New volunteers in the Western Region of 4-H were struggling to quickly jump in and feel success and confidence in their role as adult volunteers. Region leaders identified poor training as the chief cause for their struggle. Their training was outdated, non interactive, and difficult to access. The training was ineffective at preparing new 4-H volunteers to succeed as youth leaders and as a result, many of the volunteers were frustrated and confused. Leaders knew that to turn things around they’d need an easily accessible and effective learning solution.
Key members of the Western Region leadership connected with LetterPress Consulting, and 4-H partnered with LetterPress to develop an online volunteer orientation course. LetterPress interviewed volunteers and worked closely with 4-H leadership to determine what the learning should focus on. The course ensures that volunteers know and understand important ideas including the history and mission of 4-H, the unique method for teaching youth within 4-H, and methods for promoting positive youth development. The program was originally developed for English speakers, and a version for Spanish speakers was released soon after.
The Utah 4-H leadership was so happy with the final product that they engaged LetterPress to create an additional module designed specifically for 4-H volunteers within the state.
The National 4-H Mission is to “empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.” Sponsored by the land-grant universities’ Cooperative Extension Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, there are over 400,000 adults volunteer within 4-H.