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Happy National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Our volunteers help make clubs, camps, and other educational programs possible so that we can Grow 4-H in Florida!

Our volunteers help make clubs, camps, and other educational programs possible so that we can Grow 4-H in Florida!  Photo credit: National 4-H Council

Sunday, April 10th, marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week.  A recent study found that volunteers are directly responsible for teaching as much as 50% of the life skills a youth learns through the 4-H program (Fogarty et al).  Volunteers are essential to the delivery of the 4-H program, and starting on Sunday, we want to share some of their stories with you.

Our volunteers come to us with a variety of expertise.  Some volunteer a little, some volunteer a lot, but every single one of them makes a difference.  And they all have one thing in common: to ignite that spark in the next generation by sharing their passion, knowledge and skills.  4-H is delivered in several different ways; our most traditional way is through community clubs.  We also have clubs that are centered around a particular project or subject such as robotics, fishing, sewing, etc.  Some clubs event meet during or after school.  There are also short-term programs that are delivered through the schools such as embryology, 4-H/Tropicana Public Speaking, gardening, and agricultural awareness.  Another popular way we deliver 4-H is through our residential and day camping programs.  4-H volunteers help make all of this possible under the leadership and direction of their local 4-H Extension Agent.

Each day, we will highlight a different type of 4-H volunteer to give you an overview of the different roles our volunteers serve.  We hope this series will not only inspire you, but create more awareness of our volunteer programs.  Most importantly, we want to recognize the wonderful contributions that each of these volunteers is making.  If you are not already a volunteer, think about sharing your talents with us!  You can fuel the extraordinary efforts of our youth by joining us as a volunteer.   To find out more, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org/volunteers.  Happy National Volunteer Appreciation Week- we hope you will enjoy our series as much as we enjoy working with our incredible volunteers!