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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


State 4-H PetPALS Master Volunteer Leader Training

4-H PetPALS (People and Animals Linking Successfully) is an intergenerational  4-H project connecting youth and their pets with senior adults in various types of healthcare facilities. The core curriculum relies on trained adult volunteers, called Master 4-H PetPALS Volunteer Leaders, who teach youth skills needed to interact with residents of healthcare facilities, specifically assisted living and skilled nursing environments. Members learn to select, socialize, and train appropriate pets to participate as youth-pet teams in animal-assisted activities. They learn how animals behave and communicate, and how to interpret their own pet’s temperament and personality. Youth practice safe and humane animal handling techniques, involve their pets in animal wellness programs, and practice responsible pet ownership and care. Youth participate in aging sensitivity simulation activities to learn about the physical changes associated with aging. After completing additional sensitivity simulation activities to learn about medical conditions they may encounter, youth role play with their pets to learn how to meet and communicate with senior adults. Upon successfully completing the curriculum, 4-H members and their pets, accompanied by adult volunteers, visit senior healthcare facilities, thus enhancing intergenerational relationships. Refer to the Master 4-H PetPALS Volunteer job descriptio