Using former 4-H members as resource leaders

As 4-H members age out of the 4-H program, think about having them participate as resource leaders.

A 4-H member is on their way of aging out of 4-H. As a 4-H leader, have you thought of ways to stay in contact with a former 4-H member? Their experience can be utilized to continue assisting current 4-H members. Also, staying in contact with former 4-H members can encourage them to give back to their 4-H club and their local 4-H program. It can also pave the way for the next generation of 4-H leaders.

How can 4-H leaders utilize the skills of former 4-H members even if they are working or attending some form of post-secondary education away from home? One way to keep them involved is recruiting them as 4-H resource leaders and have them participate in the Michigan State University Extension Volunteer Selection Process. According to the Michigan 4-H Club Development Guide, a 4-H resource leader provides leadership for a single learning experience or a short-term program. They help members by teaching them a specific lesson as requested by a 4-H club, present a demonstration or exhibit to illustrate information, or serve as a guest speaker at club meetings. They work with 4-H leaders to provide background information, conduct workshops with a single focus or provide ideas for member training experiences.

How can being a 4-H resource leader look for a former 4-H member who has entered the workforce? First, check on their availability to return to facilitate a lesson or lessons relating to the 4-H projects they were participants in. Also, invite the 4-H member to share their experience in the workforce and how 4-H prepared them for the workforce. Or, they can share their ideas on the different activities and events 4-H members can participate in to help them prepare for the workforce.

How can being a 4-H resource leader look for a former 4-H member who is in college? If they’re close to home, check on their availability to facilitate a lesson or lessons relating to the 4-H project or projects they were participants in. Invite them to share their experience as a college student and how 4-H prepared them for college. Encourage them to share their ideas on the events and activities that prepared them for college. Also, check and see if they can schedule a visit for the 4-H club to the college they are attending (if travel is not an issue).

These are a couple of ideas for 4-H members who age out of the 4-H program. Each member may go on to something different relating to their college or career. Keep in mind to think about having them return to give back to the 4-H club or 4-H program in some way. One way to start is getting them involved as a 4-H resource leader.

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