Greetings MD 4-H Volunteers

Become a 4-H Volunteer today and help create life-changing experiences for youth in your community!

4-H Volunteers 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. With each volunteer comes knowledge, experiences, and skills taught to 4-H youth and shared with the 4-H program.

No matter your background or expertise, you can join the 4-H community.  As a parent, a project leader, or any other leadership capacity, you can offer your unique talents and perspectives. You decide the level of involvement that fits your skills and schedule, such as:

  • Lead community clubs, school-based or after-school programs, and camp settings
  • Serve as chaperone, board member, event judge, or camp counselor
  • Create community service opportunities for youth in your area
  • Work with other adults to create fun and exciting programs

What are the steps to becoming a 4-H volunteer?

Whether you want to give an hour or a year, 4-H has an opportunity for you! To become a 4-H volunteer, find the 4-H program nearest you by selecting your county below. You can call, email, or visit your local 4-H office to learn how to make an impact in your community.

Find your local community here. 

Get your background checks

Volunteer information

Maryland 4-H Volunteer Advisory Committee

Read this page to learn more about the Maryland 4-H Volunteer Advisory Committee!

The Maryland 4-H Volunteers’ Association transitioned into the Maryland 4-H Volunteer Advisory Committee in 2022.


The purpose of the Maryland 4-H Volunteer Advisory Committee would be to support the needs of the Maryland 4-H program throughout the state. The Advisory Committee will work directly with the Volunteer Specialist as a state committee.

In keeping with this purpose, it is the intention of the Maryland 4-H Volunteer Advisory Committee to:

  • Support the delivery of information, service, and human and economic resources available to volunteers and youth as provided by the advisory committee and sub-committees.
  • Provide opportunities and means for Maryland 4-H youth and volunteers to exchange mutually beneficial experiences and ideas.
  • Assist in providing training opportunities for Maryland 4-H youth and volunteers.
  • Serve as mentors to new 4-H volunteers and/or new clubs.
  • Support 4-H leadership projects, work, and opportunities.
  • Advocate and support the rights of volunteers.
  • Align with the Maryland 4-H organizational and programmatic structure.


Members are self-identified and serve at their leisure and pleasure of the Maryland 4-H Program.  Membership terms are for one year with unlimited options to renew.  Membership terms run from April to March. Members must be approved UME 4-H Volunteers in 4-H Online for the current program year as they are to represent UME 4-H Volunteers on the committee. All members agree to adhere to the Maryland 4-H Adult Code of Conduct and the Maryland 4-H Volunteer Advisory Committee Service Description.

Come join the committee as a member:

Submit a question or suggestion for the committee to consider:

Celebrate a volunteer:

If you would like more information or want to request a member of the committee to attend a volunteer or local 4-H meeting,

2023 Maryland 4-H Volunteer Advisory Contact List

Thank you for giving your time and talents to help our Maryland 4-Hers "Make the Best Better!"

Maryland 4-H Volunteer Awards

Maryland 4-H Volunteer Awards and Recognition

Volunteers are essential to the success of the Maryland 4-H Program. The time, energy, and effort that volunteers contribute to their local and state programs allow us to increase the breadth and depth of 4-H opportunities for youth. THANK YOU for all YOU do!

We encourage EVERYONE to show appreciation to those volunteers that help and support the positive youth development and growth of individuals participating in the 4-H Program. There are several simple ways to say or show your appreciation; it doesn’t have to wait for a formal occasion. 

State 4-H Volunteer Awards

The Maryland 4-H Volunteer Awards are designed to recognize Certified UME 4-H Volunteers for their dedication, hard work, and support of the Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program. A few awards are designed to recognize non-4-H individuals or groups for their support of the 4-H Program, including the Friend of 4-H Award and the Partner in 4-H Award. 

The nomination requirements are different for each award, focusing on either a specific quality or form of support rather than just a volunteer’s years of service. All Certified UME 4-H Volunteers are eligible for nomination, but they may be honored with that award only once. Review the resources below when considering a nomination.

State 4-H Volunteer Awards include:

  • Mylo Downey 4-H Leadership Award- for an individual with major leadership contributions to the 4-H Program
  • W. Sherrard Wilson 4-H Service Award- for an individual with major service contributions to the 4-H Program
  • Dorothy Emerson 4-H Citizenship Award- for an individual with major Citizenship contributions to 4-H Program 
  • Honorary 4-H Member Award- for an individual with outstanding 4-H leadership
  • 4-H Alumni Plaque Award- 4-H alumni that continue to support 4-H
  • Maryland 4-H Hall of Fame Award- for an individual with outstanding citizenship, leadership, career accomplishments and character
  • 4-H Family of the Year Award- for a family well-known for their steadfast dedication to the 4-H Program
  • Maryland Friend of 4-H Award- for an individual or group who/that contributes significant support regardless of years of experience
  • Maryland Partner in 4-H Award- for an industry or community organization that provides significant financial/in-kind support.
  • Dick Angus Spirit of 4-H Award- for an individual who exemplifies The Spirit of the 4-H Program while serving as an educator and a volunteer

