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Master Mentoring: An Opportunity to Shape NextGen Gardeners

For our last Thoughtful Thursday session of 2020, Georgia 4-H specialists Keri Hobbs and Craven Hudson were joined by Donovan Nelson as they shared about the opportunity to shape the next generation of gardeners through the Master Mentoring program. This Georgia 4-H program supports the essential elements of youth development, including belonging, independence, and generosity, by matching youth with volunteer mentors according to the youth’s project interests.

One of Georgia 4-H’s main programs is Project Achievement, which is a topic-based competition that helps 4th-12th graders grow their research and public speaking skills. Students choose a topic of interest and prepare their projects through research, creation of props and displays, and lots and lots of speech practice. County 4-H staff and adult volunteers coach the youth to strengthen their presentation. Youth in grades 9 through 12 also prepare a portfolio that documents their efforts over the course of the year that support the project. The 4-H youth then compete in county, district, and state level events. By engaging in Project Achievement, youth develop and master a range of skills, while also increasing their self-confidence. And, youth who engage in 4-H programming are four times more likely to engage in community services, making them future Master Gardener candidates!

Master Gardeners have the opportunity to influence the next generation of gardeners (and Master Gardeners!) by serving as a mentor to youth interested in two Project Achievement categories, including Trees, Shrubs, and Lawns, and Fruits, Vegetables, and Nuts. As a gardening expert, MGEVs can serve as a mentor to these young people, helping them to understand the horticultural content and preparing quality presentations. Additionally, MGEVs can engage youth in MGEV projects. The time spent and experiences gained by the youth can be recorded in their project portfolios, along with any time spent learning from MGEV presentations, classes, or workshops.

To learn more about this program and to hear from 4-H specialists and the testimonies of 4-Hers, be sure to check out the Thoughtful Thursday archive through the video thumbnail on your MGEV MGLOG home page after you log into MGLOG. If you are interested in participating in the Master Mentoring program, complete this Qualtrics form.