Fall Volunteer Training Opportunities

Carrie Ann Olson, Extension Educator

With the turning of the calendar to September, we often think about going back to school and the re-organization of youth groups like 4-H. This is also an excellent time to sharpen our volunteer skills to lead these youth groups.  Research shows that out-of-school time programs for youth are not just nice, they are necessary for positive youth development.

“All together, Not all the same” is the theme for the MN 4-H Fall Volunteer Training in 2015. How well do you know the stories of your fellow 4-Hers? Where are they from? What’s their family background? We each have different experiences, backgrounds, values and beliefs that make us who we are. This falls training will help us grow closer as a 4-H community by celebrating our uniqueness through understanding our differences. It will focus on diversity and inclusion and the need to ensure that all young people and adults feel welcome and like they belong in the program. It will help participants explore the diversity that exists in their community and recognize their own cultural lens and how it impacts the way they relate to others.  Participants will also learn tools and strategies they can use for working across difference in 4-H clubs, projects, and many other context.

Each county within Minnesota will be involved in hosting training for their volunteers. Each 4-H club is encouraged to send a team of youth and adult volunteer leaders to the training. Find a training date and location of a site near you. 

In addition to the annual volunteer training this fall, volunteers also have the opportunity to participate in the 2015 North Central Region 4-H Volunteer e-Forum (NCRVF). There are three topics that will be offered online twice each. Here are titles and some rough description:

  • The Heart of Belonging (10/8/15, 6:00 PM and 10/13/15, 7:00) - accommodating all members, positive behavior, belonging, and inclusion
  • The Heart of Community (11/5/15, 6:00 PM and 11/10/15, 7:00) - youth finding voice, citizenship
  • Encouraging the Heart of Leadership (12/3/15, 6:00 PM and 12/8/15, 7:00) - leadership, independence, mastery

Something different this year is that we are making it possible for volunteers to host sessions that they can do from home ("Kitchen Table Conference Hosting"), and there will be mini grant funds that will be available to hosts for refreshments and supplies! I am currently working as part of the state VS team in coming up with a hosting guide and plan for accessing support funds through a mini-grant process.

Available 24/7 are 4-H’s online suite of easy to use short online training videos that help to support adult volunteers in providing high-quality learning experiences for youth. The trainings focus on fostering learning, managing clubs, ensuring safe environments, and being an effective project leader or a chaperone. These trainings can be accessed directly through one’s volunteer membership training tab in 4HOnline. If you would more information about these training opportunities, please contact me, Carrie Ann Olson at olson166@umn.edu or 320-589-1711.

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