Educator Only Nominations include:

  • Maryland 4-H Volunteer of the Year (under 10 years of Service)- for an outstanding adult volunteer, including military staff and overseas Military
  • Maryland 4-H Volunteer of the Year (over 10 years of Service)- for an outstanding adult volunteer, including military staff and overseas Military

Maryland 4-H Volunteers Awards - The nomination link for Maryland 4-H Volunteer Awards is now opened and will remain open until October 15th. We are using a Google Form:
Maryland 4-H Volunteer Award Nominations


Volunteer Award Winners will be recognized at a state event.

Incomplete nomination packages will not be considered.

2023 State Volunteer Award Winners

The Dick Angus Spirit of 4-H Award
Karol Dyson
Charles County 4-H

Honorary 4-H Member Award
Karen Long

The 4-H Alumni of the Year Award
Danielle Kahler
Anne Arundel County,

The W. Sherrard Wilson 4-H Service Award
Ann Herbert 
Charles County

The Mylo Downey 4-H Leadership Award 
Sue Herbert

The Friend of 4-H Award 
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative

The Maryland Partner in 4-H Award
Charles County Farm Bureau

The Maryland 4-H Volunteer of the Year for Over 10 years of service 
Rita Anselmo 
Montgomery County


2022 State Volunteer Award Winners

Dick Angus Spirit of 4-H Award
Barb Barga, Worcester County

Maryland 4-H Hall of Fame Award
Ann and John Richards, St. Mary’s County
Lauren Mohler, Charles County

Maryland 4-H Volunteer of the Year
(under 10 years of UME Service)
Bobbye Schmidt, Carroll County

4-H Family of the Year Award
Herbert Family, Charles County
Bishop Family, Queen Anne’s County

4-H Alumni Plaque
Karen Holloway, Harford County

Dorothy Emerson 4-H Citizenship Award
Darlene Schmidt, Garrett County
Mylo Downy 4-H Leadership Award
Tresa Hutchison, Talbot County
Jennifer Hiscock, Carroll County

W. Sherrard Wilson 4-H Service Award
Chris Herbert, Garrett County
Frank Fruh, Charles County
Mary Agnes Swann, Charles County

Maryland Friend of 4-H Award
Michael Hegg, Montgomery County
Compton Bus Services, Charles County
Carroll County Agriculture Center, Carroll County

Maryland Partner in 4-H Award
Farrell Auction Service, Charles County
Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair, Carroll County

Watch the awards for the 2022 winners on Youtube.

Volunteer Opportunities

Maryland 4-H Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers fill many valuable roles within the Maryland 4-H program in most, if not all, of our delivery modes, including Chartered Clubs, Special Interest Groups, Short-Term Project Groups, Overnight and Day Camps, School Enrichment and After School Programming.  Without volunteers, Maryland 4-H would not be able to provide the variety of learning opportunities to the number of youth that we reach annually.  Thank you!

County 4-H Volunteer Roles

Each county program is different, and roles may vary.  Contact your local extension office and speak with the 4-H Team to determine what opportunities are available in your county.  Typical volunteer roles include:

  • Club Organizational Leader
  • Project Leader
  • Activity Leader
  • Coach
  • Mentor
  • Contest Judge
  • Workshop Presenter
  • Event Coordinator
  • Trip Chaperone

State 4-H Team and Leadership Trip Coach/Chaperones

The Maryland 4-H Program proudly supports several opportunities for youth that travel out of state to compete or participate in National Events.  Youth must qualify to participate in these trips either through a State Contest or State Portfolio Process.  Each of these trips is led by UME Volunteers and/or Faculty/Staff as a chaperone.  Some of these chaperone roles will also include coaching responsibilities, but all adults interested in serving as a team or trip chaperone may apply to serve. Read on to find out how!

National Contest and Event opportunities supported by the Maryland 4-H Program and the Maryland 4-H Foundation:

  • Archery Team
  • Shotgun Team
  • Dairy Judging Team
  • Engineering Team
  • Horticulture Team
  • Horse Judging Team
  • Horse Communication Team
  • Horse Bowl Team
  • Hippology Team
  • Shotgun Team
  • Poultry Judging Team
  • Dairy Bowl Team
  • Livestock Judging Team
  • Livestock Skillathon Team
  • National 4-H Congress Delegation
  • National 4-H Conference Delegation


Chaperone Criteria- The application process for Team Chaperone positions will be conducted through 4-H Online.  All interested applicants MUST:

  • Be at least 21 years of age (preferably 25).
  • Be a certified UME 4-H Volunteer for at least 3 years.
  • Be currently enrolled as a volunteer in 4-H Online.
  • Agree to adhere to the Maryland 4-H Adult Code of Conduct and enforce the Maryland 4-H Youth Code of Conduct.
  • Complete the application by the deadline identified for the desired team trip (see below).
  • Be verified by their county 4-H Educator.

