Roles of the 4-H Volunteer
Volunteers and parents are valuable partners in the 4-H program, and their contributions can have a profound impact on the lives of 4-H members long after they reach adulthood. The research-based, learn-by-doing 4-H model equips kids with skills such as problem solving, decision making and communicating — essential for them to succeed in school, college, careers and communities. Volunteers have a vital role to play in 4-H clubs, after-school programs, community service, civic engagement and camping programs.
As a volunteer, you may be able to
- Teach young people in an area of personal passion
- Feel pride in making a big impact in the lives of others, youth and adults
- Develop new and current skills in teaching and in your area of interest
- Understand your community better and make a positive difference in it
There are many ways to volunteer, including volunteering short-term in a SPIN club or as a trip chaperone, or longer-term volunteering such as leading an after-school or traditional club.
Overall qualifications for a 4-H Volunteer include the abilities to
- Keep participants safe.
- Be intentional about providing positive youth development and education.
- Work cooperatively with Extension staff, youth, other volunteers, and families.
- Be guided by the Essential Elements of 4-H (PDF), and provide educational opportunities for youth to experience Belonging, Mastery, Generosity, and Independence.
- Help young people be involved in all types of decision-making, at all ages.
- Be willing to stay informed and model life-long learning.
Benefits to a 4-H Volunteer include
- Watching others, grow, adapt, and learn.
- Making positive contributions to youth, families, community, and state.
- Feeling the rewards of sharing your skills, knowledge, and time.
- Being recognized by the local and/or state 4-H program for your contributions.
- Developing lifelong friendships.
- Enhancing personal skills and/or potential career options.
All 4-H volunteers complete an application and background check, interview with county 4-H program staff, and provide references before working directly with youth. Ongoing training is made available to volunteers. Additional resources are available from:
- Volunteer with 4-H (University of Minnesota Extension)
- Become a 4-H Volunteer (Oregon State University)