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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Statewide Master 4-H PetPALS 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 description. 



The registration fee is $35.00 per person. This fee covers the cost of registration, lunch, teaching materials, and CGC testing (dogs). Each participant is responsible for purchasing a set of the 4-H PetPALS curriculum prior to the training (except youth); and one set per club is fine. Registrations are due Monday, March 4. Refer to the registration form. (Note: Youth ages 13 and older who would like to help Master 4-H PetPALS Volunteers with their clubs are welcome to attend this training. They must complete a registration form and pay the $25.00 fee.)