Home Living Extension Update from Megan Burda: Encourage Youth to Volunteer

Extension Update from Megan Burda: Encourage Youth to Volunteer


Megan Burda – York/Polk Extension Educator

Encourage Youth to Volunteer!

School is out for the summer and now is a great time to get your children involved in volunteer service.  4-H and other area organizations offer numerous opportunities for adults and youth to volunteer.  For youth who volunteer, the benefits are enormous!  Youth volunteers develop life skills through volunteering by increasing self-esteem, development of empathy for others and numerous other positive youth development factors.  Volunteering promotes positive citizenship among youth when they engage and feel connected to their community. When youth volunteer, they are also able to form lasting relationships with peers, adults and others.

Youth are extremely busy, but volunteering remains an important part of youth development.  You can help youth to volunteer in a number of ways. 

  • Be sure to ask and encourage youth to volunteer.  Often youth do not volunteer because they have not been asked. 
  • Help youth to work through some of those obstacles that may be in their way.  Transportation and lack of time may be issues that prevent youth from volunteering.   Can you help to arrange a carpool for the volunteer activity?  Can you give suggestions for volunteer activities that maximize the free time that these youth may have? 
  • Tap into the interest of the youth.  A youth who is interested in helping younger children may be very interested in volunteering at a day care or summer youth program. 
  • Highlight some of the extra benefits that volunteering can provide.  Volunteer activities are beneficial in and of themselves, but they also provide the volunteer with some other benefits.  Volunteering may add to the youth’s resume for future careers or college scholarships.
  • Next, you, the adult mentor can act as a positive role model with your volunteer service.   Role modeling encourages youth volunteerism!
  • Finally, encourage families to volunteer together!

York County 4-H offers a wide variety of opportunities for youth to volunteer. For example, 4-H workshop; 4-H contests such as Presentation Contest, or Fashion Show. The York County Fair is another great place for youth to volunteer. There are numerous service and leadership positions available for all ages.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with the York County 4-H Program, contact the York County Extension Office at (308) 236-1238.

Information for this article was adapted from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Neb Guide titled, Youth Volunteerism written by Maria R.T. de Guzman.  NebGuides are available on-line at extension.unl.edu

(Resource:  de Guzman, M.R.T., (2007),  Youth Volunteerism, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension NebGuide, G1750.)

Upcoming Events

Summer Workshops

4-H Summer Workshops are set! We have a wide variety of offerings to peak all interests. From quilting to beans and outdoor skills to mad science, find your passion with 4-H! Summer workshops are open to all youth. You do not need to be enrolled in 4-H to participate. Check out the workshop schedule and find registration info on our website at york.unl.edu.