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Volunteer Resources

Program Contact: Yakima County 4-H Program Coordinator
(509) 574-1600 •

Title "We Love Our Volunteers" in script at the center in blue with a red heart standing in for "love." Green 4-H logo clover at right, tree with colorful hands as leaves at left

Getting Started

Every new club is different, but here are a few tips that may help your club get off to a great start!

  • Schedule time to meet with local 4-H staff. We have lots of resources to help you get going and can help prioritize options, recruit members, locate meeting spaces, share program information with members, support enrollment, help run initial meeting activities, and more!
  • Start with only one or two projects. Some long-time clubs only support one or two projects, while others support several. There is no right or wrong approach after your club evolves, but starting simple is key to success.
  • Focus on BELONGING. Youth and families (Volunteers too!) want to be in fun and welcoming places. Start and end club meetings with ice breakers, games, or fun activities (PDF) . If a lot of information needs to be relayed to parents, split into two groups with one volunteer leading youth activities and another talking with parents (or call in 4-H staff for support!).  If the first several club meetings don’t allow kids to meet one another, develop common interests and have fun, they will drag their feet getting to the next meeting and may stop showing up.
  • Wait to hold club funds. 4-H clubs that hold funds are set up as a non-profit under WSU/4-H’s umbrella. This allows clubs to hold funds in checking and savings accounts to purchase project supplies or pay for member experiences (field trip or event travel, pizza night, etc.). Holding funds also requires financial training, annual financial paperwork, and a youth treasurer position within the club (often supported by a volunteer). This is an additional layer of responsibility we suggest clubs wait to take on until they are ready.

For more details, refer to the 4-H Club Volunteer Packet (PDF).

Project Ideas & Activity Guides

The office has several 4-H project books on a variety of subjects, and livestock activity sets that volunteers and 4-H members can check out. Stop in or call/email ahead to see what’s available to borrow.

Check out the 4-H project books and guides available at Shop 4-H (under Curriculum).  If your club needs support in previewing or purchasing materials let us know!

Shop 4-H has resources for:

Want to chat about ideas for your members?  Give us a call, email, or pop in — we love brainstorming fun hands-on activity ideas!

Positive Youth Development

Positive Youth Development (PYD) is a research-based approach to youth development that is at the heart of all 4-H programming.  It is the foundation of 4-H regardless of where in the world a club is located.  PYD considers youth assets and partners to their community.  Instead of viewing young people as problems with behavioral issues that adults need to manage or solve, PYD instead looks at youth as having a unique perspective that can enhance the places where they are welcomed.  PYD is a philosophy at the heart of all successful youth engagement work.

For more information on how this looks in action, check out our page on Building The Youth-Adult Partnership!

PYD In Action Looks Like:

  • Youth discovering new skills and abilities
  • Youth growing their decision making skills
  • Youth in leadership positions and taking ownership of their clubs and volunteer experiences
  • Youth setting goals and making plans for their future and for the future of their 4-H clubs
  • Youth expanding their social skills and learning how to form and maintain positive relationships with their peers and with adults
  • Youth learning effective communication and boundary-setting skills
  • Youth showing flexibility and adapting to change and finding a way to be comfortable with change

Adapted from “4-H Learns:  Positive Youth Development“.

4-H Pledge, Motto, & Colors Volunteer Hour Reporting 4HOnline
Help with 4H Online Enrollments

Enrollment Help Guides

Family Enrollment Help Guide (PDF) (Updated 09.27.2021)
Glossary of Terms (PDF) (Updated 09.27.2021)
Enrollment Process Video (YouTube Video) (Updated 09.20.2022)

Fun Ways to Teach Terminology

Teaching Terms & Definitions or Matching Concepts

Print or write the term or concept on one card/paper and the definition or image (e.g., images of breeds or tools related to the 4-H project) on the other. This will allow you to play lots of different learning games, such as:

Flip & Match: A classic matching game. Place all the cards face-down and have the youth take turns flipping two in order to find a match. Youth can work in pairs or flip more than two if there are a lot of cards to match. 4-H art project example below:

an example set of mix and match art term and definition cards

Miggle & Match: Pass out one card to each youth. Ensure that each card has a match; have adults play if you need event numbers or more players. Players will mix and mingle with one another until they find their matches, then take turns sharing their terms/concepts with the club.

