Guidelines for working with youth are based on current research.
The Kansas 4-H program will be hosting two training sessions for those who are interested in volunteering to help with their local club programs.
Diane Mack, the northeast area youth development specialist, said the first of the online workshops is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 24 and is free to attend. Interested volunteers can contact their local extension office to register.
“One of the things we’ve been working on is support for local clubs,” Mack said. “And one of the things we wanted to do as we near a new 4-H year in October was to plan training sessions for our club leaders and volunteers. We also have resources and encourage volunteers to visit the Club Corner on the Kansas 4-H web page.”
“We’re excited to recognize the work that volunteers have done because we know that throughout the pandemic, they’ve had to do work differently than ever before,” said Jill Martinson, a 4-H youth development agent in the Chisholm Trail Extension District. “We want to thank them for that and then also kick off the new 4-H year by showing them that we appreciate what they have done during a difficult time.”
All Kansas 4-H volunteers – or those who wish to volunteer – are encouraged to take part in the approximately 1 ½ hour training session, Martinson said.
Nora Rhoades, a 4-H youth development agent in the Post Rock Extension District, said the workshops will capitalize on some of the research that has been learned regarding positive youth development.
“One of our objectives is to empower our volunteers with valuable resources and knowledge gained so they can make sure that the programs they are implementing at the local level are strong and are going to be powerful impact tools for our youth,” Rhoades said.
Martinson added: “The science behind youth development is always developing, and that’s an area where we want to stay current for our 4-H volunteers, because we know that the more information they have, the more successful they can be in (helping) 4-H youth.”
Mack notes that the Kansas 4-H program is capitalizing on research and work put forward by the Search Institute, a  non-profit organization that focuses on unlocking the power of relationships that promote positive youth development through research and practical solutions.
“We are using the most current research to help our leaders and volunteers across the state to build relationships with our young people,” Mack said.
Martinson said more information on the Aug. 24 training – and on another session scheduled for Sept. 23 – will be published in social media channels maintained by the Kansas 4-H program. Current volunteers and leaders may also be receiving email messages with sign-up information from their local office.