Frequently Asked Questions
How is 4-H unique?
- Adults work with young people in a home or community-based setting
- Youth and adults select the focus of their club's activities
- Volunteers decide on their level of involvement based on their skills and time availability
- Programs connect youth and their families to their communities
- Young people can find their own special talents, build confidence and gain life skills
- Programs are research-based and supported by the state (University), county and federal partners
Who can be a 4-H volunteer?
Any adult with an interest in working with youth is welcome to volunteer. You don't need to be an "expert." You simply need enthusiasm and a desire to work with young people.
What qualifications do I need to have to be a volunteer?
- Commitment to young people and a desire to help them develop skills
- Time to prepare and attend meetings
- Ability to relate to and work in partnership with youth
- Recognition that all young people have unique talents and abilities
- Understand the focus of 4-H is providing youth with opportunities to develop life skills. It's not just about competition and winning at the fair.
- Willingness to follow Extension policies and procedures
- Openness to new ideas
- Genuine interest in youth and adults from diverse backgrounds
How much time is involved in being a leader?
The amount of time you spend will depend upon the projects and/or club you are leading. You can expect to spend 1-2 hours of preparation time for every 1 hour of club or project activity. Leaders' meetings or other training may be held for 1-2 hours each month.
What support is available to 4-H leaders?
Volunteers receive support from Extension 4-H staff. Training and literature is provided to help volunteers work with young people and lead project activities. Your county may have a leaders' council, a group of youth and adult leaders that meet regularly. Experienced leaders often attend these meetings and are willing to support you.
What is expected of me?
In addition to completing the application, forms, screening and orientation process, the Code of Conduct and the volunteer job description must be signed. You are expected to provide a safe learning environment, meet regularly as a club or project group to help youth develop skills and be a positive, committed adult role model.
How many meetings will I need to attend?
You should attend all of the club meetings and project meetings (if you are the project leader). Some clubs hold monthly business meetings with additional service projects or other activities and project meetings during the month. Any time a group of youth meets for a 4-H activity, a trained, certified leader must attend to provide support and supervision. Leaders also attend leaders' council meetings. Some counties hold council meetings each month, every other month or quarterly. You will also be expected to participate in additional training. You will receive a newsletter or flier about additional training opportunities. Ask your county 4-H staff person for specific details on meetings and trainings in your county.
What activities and events will I need to attend?
Your county 4-H staff person will be able to tell you which 4-H events you will need to attend. Of course, you are invited to attend any county event. The events you attend will depend on whether you have club members participating or if you have agreed to provide leadership.
How will I recruit club members?
4-H is open to all youth and strives to recruit young people from all backgrounds. The 4-H staff member in your county can help you create fliers to reach young people. Don't just rely on running an article in the newspaper; not everyone buys or reads the paper. Contact neighborhood businesses that cater to specific audiences (such as a Latino market or video rental store) and ask if they know of parents and youth you can talk to about joining your club. Write an article to put in a newsletter for parents of special needs children or foster parents. The key to recruiting youth and other potential adult leaders is to build relationships. It takes time!
Do I have to know a lot about a subject to be a leader?
No. Your county 4-H staff person will help you find resources to lead a project or organize a club. Other volunteer leaders will mentor and share information with you. Also, you can attend training to become more comfortable and knowledgeable in specific areas.
Where can I get information on projects?
Contact your 4-H staff person and browse through national 4-H curriculum on-line.
How much will it cost me?
You will probably have out-of-pocket expenses. Leaders are encouraged to work in partnership with club members to determine activities and their related costs. The actual dollar amount will vary depending upon the projects you are leading. Many of the expenses may be deductible on your income taxes.
How are club expenses handled?
There are a couple of ways to handle expenses. One way is to ask each 4-H member to provide funds to offset costs. (Care should be taken to make sure all youth can participate regardless of their financial situation.) Another way is to have the club or group conduct a fundraiser to earn money for activities. Involve the youth in making this decision by voting on what they want to do and how they will pay for it. A 4-H member should be elected as treasurer to work in partnership with you or another 4-H leader to create a budget and manage club funds. Make sure that you and the club are following Extension 4-H financial guidelines by contacting your 4-H staff person.
Do I need insurance?
All authorized volunteers are covered by Extension liability and workers' compensation insurance when conducting their duties as a sanctioned 4-H volunteer. University counsel will represent a 4-H volunteer as long as the volunteer acted in good faith and did not purposefully create a risky situation. Accident insurance is available at a minimal cost and is recommended for all 4-H clubs. Contact your Extension 4-H staff person for insurance and risk management details.
How long will the fingerprint background check take?
It only takes a few minutes to have your fingerprints taken, but it can take up to six months for the results to be sent back to the Extension office. Sometimes the process is faster and only takes 1-2 months. In the meantime, you can shadow another club leader to learn as much as you can about 4-H.
What does the fingerprint background check screen for?
The fingerprint background check screens for all arrests and convictions. Extension wants to do all it can to ensure that youth who participate in the 4-H program are treated with respect and dignity and provided with a safe and caring learning environment by positive adult role models.
Do I have to have children to be a 4-H leader?
Being a parent is not a requirement to 4-H leadership. 4-H leaders need to enjoy spending time with youth and be willing to help them learn and develop.
What are the benefits of volunteering for 4-H?
- Guiding youth in hands-on learning experiences that build skills and confidence
- Accomplishing more within 4-H than you might be able to do on your own
- Meeting new people and networking
- Working together with young people on important issues
- Helping building strong families and communities in your area
- Learning from youth and discovering something new about yourself and others
- Having fun with kids while you share your talents, skills and knowledge
- Increasing your interpersonal, parenting and professional skills
- Being a local representative for quality 4-H programs based on Extension teaching and research
- Knowing you are a positive, committed adult role model in the lives of young people
- Helping the University reach out to Nevadans to increase knowledge and improve support for Nevada youth, families and communities
- Gaining satisfaction seeing a young person learn a new skill, accomplish something difficult and grow because of a 4-H experience
What is Risk Management?
All activities come with some risk. Being aware of potential risks and minimizing the risks by planning for the expected and the unexpected is risk management. 4-H leaders and staff focus on strategies to ensure a safe, healthy and fun experience for all members and leaders.
Why is Risk Management Important?
The safety of all 4-H youth and adults can be at stake during various activities. When risks are managed, the likelihood of injuries or mishaps is reduced. Focusing on safety and prevention is a key educational component of 4-H.
Each event requires the Assumption of Risk form to be filled out by everybody attending/participating in the event.