Volunteers make it possible for young people to become involved in youth programming by providing leadership and mentorship. Learn ways to implement and evaluate volunteer development in your youth program.
Youth Development Insight
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
At the recent National Extension Conference on Volunteerism, Jones Loflin gave a keynote speech in which he asked, “How will you grow it when you return home?” Jones speaks globally about innovative yet practical solutions to workplace challenges.
An author whose books include "Always Growing". Jones made me think about leadership and how to move change forward - even in small ways. He said, "To be an effective leader, think like a gardener." I’m not much of a gardener, but his message stuck with me.
Grow – Create conditions where others can deliver their best work.
Cultivate – Determine consistent actions that will help your ideas thrive.
In Minnesota 4-H we've recently been doing a lot of thinking about recruiting first-generation participants -- those whose parents were never involved in 4-H. One question that tends to float to the top of the discussion is how to attract and engage minority populations. This led me to ponder, what are some innovative strategies that could attract first-generation minority youth into 4-H?
Reports & journal articles
Participant Comfort with and Application of Inquiry-Based Learning: Results from 4-H Volunteer Training
This article explores how a one-time training designed to support learning transfer affected 4-H volunteers' comfort levels with the training content and how comfort levels, in turn, affected the volunteers' application of tools and techniques learned during the training. 2016.
This formative evaluation was commissioned by the statewide volunteer systems team to understand the value of recent investments by the Extension Center for Youth Development to design and implement a “suite” of online training modules for volunteers. The evaluation was designed to gather information about how volunteers who completed the modules perceive their OTM experience, their opinions about the usefulness of OTM, and the value that they received. 2014.
Documenting volunteer contributions strengthens Extension partnerships with volunteers. A team of North Central Region 4-H volunteer specialists collaborated to conduct a study of 4-H volunteer contributions and impacts related to working with youth within the 4-H program. Over three thousand (3,332) 4-H volunteers from throughout the 12-state North Central Region completed the survey. Volunteers are critical partners to the success of 4-H, making it possible for millions of young people to have access to 4-H programs. 2012.
What we're reading
From journals and the popular media.
- Online "Jams" as a Tool for Professional Development and Community Engagement | Sarah Jane Rehnborg | International Journal of Volunteer Administration
- Identifying Critical Thinking Styles to Enhance Volunteer Development | Gay, Terry, Lamm | Journal of Extension
- Using an Advisory Group to Obtain Volunteer Perspective for Regional Programming | Culp, Edwards, Jordan | Journal of Extension
- Episodic Volunteering and Retention: An Integrated Theoretical Approach | Hyde, Dunn, Bax, Chambers | 2016 | Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
- A New Model of 4-H Volunteer Development in Science, Engineering, and Technology Programs | Barker, Grandganett, Nugent | Journal of Extension
- Improving County-Based Science Programs: Bringing Out the Science Teacher in Your Volunteer Leaders
- Development Strategies for Online Volunteer Training Modules: A Team Approach | Robideau, Vogel | Journal of Extension
- Community Developmental Assets and Positive Youth Development: The Role of Natural Mentors | Schwartz, Chan, Rhodes, Scales | Research in Human Development
- Human resources: Staffing out-of-school-time programs in the 21st century | Asher | Afterschool Matters
- Volunteer Middle Managers: Human Resources That Extend Programmatic Outreach | Cassell, Culp | Journal of Extension