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4-H gives youth opportunities for long-term relationships
michelle beran
Michelle Beran

A credit card company ran a series of commercials a few years ago that listed the cost of several activities and ended with the related experience as “priceless.”

4-H Youth Development could not function without volunteers. We often think of the county fair as the culmination of 4-H projects and volunteers are certainly visible serving as superintendents, setting up and cleaning up, distributing flyers and so much more. 

Volunteers also serve extremely important roles as club and project leaders. A club or project leader has a day-to-day impact on youth by teaching life skills, setting examples and helping them practice responsibility and communication. 

Volunteers are also needed for short-term commitments such as helping with the Style Revue or club days. Another option is assisting with a SPIN (Special Interest) Club which are six hours of instruction over several days or weeks. 

Program Development Committees (PDC) are made up of six volunteers from each county who provide ideas and an understanding of the needs of each county for youth development. 

As with most youth organizations, 4-H has specific requirements to be a registered volunteer. The goal of 4-H Youth Development is to provide positive learning experiences with positive relationships in a positive environment. Across the Cottonwood District (Barton and Ellis) over 120 individuals are registered 4-H volunteers which means that they have completed an application, an online orientation, successfully passed two background checks and received approval by the Cottonwood District Extension Board. 

As a volunteer, you can reinforce the Kansas 4-H Mission which states “With unique strategies and opportunities, Kansas 4-H Youth Development engages youth in reaching their full potential through partnerships with caring adults”. One of the Essential Elements of 4-H is belonging and research shows that it is important for youth to have opportunities for long-term relationships with adults other than their parents. 

Would you like to give back to your community and have a positive impact on youth development?

4-H Youth Development Volunteers, no matter the size of your contribution of time and talents, are priceless!

It’s not for the money,

It’s not for the fame,

It’s not for only personal gain,

It’s not for the love of fellow man, 

It’s just to lend a helping hand, 

It’s just to give a little of self

That’s something you can’t buy with wealth,

It’s not for medals worn with pride, 

But it’s the feeling deep inside,

It’s that reward deep in your heart,

It’s that feeling you’ve been a part,

Of helping others far and near,

That makes you a volunteer!

—Author Unknown

Michelle Beran is the 4-H and Youth Development Agent for the Cottonwood District, Barton County office. Email her at or call 620-793-1910.