4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
4-H Youth Development Program

Adult Volunteers

Watch this video in Spanish.

There are more than 13,000 adult volunteers in California, and 600,000 volunteers nation-wide.  Supported by 4-H professionals, these volunteers help youth develop into responsible, self-directed, productive citizens of the world. 

Volunteer leaders are a key component of the 4-H program, which focuses on citizenship, leadership, and life skills development using a "learn-by-doing" educational model. 4-H is unique in its pursuit of effective youth-adult partnerships. These partnerships ensure that both youth and adults grow together in shared responsibility and decision-making. This
4-H volunteer echoes a common sentiment, stating, "As a 4-H leader, I have truly received as much from the program as my children have."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of young people, volunteers have many opportunities for their own personal and professional development through the 4-H Youth Development Program. As one volunteer said, "The most memorable aspect of being a 4-H volunteer leader is the quality of the 4-H program as an education vehicle.  I grew in self confidence and have since gone back to school to complete a Masters degree and teaching credential."

No matter your background or expertise, you can join the 4-H community.  As a parent, a project leader, or in any other leadership capacity, you can offer your unique talents and perspectives.

Volunteer Resources
4-H Roles for Adults

Enter 4hOnline System

4hOnline is a web based system used to enroll youth and accept applications for adults in the California 4-H Youth Development Program. To get started using the 4-H online  enrollment system, please visit ca.4honline.com or contact your local County 4-H Office

Enrollment Process

All 4-H adult volunteers (ages 18 and older) must enroll annually (July 1 through June 30). 4-H Enrollment is conducted by the 4-H Club and County 4-H Office in each county. Enrollment procedures may vary in each county, so check with your County 4-H Offices for more information.  4-H YDP Volunteers are appointed by the County Director. The decision to appoint or not appoint a volunteer (whether initially or upon renewal) rests with the County Director, in consultation with appropriate 4-H staff. All appointments are made for the best interest of the 4-H Youth Development Program and 4-H members.


4-H Adult Volunteers are eligible to participate in 4-H if they meet the following criteria:

  • Must be 18 years or older. A volunteer cannot simultaneously be a 4-H member. Chaperones must be 21 years of age or older (county age requirement may differ).
  • Must complete a live-scan clearance with the Department of Justice - Inquire within your county 4-H office.

Steps to Take:

1. Find local clubs in your county by searching for your county 4-H office.
Adults can also volunteer in 4-H camps, afterschool, school enrichment and short term and special interest programs as well as 4-H events and conferences. Contact your local 4-H county office for details on these opportunities.  

2. Enroll in the CA 4-H Youth Development Program. See detailed 4-H Adult Volunteer Enrollment Process

Need more information or help with enrollment? Contact your County 4-H Office or the adult 4-H volunteer club/camp leader of the local club you are interested in joining. If you have previously enrolled in 4-H using the 4hOnline system, please use the same login information. Forgot your password or email? Request it through 4hOnline or contact your County 4-H Office

3. Start making a difference in the lives of young people. Volunteers are the heart of 4-H! Choose a 4-H adult role. See a complete list of CA 4-H projects

Science, Engineering, Technology (SET): agriculture and life sciences, family and consumer resource management, environmental education, technology, engineering.
Citizenshipcivic awareness, community service, service-learning, leadership & speaking, global citizenship.
Healthy Livingnutrition, physical health, safety, mental health.

See chapter 4 and chapter 6 of the CA 4-H policy manual for more information on enrollment and adult volunteer participation. 

Paper Enrollment Packet

This enrollment packet is used for adult volunteers in organized 4-H clubs, special interest and short-term programs, and 4-H Camps. Payment is required to enroll in 4-H for program fees and 4-H accident/sickness insurance. Inquire within your county 4-H office

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