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4-H Volunteer Code of Conduct


West Virginia University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development utilizes unique strategies and opportunities to engage youth in reaching their full potential through partnerships with caring adults. Adult volunteer and young adult 4-H members ages 18 to 21 are fundamental to the 4-H program and the accomplishment of the WVUES 4-H mission.

A 4-H volunteer is a non-paid representative of the local, county, and state WVUES 4-H unit for which he or she provides services. A fully vetted (aka certified) WVUES 4-H volunteer is a one who has completed the WVUES volunteer vetting procedure in its entirety. This procedure includes but is not limited to completion of the WVUES application, reference checks, criminal background check, national sex offender registry check and certification in the WVU Policy 49, Children on Campus and WVU Policy 44, Title IX. Training is mandatory for some components of the vetting process (i.e., WVU policies). A young adult member is defined as a West Virginia 4-H member who is enrolled in a WVUES 4-H program and is 18 to 21 years of age. This member may participate in local, county and/or state 4-H programs when all procedures as indicated are complete. This includes a WVUES 4-H member application, adult signed code of conduct, criminal background check (ages 19 to 21 only) and completion of required WVU policy trainings.

West Virginia 4-H volunteers and young adult 4-H members must be individuals of personal integrity and function within the guidelines of West Virginia University, the West Virginia University Extension Service and the West Virginia 4-H program. A standard of behavior for all persons involved in the 4-H youth development program is a key component for creating a welcoming environment that is both physically and emotionally safe. Individuals participating in and/or volunteering with all West Virginia University Extension Service 4-H programs at any level (local/club, county, regional, state, national and international) must comply with each behavioral standard established as set forth in this document. Adult volunteers and WVUES 4-H members ages 18 to 21 must follow WVUES behavior and youth protection policies, standards, and rules governing volunteering, participation and involvement in all WVUES 4-H programs, including camps, as outlined in the West Virginia University 4-H Code of Conduct. Adherence to these standards protects the youth served, adult volunteers, young adult 4-H members, the county 4-H program, WVUES 4-H program, WVUES and West Virginia University. This Code of Conduct establishes expectations that all WVUES volunteers and young adults are required to observe at all times when representing WVUES 4-H and its programs as defined above.

The West Virginia University 4-H Code of Conduct applies to all WVUES 4-H volunteers and young adult 4-H members ages 18 to 21 and shall be enforceable in the following situations while participating, attending or volunteering at:

  • a WVUES 4-H sponsored program at any level (e.g., club/project meeting, activity, event or educational opportunity including local/ community, county, regional, state, national or international programming);
  • any camp including residential and day camps (local/club/community, county, state, national or international) sponsored by WVUES;
  • a county or regional fair or similar event while on premises used for 4-H purposes. The premises includes the totality of the common grounds, washing and walking areas, arena/show ring, exhibit buildings, barn/stalls, food stand and so forth;
  • the West Virginia State Fair or fairgrounds during any WVUES sponsored event or as assigned to a designated adult volunteer or young adult member;
  • any national or international event while representing WVUES; and
  • all times when an adult volunteer’s participation or service or a young adult 4-H member’s participation or service does not meet the standards of behavior and conduct as set forth by WVU, WVUES and the West Virginia 4-H program and has the potential to place youth at risk for emotional or physical harm or the potential to put other volunteers and/or young adult members at risk.