Orientation and Screening

Prepare to volunteer with 4-H Ontario.

Laptop on desk sitting beside three green stress balls

Why are 4-H Ontario Volunteers required to complete these steps?

At 4-H Ontario, we feel that equipping our volunteers with comprehensive training and thorough screening process are the start of setting you up to succeed. We have a duty to ensure the safety of our youth, so our training begins with a vulnerable sector check as well as a robust training program to help recognize the importance of child safety.

Once the screening process is completed there are a variety of opportunities to learn about 4-H and your strengths and interests as a volunteer. We know that your time, and commitment to 4-H youth are something that creates a meaningful experience and we are here to support you in that goal every step of the way!

The purpose of 4-H volunteers is to help 4-H club members grow and reach their full potential by supporting them to be part of meaningful, educational experiences. Encourage members, parents, and other volunteers to actively participate in appropriate 4-H opportunities that lead youth to become successful, contributing members of society.

  1. Develop a caring relationship with members
    • Become an advisor, guide, and mentor.
    • Each 4-H member is a unique individual with unique needs. Take time to listen and consider the needs, interests and strengths of each member of your 4-H club.
  2. Create a safe environment for 4-H members
    • Help youth feel welcome and safe from physical or emotional harm.
    • Encourage participation and welcome the ideas of youth and parents.
    • Ensure adequate supervision at all club functions.
  3. Provide opportunities for youth to build skills
    • Help youth find resources to explore 4-H projects and activities further.
    • Provide meaningful learning opportunities where youth can experience success and develop self-confidence.
    • Model failure or frustration as part of the learning process.
    • Be fair and consistent in enforcing guidelines and giving feedback.
  4. Create opportunities for youth to value and practice service to others
    • Encourage youth to consider the feelings of others.
    • Encourage youth to youth mentorship.
    • Help youth build connections within their community.
    • Allow youth to choose their service projects based on what is important to them and the needs of their community.
  5. Allow youth to make decisions and lead
    • Provide opportunities for youth to have decision-making power. This can include:
      • how the club functions and its activities
      • creating a 4-H club activity calendar
      • welcoming and orienting new 4-H members
      • running meetings
      • developing committees
      • planning and conducting activities
  6. Create an inclusive environment
    • 4-H clubs are open to all youth, regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status or sexual orientation.
    • Age restrictions apply in some provinces but generally all youth between the ages of 6-25 are welcome to join a 4-H club.
    • Welcome new 4-H members and share information with them and their families.
    • Be open to new ideas and perspectives.
    • Follow-up with 4-H members who miss meetings.
    • Continually provide feedback to members. Give them advice and praise.
    • Have 4-H members provide feedback to you. Ask members how you can help them even more than you are now.
  7. Keep up-to-date and engaged
    • Read 4-H newsletters, provincial and national correspondence, and keep members and parents informed.
    • Be aware of 4-H projects available, help members select projects, and encourage parents to support their child’s project work.
    • Participate in all required volunteer trainings.

Qualifications/skills needed:

  • Sincere interest in the safety and well-being of youth.
  • Desire to facilitate and motivate youth while nurturing self-esteem, decision-making skills, responsibility, and leadership.
  • Successfully pass the volunteer training process and a complete background check, including a Vulnerable Sector Screening.
  • Ability to organize information and materials and delegate responsibility.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively both verbally and written.
  • Desire to motivate parents and other volunteers.
  • Interest in working in partnership with youth, other volunteers and professional staff in an educational setting.
  • Willingness to adopt the philosophy, policies, and procedures of 4-H Canada and your provincial 4-H office.

Club involvement

You don’t have to be an expert in a project topic to be a leader! By following the project resources, learning along with your members and involving others, there is no limit to the variety of 4-H clubs or projects you can run!

Joining an existing club:

  • 4-H clubs often encounter situations and times where a volunteer is needed to replace a previous club leader. Coming into an existing 4-H club is an excellent opportunity for new volunteer leaders to learn from their co-leader and youth members. Check with your local 4-H Association regarding opportunities to volunteer with an existing club in your area

Starting your own 4-H club:

  • You may have just heard about 4-H and are interested in starting up a brand new 4-H club in your community. If there is no club in your area, your provincial office will help you create one!
  • Something to consider if starting up a new 4-H club:
  • If there is no 4-H club in your area, then this is your opportunity to get a group of interested youth together and brainstorm ideas for themes, activities and projects you would like to take on. Make sure you connect with your provincial 4-H office before setting up a club and selecting a project.
  • 4-H clubs are led by a minimum of two leaders who work together to come up with activities, manage schedules and budgets, and support each other in the running of the club. 4-H youth play a key role in club operations as well, and should be involved in the running of their 4-H club.