University of Nevada, Reno Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program in Washoe County is looking for community members to volunteer as 4-H club leaders. Leaders have the opportunity to encourage youth ages 5 to 19 to pursue hobbies and gain skills in communications, leadership, citizenship and healthy living.
“Club leaders help mold youth of our community in the skills and passions they want to know more about,” said Joelle Mackay, 4-H instructor. “It’s a chance to help youth expand their horizons.”
Leaders conduct weekly or monthly meetings where they teach from a curriculum or lead activities that relate to the club’s subject matter. Club leaders can either start a new club using pre-existing researched-based 4-H curriculum, such as photography or robotics, or they can start clubs that focus on a hobby or skill without an existing 4-H curriculum, and Extension 4-H instructors will find new researched-based materials to help the leaders conduct the club’s activities.
Extension 4-H staff in Washoe County are particularly interested in starting clubs focused on fine arts, including photography, painting, sculpture and music. In addition, they’re looking for a new leader for the sewing club, and they would like to be able to offer a second cooking club.
“Our one cooking club is at max capacity,” Mackay said.
In 4-H clubs, youth learn skills beyond the subject matter, such as learning math when doubling a recipe, learning responsibility when caring for an animal, and learning business skills when serving as a club officer. 4-H clubs also provide youth with a chance to build positive relationships with peers and adults.
“Club leaders also get to see the accomplishments of their youth through regional, state and national competitions, such as at last year’s Nevada 4-H Expo,” Mackay said.
In October, members from several different 4-H clubs in Washoe County competed at the Nevada 4-H Expo in Winnemucca, including members of the cooking club, the sewing club, livestock clubs, dog clubs, horse clubs and Shooting Sports clubs, among others
All 4-H programs engage youth in experiential, or “hands-on,” learning and are fueled by university-backed curriculum. According to the “4-H Study of Positive Youth Development,” a decade-long study completed by a team of researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University in Massachusetts, 4-H youth excel beyond their peers. 4-H members are:
- Four times more likely to contribute to their communities;
- Five times more likely to graduate from college;
- Two times more likely to make healthier choices; and
- Two times more likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time.
In Washoe County, clubs working with animals usually run for the entire 4-H club year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Other clubs may run for about three to six months. Club leaders are encouraged to attend monthly project leader meetings and a quarterly Leaders’ Council meeting.
For more information on becoming a 4-H club leader, contact Mackay at 775-336-0273 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Extension 4-H clubs in Washoe County, visit the Washoe County 4-H Youth Development Program website.