A volunteer is any adult or youth recognized by Extension who is giving service to the 4-H program without salary or wages.

9.1 Being a 4-H Volunteer is a Privilege, Not a Right:  Policy

While volunteerism is crucial to the success of 4-H, it is a privilege, not a right to be a 4-H volunteer. Volunteers are expected to adhere to the Nebraska 4-H Volunteer Code of Conduct, located in the Volunteer Profile. Volunteers may be dismissed from service at any time, for any or no reason. (See Section 9.6.)

9.2 Age Requirements for 4-H Volunteers:  Policy

9.2.1 Minimum Age Requirements to volunteer as a 4-H Club Leader

Any adult who is of the age of majority in Nebraska (age 19) and who has been successfully screened can enroll as a leader of a 4-H club. Youth volunteers may help as teen club leaders or co-leaders under the direction of an adult volunteer.

9.3 Volunteer Management:  Policy

All 4-H volunteers must enroll annually in the counties in which they serve and complete the following requirements:

  • Enroll in 4-H Online or complete the Activity Worker Application
  • Youth protection 4-H Volunteer screening includes:
    1. Either a Criminal History background check (or the activity worker application based on your role
    2. Successfully pass a sex offender registry screening
    3. Review and sign the UNL Youth Activity Safety Policy
    4. Review and Sign the Volunteer Code of Conduct
  • Complete any orientation either offered by or required by your county. 

9.3.1 Annual Volunteer and Staff Requirements

All 4-H Activity Workers who work directly with youth are screened for behavior that Nebraska Extension determines in its sole discretion, may present a risk to its participants.

  1. Department of Health and Human Services Screening
    The confidential Youth Protection Volunteer Screening Process completed by all 4-H Activity Workers who work directly with youth is processed by Health and Human Services and approved by officials at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. UNL reserves the right to limit or reject an individual’s participation in the 4-H program. Social Security Numbers are required for volunteer screening. This information is only sent to Health and Human Services for screening purposes. No record of social security numbers is kept by 4-H.
    Misrepresentation or omission of facts requested on this form is cause for denial as a 4-H volunteer or appropriate discipline of staff. Failure to cooperate in such screening will disqualify any Activity Worker from service. All Volunteer Profiles within each county will be updated and re-approved on a four-year basis, using a rotation schedule (See Section 9.3.3, Volunteer On-going Screening Process.) It is the responsibility of the local Extension office to keep volunteer profiles up-to-date.
  2. Youth Protection Policy for Activity Workers
  3. Nebraska State Patrol, Sex Offender Registry, sor.nebraska.gov
  4. Volunteer Code of Conduct

9.3.2 Required Volunteer and Staff Screening

Initial screening of volunteers will occur when they sign up to volunteer. Re-screening will then be done every five years as designated below regardless of when the original screening was completed. See Volunteer Re-Screening Schedule.

9.3.3 Required Volunteer Training

Overnight Chaperone Training

Staff, adult and teen volunteers who are chaperoning 4-H members during 4-H overnight educational events and activities are required to complete the Risk Management course, “We Protect Staff, Volunteers, and Youth” and receive certification prior to chaperoning an event. It is recommended that all volunteers, whether chaperoning an overnight event or not, participate in this course to be familiar with Risk Management issues and procedures.

The course is found at 4h.unl.edu/volunteer. Contact the state 4-H office for access information. The course certification is valid for three years from the date of certification. Persons without access to the internet may contact the local Extension office to receive course materials or access to the website.

Special Certifications and Training

Volunteers for select roles or positions (i.e., Shooting Sports leaders, Level III and IV Horse Examiners, ATV leaders, YQCA Instructors) will be required to attend certification training. All 4-H volunteers and/or leaders are highly encouraged to attend programs and/ or receive additional training that will help them become a successful volunteer. Additional required training may arise as new programs and situations dictate.

9.3.4 Volunteer Orientation and Training

On-going Volunteer Training: All volunteers are expected to participate in training as available. Volunteers are encouraged to attend training to stay current in subject matter information and industry standards. Volunteers can keep current on information related to youth development issues, teaching techniques, 4-H policy, programs and regulations and subject matter updates through a variety of ways such as web-based training, workshops, 4-H conferences, research-based curriculum, etc.

9.4 Volunteer Residence:  Policy

4-H Volunteers who have been successfully screened will be eligible to volunteer in the county/counties of their choice. Volunteers may give service to a county other than the county in which they reside and should not be discriminated against because of their place of residence.

9.5 Council Volunteer:

4-H Council members are 4-H Volunteers and as a result must complete the annual volunteer requirements as noted above.

It is expected that all individuals involved in 4-H will adhere to the policies set forth by Nebraska 4-H and represent all aspects with fidelity.

9.6 Code of Conduct Violation Guidelines:  Policy

Any volunteer who does not abide by the volunteer Code of Conduct will be subject to review and appropriate consequences.


Policy  Policy: not negotiable    Guidelines  Guidelines: strongly recommended    Procedure  Procedure: recommended implementation steps