By Jasmine Shoning
In youth development there is a lot of terms that focus on volunteers. Volunteers are more than words like: learning, advocate, service and mentoring. Volunteers can be found in any event in White Pine County, which is truly unique because our community is tight knit, and goes above and beyond when called to task. 4-H is a program that runs off of the hard work and dedication that leaders, parents and volunteers put forth. By looking at the involvement of volunteers in 4-H we can see that the affect they have on children is boundless; this is important because volunteers help shape the growth of youth through positive influence.
4-H is a youth program that youth in this country have been participating in for more than a century. An incalculable number of volunteers have worked with youth in White Pine County. Many 4-H coordinators have come and past, and have had an invaluable impact on 4-H. Today, 4-H membership is not what it used to be. At one point children were so involved to 4-H that they would be able to tell you the 4-H pledge at the drop of a hat. As a county that is so supportive of youth development programs it is important to look at why membership is decreasing. One conclusion is that although we are a rural county, many of the kids in the ‘bigger towns’ do not experience to 4-H’s historical backbone, the farm. Currently most Americans are three generations removed from the farm (National Farm Bureau). That’s right, most Americans do not get the chance to see where their food comes from.
So how does this effect White Pine County? From census data there is a gradual trend from rural/farm populations to urban populations (census.org). As the population of the nation has changed so has the curriculum and programs that 4-H has to offer. Remember those volunteers that were mentioned earlier? They help improve programming and have taught 4-H members about drones, shooting sports, livestock production, etc. White Pine County 4-H is in constant need of volunteers to help with programs or running events. 4-H volunteers are the key to a successful 4-H program. Volunteers have the unique ability to provide life changing opportunities for youth. 4-H offers an endless amount of opportunities for volunteers. You might be thinking that you have no experience in working with youth. That isn’t a problem! We can train you and help you help the 4-H members. But you must be at least 21 years old and pass a criminal background check.
How does 4-H in White Pine County work? 4-H is a youth development program that has a variety of programs for youth, ages 5 to 19 years of age that allows them to develop, create and engage in fun, age-appropriate learning activities. There is a range of curriculum and delivery method that are used throughout the county. The Nevada State 4-H program operates on a fiscal year of October 1 through September 30. For all clubs in White Pine County enrollment is open year round. There are minimal fees, however some clubs may have additional fees to help cover the cost of supplies. Spring time is when 4-H members begin to purchase their livestock if they participate in the fair. Summer time is the most active time of year for 4-H, the fair, horsemanship, and shooting sports contests bring about an excitement at the end of the summer.
Volunteering helps 4-H member’s work on bettering their projects. The best part is, that not every kid learns in the same manner, and you can learn along with them. Being a volunteer not only benefits the kids it also benefits the volunteer by introducing them to a variety of people, but also knowing that you have had a positive influence on your community. If you are interested in being a volunteer and sharing your passions with 4-H members in our community, Please contact Jasmine Shoning, White Pine County 4-H Coordinator at 775-293-6597 or Shoningj@unce.unr.edu located at 950 Campton Street, Ely, NV 89301. An EEO/AA Institution.