4-H Leaders and Teen Leaders

4-H Leader's Manual

Volunteers are the most essential partners we have in MSU Extension/ 4-H. They create life-changing experiences, provide millions of dollars in added value in our communities and help us reach broad audiences across the state.

Safety is Our No. 1 Priority

MSU Extension/ 4-H Program is firmly committed to ensuring the safety of those who take part in our programming by providing a thorough screening and selection process for MSU Extension volunteers. This ensures those who work alongside us or directly with youth and the people we serve are safe and have positive experiences that enrich their lives.

Becoming an MSU Extension Volunteer

There are two primary types of MSU Extension volunteers – Gold and Silver, which is determined based on the volunteer activity. All volunteers are vitally important to us, but we recognize that based on expected interactions between volunteers and the people we serve, additional screening is often necessary. The majority of MSU Extension volunteer positions are classified as Gold due to the expectation that these volunteers will represent MSU Extension while working with community members and program participants.

Steps to become an MSU Extension volunteer (Gold) - these individuals interact directly with youth and/or adults in meaningful ways on behalf of MSU Extension 4-H Club Leaders, Project Leaders, Resource Leaders anyone that forms relationships with youth on behalf of MSU Extension/4-H Program. MOST 4-H VOLUNTEERS WILL BE GOLD

  • Application Submission & Review
  • Criminal History Check
  • Sexual Offender Check
  • Reference Check
  • Interview with MSU Extension Staff
  • Volunteer Training/Onboarding

Steps to become an MSU Extension volunteer (Silver) – These individuals have no direct interaction with youth or vulnerable populations and no to low opportunity to form relationships with youth or vulnerable populations on behalf of MSU Extension/4-H. Examples of Silver Volunteers – Individuals working registration table, individuals working food booth at a youth events, advisory boards and council that meet more than once as representative of MSU Extension and are not youth focused.

  • Application Submission & Review
  • Criminal History Check
  • Sexual Offender Check
  • Volunteer Training/Onboarding

Once your application is submitted, you can always see where you are in the process by visiting the Check Status page.

Annual and bi-annual background checks

MSU Extension is also dedicated to regularly screening current volunteers every six months (Sexual Offender Check) and 12 months (Criminal History Check) to ensure the safety and security of those we serve.

We Are Here to Help

Applicants use MSU Extension Volunteer Central to submit and monitor the status of their application, and will see updates as parts of the screening process are completed. MSU Extension also knows that sometimes applicants need technological assistance. When you submit an application, it is routed to the person best suited to work with you and help you through the process. To become a 4-H Leader, click here to get started: https://msu.samaritan.com/custom/502/#/volunteer_home. You can also find system support and submit a question online by visiting our Contact page.

HAVE QUESTIONS about the process? Contact Lori Warchuck, 4-H Program Coordinator at (810) 989-6935 or Email to get answers.


What is a 4-H teen leader?

For the purpose of using the 4-H Teen Leadership materials, a 4-H teen leader will be defined as a young person who is:

  • Between the ages of 13 and 19 years old.
  • Learning and developing leadership skills.
  • Using his or her knowledge, skills and abilities to help others meet their goals.
  • Practicing leadership skills through various activities and reflecting on the leadership experiences.

Though a 4-H teen may be learning and developing leadership skills, to be a 4-H teen leader, the young person also needs to be practicing what he or she has learned and reflecting on the leadership experiences. First-time activities should be designed so that the teen can gain confidence in his or her skills and abilities. Experiences should become more challenging as the teens develop their leadership skills.

MSUE 4-H Teen Leader Book
4-H Horse Project Area Teen Leader Expectations
4-H Horse Teen Leader Application