Do you wonder if there’s some way you might get more involved in the community? Are you a retired teacher missing contact with kids? Are you feeling bored? Are you looking for a local cause to support? Do you need to build your resume? Would you like to make a difference?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you should consider volunteering. Many organizations could benefit from the time, talent, or treasure you have to give, and 4-H is no exception.

Research shows a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. (The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, Washington, D.C. 2007).

Jackson County 4-H is the youth program of the N.C. Cooperative Extension and we are in search of volunteers to help grow our activities. You may remember 4-H as a program that teaches responsibility by raising an animal or basic skills such as cooking and sewing or through demonstrations and record books. All of those things are still true but we also offer learning experiences in leadership development, global understanding, traditional music, science, citizenship and philanthropy. The budget for these activities comes from Jackson County, grants and individual contributions.

Right now we are seeking contributions of time. Here are some ways you can help out:

Activity Helper: Assist with 4-H clubs and school enrichment. Contribute one-on-one and group assistance with children, help with snacks, assist with supervision and lend an extra hand. No experience required except for an inclination to work with children.

Archery Club Leader: Safely lead archery instruction, build a sense of belonging through club involvement, and establish a competitive target sports team. Meet with youth twice a month. 4-H certification and background check will be required.

Technology Guru: Maintain social media presence, organize on-line photo storage, assist with blog and communications with 4-H members, and serve as an advisor for technology questions. Experience required.

Public Relations Assistant: Write and distribute press releases, produce a 4-H brochure, find current research about youth development. Some experience required.

Advisory Council Member: Offer advice and guidance for the focus and activities of Jackson County 4-H. Serve as advocate for the 4-H program. Meet regularly. No experience required.

There are so many ways to give back and maybe one of the 4-H roles will spark your interest.

Contact me at 586-4009 or heather_gordon@ncsu.edu if you are interested in helping out or learning more about volunteering with Jackson County 4-H. Find more information at our blog at jackson4-h.blogspot.com.

Gordon is extension agent, 4-H Youth Development, Jackson County Center, N.C. Cooperative Extension.