Heads Up: Divide youth into pairs or small groups. Within the pair or small group, the youth take turns holding a term/concept card to their forehead (no peeking) while their teammate/s give them descriptive clues without using any words on the card to help them guess what their card says. The youth providing clues can use the matching definition card for ideas. Take turns as time allows.

Pictionary: Pair the card matches together. Have youth take turns grabbing a card set (term/concept and definition/description) and then draw the term/concept while the other clum members guess! This can be done in small groups with regular paper or with the whole group using a large paper pad or whiteboard.

Relay Race: Divide youth into teams and assign each team a concept (e.g., Team 1: egg-producing chicken breeds, Team 2: boilers/meat-producing chicken breeds, Team 3: dual-purpose chicken breeds). Place a pile of cards related to the teams’ concept on the other side of the room or location (ensure that running between the teams’ starting point and the pile is free of obstacles). If there are four youth per team, then there should be at least four cards related to each team’s concept in the pile so that each youth has a chance to find a card that matches their concept. Leaders can add duplicate cards or distracting cards (incorrect ones) to the pile. Have each team line up; on “GO” the first member of each team runs to the pile and grabs a card that matches their concept, returning to their team and going to the back of the line so that the second team member can go. If a team decides a member grabbed an incorrect card, it can be returned to the pile. Play until all the correct cards are found or until a previously set time or turn limit.

example of poultry breed cards for relay race learning game

Don’t Forget! It’s better to end a game while it’s still fun — “Oh man! I want to keep playing!” — and then come back to it later in the meeting if you can or at another time than run it so long that the youth grow bored of it.

4-H Emblems & Logos

What colors can the clover be? Can I make a design with a goat chewing through one of the leaves? Find out here –> 4-H Emblem Guidelines (PDF)!

4-H emblems and logos are available in Google Drive for individual download.

large green four leaf clover with four white Hs, one in each leaf of the clover, 4-H's official emblemgreen four leaf clover with four white Hs, one in each leaf of the clover, 4-H's official emblem, with text that reads 4-H grows here

green four leaf clover with four white Hs, one in each leaf of the clover, 4-H's official emblem, with text that reads 4-H grows here

images and text for the four Hs: head, heart, hands, and health

large green four leaf clover with four white Hs, one in each leaf of the clover, 4-H's official emblem with a green outline of a horse head and text that reads Yakima County 4-H Horse Program

4-H Grows Here logo in green with 4-H clover at right


Youth Engagement

Before the meeting begins, youth will need to feel welcome in the club space.  One way to do this is to have pre-meeting activity stations prepared so they have something to do that not only gets their creativity flowing, but also helps them start to get to know their fellow 4-H’ers!  Youth are more likely to participate in the meeting if they feel comfortable and like they belong.

Check out the Pre-Meeting Activities page for more ideas on how to engage youth as they walk into the meeting space.

Nervous about finding age-appropriate activities for Cloverbuds?  Check out the resource page for 4-H Cloverbuds for tips and projects specifically geared toward engaging our youngest 4-H’ers age 5-7!

Youth Officers

As a youth-driven organization, 4-H centers the voices and needs of the youth members, encouraging and supporting them as they gain leadership skills and take ownership over their clubs.  A 4-H club will elect officers to serve as the club President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and other positions as necessitated by club tasks and aspirations.

Yakima County’s Supporting Youth Officers page gives tips and tricks for volunteers who are working with these youth to organize and run club meetings and activities.

Youth themselves will find helpful resources on the 4-H Club Officers page.

