These volunteers are local people with an interest in a particular subject. Extension provides further training that increases their knowledge and skill in that area. Volunteers use what they have learned to facilitate Extension educational programming in their communities.
Extension Master Volunteers:
- must complete at least 20 hours of specialized training in a particular subject,
- be able to lead educational programs in the subject, and
- commit to giving at least 50 hours of service in the specific subject (or a combined total of 80 hours of training)
Master Volunteers may teach youth or adults, train other volunteers, work on projects like community gardens — there are lots and lots of possibilities. To find out which Master Volunteer programs are available in your community, contact your county Extension office.
These Master Volunteers receive in-depth horticultural training. In return, they provide volunteer service through Extension by delivering horticultural and environmental education and projects to their communities.
Upon participating in training, these Master Volunteers provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.
One relatively new volunteer program is Master Wellness. The program focuses on the need to have informed, trained volunteers who will provide health and nutrition education across the state. Extension Master Wellness Volunteers receive up to 40 hours of specialized training related to wellness, nutrition, childhood health, food safety, healthy food preparation, public speaking and able to disseminate information to public through programs, demonstrations, and distributing information at health fairs.
The Texas 4-H Livestock Mentor Program provides training for 4-H livestock project leaders, equipping them with a valuable set of resources and tools from which to build and support families enrolled in a specific livestock project. The species-specific subject matter provides volunteers an overview of the animal industry and current practices related to health, feeding, nutrition, selection, daily care, and animal evaluation. In addition to livestock training, the program focuses on youth and volunteer development with information about serving in a coaching/mentoring role when working with youth and adults.
The program is designed to engage registered 4-H volunteers who have a clear interest in helping youth and families with their livestock projects. The training is not targeted for new volunteers; instead, it is targeted toward 4-H project leaders who are willing to commit the time to return to their home county and work with 4-H members that are in their first and/or second year of their livestock project.
The Master Marketer program combines three successful concepts–intensive education, master volunteers, and marketing clubs. The volunteers are agricultural producers who are trained in advanced risk management and marketing techniques and then extend that knowledge to other producers by leading marketing clubs in their counties.
Volunteers are essential to the successful implementation of the 4-H program. Volunteers can serve in a variety of roles including club manager, project leader, activity leader, event judge, event chaperone, committee member, and mentor. Working directly with youth, 4-H volunteers help youth set goals and reach achievements through various project experiences. To learn more about roles and responsibilities of 4-H volunteers, an online orientation is available at: http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/volunteers/training/. More information about volunteering with the 4-H and Youth Development Program can also be found at http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/volunteers/.
Leadership Advisory Boards
Each county Extension Program has a Leadership Advisory Board (LAB) made up of volunteers that help develop a long-term vision for the County Extension Program, advocates for and interprets the program throughout the county, and helps develop resources for the county program. LABs are critical to Extension’s ability to provide locally relevant educational programs.
Program Area Committees
Each Extension program area has a Program Area Committee that is made up of volunteers that help Extension respond rapidly to critical needs and issues. These volunteers are instrumental in ensuring that Extension programs are relevant to local needs by helping identify, plan, implement and evaluation educational programs. Volunteers that serve on Extension Program Area Committees help strengthen the effectiveness and impact the programs have on the community.