D. Daniels, UF/IFAS Extension, Lake County, Tavares, FL.
Situation: Lake County 4-H annually trains 76 organizational leaders to serve over 450 youth through community clubs. In efforts to maintain and increase the quality of programming youth receive through 4-H Community Clubs, it is essential that the Association can provide support for youth programs and volunteer trainings. Associations can make or break the county 4-H program, it is important to explore strategies and solutions to develop a successful and impactful Association. The Lake County 4-H Association training was determined to be a program need by Association members and the 4-H agent; the training was conducted for eight Lake County 4-H Association members. The goal of the training was to understand how our organization carries out the UF/IFAS Extension mission and values, determine and define Association member roles and expectations, and develop a volunteer recruitment strategy.
Education Methods: The first part of the training included a brainstorming session on how well the Lake County 4-H program accomplishes the mission and values of UF/IFAS Extension. The group analyzed the 2013-2023 UF/IFAS Florida Extension Roadmap for priority number 7 to determine the quality of programming offered by the Lake County 4-H agent and volunteers. The group developed a volunteer recruitment strategy, fundraising plan, and a five-year plan to include goals and objectives. Lecture seminars covered determining the roles of Association members, keeping the end goal in mind, conflict resolution, and collaboration.
Outcomes and Impacts: Eight of nine Lake County 4-H Association members attended the training. In the UF/IFAS Extension County 4-H Association Assessment, it was determined that the Lake County 4-H Association is considered effective. While it is deemed an effective Association, Association members decided that three goals and objectives should be created for a five-year plan. The three objectives include an increase in external funding, increasing community awareness of the Lake County 4-H program, and increase membership with the Association and organizational leaders. Volunteers play an integral role in the 4-H program as they participate in a variety of roles. 4-H is dependent upon adult volunteers and it is crucial that they are provided with training. Using the ISOTURES method (Boyd, 1971) resourceful and supportive training can influence future outcomes and activities produced by 4-H volunteers. The Lake County 4-H Association provided members the opportunity to improve leadership and established clear roles and expectations of Association members. The training has created a comprehensive and dedicated group of volunteers who are able to support Lake County 4-H.
Conclusion: The Lake County 4-H Association Training helped form a more cohesive group of Association members, provided better understanding of membership roles, and helped members identify and meet the missions and values of UF/IFAS Extension and Priority Workgroup 7. Efforts will be made to continue improving the quality of the program with the intent to focus on other topics to include determining program gaps and utilizing the targeting life skills model.