Lancaster County 4H University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County
444 Cherrycreek Road, Lincoln, NE Email
updated October 14, 2003

Community Service Can be Part of 4-H Club Meetings

Julie Walla-Thomson
Co-Leader of Sunshine Clover Kitties

Click on image for larger view
Members help at this year's "Discover 4-H, Discover You" event at the State Fair.

4-H members are busy people! The members of Sunshine Clover Kitties believe volunteering is an important part of 4-H. We try to make some time for it during our meetings, as well as create club opportunities to volunteer.

Our parents are a valuable resource for volunteering ideas. Our first year, a parent suggested our club make Thanksgiving dinner for an immigrant family a perfect match for beginning cooking experiences. We contacted a social services agency which identified a family and set up delivery of the meal. Our families divided up the various dishes to prepare together. We've also used parent work places as volunteer locations where we often wear 4-H items to promote the program and identify us as members. One member spent the summer volunteering at the day care of her mother's work place a perfect experience for "The Sitter" project!

Libraries offer many volunteer opportunities. Our club members have been summer reading volunteers at city and school libraries. One member shared her entomology exhibit at a special library program. Two members gave a chess demonstration at a library chess group.

Click on image for larger view Members of the Sunshine Clover Kitties staff a booth at the Kiwanis Carnival booth every year.

Members have taken projects and posters into their schools to share and promote 4-H as well. Many projects lend themselves to volunteering and opportunities within 4-H. Wildlife and horticulture projects fit with the UNL Landscaping & Gardening Day. Our entomologists helped at the State Fair's "Discover 4-H, Discover You" event. Our group often participates in the song contest, which led to singing at the Kiwanis picnic. We create a booth for the Kiwanis Karnival each year.

The Sunshine Clover Kitties have adopted a park area where we collect trash, which gives our families a chance to pitch in as well. Another ecology effort, recycling, is a source of club funds. We pull the tabs off cans and save them for the Ronald McDonald House, then sell the cans. We also roll newspapers to sell to the wholesale florist.

Every year, our club participates in the Toys for Tots program. We use our meeting time to sew the toys. We have made beanie bears, pioneer rag dolls and felt books, which helped with hand sewing skills. We've already started stuffed toys for this year.

We'll build candy houses in late fall which might go to area seniors. We hope to form a theatre troupe to perform some "American Girl" plays at area nursing homes.

4-H clubs are filled with talented and creative members. Many 4-H'ers volunteer with the Folsom Children's Zoo & Botanical Gardens Zoo Crew. The Lincoln Children's Museum needs youth volunteers ages 12-18 during the summer. 4-H artists could share their artwork with nursing home residents by creating a temporary display. There are so many possibilities!

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