Volunteer Today. Inspire for a Lifetime.
Volunteers are vital to 4-H programming. Without their endless support 4-H youth development programs could not exist. Volunteers host meetings, teach project content, plan and organize events, and dedicate many hours of program assistance. Below is some helpful information and a few resources to help volunteers be successful in 4-H.
What is Youth Development?
Youth Development is a process in which adolescents develop cognitive, social, and emotional skills and abilities required to navigate through life. Positive youth development occurs when youth participate in activities that promote life skills such leadership, citizenship, character, responsibility, sense of belonging, and empowerment. Positive youth development environments have adult mentors who help guide youth in directions that develop these life skills Adults volunteers provide youth with experiential learning processes or "hands-on" activities via community clubs and project clubs. The Ages and Stages of Youth Development handout can help volunteers plan their activities and meetings based on the different stage levels of the youth.
What is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning is a process through which youth and adults develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting. In 4-H, experiential learning encompasses a variety of activities including raising livestock, conducting science experiments, service learning, learning how to cook or sew, and other creative experiences offered through 4-H projects.
While there are Five Steps of Experiential Learning, experiential learning must also include:
- A designed learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes
- Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
- Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically
- Reflection, critical analysis and synthesis
- Opportunity to apply new knowledge gained in reflection to a different situation or real-world problem
Experiential learning experiences should target various 4-H life skills. These life skills are identified in the Targeting Youth Life Skills Model.
To learn more about experiential learning, check out UC-Davis Cooperative Extension's Experiential Learning website.
Become a NEW Volunteer
Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer with the LaPorte County 4-H program? The Volunteer Application Instructions will guide you through our process. The first step that you will need to complete is the Volunteer Application. Once done, return it to the Extension Office. While the office processes your application, you can complete the mandatory Indiana 4-H New Volunteer Orientation. You will need to log completion of orientation by visiting: bit.ly/LPVolunteerCE
Please remember that in order to remain an active 4-H Youth Development Volunteer for LaPorte County you will need to complete an additional hour of continuing education along with the "Working with Minors Youth Safety" training video each year.
Once you have completed watching the chosen video please log the information by visiting: bit.ly/LPVolunteerCE
Role Descriptions for All Volunteers
Not sure which role you want to volunteer for.... here is a list with a brief description
Advisor/Chaperone - Work with 4-H Youth Development staff to ensure youth have safe and positive 4-H experiences.
Afterschool Enrichment Volunteer - Serves as a liaison between the Extension Educators, members and their families regarding the 4H club programs.
Clinicians/Workshop Volunteer - Teach specific skills to 4-H members as outlined in project materials and handbooks.
Club Enrollment Liaison - Provide leadership for members and volunteers who are enrolling in club or group.
Club Leader - Provide leadership to the club or group.
Committee Member - Work together with other volunteers, leaders and staff to meet program goals.
Council Member - Follow all 4H guidelines and policies of Purdue Extension, State and County 4-H programs.
Fair Resource Volunteer - Work with 4-H Youth Development staff to ensure youth have safe and positive Fair week experiences.
Jr. Leader Advisor - Provide leadership to the Jr. Leader organization.
Mini 4-H Club Liaison - Serve as a liaison between the Leader, Office, Educators and families.
Project Coordinator - Coordinate activities/workshops/events in related project area.
Project Division Leader - Assist the Project Coordinator in providing leadership and organization to the project group.
SPARK Club Volunteer - Provide youth in grades 3-12 unique, single focus educational experiences.
Volunteer Host Family - Welcome an international student into your home for the one month homestay experience.
4HOnline 2.0 Tutorials
Other Adult Volunteer forms
Tools for Success
Volunteers are often conducting meetings with youth, as well as adults. Sometimes meetings can get off-track. Here is a list of Effective Meeting Tips to help your meeting run more efficiently.
Leadership and Teaching Techniques can be handy in working with youth. Volunteers have to teach many different projects, sometimes in many different ways. This guide can help you discover different teaching methods and styles.
4-H Mentor Manual this guide will help answer some of the questions you may have concerning your role.