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Ohio State University Extension


New Guidance for OSU Extension Employees as 4-H Volunteers

OSU Extension has updated its guidance regarding OSU Extension employees serving in a volunteer capacity.

Due to the potential for conflict of interest in securing judges, handling finances, tracking volunteer hours, handling enrollment forms or paperwork submission, etc., OSU Extension employees are not eligible to serve as a 4-H volunteer in an OSU Extension program in which they are or could be directly involved. Recently, many questions have been raised inside and outside the organization, and this is a way to provide clarity on expectations. This new guidance was developed by working with area leaders, internal advisory committee, and getting approval from Extension Administrative Cabinet. The guidance ends the grandfathering in of former versions of this guidance and applies as of now moving forward. Click here to review the guidance document online.

The document gives examples of situations that would be appropriate for OSU Extension employees to volunteer and when it would not be. There is a process that a request can be sent to the associate state 4-H leader and state 4-H leader outlining why there is still a need for the particular person to continue in this role.

Kirk shared the guidance document with area leaders and on Koffee with Kirk. On Koffee with Kirk, he shared that he is hoping this will be a collective effort that will be handled locally. The state office will support as needed, but the county educators will be aware of situations that are no longer in accordance. 

Direct supervisors should communicate this guidance with applicants who are current 4-H volunteers and are applying for positions which would not permit them to serve as a 4-H volunteer. In this conversation, it is suggested direct supervisors can share that even though the individual may be an outstanding volunteer, as an employee they will have the opportunity to be outstanding serving ALL clubs instead of just one.