Volunteer Outcomes and Impact: The Contributions and Consequences of Volunteering in 4-H


  • Steven M. Worker University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0670-4741
  • Dorina M. Espinoza University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Car Mun Kok University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Charles Go University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • JoLynn C. Miller University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources




youth development volunteer, volunteer outcomes, volunteer impact


Youth development volunteers are relied upon by many youth organizations to deliver educational programming, and consequently, fulfill organizations’ missions. Our study explored the consequences of volunteering in youth services by focusing on volunteer outcomes (consequences of volunteering on the volunteer) and volunteer impacts (volunteers’ contributions to the organization). We collected 1,245 open-ended responses to 2 questions from adults who served as volunteers in the University of California 4-H Youth Development Program. We applied iterative inductive thematic analysis without a pre-existing coding scheme to each question independently. Volunteers described their impacts on 4-H as expanding and maintaining programs for children, providing support to and teaching youth, and helping to realize youth outcomes. By volunteering, adults reported outcomes including developing skills, improving well-being, and deepening connections with others.

Author Biographies

Steven M. Worker, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

Associate Cooperative Extension Advisor, Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties

Dorina M. Espinoza, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

Youth, Families and Communities Advisor

Car Mun Kok, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

4-H Youth Development Advisor

Charles Go, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

4-H Youth Development Advisor

JoLynn C. Miller, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

4-H Youth Development Advisor


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