4-H a great way to learn about volunteering

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 10, 2014

Volunteers are the backbone for N.C. Cooperative Extension programming, especially the 4-H program. 4-H, the youth component of Cooperative Extension, provides youth ages 5 to 18 with 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 or field trips and organize community service projects to give the youth opportunities to gain life skills such as responsibility, record keeping and leadership. 4-H clubs are required to meet once a month, for a minimum of nine months out of the year.
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 to the volunteer, such as cooking, crafts, 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 judge a competition. 4-H also needs adults to help prepare youth for various competitive events such as animal science competitions, forestry and horticulture.
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.
All 4-H volunteers must complete a volunteer application. All applicants must also consent to having a background check conducted. Volunteers are then trained and supported by Cooperative Extension staff. To learn more about volunteering, contact Sara Drake, 4-H extension agent, at 704-216-8970 or sara_drake@ncsu.edu. For more information about 4-H or NC Cooperative Extension, call the Rowan Extension Office or visit http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu.

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