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Becoming a 4-H Volunteer
Without dedicated 4-H volunteers, we would not have a successful 4-H program! El Paso County 4-H is always in need of volunteers.
Here are a few examples of volunteer opportunities:
- Club Leaders– Club leaders help the 4-H members run their club. They relay information, collect paperwork, and inspire and motivate our members and other leaders to do great things!
- Project Leaders– Project leaders teach our members about their projects. For example, they provide instruction in things like shooting sports, robotics, dogs, leatherwork, cooking and so much more. If you have an interest and skill in a particular educational area, we likely have a need for you!
- Project Committee Volunteers– We have six project committees that help to plan and manage all of the big 4-H events every year. For example, the Dog Project Committee helps to plan our 4-H dog training classes, dog shows and the county fair competition. Our other project committees include: Horse, Livestock, Small Animal, Shooting Sports and Tabletop.
- Club, Activity and Event Helpers– Sometimes we need volunteers to help us out with a club or county events. This can include everything from bringing snacks to a 4-H meeting to working at a concession stand during a livestock show. We are always in need of an extra set of hands!
- Chaperones– Our chaperones supervise 4-H members on trips to make sure that they have a fun, safe learning experience.
- County Council Leaders– The County Youth Council is made of up youth from across the county looking to make a big impact on 4-H. The volunteers help guide these young leaders in their work.
There are five required steps to becoming an El Paso County 4-H volunteer:
1. Contact your Colorado State University (CSU) Extension El Paso County Office to fill out an application and attend or schedule a face-to-face orientation. The Office will provide you with a Potential 4-H Volunteer Initial Interest Form and will collect the $5.00 4-H volunteer registration fee.
2. Complete the 4HOnline application
3. Receive two positive references
4. Complete the background check with HireRight
5. Complete Volunteer Leader Training (VLT)
4-H Volunteer Orientation provides individuals with an overview of the 4-H Youth Development Program. All potential volunteers must complete the Face-to-Face Orientation. It is important to complete Orientation as soon as possible as to not delay the application and screening process.
Orientation Location: CSU Extension Office, 17 N. Spruce Street, Colorado Springs, CO, 80905. Please call or email to set up a time to attend an Orientation at (719) 520-7698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
List and provide contact information for at least three people to serve as references (this is done by entering reference contact information in 4HOnline or on the written application). Please select references who are familiar with your recent experience working with youth and who are not related to you. References will be contacted by phone or email and asked to respond to a short questionnaire. All responses will be kept confidential. At least two positive references are required.
All volunteers are required to complete a background check as part of Colorado State University’s risk management strategy to prevent child abuse and ensure the safety of all 4-H youth. The process also protects the volunteers, Extension staff and Colorado State University. Colorado State University conducts the background checks with the screening company, HireRight. CSU’s Human Resources department has confidence in the security and confidentiality of the HireRight system. You will be notified via email when your name has been submitted for a background check. Within five days you will receive, and are required to respond to, an email from HireRight Customer Support. You will be directed to click on the secure link and provide the information for your background check to be completed.
Please Note: If you do not receive the email within five days, contact the El Paso County Extension Office immediately. Failure to respond to the e-mail from HireRight Customer Support will result in re-screening fees being charged to the volunteer applicant. Be sure to check your junk mail for the HireRight e-mail if you are expecting the HireRight e-mail.
After you have completed the screening process, you will be notified by an acceptance letter from the CSU Extension El Paso County Office that your screening is complete. Your name will be activated in 4HOnline, our state database. Upon being accepted as a 4-H volunteer, county 4-H staff will discuss volunteer opportunities with you. The last step is to complete Volunteer Leader Training.
Volunteers are the Heart of 4-H! Thank you for your interest in sharing your time and talent with Colorado youth!
IMPORTANT – You may not begin as a 4-H volunteer until you have received written approval from your county 4-H Agent.
Only authorized volunteers are protected from liability under the Government Immunity Act (24-10-101CRS et seq) and the Risk Management Act (24-30-1502CR et seq).
Please Note: Returning Volunteer with a Break in Service – Any individual with a break in service is required to complete the new volunteer screening process again. Depending on their volunteer responsibilities, they may be asked to re-train.
Volunteer Leader Training (VLT)
In the 4-H Youth Development Program our most basic responsibility is to provide a healthy and wholesome atmosphere for young people and the adults who work with them. Our goal is to provide a safe environment that encourages positive youth development. To maintain the El Paso County 4-H Program’s record of safety and to ensure the 4-H mission is a program priority, all El Paso County 4-H Volunteers are required to complete a three part, face-to-face Volunteer Leader Training (VLT). Volunteers new to 4-H, who are not working with an experienced 4-H volunteer mentor, are required to complete VLT before scheduling 4-H club meetings with youth members. All other Volunteers (in roles other than main club leader and working under the supervision of an experienced 4-H volunteer mentor) will have one year to complete the training. Volunteers will not be eligible for re-enrollment if they are unable to complete training within the one year time frame. Volunteers will be notified when “refresher” re-training is required; typically every 5 years.
* * * * Because we care about the safety and well-being of our 4-H family, new volunteers MUST be registered, have their fees paid and have their training and background check completed and approved before they start working with youth. * * * *
If you are sure you want to become a 4-H volunteer, you can start a profile at 4HOnline to begin the screening process.
If you have further questions or need help deciding as to what role you could offer the most assistance, contact our El Paso County Extension office at (719) 520-7698.