Volunteering with 4-H
Why volunteer with Minnesota 4-H?
4-H is unique
- Our methods are based on research
- We teach youth to learn-by-doing
- Volunteers receive training
- Youth learn how to solve problems, make decisions and communicate ideas
- We are the largest youth organization in Minnesota
Benefits of a volunteer
- Teach young people in an area of personal passion
- Feel pride in making a big impact in the lives of others -- both youth and adults
- Develop or refine your skills
- Understand your community better
- Make a positive difference
- Receive training
Ways to volunteer
- assist at an event
- teach a topic you enjoy
- lead a project or club
- judge at an event
- encourage youth leadership
- lead a club or project area
Contact staff at your local Extension office to learn about more specific ways to volunteer.
How do I apply?
Who can volunteer?
We welcome adults and youth to volunteer with 4-H. Adults who wish to be a Minnesota 4-H volunteer need to apply; the steps are below. If you're a young person between Kindergarten and one year past high school, please sign up in 4-H to begin your volunteer experience.
BEFORE YOU START: Read our short guide
STEP A: Application Select one of the following options:
- Download an application to fill out, print and sign
- Print a PDF document
- Request a paper copy from 4-H staff (see link at bottom)
- Hennepin and Ramsey County application
- Solicitud de nuevos voluntarios 4-H
NOTE: An ORIGINAL INK SIGNATURE is legally required on all applications. Electronic signatures cannot be accepted.
STEP B: Background checkSelect one of the following options:
- Submit online using our instructions. You will be taken to the website for The McDowell Agency, our screening vendor.
- Print a PDF document that you can mail or fax (address and fax number on page 2)
- Request a paper copy from 4-H staff (see link at bottom)
STEP C: (See the) orientationChoose an option on our orientation page
IMPORTANT: Submitting the orientation reporting form notifies staff that you have completed orientation.
Re-enrolling as a volunteer
NEW FOR 2017-2018:
Volunteers only need to re-enroll once every 3 years.
Safety of Minors training will be tied to volunteer enrollment.
Re-enrollment includes 2 steps.
Things to Note:
- Watch your email or mailbox in September for information that will let you know if you need to re-enroll or not.
- Re-enrollment will now include Safety of Minors training.
- Enrollment opens September 16, 2017.
- The deadline to re-enroll is October 31, 2017.
Who needs to re-enroll?
- Volunteers who took the Safety of Minors training PRIOR to the 2016-2017 program year.
How do I know if I need to re-enroll?
- An email or letter will be sent to all volunteers.
- Your status in 4HOnline after September 16, 2017 will be Inactive.
What if I was a newly screened volunteer in 2016-2017?
- New volunteers in 2016-2017 took the Safety of Minors training with the orientation and do not need to re-enroll.
- You will be re-enrolled automatically by Regional Support Staff.
- Your status in 4HOnline after September 16, 2017 will be Active.
How do I re-enroll?
Safety of Minors training links
- Watch the video
(Note: If you don't see the video, please try a different browser. You should see the video BEFORE the survey questions that ask for your name, email, etc.)
- Read or download a PDF document and print a sign-off sheet reporting that you took the training
- Contact county staff to view a DVD of the training
What if I'm not screened?New volunteers need to complete the application process. Follow this link and select the "Become a Volunteer" tab.
Volunteer training is offered on a variety of topics during the year. Volunteers are equipped with skills and knowledge to guide youth in their development.
These interactive videos are each about 30 minutes long. Take a course at a time and place that works best for you! See a list of online courses.
Fall volunteer training
Face-to-face training offered each fall at a number of locations across the state. See dates and locations.
- The Center for Youth Development brings the latest research through online courses, public symposia and regional conferences. See what's available.
- Statewide events view all 4-H events
- County and club events Go to county website to view.
Resources for volunteers
Minnesota 4-H is committed to providing you the tools you need to excel as a volunteer in these roles:
The 4-H Cloverbud volunteer leader guide has been designed specifically to support volunteers leading a program or club for Cloverbuds.
Leading a club
- Leading a club web page - includes the following:
- Club leader access to 4HOnline (user guide)
Project area volunteer
Our curriculum committees have chosen the best resources from Minnesota, other states, and national 4-H curricula. These are all available on the project pages, and can be accessed from our project selection guide.
- Project leader access to 4HOnline (user guide)
Mentor for independent 4-H member(s)
These tools will answer questions you may have about this role.
These tools will guide your work with an independent member(s).
- Member agreement form
- Yearly progress form
- Enrollment information for independent members is on the "be a 4-H member" page
If there are several mentors in your county, you may be connected to a 4-H independent membership county volunteer coordinator (472 K PDF). The local county Extension office will also serve as a resource to you.
We each have different experiences, backgrounds, values and beliefs that make us who we are. These resources can help volunteers integrate positive youth development with diversity and inclusion practices. Learn how these can be applied to the 4-H programs we serve.
The Extension Center for Youth Development conducts and shares out-of-school time research and evaluation. This is used to address important issues related to the field of youth development.
See all youth development research.
Awards and recognition
Health information for adult volunteers
Health information is required for individuals who travel out of county as a Minnesota 4-H volunteer. This information should be entered directly into the volunteer profile in 4HOnline. Information about logging in to 4HOnline can be found here. If accessing 4HOnline is not an option, the health information page of the volunteer re-enrollment form should be used.
Keeping youth safe: Risk management expectations for 4-H volunteers
Minnesota 4-H is committed to providing safe and healthy environments for youth and adults who participate in 4-H programs and activities. 4-H volunteers have a critical role in this!The tools and resources in this section will provide:
- The overall risk management policies and practices that can help volunteers to understand their role in managing risk.
- A program planning tool plan to assess risk before programs occur.
- A series of information sheets that provide additional risk management details.