Volunteers have been an integral part of the South Dakota 4-H program from its very beginning. However, due to changes in society an increased vigilance in the protection of our youth that we serve has changed the way volunteers in South Dakota are managed.
4-H Volunteer Work Agreement
Filling out the 4-H volunteer work agreement has been one step in the process that we ask volunteers to go through. This is only the initial step in a process. As the 4-H volunteer work agreement is processed at the state level, the South Dakota Board of Regents uses a company to conduct a background check on the applicants. Background checks are performed in compliance with South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) Policy 4:47. University policies and procedures are designed to promote a safe and secure environment for faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and visitors and to lessen unnecessary risk to all involved. SDBOR Policy 4:47 supports the verification of credentials, criminal history, and other information related to decisions of employment and volunteer selection.
As this policy has grown, there have been changes that need to take place.
- Camps & Conferences:
These include summer camps and conferences where there is an overnight component. Going forward there will be an expectation that all staff and volunteers working at/on behalf of the camp will complete a 4-H volunteer work agreement and will have completed a background check before camp has started. The entire background check cost ($75) will need to be submitted with the 4-H Volunteer work agreements. In addition, the camps will be expected to provide a spreadsheet listing the staff (camp and professional) and volunteers attending each session of camp, to the State 4-H office. If a person has not satisfactorily passed their background check they will not be allowed to volunteer or work at camp. This list and forms need to be sent to the State office 4 weeks before camp is to start to allow us the time to get the people through the volunteer process. If volunteers are still being identified, work with the State 4-H office to get them through the process before camp. The volunteer process takes a minimum of a week to complete. If a volunteer from a county is going as a camp chaperone and volunteers minimally outside of camp, it is expected that they will pay the entire fee ($75) at application time.
- Short-Term/Episodic Volunteers:
These are the volunteers that you may have come in to help with a specific project area or program you are conducting or they are helping with a 4-H sponsored event (such as horse show, shooting sports, fundraiser, etc.). It is important that even if they are just helping you teach or volunteering to help you with a specific program (i.e. babysitting/farm safety clinics, Strengthening Families, sewing workshops, etc.) they need to become a registered volunteer and fill out the work agreement and pay the $75 fee. This fee can be covered by county or leaders associations if they are asked to help with the programming. If they plan to be a volunteer for 7-8 years continuous and you know you can count on them to help out each year, then you can pay the $10 yearly fee, but then that must be paid every year to keep them active and in good standing with HR or you will be billed for the remaining amount owed if put as inactive.
There have been continuous questions on when the fees for a particular county’s volunteers are due. Below is a timeline to help communicate the expectations of this process.
- By December 31, a list will be sent to each county of their previous years volunteers.
- Starting January 1, counties are encouraged to pay for their continuing volunteers at $10/year.
- Please send a list detailing who is being covered by the volunteer payment. If a volunteer in no longer active please note that on your payment, and that volunteer will move to retired/inactive status.
- A volunteer on retired/inactive is considered done and Human Resources removes them from their data base.
- Once a volunteer has been moved to retired inactive, they will be required to fill out a new 4-H volunteer work agreement and pay the entire fee ($75) to return and return to paying the $10 yearly fee, subsequently after that. This is because a new background check is run on them upon their return.
- By March 31 an updated list will be sent to the counties letting them know which volunteers have not been paid for.
- June 1 all unpaid volunteers will be moved to retired inactive.
- Volunteer fees are based on the 4-H programming year. Applications received and processed between Oct. 1 and Sept 30 are for the current programming year. Oct.1 starts a new year. For Ex. If a form comes in August 1, 2016, that volunteer has paid for the 2015/16 programming year and will need to pay for the 2016/17 programing year after Oct. 1.
For questions on being a 4-H volunteer, please contact Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension 4-H Volunteer Field specialist. For questions on the fees or the background check status or process please contact John Keimig, SDSU Extension Associate.