Each year, thousands of volunteers in New Jersey donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who were spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017.
One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program. Of the more than 2,500 adult and teen volunteers involved in the New Jersey 4-H Program, nearly 200 volunteers have served as club leaders, project leaders, advisory group members and judges in the Cape May County 4-H Program over the past year.
“Volunteers are the backbone of the 4-H program. They provide the guidance and support that helps 4-H boys and girls in grades K-13 (one year out of high school) develop confidence and valuable life skills, says Jeannette Rea Keywood, State 4-H Agent, Department of 4-H Youth Development.
“I guess volunteering is a part of my personality,” says Betsy Barry of Eldora, Barnyard Buddies 4-H Club Leader. “It is the way I'm wired. I can't sit idle on the sidelines. I see a need and I fill it. I enjoy being involved in activities where I can use my skills and creativity and meet people who have similar interests. I'm kind of a back to basics type of person and 4-H is a program that models tradition and values,” Barry continues.
Photo : Betsy Barry, Volunteer 4-H Club Leader
Betsy has been a club leader for 20 years, and all of her children have been very active in the youth development program. She is also a volunteer swim coach for the Cape May Waves Swim Team.
4-H volunteers across New Jersey are instrumental in carrying out the mission of the 4-H Youth Development Program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. The 4-H program offers educational programs to all youth grades K-13 (one year out of high school) on an age appropriate basis without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
“Volunteers are involved in every aspect of the Cape May County 4-H Program”, says Linda Horner, 4-H Program Coordinator in Cape May County. “They lead 4-H clubs and help youth members with their 4-H projects, they organize community service projects, judge 4-H public presentations and 4-H Fair projects, and they maintain our beautiful fairgrounds for 4-H member and community use and organize our annual 4-H Fair. Volunteers are absolutely the life blood of the 4-H Youth Development Program.”
The work of 4-H volunteers is continuous. Every day a volunteer is lending a helping hand to provide learning opportunities for the 4-H members involved in Cape May County. Volunteers are always needed and welcome. If you would like more information on how you can become involved in the Cape May County 4-H Program, please call the 4-H Office at (609) 465-5115, ext. 605 or visit our website at www.cmc4h.com.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. The 4-H program offers educational programs to all youth grades K-13 on an age appropriate basis without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation or disability.