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SPIN Volunteer Quick Guide to Belonging



Authors as Published

Jeremy Johnson, Associate Specialist for Volunteer Development for Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech

Young people want to belong and feel like they are members of a group. As a SPIN volunteer, you can help your SPIN club members feel accepted, connected, and included. Because SPIN clubs only meet for a short time, you must be intentional about creating a place of belonging.

Best Practices for Belonging Ways Volunteers Can Promote Belonging
  • Young people need a positive relationship with a caring adult.
  • Provide guidance and coaching as members work on their projects.
  • Give positive encouragement and feedback. 
  • Include young people in decision-making about club activities. 
  • Encourage members to experiment and try their own ideas.
  • Young people need a welcoming and inclusive environment that allows them to feel connected to others and appreciated for who they are.
  • Provide opportunities for the members to get to know each other through
    • Ice-breaker activities,
    • Team-building challenges,
    • Cooperative games,
    • Working in pairs or small groups.
  • Young people should feel safe at all times – physically and emotionally.
  • Safety is your #1 priority as a SPIN volunteer.
  • Plan ahead and consider the possible risks involved in activities or the environment and eliminate or manage the risks.
  • Before beginning an activity, clearly explain behavior expectations that keep everyone safe.
  • Teach club members safety practices for the project they are working on.
  • Stop any put-downs or ridicule. 
  • Don’t tolerate bullying or cliques.

Adapted with permission from University of Illinois Cooperative Extension
*18 U.S.C. 707

Produced by Communications and Marketing, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2016

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, ethnicity or national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or any other basis protected by law.

Publication Date

September 1, 2022

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