Skip to main content

Volunteer Code of Conduct

West Virginia 4-H Volunteer and Young Adult 4-H Member (Ages 18 to 21) Code of Conduct Agreement

West Virginia 4-H volunteers and young adult members are expected to function within the guidelines of WVU, WVU Extension, and the West Virginia 4-H program. West Virginia 4-H volunteers and young adult members shall be individuals of personal integrity who are granted the honor and privilege of serving with 4-H programs. A standard of behavior for all individuals involved in the 4-H youth development program is one of the key components for creating a welcoming environment that is physically and emotionally safe. This Code of Conduct establishes expectations that all WVU Extension volunteers and young adults are expected to observe. The primary purpose of this Code of Conduct is to ensure the safety and well-being of all 4-H participants (members, their parents or guardians, faculty, staff, and volunteers).

A 4-H volunteer is a non-paid representative of the local WVU Extension 4-H unit for which they provide services. A young adult member is 18-21 years of age and is enrolled in 4-H. A fully vetted volunteer or young adult member is an individual who has completed the full volunteer vetting process including application, signed code of conduct, criminal background check, and training (certification) in WVU Board of Governors Rule 1.7 (Child Protection-Mandated Reporter) and WVU Board of Governors Rule 1.6 (Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Misconduct, Stalking, Retaliation, and Relationships).

The WVU Extension 4-H Code of Conduct applies and will be enforced with 4-H volunteers and young adult 4-H members participating in any 4-H sponsored programs or activities at the county, state, national, or international level.

Code of Conduct for Volunteers and Young Adult 4-H Members

  1. I accept my responsibility as a WVU Extension 4-H Youth Development volunteer or young adult 4-H member. I will uphold the standards of the 4-H pledge and motto. I will refrain from behavior that negatively reflects upon myself, my family, my community, the 4-H program, other members, or West Virginia University. I will obey the laws of the locality, county, state, and nation. I will not cheat, lie, knowingly give false information, deceive, or otherwise engage in dishonest, unethical, or illegal behaviors. I will not encourage others to disregard or intentionally violate the conditions of WVU Extension 4-H participation. I will communicate through oral, written, and electronic means in an honest, respectful manner in all situations involving the 4-H program
  2. I will accept the responsibility to represent my individual county 4-H program and the West Virginia 4-H program with dignity and pride by being a positive mentor for the youths with whom I work or participate with as a young adult 4-H’er. If there are events where I may bring friends, family, or other individuals, I agree that they will also follow the code of conduct and I will take responsibility for their actions.
  3. I will respect, adhere to, and enforce the rules, policies, and guidelines established by my individual county 4-H program, the West Virginia 4-H program, and West Virginia University Extension. I accept my responsibility to be informed and follow the policies, rules, and deadlines established by WVU Extension 4-H. I will adhere to all policies as outlined by WVU and WVU Extension. These include but are not limited to WVU BOG Rules 1.6 and 1.7 and the WVU Extension Above Suspicion Policy. I will report any violation of these policies immediately to WVU Extension personnel.
  4. I acknowledge that the 4-H program utilizes competition related to project work as a tool for learning. I will demonstrate good sportsmanship, encourage this behavior in program participants and other volunteers, and not allow unsportsmanlike conduct to detract from the learning experience. I will not let my personal desire to win overshadow the needs of the group or violate positive youth development principles. I will not obstruct or disrupt any 4-H program or encourage others to engage in such conduct. I understand that a judge’s decision is final. I will act in a respectful and responsible manner during all 4-H programs. I will comply with the directions of 4-H officials acting in the performance of their duties.
  5. I will welcome all members, guests, and speakers involved in Clubs, Camps, or 4-H activities, and respect any differences in language, nationality, religion, personal background, or lifestyle.
  6. I will not use physical punishment or discipline, nor will I abuse any 4-H participant by physical or verbal means, and I will report such abuse if observed. I will abstain from harassment or bullying of another participant, volunteer, or staff member (either in person or through electronic devices and/or social media, cell phones, or other communication venues). I will report immediately any threats to my or another program participant’s emotional or physical well-being to a WVU Extension professional. If I have reason to believe that a member is being neglected or physically or sexually abused, I will make an immediate report as a Mandated Reporter.
  7. I will ensure a safe environment for myself and others involved in the 4-H programs that I am leading or in which I am participating. I will not act in an irresponsible or potentially hazardous manner. I will access and operate machinery, vehicles, and other equipment in compliance with laws, rules of the 4-H program, and general safety practices. I will handle animals in a responsible manner. I will wear clothing suited for the activity that I am participating in.
  8. I will model healthy choices. I will not use, possess, or offer alcohol, tobacco/tobacco products, marijuana/marijuana products, vaping, e-cigarettes, or illegal drugs/substances when involved in 4-H program activities. I will not attend 4-H programs while impaired.
  9. I will be courteous and respectful to other individuals and their property. I will not use, abuse, or take another individual’s personal belongings. I will not damage facilities.
  10. I will not use technology to create or transmit to youth and/or staff, or willingly receive from youth and/or staff, unacceptable content such as that containing profanity, advocacy of use/possession of alcohol or drugs, violence, sexually explicit content, etc.
  11. I will not have sexual contact with a minor and I understand that all sexual contact is expressly prohibited at all 4-H events, activities, and facilities.
  12. I will use appropriate channels within WVU Extension to address concerns and conflicts. I will accept the decision of any individual and/or group that has the leadership and authority to make decisions, even if the decision is not the one I personally desire.