Prospective Mentors

Eager to help make a difference in the life of a child?

What to expect in a 4-H youth mentoring program

A mentor in a 4-H mentoring program can expect personal ongoing support, encouragement and guidance from 4-H staff as the mentoring relationship progresses. To make certain that both the mentee and the mentor are having a positive, life enriching experience, 4-H staff will conduct regular communication with the mentor, the mentee and the parent or guardian to discuss the match, problems and progress. Most 4-H programs typically expect a mentor to spend at least one hour each week with the mentee, with most of the programs lasting for at least one year. Many 4-H programs provide group activities, program recognition events and complimentary tickets to community events in which mentors and mentees may optionally participate. At the completion of the program, 4-H staff will support and assist in the closure of the mentoring relationship. It is the goal of 4-H staff both to see that youth develop and reach positive academic, career and personal goals through a successful mentorship, and also that the 4-H mentor gains personal fulfillment and self-development through contribution to the community and individual.

To learn more about specific expectations and goals in the 4-H mentoring program in your area, go to “4-H Youth Mentoring Programs in Michigan” in the Resources below and look for a county near you. Then press the link for contact information.

Mentor selection and criteria


Each 4-H mentoring program has its own eligibility criteria and policies for selecting and screening volunteers. To learn more about the requirements and selection procedures in your county, see “4-H Youth Mentoring Programs in Michigan.” Press the link for your county. Call and speak to the mentoring program coordinator.

Listed below are general volunteer criteria required of all MSU Extension 4-H mentoring programs.

A volunteer must:

  • Be willing to complete the county’s mentoring program application process
  • Be willing to complete the MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process
  • Be willing to follow all program policies and procedures
  • Not falsify information during the course of the screening process
  • Not use illicit drugs
  • Not use alcohol or controlled substances in an excessive or inappropriate manner or while participating as a volunteer mentor

Listed below are possible application requirements: (For the actual application requirements for your county’s mentoring program, contact the mentoring program coordinator for your county on the 4-H Youth Mentoring Programs in Michigan resource.)

  • Application
  • MSU Extension Volunteer Selection Process (required)
  • Driving record
  • Copy of driver’s license
  • Interview
  • References
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Mentor contract

Characteristics of a good mentor

Good mentors:

  • Are active listeners
  • Are patient and caring
  • Are flexible and open to new ideas
  • Have a good attitude
  • Are dependable and reliable
  • Set realistic and appropriate goals
  • Listen and accept guidance and feedback

Michigan counties currently offering mentoring progams

New 4-H mentoring programs are being developed in counties across Michigan each year. To see an updated listing of Michigan counties currently offering 4-H mentoring programs, see “4-H Youth Mentoring Programs in Michigan.

Other mentoring programs in Michigan

Michigan 4-H Youth Development strives to continue to develop and offer caring and supportive mentoring opportunities for youth and volunteers in Michigan. Unfortunately, not every Michigan county currently operates a 4-H mentoring program. If you are a volunteer interested in becoming a mentor in a county not currently operating a mentoring program, there are many other mentoring opportunities with other organizations in Michigan. Visit Mentor Michigan to see a list of organizations offering mentoring opportunities in your area.


Frank Cox, Extension Educator
4-H Youth Development
Phone: 231-724-4738