Extension and Ag Research News


4-H Volunteers Impact N.D. Positively

The impact of 4-H volunteers goes beyond the 4-H program and leads to changes in communities.

During National Volunteer Week, April 19-26, NDSU Extension is sharing results of a study that documents the impact of 4-H volunteers.

The North Central Region 4-H Volunteer Impact Study, conducted across a 12-state region, aimed to understand and document the specific value and impact that 4-H volunteers have on the 4-H youth development program and in communities.

“We have always known the value of 4-H volunteers, but through this study, we learned their impact goes beyond the scope of the program and leads to changes in communities,” says Rachelle Vettern, NDSU Extension leadership and 4-H volunteer development specialist. “Entire communities are stronger because of the work of 4-H volunteers.”

Brad Cogdill, NDSU Extension Center for 4-H Youth Development chair, says, “Extension volunteers are at work in nearly every community in North Dakota, and their communities need them. This study reaffirms that the private growth of an individual volunteer transforms into public benefit and stronger communities.”

Brenda Weber, a Stutsman County 4-H volunteer, says, “On a personal level, I have learned valuable leadership skills that extend beyond 4-H, but seeing the kids learn a new skill or take on a leadership role is my favorite part of being a 4-H volunteer.”

The survey research resulted in three key findings.

4-H Volunteers Gain Personal Skills

Volunteers come into the 4-H program hoping to support youth and make a difference, but they also gain skills in teaching, leadership and communication. These skills transfer to other environments in which volunteers work and live.

Survey responses indicated:

  • 95% built new relationships with youth
  • 87% gained skills that were useful in other settings
  • 82% increased their confidence as a leader

NDSU Extension Benefits Significantly From 4-H Volunteers

North Dakota’s 4-H volunteers give seven hours per month to the 4-H program in their communities. Annually, that time is worth $2,165 per volunteer.

Survey responses reported:

  • 89% made connections in the community on behalf of 4-H
  • 85% spoke about the value of the 4-H program
  • 83% recruited new youth to 4-H
  • 70% recruited and helped train new 4-H volunteers

Communities Are Stronger Because of 4-H Volunteers

4-H volunteers network with other volunteers, helping communities and organizations stay better connected. Volunteers donate their time and service to community gardens, retirement homes, cleanup projects, fairs and other civic engagement endeavors.

  • 93% said volunteering with 4-H makes communities stronger
  • 91% said volunteering with 4-H contributes to better connected communities
  • 87% said volunteering with 4-H improves the health of communities
  • 87% said volunteering with 4-H increases civic engagement

To learn more about the survey results, see https:www.ndsu.edu/4h/volunteers_leaders/4_h_volunteer_impact_study.

“Especially during National Volunteer Week, NDSU Extension thanks all our 4-H youth and adult volunteers for their many contributions to the 4-H program and to their communities,” Vettern says.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - April 17, 2020

Source:Rachelle Vettern, 701- 231-7541, rachelle.vettern@ndsu.edu
Editor:Becky Koch, 701-231-7875, becky.koch@ndsu.edu
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