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

The nomination process opens on July 1 and closes on October 15. 

Online nomination portal: 

Volunteer Award Winners will be recognized at a state event.

Incomplete nomination packages will not be considered.

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 Jamie Morris at 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 to apply for grants to support club work.  If you have questions regarding these grants, please call Rose Greene Colby at 301-314-7146 or email at

To apply for the grants below, please visit the GRANTS page of the 4-H Foundation webpage.

Berlage Innovative 4-H Grant Program

Bruce and Donna Berlage are avid Maryland 4-H Program supporters who believe in the power of youth development. In recognition of this, they have established the innovative grants 4-H program to strengthen outreach and 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 for either a service or outreach project in which 60% of the club members participate. Preference will be given to those who educate the community about 4-H or help “make the best better” within the community or county.
  • The money will need to be used within 12 months of receiving the award. After the project is completed, clubs that receive grants are asked to send a brief paragraph about their program/project and pictures for publicity.
  • There is no limit on the number of years a club can apply. This grant will be awarded yearly.
  • For the calendar year, the applications are to be postmarked/ or uploaded by November 1 and will be awarded by January 17.
  • Successful grant applications will be awarded at the Annual 4-H Gala, held on Martin Luther King Sunday of each calendar year. A requirement of accepting check awards is attendance at the gala by the club.

 Denise E. Frebertshauser - Camping & Environmental Science

  • Preference will be given to 4-H professionals and volunteers involved with:  4-H camp programming, including training, scholarships, and professional and staff development. Environmental and outdoor education 4-H program support and development.
  • Application for funding- Applications Due November 1
  •  Annual Awards of $500 - $1,000               
  • Awards will be given at the Annual Maryland 4-H Gala held each January. The funds are to be used each calendar year.

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