By Kristie Popa
From weighing animals in their free time to raising money for club projects, problem-solving with youth, buying snacks and drinks for club meetings, giving advice and dressing up for all the holidays, Charlotte County 4-H Volunteers take pride in their position. Over 500,000 volunteers provide caring and supportive environments for 4-H’ers around the world through the 4-H organization. In Charlotte County, a core group of 18 screened volunteers lead the charge to educate over 200 youth each year through Charlotte County 4-H Community Clubs. By sharing their expertise with 4-H’ers, youth gain knowledge on subjects from agriculture to wildlife, animal husbandry, the outdoors and more while also gaining life skills which they can use now and in the future. They are passing knowledge on to the next generation – truly making an impact on the lives of young people.
These impacts are made through positive youth-adult partnerships where adults work as partners with young people to plan, learn, work and lead together. 4-H clubs should be focused around this model, allowing youth to work with adults to plan club meetings, field trips, speakers etc. together, making sure that youth have a voice and an active role throughout the process. Youth-adult partnerships have proven to be one of the most effective ways to engage youth and adults in meaningful activities which all play a part in positive youth development through the 4-H program.
All in all, our Charlotte County 4-H youth involved in these positive, meaningful, respectful relationships with our adult volunteers will have the ability to improve their skills and competencies while likely decreasing participation in risky behaviors.
On April 20th, we should all join together to celebrate Volunteer Recognition Day and thank all of our 4-H Volunteers for everything that they do to make the best better by giving their all to make the 4-H program and the individual projects successful. It is with their guidance and willingness to share their knowledge and skills that we have youth who compete in national and state level competitions, multiple youth learning new skills related to their project on a regular basis, and 4-H’ers who have figured out what their true passion is and have a made a career out of it among other successes. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of our wonderful volunteers who have given your time, money, energy and support to the youth of Charlotte County through 4-H.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Charlotte County 4-H program, please fill out this volunteer interest survey (https://tinyurl.com/yb2meo4g) so that we can share our AWESOME volunteer opportunities with you!