RENO—More volunteers are needed for the state’s 4-H Program, according to program leaders at the University of Nevada, Reno Extension. They shared the message as the program prepares to celebrate National 4-H Week, Oct. 3-9.
“We’re reaching about 65,000 youth with our 4-H programs here in Nevada each year,” said Carrie Stark, Nevada 4-H director with University of Nevada, Reno Extension. To do so, she said the program has more than 4,000 trained volunteers to work with and mentor those youth.
“But, in order to expand programs, we need more volunteers,” she added.
Youth who participate in 4-H participate in both educational and civic programs to develop citizenship, leadership and life skills and learn to be more responsible citizens. That’s all learned through experiential programs—and not just ones that involve raising sheep.
This year’s National 4-H Week includes a 4-H STEM Challenge, “Galactic Quest,” where participants will explore the history of humans in space, learn about the technology and resources needed for space missions, and engage in activities that use physics, engineering, science and agriculture.
Researchers at Tufts University have found that 4-H participation increases the likelihood that youth will contribute to their communities, engage and excel in school, attend college and pursue STEM opportunities. UNR’s own president and former Nevada governor, Brian Sandoval, is an example of how 4-H can impact youth. He participated in 4-H in Nevada , including raising lambs.
“The 4-H Program taught me responsibility, leadership and gave me lifelong skills,” Sandoval said. “In fact, it was my participation in 4-H that led me to buy my very first car – a Volkswagen bug. My brother and I spent every morning feeding and tending to our lambs.”
Stark said that the program isn’t just rewarding for youth participants. Serving as a club leader or helping with 4-H programs in other ways can be a very rewarding experience for adults.
Nevada 4-H volunteer Joni Test was the recipient Nevada’s 2020 4-H Volunteer Leader of the Year Award.
“It has really been my privilege to work with such wonderful families and their youth,” she said. “Being a 4-H leader has given me the opportunity to help youth grow and develop, and it’s amazing to see it happen. Our motto is to make the best better, and I believe 4-H has been able to foster that and make a positive impact.”
To learn more about Nevada’s National 4-H Week activities or how to volunteer with the program visit https://extension.unr.edu/4h/default.aspx.