Sara Drake column: 4-H needs people like you to volunteer their time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Sara Drake

Cooperative Extension Service

Volunteers are the backbone for N.C. Cooperative Extension programming, especially the 4-H program. 4-H, the youth component of N.C. Cooperative Extension, provides youth ages 5 to 19 exciting and educational experiences through clubs, special interest activities, camp and much more.

Volunteering links people in a very special way. As people spend time volunteering, it can help increase a sense of commitment, challenge, joy and self esteem, all positive emotions that can help ward off stress.

Volunteers in the North Carolina 4-H program come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and fill many different roles.

Volunteers may be club leaders with groups of young people. These volunteers help to plan educational programs and organize community service projects to give the youth opportunities to gain lifeskills such as responsibility, record keeping and leadership.

Some volunteers work with specific programs that are limited to a shorter term commitment. These programs might include teaching a class in an area of interest like woodworking, sewing, electric or etiquette. This might be a person who serves as a coach for young people preparing for public speaking contests or who serves as a judge for the competition.

There are also volunteers who provide assistance by serving on advisory committees. These individuals help youth development professionals make program direction decisions to ensure that the needs of the county’s young people are being met.

4-H volunteers must complete a volunteer application. Volunteers are then trained and supported by extension staff.

If you have an interest in assisting youth to develop to their full potential contact Sara Drake, 4-H Extension Agent, at 704-216-8970 or For more information about 4-H or N.C. Cooperative Extension, call the Rowan Extension Office or visit