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Re: MG


RE > Where did I say that people who worked regular daytime jobs make poor
volunteers?
When you wrote " We've gotten almost no volunteer hours out of the members of the evening classes" and "All of our evening classes have been dismal failures as far as returning volunteer hours" (daytime workers are often the people taking night classes)

When I wrote that, >>The fact that they offer only weekday classes is a strong indication IMO that the instructors ...utilize MGs mainly during weekdays.<<, this stemmed from accounts I've read from MGs I've heard from across the country both on CHAT and on a national MG message board.

Please note that I wrote it's a "strong indication" and "IMO", meaning that it was simply one contribution to helping explain Jim's comment > Does seem odd that they don't have an evening or weekend program to attract... ahem... younger people.< I did not intend for my reply to be definitive.

The rest of what I replied was intended to be helpful suggestions, not criticisms of your program. It sounds as if you have a nice well-rounded program, but that you're still experiencing trouble with retention, as we all are.

I can suggest two more possible explanations for that. One, from my experience, the other from our extension agent's perspective. What I have seen of volunteers is that a person who likes to volunteer, does so in many venues, not just one. They then simply spread themselves too thin to be readily available for projects. Second, our Hort Ed has studied volunteer phenomena and statistics and brought a class to us to try to explain differences in 4 age groups and how they work, listen, volunteer, differently from one another, thus meaning they must each be approached differently. It's very interesting and insightful. It explains a lot of why a mainly babyboomers and retirees group has trouble retaining the interest of GenX, GenY, and Millenium volunteers.

Just more possible explanations of the issue, not criticisms.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message ----- From: "Daryl" <dp2413@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2008 9:54 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] MG


Where did I say that people who worked regular daytime jobs make poor
volunteers?

I was reacting to your comment that >>The fact that they offer only weekday classes is a strong indication IMO that the instructors aren't interested in going the extra mile (spending their evenings in the classroom) and/or that
the program has been geared to utilize MGs mainly during weekdays.<<

We offer evening volunteer opportunities. We offer weekend volunteer
activities. We have a Lunch 'n Learn every month with time to socialize as
we eat lunch and before the program. We have casual suppers and summer
weekend barbecues.

We give our new MGs opportunities to "own" the project that they're
interested in if they wish to do so. As you've found, if they don't get
interested and have a chance to take responsibility right away, the program
is likely to lose them.

They can also propose projects and project funding if there is something
that's not already being done. We have a coordinator system, rather than all
projects being chosen by a head honcho. We have 5 coordinators with many
committees/projects under each. MGs can run for a coordinator position as
soon as they've completed their first 50 hours of volunteer time. And yes,
it's 50 hours in our state.

We don't throw them out if they don't get their 50 done in the first year,
but always encourage them. Most of the morning class people complete their
50 in less than 9 months. Most of the evening class people have not
completed the 50 required for certification, but it's not for lack of
opportunity.

And yes, they learn that it's a volunteer training program early and often,
and we get them involved in volunteering while they're still in class. It
may be that they can only help with sign-ins and clean-up for our public
programs at the library, but they know that they are an integral part of the
team.

And as for working and volunteering, I regularly did several hundred hours
per year while working ( and one year over 1500) , but you and I are not the
norm.

My point is that it's not right to diss a program and say that the
instructors are not willing to go the extra mile just because it doesn't
provide evening classes.

d


----- Original Message ----- From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] MG


Well, Daryl, I take issue with your idea that people who work regular
daytime jobs make poor volunteers.  I'm one of them, and after I took the
evening classes I put in over 700 volunteer hours the first year.  A lot
of the people in my class are still there, putting in their hours when
they can.

I can agree with you though, that it's tough to get volunteers who really
want to work.  It doesn't matter what time of day they took their class,
what age or gender they are, they all have lives and other things they'd
rather do. The trick (which I have yet to master) is to make them WANT to
volunteer in MG activities more than the other choices they have.

Have the new recruits been asked how they'd like to contribute? Or have
they simply been asked to sign up and help with projects someone else is
running? Yes, they're new and have to get a few hours under their belts
before most of them can take a leading roll, but for many, if they don't
see any personal advantage in it, they won't bother.  They don't fully
grasp the concept of helping others - they're still in helping self mode.
I can't tell you how to do it, but the potential is there if you can find
the key.

If most activities in a county are weekday, as Jim mentioned re phone
response is in his, evening class people will not see a lot of
opportunity. Does your MG group host social activities in addition to
volunteer work? This gives them a chance to get to know each other and the
other MGs.  When you actually know each other (rather than just being a
number on a call list), there could be a better chance of wanting to
commit to volunteering.

Just like every other county in every other state, we have a problem with
retention.  But, for as much as I understand it, virtually all our
candidates finish the class and then as interns, nearly all of them
contribute their 40 volunteer hours.  Some take a bit longer than a year
to do it, but they don't just walk away after the class is over.  A week
or so before the first class, they must attend orientation.  At that
meeting it is explained to them "why" they are receiving the training.
It's not just mentioned in passing.  To tell you the truth, I almost quit
after orientation as I had no interest in teaching - helping others grow,
and I felt it would be wrong to take the training and not fulfill that
obligation. I just wanted to work with other gardeners.  But I soon
learned there were other things that I could do, so I went ahead with it.

Well, this is much too long.  But I don't think all evening class people
are deadbeats.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message ----- From: "Daryl" <dp2413@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 8:08 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] MG


Kitty,

I take issue with that. I've been on both sides of the fence, both
administering the program, and waiting for more than a decade to be able
to
take it. I first heard about the MG program shortly after it was started
in
Oregon, but wasn't able to take it until 1989. For many years, even after
I
was certified, I railed against the "unfairness" of only having morning
classes.

We tried holding evening classes. many, many times. (Our program runs 2
days per week for 11 weeks, and we've done morning , afternoon  and
evening
classes. ) We've gotten almost no volunteer hours out of the members of
the
evening classes, and significantly fewer with those that have taken the
afternoon classes than those that have taken morning classes.

It may be different in your state, but if so, that bucks the norm, from
what
I've heard from MG coordinators in other states. I was Advanced MG
Training
Coordinator for several years, and had a lot of contact with MG
coordinators
from other states. The stats were dismal.

I  know that there are many volunteers that could have fulfilled their
hours, even with evening MG training, but percentage-wise, they haven't
done
so.  All of our evening classes have been dismal failures as far as
returning volunteer hours is concerned, even though many professed to be
available. It was always, "No, I can't help, my son/grandchild has a
soccer
game on Saturday" or some such.

d


----- Original Message ----- From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] MG


They can offer it any time they want.  The fact that they offer only
weekday classes is a strong indication IMO that the instructors aren't
interested in going the extra mile (spending their evenings in the
classroom) and/or that the program has been geared to utilize MGs mainly
during weekdays.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5

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  • Follow-Ups:
    • Re: MG
      • From: "Daryl" <dp2413@comcast.net>
  • References:
    • MG
      • From: james singer <islandjim1@comcast.net>
    • Re: MG
      • From: "Jesse Bell" <justjess01@gmail.com>
    • Re: MG
      • From: "Pam Evans" <gardenqueen@gmail.com>
    • Re: MG
      • From: james singer <islandjim1@comcast.net>
    • Re: MG
      • From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
    • Re: MG
      • From: "Daryl" <dp2413@comcast.net>
    • Re: MG
      • From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
    • Re: MG
      • From: "Daryl" <dp2413@comcast.net>

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