In the Sheboygan County 4-H Program, volunteer management and development is a priority! With 226 Certified 4-H Volunteer Leaders, it is critical that staff engage volunteers in ongoing educational processes designed to build capacities for their service roles. By actively engaging volunteers and organizing volunteer efforts, we are able to provide hundreds of opportunities throughout the year for over 1,500 youth, K-13th grade.
In order to manage and develop volunteers effectively, staff hold group training throughout the year and are available for one-on-one consultations and support. Training includes research-based information on positive youth development, conflict management and problem-solving, risk management, and financial management. Along with ongoing volunteer development and management, a required 4-H Volunteer Orientation is held for new volunteers. This year, 36 adults were certified through our Sheboygan County 4-H Volunteer Youth Protection Program. The primary purpose of this process is to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants (i.e., youth, their parents and families, salaried and volunteer staff.)
The Value of Volunteers
As volunteers offer their time, talents, and/or resources to 4-H Youth Development Educational Programs, they do so without monetary expectation and yet give generously and graciously. During the 2020 4-H Youth Development Program year, approximately 7,402 hours (roughly 33 hours per year per volunteer with 226 volunteers) of 4-H Volunteer service hours were contributed to the Sheboygan County 4-H Program for a dollar value of $211,253.058.
This spirit of volunteerism isn’t limited to the adults in our program. The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, a longitudinal study that began in 2002 and has been repeated over eight years with the Tufts University research team, indicated that 4-H’ers in grades 7-12 are nearly four times more likely than their peers to be actively engaged in their communities. In fact, one of the essential elements of positive youth development involves Generosity. Young people need to have the opportunity to discover who they are by gaining exposure to the larger community and the world. 4-H engages youth in this opportunity through service to others—our 4-H clubs have served over 148 different organizations through their service in the last year alone.