Congratulations on becoming part of the 37th class of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs)! We are so excited to have you with us as we reach out to our communities and help others learn to garden in sustainable ways that protect our environment and natural resources and enhance the places where we live. Volunteers, such as yourself, are essential to Extension’s outreach and are part of Extension’s philosophy that active citizen participation helps make educational programming successful.
In the coming weeks, you will be stuffed full of horticulture and gardening information. As the weather warms, you are guaranteed to positively ITCH to be in the garden, experimenting with and trying out what you have learned. It’s in your blood – that’s why you joined us! Don’t worry – that full, overstuffed feeling eventually subsides as the lessons begin to click with experience as you answer the questions of others, share gardening tips, lead youth through gardening activities, play a little horticultural CSI, prepare a presentation, develop a section of a demonstration garden, or any other myriad of projects in which MGEV trainees immerse themselves.
You will meet many people over the course of your training. Thank goodness for our MGEV nametags! Perhaps you are paired with a veteran mentor who can help you remember the people whom you meet. Perhaps your class training activities and field trips will connect you with new friends and potential project partners. Maybe you will have opportunity to travel to a regional or statewide event and meet more MGEVs. There are nearly 3000 of you, after all, and each one is a tremendous resource to and support of Extension’s educational outreach.
You will have many opportunities to engage in Extension projects throughout your community. Some opportunities will be simple, one-time events that provide information to people looking for help with their garden or landscape. Some opportunities will be moderate commitments for a specific event, perhaps involving planning, set-up, implementation, and clean-up. Other projects that MGEVs coordinate go on for several years, and you may have opportunity to contribute to development and implementation. Regardless of the level at which you plug in, your time will be rich with experience and you will gain satisfaction in partnering with Extension in helping others.
While I meet many of you in your first training class, I don’t always have opportunity to visit until later on. I look forward to getting to know and work alongside of you. I know your Agent and Program Coordinator will do a great job preparing you for your volunteer experience. In the meantime, I encourage you to engage wholeheartedly in your MGEV training experience. I appreciate all that you bring to the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program and can’t wait to hear about your projects!