Volunteers help make 4-H possible.
To volunteer, you don’t need to have previous experience working with youth. The most important qualifications are:
- a desire to work with young people to help them learn new things and gain life skills; and
- wanting to provide youth with positive experiences in a safe and welcoming environment.
Extension volunteers work with staff to deliver educational programs using University and other high-quality educational resources. To find out more about volunteering, contact the Positive Youth Development (PYD) staff member in your County Extension Office.
New Volunteer Training
If you are 18 years or older and interested in becoming a 4-H volunteer, we can help. We will provide new volunteers with Volunteers in Preparation Training about how to work effectively with youth and what resources are available to volunteers. We will also ask you to participate in a Mandated Reporter Training to learn more about how to protect youth from child abuse and neglect. Finally, to ensure the safety of all youth and volunteers, a Volunteer Behavior Expectations Agreement and background check are required.
Depending on their role, some volunteers may be asked to complete subject matter specific trainings as well as training to enrich their knowledge of youth development (for example chaperones or Shooting Sports leaders).
All volunteers, both new and returning, are also required to take training on how to report sexual misconduct. Answers to questions about reporting and training are available on our FAQ page.
For more information and an application to volunteer, contact the 4-H Youth Development staff member in your County Extension Office.
Ways to Volunteer
In 4-H there are many ways to volunteer. All volunteers work with youth and adult volunteers in offering a positive youth development experience for young people. Check out specific volunteer opportunities below.
Provide leadership/organization for an activity or event and/or participate as a committee member
Work with a team of adult advisors and PYD staff to ensure youth have a safe and positive educational experience.
Club Enrollment Coordinator
Provide leadership for members and adult volunteers who are enrolling in the club or group organization
Provide leadership to the club or group organization
Provide leadership for a committee and/or participate as a member of a committee, creating educational experiences for all youth engaged in the program
Provide leadership and organization to the project group who is learning about a specific topic.
Additional information for those who want to be an Adult Advisor/Chaperone:
Adults interested in state level chaperone and coordination responsibilities must complete an Adult Advisor Application. State level experiences may include: Citizenship Washington Focus, Space Camp, National 4-H Congress.
Chaperones – for 4-H youth development experiences must have completed the Youth Protection Process; be enrolled 4-H volunteer leaders and be over 21 years of age (for some experiences adults must be over 25).
Benefits of Volunteering with 4-H
Volunteering with 4-H has benefits for the volunteers, the youth they work with, and the organization they support. According to over 2900 volunteers who participated in the North Central Volunteer Impact Study:
Volunteers gain skills. 4-H volunteers gain skills in teaching, leading effective meetings and developing communication skills. Youth benefit because volunteers help youth:
- Prepare for future careers
- Improve their decision-making skills
- Serve their communities
- Gain leadership skills
The organization benefits:
- 4-H volunteers on average donate 9 hours per month
- Donate money and supplies
- Serve as ambassadors of 4-H in recruiting youth, volunteers and connecting with community partners
Volunteers impact communities where they volunteer by:
- Making communities stronger
- Connecting communities
- Improving the health of communities
- Increasing civic involvement