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Here in the Florida Panhandle, we recognize what an important asset our volunteers are. Volunteers extend the reach of 4-H, but more importantly, they are an essential part of the positive youth development process. While our programs are led by Extension faculty, our volunteers create communities were youth can learn and develop emotional and workforce skills to help them grow up to be caring citizens and productive members of society and the workforce. This week happens to be National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and there’s no better way to kick off our volunteer celebration than to start by affirming our volunteer philosophy.

4-H in the Panhandle encourages the teamwork of faculty, staff, and volunteers so that we can offer Florida youth and families the best services possible. Volunteers contribute their unique talents, skills, and knowledge of our communities to provide personalized attention to youth, enable faculty and staff to focus on achieving the overall educational outcomes of the total 4-H program, and educate the public about 4-H and its impact.

Volunteers really are the heart of 4-H. All week, we will be highlighting some of the amazing volunteers who are working with us to make a difference in their communities and in the lives of young people in Florida. Videos with the highest numbers of “likes” and “shares” on the 4-H in the Panhandle FaceBook Page will win 4-H swag bags for the volunteers featured. The contest will be open through the end of April 2021.

If you know of a 4-H volunteer who has made a difference in your life or community, consider nominating them for recognition on our blog or social media. While this week is National Volunteer Appreciation, we believe in recognizing excellence in our volunteers all year long. Contact your local UF IFAS Extension 4-H agent to make a nomination. Last but not least, check out our volunteer appreciation videos from last year!  We have a playlist of 33 videos, recognizing 142 volunteers in 2020!

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