4-H Youth Development

Why we need volunteers

Volunteers offer the nurturing, vision, commitment, skills, creativity, dedication and wisdom that can significantly impact the development of young people.

What do volunteers do?

A 4-H volunteer is many things - mentor, advisor, friend, teacher, referee, role model, pacesetter and much more. Most importantly, a 4-H leader genuinely cares about young people and wants to help them learn and grow.

Volunteers:

  • Teach young people important skills
  • Help plan and conduct events
  • Work in partnership (adults and youth) to lead 4-H clubs, activities, and events
  • Supports and creates community service opportunities
  • Shares his or her knowledge and interests with young people
  • Chaperone camps, field trips, contests and leadership conferences
  • Recruit other volunteers
  • Develop and evaluate 4-H youth development programs
  • Contribute by promoting and supporting 4-H

Leadership in 4-H doesn't depend on the amount of knowledge you have about a project. It relies on your willingness to help youth learn. While a young member's project might be photography, horses or sewing, the leader's project is always the YOUTH. Leadership is the ability to get along with people; to tackle a job and see it through. 4-H volunteers are valued partners and the key to the success of a member's learning, experience and continuing interest in 4-H.

Types of volunteers

4-H volunteer leaders are both youth and adults. Whether working year-round or for a short period of time, there are many ways to get involved with a group of youth.

  • A 4-H club team, general or organizational leader provides overall leadership to the club, oversees the group structure and operation, while serving as the club's contact with Cooperative Extension employees and the 4-H Council. They coordinate members, parents and other leaders. 4-H club leaders act as individuals, a team or a group of people, each of whom fill specific roles and responsibilities. The team can also be a youth-adult partnership.
  • A project leader teaches members in a specific project area, such as rabbits, computers or fashion review.
  • An activity leader helps members plan and conduct group activities such as community service, recreation, fundraising or drama.
  • A resource leader serves as a resource to leaders or members in a specific project or activity area.
  • A teen, junior or youth leader is an older 4-H member who develops leadership skills by teaching other 4-H members. Teen leaders gain experience teaching, working with others and taking on responsibilities under the guidance of an adult volunteer.
  • An Afterschool or school enrichment volunteer teaches 4-H curriculum, such as gardening, science or arts and crafts, to an Afterschool group or school class(es).
  • A short-term volunteer teaches a special interest program, such as babysitting, first aid or flower arranging, and/or assists a 4-H group with a special project.
  • A chaperone leads a group of youth at 4-H Camp, or state and national leadership conferences or contests.
  • 4-H Council is a leader organization that supports their county 4-H program through one or more of the following ways:
    • provide opportunity for volunteers to receive feedback on questions, problems, etc.
    • conduct programs and activities for youth
    • offer in-service training on youth development
    • raise funds and manage a budget to support 4-H youth development work
    • coordinate county-level recognition
    • represent 4-H youth development to the community
    • provide opportunities for youth and volunteers
    • help decide program direction and policy
    • increase awareness about 4-H opportunities on local, county, area, state and national levels

Other opportunities

4-H volunteers can serve on camp planning committees and leaders' councils, teach workshops, raise funds, recruit new members or volunteers, judge at fairs and contests or organize events. 4-H is flexible and can be suited to a variety of lifestyles.

Volunteer's 4-H Pledge

  • I pledge my Head to give youth the information I can, to help them see things clearly and to make wise decisions.
  • I pledge my Heart to encourage and support youth no matter whether they have successes or disappointments.
  • I pledge my Hands to help youth groups; if I cannot be a leader, I can help in many equally important ways.
  • I pledge my Health to keep youth strong and well for a better world through 4-H, for youth groups, our community, our country and our world.

Find out more about becoming a volunteer by contacting your county University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office.