judge the show.
The simplest way to do this is to:
- “Google” Maine Sex Offender Registry.
- When you get to the Maine Sex offender Registry On-line Search Service, click on “Go” at the bottom of the first screen.
- You will need to know the first and last name and the town and zip code of the person you are checking. It is very important to be aware that there are many people who share the same name.
- To check the National Sex Offender Public Registry:
a. Use the link on the Maine Sex Offender Registry site or “Google” National Sex Offender Public Registry.
b. Agree to everything on the first screen
c. Then enter the first and last name and in the right hand corner of the screen, click on “National Search”.
- If their name appears in either registry then follow these steps:
a. Contact the potential judge and say something like “our policy is that before we hire a judge for our 4-H show we check to see if someone is listed on the Maine Sex Offender Registry or the National Sex Offender registry. To do this we need your date of birth.” (This is important in case there is a person with the same name listed in the data base. Collecting information about date of birth from potential judges will give you an accurate way to verify that your judge is or is not the person on the list.)
b. Once you have their date of birth, then you can re-check the registries to verify if it is their name that is in the registry.
- If the potential judge shows up on one of these two registries, you may not hire him or her. If the judge is already hired, he or she must be told they may not judge the show.
This whole procedure takes only a few minutes and those few minutes could be the key to making sure our 4-H youth are protected from potential sexual abuse.