An interest/knowledge in the subject matter of the trip is preferred.  Organization and a desire to work with senior age 4-H members is a plus!

Applications due January 15th

    • Livestock Skillathon Coach
    • Horse Bowl Coach
    • Dairy Bowl Coach
    • Horse Hippology Coach
    • Horse Judging Coach
    • Horse Communications Coach
    • Shooting Sports Coach/Chaperone-Archery
    • Shooting Sports Coach/Chaperone-Shotgun
    • National 4-H Conference Chaperone

Applications due May 15th

    • Dairy Judging Coach
    • Livestock Judging Coach
    • Poultry Judging Coach
    • Engineering Coach
    • Horticulture Coach
    • National 4-H Congress Chaperone

Coach/Chaperone selection process includes:

  • Application- through 4-H Online
  • Verification- by county 4-H Educator
  • Screening and vetting- by State 4-H Office
  • Selection and appointment- by State 4-H Office
  • Appointment paperwork, orientation, and training- by State 4-H Office

Questions?  Please contact the Maryland State 4-H Office at 301-314-9070


Volunteer training is an essential part of the Maryland 4-H Volunteer System to prepare volunteers to serve on behalf of UME and the 4-H Program. It may serve to fulfill personal and/or professional development goals!

Volunteer Training Opportunities include:

Volunteer Orientation- required for all new volunteers and completed during their onboarding process.

  • Review the one-sheet for more information about the orientation 

  • Contact your local 4-H Team to apply to become a Certified UME 4-H Volunteer Local Offices

Volunteer Refresher- expected of all UME Certified 4-H Volunteers who have served for 5 or more years.

Chaperone Training- required training for any UME Certified 4-H Volunteer serving as an overnight event or trip chaperone. Any volunteer who intends to provide or supervise youth for more than an 8 hour period of time without the presence of their parent/guardian must complete their training along with required paperwork before an overnight trip or event.

Volunteer Training Videos- optional quick “course” designed to provide best practices and helpful hints on the following topics:

Want to participate in the Maryland 4-H Volunteer Needs Assessment? A research study designed to identify the training needs of Certified UME 4-H Volunteers to help guide the development of beneficial training for all volunteers. Contact Dr. Jeff Howardat if you are interested in completing a survey.


Fundraising is one of the major ways to help 4-H clubs financially support their activities. By raising funds as a group, a club can help ensure its activities are affordable for all club members.

The 4-H Youth Development Program is a non-profit educational organization. Therefore, your club should be concerned with money only to the extent that it is needed to provide supplies or cover expenses incurred in running an active group for youth.

Unless the club has a special long-term goal each year, it should only raise enough money to provide funds to support that year’s activities. Fundraising is a means to have a successful club and should neither become the club’s primary activity nor measure a club’s success.

If you plan to start a fundraising activity, please contact your local office to obtain permission and guidance on the process.

Maryland 4-H Statement on Raffles, Lotteries, and Games of Chance

It is not the Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program's intent to forbid all raffles by 4-H clubs/groups authorized to use the 4-H name and emblem. The most important qualifier to determine if such a 4-H club/group should conduct a fundraiser is the statement, “Never let fundraising lower the status or prestige of 4-H. The wholesome educational purpose for funds and wise use of them is the most important guiding principle.” The local societal acceptance of raffles in given communities should consider a raffle as a fundraiser. The Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program does feel strongly that 4-H members themselves should never be involved in selling tickets or conducting raffles or games of chance. Should an authorized 4-H club/group choose to conduct a raffle, the coordination and selling of the tickets should only be done by adults involved in the program. 4-H clubs/groups that plan to conduct raffles or bingo must comply with state/local regulations and obtain appropriate licenses and permits. Full details of gaming rules and guidelines, as well as county by county regulations, can be found at


The Maryland 4-H Foundation provides opportunities for active 4-H clubs, UME 4-H volunteers and 4-H professionals to apply for grants to support and expand 4-H programming throughout the state. If you have questions regarding these grants, please contact Lauren Mohler, Executive Director, Maryland 4-H Foundation, at 301-405-2833 or

For more information, including submission deadlines and applications, please visit the Grants page of the Maryland 4-H Foundation website.

