While negative stereotypes abound on the outlooks, lifestyles and attitudes of this countrys young people today, most are actually healthy, happy and productive members of society. In fact, the majority engage in some sort of volunteer activity, and many see the value of helping others.
President Barack Obama recognizes the importance of volunteerism and is encouraging people nationwide to participate in volunteer activities. 4-H has a long-standing history of volunteerism within its program. In fact, one of the four Hs is about hands giving something back to the community.
Volunteering provides the opportunity to give time and energy to a worthwhile cause. It is for those who believe that they can make a difference in the lives of others through the application of their special talents and efforts.
Colorado 4-H puts such a strong emphasis on volunteering that it requires each member to complete an annual community-service project or activity. These activities range from making valentines for childrens hospitals, to cleaning roadsides, to organizing food and coat drives and more.
Youths are asked to come up with numerous community-service project ideas that are then taken to their community clubs for discussion. The activities are then voted upon and scheduled. With the help of the entire club, most service projects take little time and effort but provide tremendous benefits to the recipients, members and community.
Volunteering in 4-H is also about adult leadership. The majority of our volunteers are involved in direct service with youths teaching, guiding and advising them in community-based groups. It has been and continues to be the foundation of 4-H. Our 4-H program invites you to consider becoming a volunteer in our program.
A person doesnt have to have a degree in a specific field to become a volunteer in the La Plata County 4-H program. As long as you have a passion for working with children and an interest in a certain area, we will use your strengths with appreciation.
The majority of volunteers are actually recruited by existing volunteers friends, neighbors, acquaintances and parents of children who ask other parents. There are many ways to volunteer as a club leader, project leader, chaperone, activity leader and much more. Many clubs are using a lateral leadership model where they use volunteers for short, specific leadership activities such as enrollment, fundraising and community service.
As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, I have experienced that volunteering can be both challenging and rewarding. Volunteering is best approached through having an open mind and heart and good sense of humor. La Plata County 4-H volunteers are well-supported and encouraged to engage in the positive development of youths in our region.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for 4-H, please dont hesitate to call the Extension Office for more information about all the opportunities that are available.
email@example.com or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.