“4-H Grows” is a promise to America’s kids that in the year 2025 4-H will reflect the population demographics, vulnerable populations, diverse needs and social conditions of the country.

The vision has the elements of inclusion, caring adults, serving at minimum 1 in 5 youth and the volunteers and staff reflect the diversity of the population.

The mission of 4-H is to provide meaningful opportunities for all youth and adults to work together to create sustainable community change. This is accomplished within three primary content areas: civic engagement and leadership, healthy living and science.

These mission areas reiterate the founding purposes of Extension through agriculture (e.g., community leadership, quality of life and technology transfer) in the context of 21st century challenges and opportunities.

4-H offers extraordinary opportunities for adults to help youth engage in high-quality, diverse and relevant learning opportunities. However, for the Douglas County 4-H program to grow, we need to recruit exceptional people with innovative practices, talents and skills to share their time and knowledge with youth.

Just as youth need access to 4-H programs that challenge their minds and instill leadership and critical thinking and life skills; the 4-H “program” or “network” of volunteers must be grown and cultivated to be sustainable and relevant to enhance the ability to serve the youth in our county.

4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential when working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Your time, knowledge and heart for youth could make a big difference in the quality of life in your community. Oregon State Extension will provide you the support and training you will need along the way. You will be a valued partner in helping grow kids.

To become a Certified OSU 4-H Volunteer, you will complete an application and training with an OSU 4-H Youth Development staff facilitating the screening process. After successfully completing the process, volunteers will be designated as representatives and leaders of the 4-H program.

What is the role of the 4-H Volunteer?

  1. To help 4-H members learn specific skills in a supportive, hands-on environment.
  2. To teach 4-H members how to think through the development of critical thinking and decision-making skills.
  3. To recognize and encourage each 4-H member so each youth feels noticed and important.
  4. To inform 4-H’ers and their families of 4-H goals, programs, policies, and opportunities.

There are specific roles available to Certified 4-H Volunteers:

  • Main Club Leader: this individual is responsible for the overall management of a 4-H Club.
  • Project Leader: this individual is responsible for leading the various projects within each 4-H club.
  • Resource Volunteer: this individual is responsible for assisting with various 4-H events and activities but has no direct supervision of or unsupervised access to 4-H youth.

4-H projects and clubs are determined by youth interest. Do you have a knack or talent that you are willing to share with youth? Please contact the Douglas County OSU Extension Service at 541-672-4461 to be added to our county mailing list, register to become a 4-H Volunteer today, and help create life-changing experiences for youth in your community.

You can find more information about the local Douglas County 4-H program, teaching materials, and upcoming events at bit.ly/2YfmjGT.

Laurie Michaels is the 4-H Education Program Assistant for OSU Extension Service of Douglas County. If you have questions regarding this article, contact Laurie at 541-236-3042 or send an email to laurie.michaels@oregonstate.edu

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