How to Volunteer

Adult volunteers are essential to the 4-H program. Volunteers put 4-H’s researched-based, learn-by-doing model in action. They help youth learn and practice skills such as problem solving, decision making, and communicating – skills crucial for their success in school, careers, and communities. There are over 400 adult volunteers that have fun while making a positive impact on the youth in Dane County. Would you like to join them?

Volunteers contribute their time in a variety of ways- sharing a specific skill as a project leader (like for woodworking or cake decorating), supporting 4-H summer camp, or helping out with Dane County UW-Extension’s community-based youth development partnerships. Contact the UW-Extension office at 608-224-3702 to inquire about the many other opportunities available.

Steps to Become an Adult Volunteer

4-H is proud of being a proactive, youth-serving organization with an excellent reputation for providing a healthy and safe environment for its members. The volunteer orientation process assures the quality of the program. To become a 4-H Adult Volunteer Leader, we need you to complete the following steps:

    1. Enroll in Dane County 4-H Youth Development through 4HOnline
      • Follow these instructions: Enrolling in 4HOnline as a NEW family
      • As part of your online enrollment, you will be asked to agree to the UW-Extension  Volunteer Behavior Expectation form and an Assumption of Risk Document. These must be completed by all adults who wish to volunteer with UW-Extension
    2. Complete the online mandated reporter training through 4HOnline      
      • Takes about 30-45 minutes
      • It provides valuable information about how to recognize signs of child abuse and will provide the basis for some conversation at the in-person VIP training
      • The training can be accessed through 4HOnline. Follow these instructions to get to the mandated reporter training through your 4HOnline account
    3. Register for and attend the in-person UW-Extension Volunteers in Preparation (VIP) Training
      This face-to-face training is required once for all beginning volunteers. After that, you can participate in ongoing virtual and in-person trainings based on your volunteer role and interests.
      • Upcoming training dates are scheduled for:
        • Thurs, September 27th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Room A/B, 5201 Fen Oak Dr., Madison
        • Tues, October 30, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Room A/B, 5201 Fen Oak Dr., Madison.
        • If you need a one-on-one orientation before fall of 2018, please contact the UW-Extension Office to arrange a training time.
      • To register complete the online Eventbrite registration form at:  VIP Training or contact Kathy Ottem, 608-224-3705;
    4. Pass a national criminal background check
      • In accordance with UW Regent and UW-Extension policy, we are required to conduct a national criminal background check for employees and volunteers holding a “position of trust with access to vulnerable populations” upon initial enrollment and every four years.
      • You will receive an email from GIS (General Information Services, Inc.) to request information from you to conduct a background check.
        • GIS is the vendor chosen to do the criminal background checks for UW-Extension employees and volunteers.
        • The background checks are done on a national and state level.
      • The subject line of the email should read “Action needed in connection with your current volunteer status with University of Wisconsin-Extension.”
      • Please check your junk email folder periodically.
      • Please be assured the GIS website is a secure, encrypted site.
      • Please respond within 5 days to the request from GIS.
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