Kansas 4-H and Atchison County Extension Care About Kids
The 4-H promise says that we will provide a safe environment for youth enrolled in the 4-H program. This means that 4-H programs will be held in a safe location. It also means that our caring adults will complete a multi-step screening process to insure the safety of our youth.
4-H volunteers are unpaid staff representatives of K-State University, Kansas 4-H and Atchison County Extension. A registered 4-H volunteer is an adult or teen who has successfully completed the Kansas 4-H Volunteer application process which includes completing an application, interview with extension staff, background screening, orientation, and appointment by the local extension board to serve as a volunteer. Serving as a 4-H adult volunteer is a privilege, not a right. Volunteers serve at the request of the extension board and are managed/supervised by the local agent(s) or a designee responsible for 4-H. The local board may restrict the initial or continued participation of volunteers in the 4-H program. Volunteer service in the 4-H program beyond the county level is contingent upon approved status at the local level. All volunteers must be approved and appointed at the county level by KSRE-Atchison County Extension. All volunteers must be registered and comply with the 4-H Volunteer Guidelines and 4-H Volunteer Code of Ethics Volunteers who assist with a single short-term learning activity are not required to complete the process. Volunteers repeating this experience should follow the volunteer re-appointment guidelines. Adults must have completed training and have a current Kansas 4-H Volunteer Application on file via the 4-H online system. This is a requirement of the Kansas 4-H program.
4-H Volunteer Screening Process
Volunteers are key to the 4-H program. They enable the 4-H program to grow and thrive. These individuals donate their time, efforts and skills so that the Atchison County 4-H program can excel. Staff and parents trust these volunteers to have the best interests of young people at heart.
The safety of young people is a shared responsibility among volunteers, Extension staff, K-State Research and Extension, and the state. We need to do our best to protect young people through the implementation of a youth protection system. In Kansas, the youth protection system is the Kansas 4-H Volunteer Screening process. The steps to this process are outlined below. The process may be completed online or by contacting extension staff.
Steps to becoming an Atchison County Registered 4-H Volunteer
Complete Kansas 4-H Volunteer Application via your 4HOnline account. The application includes requesting references from 3 persons.
- Establish and annually update a 4-H online account.
- Schedule and complete an informal in-person interview with local county extension agents- Ray Ladd or Diane Nielson. Call to schedule your appointment.
- Complete an orientation session. This may be completed online or by attending an organized training session in person.
- Background checks are completed on the state level based on the information submitted.
- After all steps are completed at the state level, the staff will are notified of volunteer status. Following a background check, volunteer names are shared with the local program. Names are submitted annually to the Board for approval and appointment.
- Following the appointment, volunteers will receive notification of their annual appointment.
- Following appointment 4-H volunteers should annually participate in at least 3 hours of training organized by Kansas 4-H staff.
- Directions to the online sytem for first time volunteers. Directions for returning volunteers
- Online training links for new volunteers
- More online training resources for returning volunteers
Once you are a Registered Volunteer
- A renewal process can be completed annually via your 4H Online account
A background check is required every 3 years. As part of this 3-year renewal process, volunteers should plan to meet with extension staff to discuss their 4-H goals concerning working with young people and training needs.
Who Must Complete the Volunteer Screening Process?
A volunteer, adult or teen, with authority to independently plan and conduct educational 4-H experiences for youth with other adults present or in a public setting OR a volunteer whose position puts them in close, ongoing, one-to-one interaction with youth must complete the VIP process.
Volunteer roles include, but are not limited to, judging team coach, community leader, organizational leader, project leader, camp counselor, camp assistant, Discovery Days or other event chaperones, exchange trip chaperone, chauffeur for any 4-H activities, and county-wide project leader.
Volunteers who do not fit into one of the above criteria would be considered episodic and do not need to complete the screening.
The National Criminal Background Check (CBC) cost are covered by funding from Atchison County Extension Council, so there is no charge to volunteers.
The Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry check are free, the $10 fee is waived because Kansas 4-H is a Kansas Mentor Organization.
4-H Volunteer Orientation
Kansas 4-H is a partnership between Kansas State University, Kansas State University Research & Extension, the United States Department of Agriculture and county governments.
4-H is active in all fifty states and many countries throughout the world. 4-H members are involved in several ways:
- Community clubs
- Special interest groups
- School enrichment programs
- Summer, overnight or day camps
- Afterschool programs
- 4-H utilizes volunteers to expand the total youth development
KSU Extension Mission
Kansas State University Research & Extension is an educational resource dedicated to improving the quality of people's lives by providing research-based knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of families, communities and agriculture enterprises.
Kanas 4-H Mission
To educate youth and adults for living in a global and ever-changing world by using the resources of the Land Grant Universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In 4-H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. We are America’s largest youth development organization—empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. with the skills to lead for a lifetime.
4-H Guiding Principles
- Kansas 4-H focuses on Positive Youth Development while teaching leadership, citizenship and life skills.
- 4-H is a family-centered program
- 4-H program focus is determined locally to fit the specific needs of youth.
- 4-H provides programs that appeal to a diverse audiance.
4-H Name and Emblem
The 4-H clover is the official emblem and the most widely recognized symbol of the program. It protected by Congress under federal statute 18 USC 707. As 4-H volunteers you are responsible for upholding the 4-H name and emblem guidelines and protection policies.
My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty,
My Hands to larger service, and My Health to better living,
For my club, my community, My country and my world.
4-H Motto & Brand Promise
“To Make the Best Better”
4-H empowers kids with the skills to lead for a lifetime.
Green and white are the 4-H colors. Green symbolizes springtime, life and youth. White stands for high ideals. Visit the 4-H Brand page for specific graphics and color palette details.
Youth ages 8-19 may enroll as a 4-H Member. Youth ages 5-6 may enroll in the Cloverbud Project. Participation in Kanas 4-H and its programs is open to all interested youth regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual preference, religion, creed, political belief, marital or parental status or disability. There are over 20,000 youth enrolled in Kansas 4-H. Visit the 4-H age gudelines page for specifics on enrollment ages.
Extension Agent’s Role
- Planning – Program development
- Organizing – Resource development and coordination of program.
- Staffing – Recruit, train and advise volunteers.
- Supervising – Support, motivate and recognize volunteers.
- Evaluating – Access needs, evaluate program and communicate
4-H is a non-formal educational program delivered by volunteers trained and supervised by Extension Agents. Volunteers may work in various capacities through the guidance of Extension Faculty and staff.
Volunteers are responsible for a group, activity or event and its members and adults as assigned by Extension Faculty or Staff. Visit the volunteer and adult role page for more description.
Experiential Learning Model
Retreived from Iowa State Extension and Outreach
Kansas 4-H engages youth in events, activities, programs, meetings and projects through “learn by doing” hands-on activities. 4-H utilizes the experiential learning model to facilitate youth engagement in learning and life skill development. The model contains three basic stages:
- Do - Youth participate in an activity, meeting or program
- Reflect - Youth think about the experience and what was
- Apply - Youth draw conclusions and apply what they learned
Review the NIFA factsheet on using the experiential learning model.
Experiential learning process questions you can use when planning 4-H activities.
4-H Essential Elements
- A positive relationship with a caring adult.
- A safe environment
- An inclusive enviornment
- Engagement in learning
- Opportunity for mastery
- Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future
- Opportunity for self-determination
- Opportunity to value and practice service for others
The Kansas 4-H Resources tab includes materials and links for families, leaders and staff.