Youth Friendly Parliamentary Procedure for 4-H Business Meetings

Simplified versions of parliamentary procedure can help your 4-H club run quick business meetings and make decisions. But don’t get caught up in the perfect use of parliamentary procedure.

  • A 4-H Club isn’t the Senate Floor; focus on the basics. The basics are the most necessary components to give everyone a voice.
  • Only accepting perfection or attempting to follow the nitty-gritty of all parliamentary procedure rules will likely make youth feel unsure of how to participate instead of empowered.
  • Remember, your 4-H club’s most important mission is to create a place for youth to feel they belong and experience a safe space to make mistakes.

A simplified version of parliamentary procedure for middle to high school youth may include just using a repeated pattern of motions (“I move…”), seconds (“I second that motion…”), calls for discussion (“Any discussion before we vote?”), and voting (“All in favor..”).

A simplified version of parliamentary procedure for elementary school youth may include just using a repeated pattern of sharing ideas (“I think…”), seconds (“Who else agrees?”), calls for discussion (“What other ideas do we have?”), and voting (“All in favor..”).

If your club is using a system, simplified or not, it’s vital that all youth members have an interactive opportunity to learn how it works!

Teaching Parliamentary Procedure & Meeting Structure

Parli-Pro-Trail-Mix (PDF)

Beach Ball Review (PDF)

Order of Business (PDF)

Parli Pro Que Cards (PDF)

Learn more

Empowering Youth Through Parliamentary Procedure Tip Sheet (PDF)

For more information and resources on building a collaborative club environment for youth and adults, check out our page on Building the Youth-Adult Partnership!

Parliamentary Procedure Basics – Oregon 4-H (YouTube video)

Parliamentary Procedure refers to a set of communication rules designed to keep business meetings are organized and orderly. These rules ensure that everyone has a chance to participate, be heard, and help the group reach decisions. However, the rules are set by the club! If a club wishes to modify the rules to improve youth engagement and boost youth voice, they should.

Strategies to Engage 4-H Parents

Support from members’ parents, guardians, and caregivers is essential to the success of 4-H Clubs. Involving these adults in meaningful ways to help their 4-H member(s) and their club is a great way to build community, improve positive youth development outcomes, achieve more as a Club, and engage others as Resource Volunteers (no certification needed) and Activity Leaders (higher level of service, certification as a 4-H volunteer required).

Below are a few resources about parent involvement in 4-H, including interest surveys your club may find helpful to spark conversations about how parents, guardians, and caregivers can help.

Strategies to Engage 4-H Parents – Florida 4-H (PDF)

Parent Involvement & Interest Survey  -New Jersey 4-H (PDF)

Parent Interest Survey – Wyoming 4-H (PDF)

Youth Development Resources

Ages and Stages of 4-H Youth Development – University of Missouri Extension (PDF)

Learning By Doing – University of Missouri Extension (PDF)

Additional Volunteer Resources

University of Missouri Extension Letters to New Leaders

Letter 1:  What is 4-H? (PDF)

Letter 2:  Getting Started with a New 4-H Club (PDF)

Letter 3:  Planning and Conducting 4-H Club Meetings (PDF)

Letter 4:  Leadership and Training Techniques (PDF)

Letter 5:  4-H Activities (PDF)

Letter 6:  Opportunities for 4-H Volunteers (PDF)

Many of the opportunities in Letter 6 are region-specific, however contact your local Extension office for opportunities in Yakima County.

Ohio 4-H Making the Best 4-H Clubs Better Lessons

A collection of ready-to-use lessons, handouts, and resources to help advisors strengthen their club, develop members’ communication and leadership skills, and, in general, make the best better. This project was made possible by grants from the Ohio 4-H Foundation.

These lessons can be found on the “Club Resources” page for Adams County, Ohio Extension 4-H.  Each lesson includes a PDF lesson plan and handouts, in addition to supplemental resources, if needed.