The Webster County 4-H program wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is if it weren’t for the 70 adult volunteers who give their time and dedication to the county’s 300 4-H kids, and Webster County 4-H is applauding those volunteers during National Volunteer Week, which runs through Saturday.
“Our Webster County 4-H volunteers serve a vital role in our program,” said Lindsay Kavanaugh, county youth coordinator with Iowa State University Extension. “We are fortunate for our dedicated, talented and caring adults who make a significant impact on our youth.”
Across the state, nearly 7,000 adult volunteers keep the Iowa 4-H program going, leading club meetings, helping with projects and facilitating engaging activities with youth.
Marsha Farnham became the club leader for the Gowrie Groundbreakers about three years ago.
“I was in 4-H as a youngster, but my main reason I got involved was my kids were in 4-H and one of the leaders in our club was going to be retiring, so she asked if I would be willing to volunteer,” she said.
Farnham enjoys getting to know the younger kids in her club and seeing them grow in their confidence and communication skills, learning new things and growing as citizens.
She remembers the impact the adult volunteers had on her when she was a 4-H kid.
“They were always very encouraging and encouraged us to try new things and go out of our comfort zone,” she said. “I love being involved in 4-H and I think it’s a great program.”
Deb Shelton, the C/C Sidekicks Club leader, grew up in a 4-H family and her kids were involved in 4-H, which is how she got involved volunteering and eventually becoming a club leader.
“Being a leader of a club, it’s always challenging, but at the same time very, very rewarding to see the 4-H’ers grow in their skills over time,” she said. “I really like helping the children develop those core life skills.”
Those life skills the 4-H’ers focus on, Shelton said, are communication, responsibility and leadership.
Matt Lundberg, the shooting sports and aerospace leader, also grew up participating in his county 4-H program. Those years in 4-H helped shape the person he is today.
“The things I learned in 4-H, I still utilize today,” he said.
As his own children got older, he knew he wanted them to be involved in 4-H, and he wanted to give back to the program himself, so he decided to volunteer.
As the aerospace leader, he helps the 4-H’ers build and launch model rockets. As the shooting sports leader, he teaches them about firearms safety and how to hit a flying target like in trap shooting.
“I like working with the kids and seeing them improve and being able to see their accomplishments,” Lundberg said.
Every day, 4-H volunteers lend a helping hand to make 4-H Extension programs more beneficial to the youth of Webster County. Those interested in joining the team of Extension 4-H volunteers are invited to contact the Webster County Extension Office at 515-576-2119 or email@example.com.
“We are extremely fortunate in our county to have such amazing volunteers,” Kavanaugh said.
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