Your primary goal as a 4-H volunteer is to help children and youth develop competency in their projects, confidence in themselves and others, connections in their community, and sound character. As a 4-H volunteer, you are to help kids do what they are capable of doing. You are to promote teamwork and leadership while helping the 4-H'ers learn and have fun.
Everything you say and do should be consistent with the six core ethical values comprising good character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, fairness, and citizenship. This Volunteer Code of Conduct sets forth expectations of 4-H volunteers:
- Act to encourage and justify trust. Teach 4-H’ers the meaning and importance of trustworthiness.
- Treat members, parents, Extension staff, judges and others with whom I come in contact with respect, courtesy and consideration. Avoid and prevent put-downs, insults, name-calling, yelling, and other verbal or non-verbal conduct likely to offend, hurt, or set a bad example.
- Inform myself about youth and their positive development. Fulfill my responsibilities by striving to improve my performance as a volunteer and a mentor of young people. Attend volunteer training sessions when I can and seek out and use books, videotapes, and other educational materials.
- Teach and model kindness and compassion for others. Recognize that all young people have skills and talents, which can be used to help others and improve the community. Teach and demand teamwork and discourage selfishness.
- Teach and model fair-mindedness by being open to ideas, suggestions, and opinions of others. Make all reasonable efforts to assure equal access to participation for all youth and adults regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, or disability. Make all decisions fairly and treat all members with impartiality.
- Teach and model the importance of obeying laws and rules as an obligation of citizenship. Obey the laws of the locality, state, and nation. Promote the responsible treatment of animals and stewardship of the environment.
- Not use alcohol or illegal substances (or be under the influence) while working with or being responsible for youth, or allow youth to do so while under my supervision.
- Provide a safe environment. I will not harm youth or adults in any way, whether through sexual harassment, physical force, verbal or mental abuse, neglect, or other harmful behaviors.
4-H Volunteers who do not abide by the above code of conduct may receive the following consequences:
- Be asked to explain actions to the 4-H Educator.
- Be dismissed from an event at own expense.
- Further disciplinary action determined in cooperation with the local Extension Educator, the District 4-H Coordinator, the State 4-H Program Administrator and as warranted, the Dean of Nebraska Extension and IANR Administration. Disciplinary action may include:
- becoming ineligible to serve as a volunteer for specific 4-H activities,
- becoming ineligible to serve as a volunteer for the Nebraska 4-H program.
- Reimburse the proper entity for any property damage or for liability resulting from inappropriate actions. In the case of vandalism, guilty party may be required to reimburse 4-H and/or the facility.
Multiple violations of the code of conduct may result in:
- Suspension for a period of time.
- Becoming ineligible to serve as a volunteer for the Nebraska 4-H program.
- Restrictions from contacting 4-H families, volunteers, donors, and/or sponsors pertaining to any 4-H matter.