Have you ever asked yourself, how can I motivate volunteers to give back to their community? What if I came up with a way to support our local community through a UF/IFAS Taylor County 4-H outreach program and it was “fun”? Would the word “fun” entice the 4-H volunteers to jump on board and help?
The Big Idea
Let’s just say the words “fun”, “downtown Christmas” and “candy” sparked the interest of 4-H volunteers. Because of the 4-H volunteers’ interest in helping develop a Gingerbread Workshop, the Taylor County 4-H program was able to host the 1st Annual Gingerbread Workshop in Taylor County in 2018. We held it in conjunction with Downtown Christmas and let’s just say the 4-H volunteers had fun representing the Taylor County 4-H Program. Eleven adult and teen volunteers worked together to transform Perry Masonic Lodge into the Gingerbread workshop. Volunteers assisted parents and kids as they handpicked their candy and spent a couple of hours preparing a gingerbread house that was later judged in the Gingerbread House Competition hosted by the Taylor County Historical Society. Because of the Gingerbread Workshop, volunteers were able to educate people about UF/IFAS and all of the many educational programs that are offered through the Taylor County Extension Office.
Because of the Gingerbread Workshop, volunteers were able to educate people about UF/IFAS and all of the many educational programs that are offered through the Taylor County Extension Office. The 4-H volunteers developed relations with one another that continue to grow. All of the volunteers from 2019 are making plans to volunteer again this year and have invited new volunteers to join in on the fun. Through this outreach program, our program has gained two 4-H Volunteers that work with summer camps and sewing club. Sometimes a little motivation and something fun for volunteers goes a long way!
Benefits of Volunteering
Finding time to volunteer is the hardest part of volunteering, but if you can make it work, the benefits will surprise you! Not only will be helping others feel good, you will also make yourself feel good. Volunteering your time, skills, experience and love to serve others in need will also give you a greater self-worth and appreciation. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
If you would like to know more about volunteering or how you can volunteer in your community, contact your local extension office.