Volunteer Application Process
Procedures for becoming an Illinois 4-H youth development volunteer:
- Prospective volunteer completes and submits an Extension Volunteer Application to the Extension Unit.
- Information is requested from three references provided by the potential volunteer – one personal character, one work-related, and one family member reference.
- Extension staff or designee conducts an interview with the prospective volunteer.
- Prospective volunteer completes the Authorization for Background Check Form. This is done through the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS).
- Prospective volunteer completes the Conviction Information Name Check Request Form. This is processed through the Illinois State Police.
- The name of the prospective volunteer is checked against the Registered Sex Offenders List that is on a State of Illinois website.
- For volunteers who intend to drive youth as part of their role, verification of a valid driver's license and proof of auto liability insurance must be provided annually. Drivers must be at least 21 years of age.
Prospective volunteers will be informed on the decision of their application. Once a prospective volunteer has been accepted, then they can be enrolled as a 4-H volunteer through the 4-H enrollment system at the local Extension office. New volunteers should not start their volunteer role until they have completed the screening process and are enrolled as a volunteer. They must complete a 4-H Individual Enrollment Form on an annual basis. Rescreening of all volunteers occurs on a five-year rotation.
Volunteer Role Descriptions
A variety of 4-H volunteer role descriptions are available under Volunteer Role Descriptions. This includes volunteer roles for club, county, and state programs as well as Cloverbud, camp, and after school programs. If you are looking for a new volunteer opportunity or ideas to involve others in the program, check out these samples on the web or contact your local Extension office.
- Volunteer Selection: All volunteers who work directly with youth in Extension programs are required to complete full background checks as part of the volunteer selection process.
- Volunteer Appointment: University of Illinois Extension County Directors or their designee may appoint volunteers to positions of program responsibility. Volunteers may be reassigned at the discretion of the County Director.
- Volunteer Behavior Guidelines: All volunteers who work directly with youth in Extension programs are expected to read, sign, and abide by the Volunteer Behavior Guidelines.
- Volunteer Protection: An adult volunteer may not serve as a "roommate" with an individual youth at a 4-H event.
- Volunteer Felony Charges: A volunteer charged with a felony but not yet convicted will be removed from active 4-H leadership ranks and be placed on "inactive" status. Upon resolution of the felony matter, the individual may request his/her volunteer appointment be restored to "active" status. The County Director, in consultation, will determine whether the volunteer's appointment should be restored based on the known risks at that time. If the felony charges related to crimes that present risk to the safety of youth, the individual may be further restricted to no contact with 4-H youth.
- Volunteer Guidelines Leading to Termination: Policies are provided to assure a safe and successful experience for 4-H participants, their families, and the volunteers who work with them. Failure to comply with any of the University of Illinois Extension volunteer policies may constitute reason for dismissal. Other conduct that undermines the mission and goals of the 4-H youth development program may also be reason for dismissal.
Volunteer Behavior Guidelines
All volunteers who work directly with youth in Extension programs are expected to read, sign, and abide by the Volunteer Behavior Guidelines. In addition, they are expected to follow the Child Safety Recommendations. Housing Recommendations are also expected to be followed. The Child Safety and Housing Recommendations can be found on the Illinois 4-H web site under the Volunteer Placement Section.
The following behavior guidelines are expected of volunteers working in University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development programs.
- Treat others in a courteous, respectful manner demonstrating behaviors appropriate to a positive role model for youth.
- Obey the laws of the locality, state, and nation and University of Illinois Extension policies and guidelines.
- Make all reasonable effort to assure that 4-H youth development programs are accessible to youth without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, or disability.
- Recognize that verbal and/or physical abuse and/or neglect of youth is unacceptable in 4-H youth development programs and report suspected abuse to the authorities.
- Do not participate in or condone neglect or abuse, which happens outside the program to 4-H participants, and report suspected abuse to authorities.
- Treat animals humanely and teach 4-H youth to provide appropriate animal care.
- Operate motor vehicles (including machines or equipment) in a safe and reliable manner when working with 4-H youth. Adults must possess a valid operator's license and legally required insurance coverage.
- Do not consume alcohol or illegal substances while responsible for youth in 4-H activities nor allow 4-H youth participants under supervision to do so.
- Use of technology and social media in safe and appropriate ways. See "Policy on Appropriate Use of Computers and Network Services at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign" at http://www.cam.illinois.edu/viii/VIII-1.1.htm.