November 24, 2014 - 3:26pm -- young.1414@osu.edu

With fall harvest almost completed, the changing colors of the leaves and with black Friday coming up soon many realize that 2014 is coming to a close soon.  My kids have already started telling me what they want Santa to bring them for Christmas.  No real surprise to hear this news from my kids as stores have already started putting out some Christmas like items and some have even put out Christmas trees.  As you start developing your 2015 resolutions on paper I would like to put a plug in your ears about the wonderful opportunities that can be gained by volunteering with the Butler County 4-H program.  Like many of you reading this article I fully understand we all have busy lives.  I will tell you a secret about volunteering that you will need to write down on a piece of paper and tape it to your refrigerator.  In order to volunteer with the Butler County 4-H program you will have to make it a top priority.  This is true for youth and adults.  I hope that after reading my article you understand the benefits of volunteering and consider volunteering with the Butler County 4-H program.   There are numerous opportunities for youth and adults to volunteer.  Let’s dive in and take a look at three benefits of volunteering.

  1. Learn or develop a new skill  -  Volunteering in your local community is the perfect vehicle for you to discover something you are really good at and to develop new skills.  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”  Life is too short when you really stop to think about it.  Learning a new skill while volunteering will be good for your soul for today, tomorrow and the future to come.
  2. Be part of your community  -  There is no shortage of needs for any community.  If you have to think about needs in your community please let me know where you live.  One only has to turn on their television to find needs within their community.  Volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having a positive impact on people that can benefit from your knowledge and skills.  There are multiple opportunities to volunteer with the Butler County 4-H program that would be great for your soul.
  3. Motivational and Sense of Achievement  -  Volunteering is all about giving your time, energy and skills freely to a great cause like the Butler County 4-H program.  Unlike many things in life, there is choice involved in volunteering.  Once you make the decision to volunteer, you will have to make it a priority with your busy schedule.  I suggest that you start out slowly with your volunteer efforts until you find your calling within the community. Examples include volunteering one hour a week, filing papers at your kid’s school, or volunteer one hour a week at your local boys and girls club helping kids with their homework.  By making volunteering a priority, you will develop a sense of motivation to stay committed to work at the local food pantry, homeless shelter, or youth organization like the Butler County 4–H program all while improving your soul for life.

Many of you may be unaware of the benefits of 4-H and the positive impact it makes on youth in our local community.  4-H is an educational program for boys and girls to gain numerous learning experiences from 4-H projects, club meetings, social activities, tours, camps, fairs, fundraisers, and community service projects.  The Butler County 4-H program consists of 62 4-H clubs with a total enrollment of 1,236 youth.  There are over 250 educational projects that youth can complete to take to the county fair.  Projects range from animal science, food and nutrition, workforce preparation, clothing and textile science, small engines and lawn care, money management and robotics.

Currently there is a need for both teens and adults to assist with the 4-H CARTEENS program.  The 4-H CARTEENS primary purpose is to decrease the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders by educating them on safe driving habits.  The program is offered here in Butler County.  The program is a partnership between the Butler County Juvenile Justice, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and the Ohio State University Extension.  The youth participants in this program are first time offenders.  They are mandated by the juvenile justice to attend the 4-H CARTEENS program.  The youth participants leave our program with a better understanding of the ramifications of driving under the influence, increase awareness of state traffic laws, better knowledge of how to correct their reckless driving habits and reduce their road rage, and systematically wear their seatbelt while driving.  In addition, youth participants also learn the importance of reducing their speed behind the wheel, recognize the hazards of road conditions due to weather, increase their knowledge of current traffic signs, reduce their driving inattentiveness while behind the wheel and appreciate the life altering experiences of people who have been ticketed for operating a vehicle impaired.  The teens conduct the program under the mentorship of adult advisors.   

4-H focuses on building our youth into leaders by strengthening life skills through countless educational experiences.  What is the meaning of a life skill?  A life skill is a learned ability.  Life skills are those competencies that assist our youth in functioning well in the environments in which they live in today, as well as the environments they will live in the future.  Examples of life skills include goal setting, self-motivation, critical thinking, sharing and self-esteem, to name just a few.  All 4-H professionals and 4-H volunteers work to instill life skills into youth that will help them to become healthy and productive citizens in Ohio and the world.  Booker T. Washington once said that if you want to lift yourself up, all you have to do is lift up someone else.  I hope that you will sincerely consider volunteering with the Butler County 4-H program. 

To learn more about the Butler County 4-H program, please contact Kevin Harris via email at harris.2184@osu.edu, or by phone at (513) 785-6650.

For up-to-date program information, check us out on the web at:  butler.osu.edu.

News Release provided by Kevin Harris.