4-H Volunteer Profile: Joe and Theresa Whitenight

In an effort to highlight the many different volunteer opportunities 4-H has to offer, the 4-H Volunteer Profile series will highlight a few of the many wonderful people who give their time to Michigan 4-H.


In an effort to highlight the many different volunteer opportunities 4-H has to offer, the 4-H Volunteer Profile series will highlight a few of the many wonderful people who give their time to Michigan 4-H. 

Volunteer names: Joe and Theresa Whitenight
Location of volunteer service: St. Clair and Macomb counties
Duration of volunteer service: More than 20 years

What programs do you volunteer with? 
We have worked in several programs including shooting sports, sheep, public speaking and photography. But the program we are most dedicated to is 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge.

What is your volunteer role with Michigan 4-H?
We are club leaders for our afterschool club, Dresden 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge.  We are also project leaders for the Rimrock Acres 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge project and are state instructors for the Outdoor Adventure Challenge program.

Why did you decide to become a 4-H volunteer?
We originally volunteered as parent helpers but later became involved as leaders in the Outdoor Adventure Challenge Program because we could see the positive impact the program was having on the teens that were involved in these outdoor activities.  

What are some of the rewards you have experienced as a 4-H volunteer?
We have both become better adults by working with the amazing 4-H teens and adults across the state.  We have friends that are more like family in all parts of this state.  Finally, it has been most rewarding to watch the kids grow up to become wonderful adults.   We see the positive impact we have on teens  as we watch them grow in their leadership, cooperation and communication skills while learning to love and care for the outdoors. Some of our previous youth have now even become 4-H leaders themselves and are helping us run our club.

''What are some of the life skills you teach youth as a 4-H volunteer?
Our program teaches youth to become independent and responsible.  They also develop a work ethic and learn that goals can be achieved through perseverance and hard work. 

What is your favorite memory from your 4-H volunteer experience?
One of my favorite memories is from a rock climbing trip several years ago. One of the boys, who was very athletic and capable, became too fearful every time he tried to get to the top of a climb.  I watched while several of the other kids just kept encouraging him and telling him not to give up.  With their unsolicited help, he was able to conquer his fear and achieve his goal.  He was so thrilled with his accomplishment and so thankful for their help and support.  It made me proud of each one of those kids.

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming a 4-H volunteer?
Sharing something you love to do with a group of kids is the most fun a person can have.  In addition, it will impact the world in a positive way and make a difference in the life of many kids.  What could be better than that?

Joe and Theresa, we appreciate your many years of service as 4-H volunteers! Visit the Volunteers page to learn more about becoming a 4-H volunteer yourself or visit the Environmental and Outdoor Education section to learn more about the 4-H Outdoor Adventure Challenge.

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