Ames, Iowa--- Last week 4-H volunteers across Iowa were recognized during National Volunteer Week, April 18-24. Approximately 10,000 Iowa volunteers annually guide 4-H members in developing leadership, communication and citizenship skills.
“My 4-H leaders have been my biggest fans encouraging me to accomplish my goals. They continue to cheer me on to reach for the stars!” said a Muscatine County 4-H Youth. “They granted me the opportunity for life skills, lifetime friendships and many memories!”
Muscatine County honored 4-H volunteers with gas cards to thank them for helping drive 4-H forward into the future, along with thank you notes filled with quotes from the youth they have assisted.
“They have shown me to grow as an individual and build great character,” said another Muscatine County 4-H member of the 4-H volunteers.
Tokens of appreciation and kind words are not the only things that Iowa 4-H volunteers received for contributing their time and talents. An Iowa study showed that volunteering with 4-H also had a positive influence on the volunteers.
Volunteers reported that through volunteering with 4-H, they had improved their organizational and management skills, their ability to speak in public and their ability to lead and teach others. Volunteers also said they felt like valued members of a community and that they belonged to something bigger than themselves.
Each county across Iowa celebrated and thanked their 4-H volunteers a little differently, but all are extremely appreciated. Here are just a few additional examples from this year.
Cedar County at leader’s training gave out reusable 4-H bags filled with 4-H goodies.
Clay County printed a story in the newspaper about the county's great volunteers. The county also recognized and thanked each leader by giving each a 4-H mug and 4-H window decal.
Crawford County provided movie passes to all their volunteers along with a thank you note.
Guthrie County sent flower seeds and an appreciation note to all 4-H volunteers.
Linn County hosted a 4-H leader training and hamburger cookout. A 4-H Shooting Sports air rifle trailer setup gave leaders some hands-on time with one of the newest special interest clubs. Additionally, the volunteers received vehicle window clings featuring the 4-H clover, a sign for “thanks for sticking with us,” organizers said.
Monona County gave volunteers ISU hand sanitizers with hand and clover packaging with the saying, “Thank you for keeping our image clean with your leadership.”
Monroe County Junior 4-H Youth Council prepared a meal and gave a presentation, “How you have been an inspiration through your 4-H volunteer efforts," for each leader attending the Spring Leader’s Training.
Building the Future
One in five Iowa children are reached by 4-H volunteers who provide learning experiences based on the principles and practices of positive youth development. Iowa 4-H volunteers stand apart as being motivated by positive purposes in helping youth become caring, competent and contributing members of their family and community.
Iowa 4-H volunteers are making a large difference according to a study of 508 Iowa 4-H’ers from across the state. The study found that 80 percent of 4-H members increased their citizenship skills, 67 percent increased their leadership skills and 73 percent increased their communication skills through involvement in 4-H.
To learn how to become a 4-H volunteer, contact your Iowa State University Extension county office.
About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth participates in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact your Iowa State University Extension county office at www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices/ or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4H.