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Volunteering keeps one of the first 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassadors connected and contributing

Jacob (far right) with fellow Chisago County
4-H members at the
2010 Minnesota State Shoot

Meet Jacob.

Jacob is a volunteer with the Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife program.

Early leadership experiences

As a high schooler, Jacob helped create an ambassador program for older youth who were enthusiastic about shooting sports. With the support of local 4-H staff, Jacob and a few other teens welcomed younger youth into the program and built their networking skills as they communicated the value and impact of shooting sports education statewide.

"Since I was really young, I loved shooting sports," reflected Jacob. "In 4-H, I was encouraged by adults who believed in me and loved the sport too. I knew I wanted to be just like those adults. They were there for me when I was growing up. That’s why I am there for the next group of kids in 4-H."

Finding ways to contribute

After graduating, Jacob started volunteering with middle school youth who were new to his local 4-H club. Over time, he discovered lot of opportunities to contribute. Currently he and other members of the state 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife committee are exploring ways of connecting Minnesota youth with ATV safety education.

ATV Safety is Minnesota 4-H’s newest project area. Thanks to funding from Polaris Industries, 4-H is training adults and empowering young people with critical hands-on safety experiences. Just this past year 475 youth were impacted by this partnership.

Jacob enjoying a birthday surprise
from youth in his 4-H club

Ensuring all youth belong

Jacob has a keen eye for youth who might feel like outsiders. As a 4-H’er Jacob always felt welcome and part of the shooting sports community. Now as a volunteer, he works hard to ensure all youth find their place and feel safe to grow.

"I pay attention to the kids who don't seem to have a lot of other caring adults in their lives," said Jacob. "I want to help them be successful and know they belong."

And while most 4-H volunteers have children in the program, Jacob is one of many younger adults who aren’t waiting to be parents to get involved.

"It's not essential to have a kid to be a volunteer. Those of us who aren't parents are just passionate about the content. We love helping new and different youth get connected to the sport."

Jacob and his chosen siblings. "We have different parents,
but together we form a family."

Grow skills and lasting friendships

4-H outdoor experiences like shooting sports and ATV safety teach youth critical skills like decision-making, self-discipline and concentration. They promote the highest standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. They help young people discover lifelong recreational activities that can enrich their lives.

"And the friendships that grow through 4-H are long-lasting. Even all these years after my ambassador experience ended, I'm still friends with other shooting sports ambassadors," reflected Jacob. "We're here for each other. Always."

More volunteers welcome

Jacob is one of more than 1,000 caring adults who help Minnesota youth engage in 4-H outdoor experiences. If you'd like to learn more about shooting sports or other 4-H outdoor recreation, visit our project page.

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