Volunteers are critical partners to the overall success of 4-H and making a difference in the lives of young people. 4-H relies on caring, active adults to provide hands-on guidance and mentoring to build confidence, leadership and a sense of responsibility in young people who participate in 4-H. As partners with UW-Extension 4-H Youth Development, the volunteer/organization relationship is mutually beneficial. On the one hand, the volunteer experience provides the individual volunteer with an opportunity to help others through a formalized role and to experience personal growth and development. At the same time, UW-Extension 4-H Youth Development benefits from and relies upon a corps of trained volunteers to help in carrying out our mission.
There are a wide variety of opportunities for adults to volunteer including leading youth in a specific project area in your club or at the county level; helping plan and supervise a club activity; serving as a chaperone at summer camp; teaching a session at project discovery days; serving on a county project committee or the 4-H Board of Directors; or supervising youth working in the Dairyland Stand or Raffle Booth during the county fair. With a variety of flexible options, adults can decide on their level of involvement, based on their skills and time available.
In 1995, UW-Extension put a youth protection system in place to better ensure the safety of youth that are participating in 4-H youth programs. This system includes: completing a background records check for convictions related to child safety; participating in a volunteer in preparation training and an online mandated reporter training; and annually signing a volunteer behavior guideline. The system has been designed to protect children and the privacy rights of volunteers. The first step to becoming a 4-H Volunteer Leader is to enroll as an adult leader through the 4-H Online enrollment system.
Volunteer in Preparation Training will be offered on Saturday, January 13th from 9-11 a.m. at the Lincoln County Service Center in Merrill or on Saturday, March 17th from 9 – 11 a.m. as part of Project Discovery Day at the Tomahawk Middle School. Please register to attend one of these sessions by sending an email to Cherie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 715-539-1074 one week in advance of the session you plan to attend.
In order to volunteer, previous 4-H Youth Development experience is not necessary. The most important qualification is a desire to work with young people, helping them gain life skills and providing them positive experiences. Volunteers extend the resources of UW-Extension as they work with staff to deliver educational programs. If you have any questions regarding becoming a 4-H Volunteer Leader, please contact the UW-Extension office at 715-539-1072 and we will be happy to assist you.