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4-H Orientation for Prospective Member Parents and Volunteers

Part of what we do for those interested in becoming members of 4-H or want to volunteer is provide an initial “4-H Orientation” course to introduce you to who we are. The following is a brief outline of what we cover in this course. As always, if you have questions or would like more information, please contact us, we are happy to help anyone who would like to be involved find their place in 4-H.

What is Extension?

  • The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences hires faculty in every county in the state to bring scientific research to the communities and people where that research is relevant.
  • Education of locals with current research helps maintain that they are using the best practices we know of for whatever activity they do.
  • In this way Extension faculty work to help apply and translate research from the university level to where it will be used.
  • 4-H does this for youth. We help youth expand their knowledge with the best and most accurate understanding of a variety of projects while applying development practices that are proven to increase the capacity of youth as productive citizens.

4-H Youth Development

  • Mission of 4-H
    • Learn by doing
    • Caring adults
    • Expertise and resources
  • Vision of 4-H
    • Creating positive change for youth, families, communities
  • I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living. For my club, my community, my county and my world.
  • The primary tenant of 4-H are to achieve
    • Belonging – Through a positive relationship with a caring adult, a safe environment, and an inclusive environment. Current research suggest that sense of belonging may be the single most powerful positive ingredient 4-H can add into the lives of children and youth. Youth need to know they are card abou tby others and feel a sense of conntion to thers in teh gorup. A caring adult acts as an advisor, guide, and mentor. 4-H also gives youth the opportunity to feel physically and emotionally safe while participating in the 4-H experience, whether from the learning environment itself, adults, other participants, or from spectators. An inclusive environment is one that allows a sense of belong to develop, encourages and supports its member, and offers encouragement with positive and specific feedback. In 4-H healthy groups celebrate the success of all members taking pride in collective efforts.
    • Mastery – In order to develop self- confidence youth need to feel and believe they are capable and they must experience success at solving problems and meeting challenges. by exploring 4-H projects and activities, youth master skills to make positive career and life choices. In 4-H, youth are exposed to the breadth and depth of topics that allow them to pursue their own interests.
    • Independence – The opportunity to see oneself as a active participant in the future is to harness the hope and optimist to shape life choices to facilitate the transition into active participation in future events. Youth need to know that they are able to influence people and events through decision making and actions. Believing that one has impact over life’s events rather than passively submitting to the will and whims of others is self-determination. By exercising Independence through 4-h leadership opportunities, youth mature in self- discipline and responsibility, learn to better understand themselves and become independent thinkers.
    • Generosity – Youth need to fell their lives have meaning and purpose. Bey participating in 4-H community service and citizenship activities, youth can connect to communities and learn to give back to others. These experiences provide the foundation that helps youth understand the “big picture” of life and find purpose and meaning.
  • Projects – 4-H Youth are involved in various projects, here are a few that Escambia County youth have focused on. However, we are always willing to explore the diverse interests of our members.
    • Food and Nutrition
    • Health
    • Leadership and Personal Development
    • Environmental Education and Earth Sciences
    • Civic Engagement
    • Communication and Expressive Arts
    • Community and Volunteer Service
    • Consumer and Family Science
    • Animal Science
    • Biological Science
    • Personal Safety
    • Physical Sciences
    • Plant Science
    • Technology and Engineering

What are the Benefits of 4-H?

  • Members
    • Over 230,000 youth are part of 4-H in Florida. This alone stands to validate the impact of the program. However, 4-H also offers more project opportunities conducted by experts than any other youth development program. 4-H engages youth in long term learning while creating a sense of community among their peers and developing leadership skills that translate to greater life outcomes.
  • Volunteers
    • Volunteers can share their experiences and knowledge with youth that make a lasting impression. Teaching responsibility, leadership, and tangible skills through 4-H enhances youth’s likelihood of going to college, pursuing careers in science, making healthier life choices, avoiding risky behavior, and giving back to their community.
  • Clubs
    • Clubs are the heart of 4-H. This where are youth develop a sense of belonging among a consistent group of peers with consistent mentorship from trusted adults.
    • Clubs have unique resources as part of 4-H. We not only have the support of federal, state, and local entities for information, but you have agents that will help organize these resources and provide educational experiences unlike any other youth development organization in the country.


Agent led, Volunteer delivered, Youth focused

  • All 4-H activities should be coordinated by a 4-H agent. This provides that you will have the best information and tools do offer the best opportunity for youth that is possible.
  • Agents train volunteers and help engage clubs and other events with the mission of 4-H. We can provide the logistical support for you to focus on the education and mentorship of your youth.
  • Volunteers deliver information, educational and otherwise to their youth. They are responsible for imparting the importance of activities to youth.
  • We are always focused on what the youth want. Youth lead meetings, youth make decisions about their clubs and the program generally. It is important for volunteers to communicate the needs and desires of youth to the agent.
Membership Policies
  • 4-H membership requires at least 6 hours of 4-H sponsored activity
  • 4-H Youth are expected to complete a 4-H project, give a club, community, or county 4-H presentation, participate in a community service event,
  • Each club may have additional requirements. These will be in their Club Bylaws.
  • Clubs achieve standards of excellence depending on their level of participation.


  • Expectations
    • We expect that you will stay involved by relaying information to your youth, but also by keeping us involved with you and relaying information to agents.
    • We expect that volunteers are highly engaged with providing hands on experience and exploration for youth. You are the teachers that help youth to learn
  • The training and screening of volunteers is vital to upholding our promise to maintain a safe, inclusive, and educational environment for our youth.
  • Experiential learning, youth-adult partnerships, service learning, collaborations with other organizations, fun curriculum
  • Types of volunteers:
    • Activity Volunteers – Help organize youth to coordinate an activity
    • Project Volunteers – Help lead youth in an activity that engages their particular expertise as part of a full project.
    • Organizational Volunteers – Club leaders, chaperones. This volunteer has the greatest responsibility and highest level of screening.
Volunteer Screening and Youth Protection

Project and Activity volunteers must be Level 1 screened. These volunteers must have an application on file with us. This also requires registering with fl.4honline.com as a volunteer and OYCS training online at https://oycs.ufsa.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/YCS800-simulated-version1.swf

Level 2 screening, in addition to Level 1 requirements, is required of all Organizational Volunteers, this requires the signing of a affidavit of good moral character and a formal background screening including fingerprinting.Episodic Volunteers – Judges, day volunteers, special interest program leaders.

Episodic volunteers have a basic background check run. These volunteers are not allowed to be alone with any youth at any time and must be with a Level 2 screened volunteer when at a 4-H event.

Policies for Volunteers
  • Reporting
    • We ask for numbers a lot.
    • Why? These help us gauge what we are doing overtime. They demonstrate how a program is growing and how much youth are learning. Remember that we are focused on long term outcomes.
  • Situation and Intended Outcome
    • We carefully examine what is going on in a community and strategically plan projects accordingly by using local data. We do this research and guide the program in a way to address overall issues.
  • Objectives and Accomplishments
    • Reporting helps us know how well we are doing in regard to actual impact we are making overall. It is also important for us to know who we are working with in order to keep our program centered on the youth that are participating.


How do we get information to you?

How to get involved:
  • Join us!
  • Fl.4honline.com
    • Sign up as a member or a volunteer
  • Remember that volunteers need to fill out a volunteer application.
  • Tell you agent how you want to be involved and we will connect you to the best club or program for you.
  • Stay involved and up to date at our website

Important Sites for Members

Important Sites for Volunteers

Permanent link to this article: http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/4h/2015/05/14/4-h-orientation-for-prospective-member-parents-and-volunteers/