Drake column: 4-H volunteers make a difference

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 6, 2012

SALISBURY — Volunteers are the backbone for North Carolina Cooperative Extension programming, especially the 4-H program.
4-H, the youth component of N.C. Cooperative Extension, provides youth ages 5 to 18 with exciting and educational experiences through clubs, special interest activities, camp and much more.
A 4-H club volunteer provides overall leadership for the club and coordinates with members, parents and other volunteers. The purpose of a 4-H club volunteer is to support youth, volunteers and county 4-H staff members in conducting meaningful, educational experiences to help youth grow and reach their fullest potential. Whether through educational programs or community service projects, 4-H provides opportunities for youth to gain life skills such as responsibility, record keeping and leadership.
All 4-H clubs must be chartered and have a minimum of five youth. Clubs typically meet once a month. Meetings include a short business meeting, club program and refreshments/recreation. Club programs are designed around the interests of the youth and can be taught by youth, parents, club volunteers or guest speakers.
Club members go on tours, attend special programs, conduct service projects, make things, share what they have learned and more. There is something for every child and adult whether he or she lives in town or in the country.
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.
If you would like to give back to the community and help youth to develop to their full potential, then become a 4-H club volunteer today. Contact Sara Drake, 4-H Extension Agent, sara_drake@ncsu.edu or at 704-216-8970. 4-H Volunteers must complete a volunteer application. Volunteers are then trained and supported by extension staff.