INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING?
What is in it for me?
Types of Volunteer opportunities
How do I start?
The mission of Fairfield County 4-H is to help youth Dream and Achieve. We do that by creating a supportive environment, with caring adults, where youth learn leadership, citizenship and life skills.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
As a 4-H volunteer you will make a positive contribution to our future. You will help the youth in your 4-H group:
• Learn leadership and citizenship through projects and activities
• Feel safe, have fun and be in an environment where they learn at their own pace- on projects that they choose
• Have the opportunity where youth and adults work together to achieve a common goal
Most importantly, adult volunteers make a positive connection with the youngsters in their group. These adults often become a significant person in the lives of those young people.
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What Is In It For Me?
Volunteering is satisfying, rewarding and gratifying. Isn’t it rewarding to know that you helped a young person grow into a competent, contributing and productive adult? Doesn’t that give you a special sense of accomplishment? How gratifying is it to know that someone really appreciates what you are doing? Isn’t it satisfying to know that your passions, hobbies, interests and ideas are shared by others?
But the benefits of volunteers go beyond this. As a 4-H volunteer, you will:
• Meet new people;
• Travel to new places;
• Learn new skills;
• And maybe even learn a thing or two from one of your 4-Hers!
Every year, our Fairfield County 4-H Volunteer Recognition Dinner provides an opportunity to recognize the efforts and hard work of our volunteers. During the dinner, volunteers are recognized for years of service and special accomplishments. There is also a State Volunteer Recognition system.
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Types of Volunteer Experiences
Volunteers are the key to the success of the Fairfield County 4-H program. Volunteers in 4-H come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, with a wide range of skills.
4-H has many different volunteer roles, so if you have an interest in working with and for young people, 4-H has a spot for you! Fairfield County 4-H volunteers can be club/group leaders, committee members, short course teachers, or resource people.
1. Club/Group Leaders
Volunteers may be club leaders with groups of young people. These volunteers help to plan educational programs and organize community service projects to give the youth opportunities to gain life skills like responsibility, record keeping and leadership. And of course they have fun!
To be considered a 4-H group in good standing in Connecticut, an organized group:
• Encourages members to participate in public presentation at the club or district level
• Completes a community service project
• Participates in county fundraising activities
• Promotes record keeping through member’s upkeep of record books
• Offers opportunities which expand member’s horizons, supports their successes and enables them to grow from their mistakes
• Provides an atmosphere where youth feel safe and learn to appreciate, accept and support the uniqueness of others
• Participates in the Fairfield County Fallback into 4-H Festival
• Submits one captioned picture of their 4-H activities to a local paper
A typical group or club meet at least 6 times a year and has at least 5 enrolled members. Volunteers organize the group and help members conduct their meetings. They serve as role models. They can help members select and teach projects (link to emphasis areas). They can also recruit other community volunteers to help teach specific projects that interest 4-Hers. Click to “What do 4-H members do?” for more information.
Where Do I Find Members?
Any and every where- community centers, nature centers, libraries, your local school (before or after school), or your place of worship.
What Types of 4-H Groups/Clubs Can I Start?
Life experience and personal interest usually influences the type of group or club a volunteer starts. The possibilities are endless! 4-H offers learning experiences in more than 200 subject matter areas which are divided into 10 emphasis areas:
• Science and Technology
• Plants and Animals
• Consumer and Family Sciences
• Leadership Education
• Healthy Lifestyles
• Personal Development
• Communication and Expressive Arts
• Environmental Education & Earth Science
• Citizenship Education
Looking for ideas? Click here (link to emphasis areas).
2. 4-H Committee Members
There are two types of committees in Fairfield County, standing committees and program planning committees. All committees are composed of teens and adults with teens having all the rights and responsibilities of the adults.
• Members of a program planning committee meet for a short period of time to plan, conduct and then evaluate county activities; activities like the Fairfield County Fair, the Fashion Revue, Public Speaking Day, County fundraising events or our Silly Over Science Day.
• Members of standing committees usually meet monthly throughout the year. These volunteers help the UConn CES 4-H/Youth Development Educator make decisions that affect the entire county. They play a critical role in the development, implementation and evaluation of county programs. Their job is to help insure that the needs of all young people are being met.
3. Short Course Teachers
Some volunteers like a short term commitment, but still want to work directly with youth. A short course teacher teaches a class in their area of interest- coaches for judging teams, woodworking, jewelry making, or digital photography, etc. 4-Hers participating usually come from several clubs.
4. Resource People
Resource volunteers volunteer for a very short period - usually 2-6 hours. They serve as workshop presenters, fair evaluators, public speaking evaluators or help with specific projects.
What About Dues?
There is no state or national dues structure for 4-H involvement. Individual groups may charge dues to cover expenses, and some project areas may require extra financial investments for supplies, equipment and travel.
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4-H cannot exist without volunteers and is committed to making your experience positive and rewarding. The county, the state and the New England region provide training opportunities for volunteers in a variety of topics. The Connecticut State 4-H web page (link) has information on training events and activities beyond the county level.
Training specifically designed for new leaders occurs in our county. In addition to an general orientation to 4-H, there are meeting 2-3 times are year to help new leaders
meet and learn from other volunteers, and increase their knowledge in 4-H related topics such as awards, helping g officers become effective and record keeping.
There are also monthly Leader updates on our web page. These update provide information on programs and activities.
Training for 4-H Committee Members, Short Course Teachers or Resource People
Is done as needed.
4-H, as the youth component of the Cooperative Extension System is part of a national network. This network also provides resources for leaders and volunteers.
4HUSA.org, National 4-H Council and even other states have great information for leaders.
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How Do I Start?
There are just 5 steps to becoming a 4-H volunteer!
1. Decide that you want to make a difference in the lives of young people
2. Discuss your ideas, interests and time commitments with the 4-H/Youth Development
3. Complete and return the Connecticut Volunteer application.
4. Once approved as a 4-H volunteer, you will receive an orientation about 4-H and
becoming an effective volunteer.
5. After completion of the orientation, you will be ready to embark upon a new journey-
one where you will share your talents and skills with young people, helping them to
Dream and Achieve. You will have fun and even discover new things about yourself!
I Want to be a 4-H Volunteer!
Fairfield County 4-H
67 Stony Hill Road
Bethel, CT 06801
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