Berlage Innovative 4-H Grants

Bruce and Donna Berlage, avid supporters of the Maryland 4-H Program, believe in the power of youth development. In recognition of this, they established the Berlage Innovative 4-H Grant Program to strengthen outreach and 4-H club programs. We are pleased to be able to provide financial support for our club programs. 

  • A minimum of four (4) $250.00 grants will be awarded annually for a service or outreach project in which 60% of the club members participate. Preference will be given to those projects that educate the community about 4-H or help “To Make The Best Better” within the community or county. 
  • Funds must be used within 12 months of receiving the award.
  • Within 30 days of project completion, a final report is due to the Maryland 4-H Foundation. Final reports should include: a summary about the project, photos with brief descriptions to be used for publicity and participant quotes.
  • There is no limit to the number of years a club may apply. 

Denise E. Frebertshauser Camping & Environmental Science Grant

Denise Frebertshauser’s passion for the 4-H program and the impact it makes on the life of a child began as a 4-H member in Carroll County. She carried that passion through college as a Food Science major at the University of Maryland College Park, after which she began her calling as a 4-H Youth Development Educator and Program Specialist. She worked tirelessly as a 4-H Educator in Baltimore and Carroll Counties before becoming a part of the Maryland 4-H Center team as a Youth Development Specialist.  She was an enthusiastic lifelong learner seeking to keep abreast of cutting-edge camp topics and issues as well as youth development & programming trends.  Denise valued and appreciated the learning that occurs through the experiential education model. Her passion for learning, teaching, and mentoring fellow Extension educators, adult and teen volunteers, and youth was second to none.

Since her passing on April 16, 2014, Denise’s legacy has been realized through grants of $500-$1,000 supporting 4-H camping and environmental science programs. 

  • Annual Awards of $500 - $1,000               
  • Funds must be used within 12 months of receiving the award.
  • Preference will be given to 4-H professionals and UME 4-H volunteers submitting requests involving: 
    • 4-H camp programming, including training, scholarships, and professional and staff development
    • Supplies, equipment, transportation, or other related needs for 4-H residential, day, or virtual camp programs
    • Environmental and outdoor education 4-H program support and development
  • Within 30 days of project completion, a final report is due to the Maryland 4-H Foundation. Final reports should include: a summary about the project, photos with brief descriptions to be used for publicity and participant quotes.

Maryland 4-H Foundation Special Grants

Special Grants awarded by the Maryland 4-H Foundation are made possible by gifts from generous and thoughtful donors. The Board of Directors is dedicated to providing financial support for high-impact youth development programming.

Special Grant funding may be used for special requests and projects, events, or trips related to individual 4-H members, 4-H clubs, and county 4-H programs where other Maryland 4-H Foundation funding is not already available.

The Maryland 4-H Foundation funds projects and activities that enhance the opportunities available to 4-H members and leaders, increase public awareness of the broad scope of the Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program, and aid in recruiting new audiences who may become engaged in the  4-H Youth Development program.

Examples of programs considered through this form are special individual 4-H member or 4-H club project trips, leadership institutes, and non-state 4-H organized programs that are appropriate for youth development activities.

The Maryland 4-H Foundation provides funding for the following projects, trips and programs through other applications: National 4-H Project & Leadership trips, Post-Secondary Academic Scholarships, grants to support 4-H club community service and leadership development, grants to support 4-H camping, environmental science and outdoor education, Maryland Agriculture Fair Board funding for county awards, and the Dr. Dick Angus Professional Development Scholarship for 4-H professionals.

  • A maximum of $25,000 will be awarded throughout each year
  • Funds must be used within 12 months of receiving the award.
  • Within 30 days of project completion, a final report is due to the Maryland 4-H Foundation. Final reports should include: a summary about the project, photos with brief descriptions to be used for publicity and participant quotes.

Applications submitted by anyone other than a 4-H professional must be reviewed by and include a letter of support from a county or state 4-H professional. 

Clubs, Groups, Chartering, and Financial Resources

Resources and Links

Maryland 4-H Adult & Teen Volunteer Forums

The Maryland 4-H Adult and Teen Forum is an opportunity for professional development and covers various skills and projects. 

2023 Volunteer and Teen Forum

4-h volunteer and teen Forum Graphic

Forum Highlights:  

  • Volunteer and teen workshops on Saturday focused on Thriving, Connections, STEM, and Service
  • Youth classes on Saturday for parents who wish to bring their kids (space is limited)
  • Volunteer and teen connections and energizers on Saturday and Sunday
  • Fun activities for all on Saturday night

Find out more in the registration packet.  (link to Packet pdf or Google link-

Register through 4-H Online by October 1st, 2023.

Use the Event Registration Guide to help complete your registration(s). 

Covid-19 Resources