Thank You 4-H Volunteers!

— Written By Darlene Berry and last updated by

National Volunteer Week was established by executive order in 1974. The week was dedicated to those who give their time to charity. This week is currently sponsored by Points of Light Institute and they describe it as a time to inspire, recognize, and encourage people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. They further explain it is about  about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference. This week is a great opportunity to express my appreciation to all Caldwell County 4-H volunteers. You are our points of light in the community and I am thankful for you each day. You keep me focused on the collective impact you have on the program and the lives of 4-H youth and their families.

Fortunately, we have a long history of volunteerism in Caldwell County and 4-H youth development specifically. In 1959, the Caldwell County 4-H Youth Development Association was incorporated as a nonprofit entity (501c3.)   This was a thoughtful and proactive endeavor by volunteers. It created the foundation which allowed program funding to be directed to Caldwell County 4-H within the County-University partnership we know as Cooperative Extension. While clubs and volunteers existed prior to 1959, the establishment of a Board of Directors and Articles of Incorporation set in motion a history that has provided us with a 41 year history as a Caldwell County United Way member agency. Like the original volunteers our current Board of Directors believes in, works with, and supports the program. Thank you.

4-H clubs serve nearly all of our members. In 2014, 4 new clubs emerged to join 4 other vibrant and active clubs. Club members engage in experiential learning with a supportive peer group lead by attentive caring adults. Our club leaders are dedicated. Thank you!

The 4-H Pledge brings me to our youth member volunteers. As 4-H members you recite the pledge at meetings and gatherings. “ I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”  We experience your pledge as you volunteer throughout the community; putting your words into actions. You are a special set of lights that inspire those around you. Thank you.

There is another special set of adult and youth volunteers that are a collective talent bank. Your gift to the program and youth could be a great teaching tool for compounding interest. You are our special project talent. I believe you bring tremendous capacity to the program and allow other volunteers to remain focused on their impact area. Sometimes within clubs, we refer to you as the glue. You bring renewed energy and keep us connect. You are our photographers, nurturers, evaluators, and hands in action. Thank you.

We also have a special set of volunteers that invite us to their homes, farms, and businesses. You provide a venue and context for learning. 4-H members lives are enriched because of you and the experience you provide for them. Thank you.

Our history lends itself well to both multigenerational 4-H involvement and lifetime involvement. Clubs including mother daughter leadership and parent and grandparent volunteers help create a unique sense of history and depth in meeting the needs of a club. Teen leaders who join adult club leaders to create new clubs bring a special experience for its members. Teen leadership gives younger youth a window into the opportunities available to them within the program. Thank you for being creative leadership teams.

We have a number of current volunteers that are best be described as having lifetime involvement. Club leaders who volunteered with their children and now their grandchildren. Board members who were club leaders or 4-H members. 4-H alumni who find their way back as a club leader or special role or project volunteer. Individuals who serve as advisors to me regarding history and community. Retired club leaders who are eager to introduce me to youth and families. This type of volunteer is quite common within our organization. Thank you for being the consistent thread within the program for generations.

We are able to provide so many different opportunities for youth because of our volunteers! If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Caldwell County 4-H Youth Development, please contact me directly.