Youth gain tangible benefits from their 4-H volunteer experience
CSU 4-H Extension Agent
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – While negative stereotypes abound on the outlooks, lifestyles and attitudes of young people today, most youth in the country are actually healthy, happy and productive members of society.
In fact, the majority of youth engage in some sort of volunteer activity, and many see the value of helping others.
Involvement in the Garfield County 4- H program promotes volunteerism. When youth volunteer, benefits are reaped by almost everyone involved – those being helped, the community and the volunteers involved.
According to Maria de Guzman, adolescent development specialist for the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, volunteerism has important implications for positive youth development.
Among other things, it encourages a sense of service and responsibility towards others, provides a way to develop skills and relationships, and facilitates the development of social skills such as empathy and a strong sense of identity.
4-H leaders have always felt that giving back to the community is an important task and the 4-H program encourages participation in volunteer endeavors. Most 4-H youth volunteer an average of 3.5 hours per week. Put all the youth in 4-H together, and this totals 2.5 billion hours. This contribution is valued at $35 billion annually.
De Guzman pointed out that the essence of volunteering is really to provide service without rewards.
However, there are some tangible benefits that youth can get out of volunteering. They can gain skills that might improve their marketability and enhance their resumes. These benefits might make them more attractive to future employers or colleges.
If your child is interested in joining 4-H or for more information on the 4-H program, please contact Garfield County Extension office at 625-3969. 4-H is a cooperative effort between Colorado State University Extension and Garfield County.
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