What is a Silver volunteer and what do they do in 4-H?

Explore what a Silver volunteer in 4-H is, example roles that may require screening at a Silver volunteer level, and how to apply as a Silver volunteer.

Youth at a rabbit show and a judge watching them.
Clerk, judge and attendees at the 2019 Michigan 4-H Rabbit and Cavy Show. Photo by Michigan State University ANR Communications.

Are you looking to volunteer with Michigan 4-H? Adults volunteer with Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development in a variety of ways. Some volunteer types, such as club administrative leaders, project leaders, 4-H superintendents or species chairs, 4-H SPIN (special interest) club leaders, chaperones and club resource volunteers, are considered Gold volunteers. These positions require Gold volunteer screening. But there are other valuable volunteer roles in 4-H that are considered Silver volunteers and require a Silver level volunteer screening.

According to MSU Extension’s Volunteer Definitions, a Silver volunteer is an individual that has no direct interaction with youth or vulnerable populations and has no to low opportunity to form relationships with youth or vulnerable populations on behalf of MSU Extension. Additionally, a Gold volunteer or MSU Extension employee must be present any time youth are accessible to Silver volunteers at events and/or when youth and adults are interacting. Many Silver volunteers are event-based and may help fulfill a variety of volunteer shifts that may occur at 4-H events.

Example Silver volunteer roles include:

  • Individuals working a registration table
  • Individuals working in a food booth at a youth or adult event with at least one Gold level volunteer
  • Judges for 4-H classes or shows
  • Clerks for 4-H classes or shows
  • 4-H exhibit building volunteers
  • 4-H barn shift volunteers
  • Individuals working 4-H event shifts

Roles that may require screening as Silver volunteers can vary based on local and event specific details. Screening as a Silver volunteer includes an application and background check, and may include some event-based training or orientation. If a Silver screened volunteer would like to take on additional volunteer responsibilities, such as working directly with youth or handling any funds or finances as part of an event shift, they may work with their local MSU Extension employee to complete the additional necessary Gold volunteer screening requirements.

If you are unsure if the way you want to volunteer requires screening as a Gold or Silver volunteer, please contact your local MSU Extension employee. For more information on becoming a volunteer with MSU Extension or to apply as a volunteer, check out Volunteer Central. Volunteers are at the core of our programs and we appreciate all volunteer types for making our programs successful!

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