4-H volunteers are community members who are invested in the positive development of the youth in our county and care about their future. 4-H provides an organized way for people with a wide variety of skills/expertise, backgrounds, interests, etc to work together for our youth. Read all about being a Michigan 4-H volunteer.
4-H Staff Contact: Emily Hoover, 734-222-3936, firstname.lastname@example.org
What can I do?
There are lots of different ways to volunteer with 4-H:
- Community Club Leaders oversee and coordinate the operation of the 4-H club. These leaders help members sign up for 4-H in their club, inform the club about updates in the 4-H program and opportunities available, etc. You can start your own club or get involved with an existing club.
- Do you have a special skill that you want to teach to youth, to make them as excited about it as you are? In 4-H, you can lead workshops and activities at the club or county level. Project Leaders are volunteers in clubs who are responsible for leading 4-H'ers who are involved in a specific project or activity. For example, a club may be involved in lots of different projects, with a leader responsible for each one--Beef Leader, Craft Leader, Community Service Leader, etc.
- Don't want to be tied down to a specific club? You can be a Resource Leader, someone who 4-H groups may come to for your expertise for workshops, activities, information, etc.
- Council/Committee Members help youth gain leadership experience as a part of the many 4-H Councils and Committees that oversee and advise the various aspects of the 4-H program, conduct educational workshops, grant scholarships, etc.
- Behind the Scenes Volunteers provide support for 4-H clubs/groups, events, workshops/trainings, etc. These volunteers may do a variety of things, from making sure the most up to date educational information is available to 4-H members and volunteers to organizing events and more!
- You can also provide state-wide leadership for projects or events. More information: Michigan 4-H Volunteers.
- Shooting Sports Instructors teach youth about safety and shooting techniques for a variety of areas, including archery, rifle, muzzle-loading, etc. Instructors can choose to specialize in just one area or multiple areas. Shooting Sports Instructors can start their own clubs, be Project Leaders in an existing club, be Resource Leaders for the entire county, etc. To become a 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor, you must first go through the Volunteer Selection Process. Once you are certified, you will attend the Shooting Sports Instructor Certification Workshop. You must re-attend the workshop every 3 years to keep up your certification. 4-H has policies related to safety in shooting sports that differ from what you may have experienced other places, so even if you are a certified instructor through another institution, it is important for you to attend this workshop. More information about 4-H Shooting Sports can be found here, including registration information for the next workshop.
- Science Leaders teach youth about any variety of science subjects. We have tons of curricula that you can use, such as TechXcite, robotics, chemistry, biology, etc. You can also create your own plan!
What resources will be available to me?
One of the wonderful things about being involved with 4-H is that 4-H is a part of Michigan State University, and 4-H has access to research-supported resources from MSU and other universities around the country. These resources range in subjects from youth development to animal science to entrepreneurship and beyond.
Each county 4-H office also has extensive resources for volunteers and members to use to support their work. These resources include Learning Lab Kits, Educational Curricula, project information, etc. Once you become a volunteer, you can contact us to see how we can meet your resource needs. A full list of resources available in Washtenaw County is coming soon!
Volunteer Training Workshops
4-H volunteers have the opportunity to attend workshops that provide training on a variety of subjects. Many workshops are offered at a state level by Michigan State University at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, MI. Washtenaw 4-H also offers workshops at a county level. A full listing of workshops available to 4-H volunteers can be viewed here.
There are also tons of resources available online. Check them out!
I want to get involved!
Have you decided that you want to start supporting Washtenaw County youth and become a 4-H volunteer? Great! We look forward to having you join our community. But wait! First, all potential 4-H volunteers must complete the Michigan State University Extension Volunteer Selection Process. Once you have read and understand what the process is and why 4-H volunteers go through it, you will:
- Fill out an application. Note: the application requires a clear and legible copy of a photo ID such as a driver's license.
- Notify your references that we will be contacting them.
- Drop off, mail, or email the application to Emily Hoover, 4-H Program Coordinator. Note: turning in an application does not mean that you are now a certified volunteer. You will receive a letter once your certification is complete welcoming you as a new volunteer.
- WE will conduct your criminal history and child abuse checks and check your references.
- YOU will complete all 4 components of the 4-H Volunteer e-Learning Course. The password is: volunteer. (Be sure to fill in your county at the end. We will receive notification when you have completed the course)
- Once the last two steps have been completed, you will be contacted to schedule an in-person meeting at our office. Allow approximately 1 hour. This meeting will consist of an interview and an orientation specific to the volunteer role you will play. You will sign a Code of Conduct Agreement, Volunteer Enrollment Form, and Volunteer Authorization Form. You will receive a packet of resources to assist you in your new role. You will start receiving our CloverBeat Blast via email once per week (usually Thursday) with updates about everything that is going on in Washtenaw 4-H.
- You will receive a letter welcoming you as a new volunteer. Keep this letter for your records. Welcome!!!
I want to start my own 4-H club!
Yay! We are very happy to help you start your own 4-H club. Here are some things to consider before venturing down the road of starting a 4-H club:
- 4-H clubs must be open to all interested youth. You may not restrict membership in your club to only youth who go to a certain school, ride at a certain horse stable, go to a certain church, etc. MSU/4-H are very dedicated to being open to all individuals. Please see the statement at the bottom of this page for more information. 4-H clubs MAY chose to close to ALL new members at any time, but must remain closed for the remainder of the program year. This is often an option chosen by larger clubs to control their numbers. Some clubs chose to accept new enrollments from September 1 to November 1, annually, and then close until the next year. This is acceptable, so long as the club is closed to all new members while closed and open to all new members while open.
- There must be at least one volunteer in the club and at every club meeting who is certified through the MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process. See the section about becoming a volunteer above for more information. You must complete the process prior to starting a club.
Ready to start your club? Contact Emily Hoover, 4-H Program Coordinator, to set up a meeting so we can get you started! In the mean-time, you might want to read some of the resources found at the bottom of this page to familiarize yourself with the 4-H club structure, guidelines, etc. I know it looks like a lot of reading, but trust me, it's really helpful!
Maintaining my status as a certified 4-H volunteer
Once you have completed all 7 steps of the Volunteer Selection Process as detailed above, you will be a certified 4-H volunteer. To maintain this status, you will fill out and turn in to the Washtenaw 4-H office the following forms annually (between September 1 and December 15):
If you are a volunteer associated with a specific club (Community Club Leader, Project Leader), you will receive these forms in your club packet at the Leader Re-enrollment meeting in September. If you are not associated with a specific club, you should receive these forms in the mail in September or October. You should complete them and return them to the Washtenaw 4-H office.
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status.