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Becoming a 4-H Volunteer

February 20, 2020
Volunteers are the Heart of 4-H

The 4-H Program would not exist without amazing volunteers, and we appreciate their time whether they can dedicate a few hours or many years. Since we work with youth, we take some precautions to make sure we have great role models for our members; therefore, we ask anyone wanting to volunteer with our program complete the Approved 4-H Volunteer Process. While this process is fairly simple, there are a few steps, and the time it takes to complete this process can vary. We encourage anyone interested in volunteering to initiate this process.

What is a 4-H Volunteer?

A 4-H volunteer is anyone that wants to be involved in our 4-H program. The time commitment and area of interest vary for each individual. We would love to have your help whether it is a few hours of office work or digital design or to lead a club for years.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Lesley (lodmell@purdue.edu or 812-275-4623) and she can help you find the right fit for you. We are always looking for great help to "Make the Best Better"!

Steps for the 4-H Volunteer Approval Process

1. Complete and Return the Paper Volunteer Application

You initiate the process by completing the application in the files at the bottom of this article. You can complete it electronically or by paper. Once it is complete, return it by email, postal mail, or dropping it off at our office. The addresses are:

Email: lodmell@purdue.edu
Mailing/Physical: 924 16th Street, Bedford, IN 47421

To speed up the process, we ask that you include complete contact information for your references, and let them know you are putting them down so they can be expecting the form. We try to send these by email as much as possible, but we can send them via postal mail.

2. Reference Checks and Background Searches

Once you complete your 4-H application, you do not need to worry about this step. Our office will process these items and will contact you if we are having trouble getting information back from a reference. The amount of time this portion takes is completely dependent on how long it takes to get the reference forms back. 

3. Volunteer Interview/Orientation with Lesley

After your references are returned, we will contact you about scheduling a meeting with Lesley. We typically try to do this as group sessions, so you can benefit from the questions others ask and meet other new volunteers; however, if the group sessions do not meet your schedule, you can schedule an individual meeting. This meeting takes about 45 minutes and will review the basics of being a 4-H volunteer and give you resources to help you get involved. 

4. Create a 4HOnline Profile

During the meeting with Lesley, she will provide you with instructions on creating your profile in our database, 4HOnline. There are instructions with screenshots in the documents below. This allows you to sign the Adult Behavioral Expectations and gets you on the mailing list(s) for the groups in which you are interested. The url for the portal is https://in.4honline.com. You can update your own contact information at any time by simply logging back into your profile. If you have children in our 4-H program, you will use the same family profile you have set up. 

5. Complete Protection of Minors Training

When you have created your 4HOnline profile, Lesley will approve the profile and send you information (also in the files below) for completing the approximately 20 minute training through 4HOnline. It involves listening to a powerpoint presentation and completing a short quiz. You can also complete the in person with Lesley if you prefer. You must complete this process before working with youth. Once complete, this training is good for 2 years. 

This is the final step of the approval process, so once this training is complete, you are considered an Approved 4-H Volunteer for the year!

6. Renew Your Volunteer Commitment Annually

To maintain your approved volunteer status, we will send you a notice each year to ask you to re-affirm your commitment by re-enrolling through your 4HOnline profile each October. It is a simple process, and as long as you follow the Adult Behavioral Expectations and re-enroll each October, your volunteer status will remain. However, if you let your status lapse, you will have to repeat steps 1-5 again, including the same meeting with Lesley. We understand if you want to take some time away from volunteer tasks, but please remember to at least log into your 4HOnline account. It is much simpler if you still at least retain your status in the event you want to return as a volunteer. 

 

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