Becoming a 4-H Volunteer

All individuals interested in volunteering with Ohio State University Extension and working with a vulnerable population (minors, elderly over 65 and individuals with disabilities) must complete a selection process under the direction of an Extension professional.

 While the actual order of implementation may vary from county to county, all potential volunteers will: receive a position description; complete an application and return it to the Extension office; have references collected by the Extension staff; complete an interview; submit to a criminal history fingerprint record check; agree to and sign the volunteer standards of behavior form and participate in an orientation/training program.

 Paperwork required for this screening are available at the links below: 

Volunteer Application

Request a copy of a Recent Ohio Background Check


Below are video

Brand New Member Video Returning Member Video
Brand New Member step by step - pdf Returning Member step by step -pdf


Financial Reporting


Record of Club Finances Year End Financial Report Equipment Inventory Report
Tax Exempt - How to obtain EIN Number Monthly Treasurer's Report for 4-H Clubs  


Club Management

The Ideal 4-H Club

Many 4-H advisors and parents ask that question. Actually, it's a complex question, and a simple answer is not really possible. However, there are certain basic features that should be a part of every 4-H club. Without them, no club could truly be effective, let alone ideal.

The basic "ingredients" are the following:

 • Focus should always be on the boys and girls who are the members in the club. Why did they join? What do they and their parents hope will happen as a result of 4-H enrollment? It is  imperative that we offer programs that meet some of the expectations of the 4-H members; otherwise, they will quit.

 • The club should provide the opportunity for members to learn new knowledge and skills related to one of the 4-H projects.  The project books help guide the members' learning through activities and/or recommended practices and skill procedures. Each year should be a challenge to the 4-Her to try new ideas or experiment with a different technique. Members should be helped in setting goals; then they should be guided through the processes to achieve them.

 • Every member should be encouraged to become involved in learning some leadership skills. There are many opportunities for this; e.g., being an officer, being a member of a committee, or giving a demonstration or talk. Younger members should be helped in becoming involved in some beginning level leadership responsibility during the year. Older members should be encouraged to increase their responsibility in leadership roles.

 • Club meetings should include a regular segment on health.  There are excellent 4-H health materials available for this from your County Extension Office. Along with health, safety practices are very important. The safety officer or committee should have a special safety program.

 • Citizenship should be emphasized. There are many ways to encourage citizenship. One of the simplest is to encourage members to have respect for each other, their advisors, their parents and guests. Another way is to let members discuss opinions of an idea or activity for the club; through this they experience group decision-making, participate in the voting process, and learn to support majority rule. Still other approaches to citizenship training are community service projects or an investigation into how citizens' involvement makes improvements or helps people in need. These ideas are a few examples. There are many other approaches.

 • The club should provide opportunities for recreation and social experiences. All work and no play makes a 4-H club dull. 4-H should be exciting, positive and enjoyable. Trying new ideas will help all members to want to be a part.

 • Members should be given the opportunity, and encouraged, to participate in county-wide events and activities, such as camp, county fair, demonstration contests, knowledge bowls, judging teams, safety speaking, etc. These educational events and activities are designed to help a 4-H member grow and develop.

In summary, the ideal - or at least, effective - 4-H club must be shaped with the members' interests and needs in mind. The club should help every member grow in knowledge, skill and attitude.  It should provide the opportunity for personal development in terms of self-motivation, self-confidence, self-discipline and self-worth. It should also foster feelings of achievement. The effective club and its positive worth will be realized by the advisor who knows and considers her or his members and inspires them to re-enroll each year for several years.

 The bottom line is that 4-H must be important, exciting and challenging, and continually offer new experiences.

Written by James Helt, Past State Leader, 4-H Youth Development

Volunteer Resources

4-H Name & Emblem Policy Guide Agenda Template Club By-Law Template
Club Charter -2023 Club Constitution Club Attendance Form
Health Officer's Handbook Historian's Handbook News Reporter Handbook
Official Club Meeting Minutes Form Ohio 4-H Volunteer Conference President's Handbook
Recreation Leader's Handbook Safety Officer's Handbook Secretary's Handbook
Treasurer's Handbook Vice President's Handbook Volunteer Handbook