4-H looking for volunteers

The Adams County 4-H program is looking for volunteers who are willing to start new clubs.

Currently, there are 145 adult volunteers assisting 28 community-based clubs with over 700 members in Adams County.

According to the county extension office the program’s most immediate need is for volunteers from the Manchester and West Union areas. Existing clubs in those communities are bursting at the seams with interested members, and several have reached capacity.

Adult volunteers are needed to help increase the program’s capacity to reach more young people in 2016.

Volunteer 4-H leaders share their time, careers, and hobby interests with young people, and act as mentors in meetings and for project works.

New advisors may either volunteer for an existing club, or elect to start a new club in their own neighborhood or one that offers special interest projects.

Extension educator, Carolyn L. Belczyk said, “The 4-H program never wants to deny a youth the opportunity to join, and it’s important that new opportunities, in the form of new clubs be created.”

“Without adult volunteers,” she adds, Adams County would have no 4-H clubs, no Junior Fair events and exhibits, and no OSU Extension-backed, positive youth development program working to help local youth develop into competent, caring, and committed adults.”

Clubs are required to have at least five members from a minimum of three different families. Club advisors and club names must be approved by Extension professionals, and the head advisor must comply with IRS and other financial and reporting requirements.

While a single screened and approved adult volunteer may start a new club, most often a team of several such adults work together to do so, maximizing programming and project opportunities for members.

New volunteers are welcomed into the 4-H program at any time throughout the year, and each must complete a screening and orientation process before being approved as a 4-H club advisor. This process takes time, and prospective volunteers are encouraged to apply by December 31 in order to complete the process in time to be fully engaged with youth for the 2016 program year. Adults seeking to start a new club are urged to begin the process early, so that they’re approved and oriented in time to hold one or more club meetings prior to the February 15 4-H enrolment deadline.

To become a 4-H volunteer, bringing 4-H programming to youth in your neighborhood, contact OSU Extension Adams County at 937-544-2339 or visit the website at adams.osu.edu for additional information or to download the volunteer application.

4-H is the positive youth development program of The Ohio State University and is open to all youth ages 5 and in kindergarten through age 18, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.

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By Patricia Beech

pbeech@civitasmedia.com

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