By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
4-H volunteers change the world
Placeholder Image

They spent the night in one-room cabins with fifth and sixth grade campers.

Some spent a week on the beach with middle school students or tubed down the river.

Others taught teens and preteens how to be better shoppers.

Some shot pheasants to raise funds for 4-H.

Several taught youth gun safety and marksmanship.

Last year more than 200 adults used their talents to be superheroes for Newton County 4-H'ers.

"Without the volunteers, we wouldn't be able to have programs like summer camp, State Council or Fall Forum," said 4-H'er Ken Galloway.

"And without volunteers in the GIS (Geographical Information Systems) department, I wouldn't have been able to get this far in my project. I've been to State 4-H Congress twice, this year with the strongest project I've ever had," said Galloway.

He said it's also about having consistent adults, even when there are staff turnovers.

"Mr. Doug and Mrs. Elaine have been to almost everything with me since my freshman year and a lot before that, too," he said.

The Kimbles began volunteering in 1990 when their own daughter was a fifth grader, continued with their son, and continued after his graduation in 2001.

They volunteered with twelve agents and educators, so for some 4-H'ers their faces are the most consistent ones in the program.

"It's easier to give time than money sometimes," said Elaine Kimble, "but it's also a way to be closer to your kids. We kept volunteering because we enjoy it, and we have built our own family in 4-H."

In addition to youth who keep in touch with the Kimbles, they also have a network of volunteer friends across the southeast.

The Kimbles serve as fundraising chairs for the Georgia 4-H Volunteer Leader Association, where they estimate they have sold at least 3,000 pizzas at state 4-H events and cooked for the Hard Rock Eagle Café at Fall Forum for 16 years.
Many volunteers bring a particular talent to the table.

Jill Finney, an independent sales director with Mary Kay cosmetics, teaches dress for success to youth leadership students each year.

This year she also met with a 4-H'er headed to State 4-H Congress to assist her with make-up, poise, clothing and accessories.

While working with only one youth may seem like a small thing, it can make a world of difference for that young person.

"I know how important it is to have volunteers because I've been on the other side of the fence. There is maybe one paid agent to 750 youth," said Finney, who previously worked as a Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H agent in Newton County.

Volunteer Joan Holder organizes and hosts a club for home school students each month.

"We really wanted to have the opportunity to take part in 4-H because it is such a quality program, and there wasn't a club convenient for us. So I thought, ‘why not just start one up?'" said Holder.

She said as a result, she now gets to watch not only her own children, but others as they "delve more deeply into what they're interested in" and broaden their horizons with new activities like lamb showing.

Newton County bus driver Dianna Galloway donates her driving skills to save 4-H'ers thousands of dollars by driving to camps and conferences and recruiting other drivers to help.

"The more people that volunteer, the more the kids get to do," said Galloway.

She said there are also fringe benefits.

"You get to do the stuff the kids get to do, so I've done the zipline and flying squirrel, searched for crabs in the marsh, swam on the beach, played in the creek, went tubing and even enjoyed a dolphin cruise," said Galloway.

4-H'er MaKenzy McCord even said she does not mind that her parents are frequent volunteers, because it gives her more opportunities.

"It's fun to learn until you know it, and then it's fun to teach others. With my parents as volunteers, I get to have more fun helping and teaching," said McCord.

A caring adult willing to share his talents makes a lasting impression.

"I grew up in 4-H, and volunteers like Mr. Art Hargrove were just always there," said Doug Kimble.

Newton 4-H is proud to have superheroes in its volunteers.