Do you have time and energy to spare and are interested in Penn State's Extension mission? If so, we invite you to become a volunteer in any of the dozens of community outreach programs currently benefiting the citizens of Pennsylvania. Volunteers from all walks of life, ages, and stages bring their unique knowledge and skills to the Extension table. What they have in common is their desire to make a difference in their communities in partnership with Penn State Extension.
AND...here's the best part! There are lots of benefits for volunteers to enjoy. You'll learn new knowledge, meet others who share your interests, and have fun in the process!
Why volunteer with Extension?
Volunteers provide the passion and the helping hands to extend the reach of Penn State Cooperative Extension into every community and neighborhood in Pennsylvania. They bring valuable knowledge and skills to Pennsylvanians that enhance their quality of life. In so doing, volunteers enjoy being part of the largest grassroots educational organization in the Commonwealth and making a positive contribution to their fellow citizens.
What do volunteers do?
Penn State Cooperative Extension provides adults with programs on a wide variety of timely subjects, including agricultural production and marketing, environmental management, food safety, child development, healthy meal planning, resource management, and emergency preparedness. Volunteers are involved in virtually every aspect of Penn State Cooperative Extension programs. They lead activities, teach lessons, field questions, promote programs, organize events, raise funds, assist with research, and provide advisory leadership.
Volunteers also work with young people in the 4-H youth development program. They can serve as advisors and managers for county programs, club leaders, teachers of subject-matter lessons, or coaches for special activities.
While the roles of volunteers may vary by program area and location throughout the state, volunteers always manage to gain new skills, make new friends, and above all, have fun!
How much time does it take?
That depends! As volunteers can become involved in one-time events as well as ongoing programs, time commitments can range from one hour to several hours a week. Moreover, some programs are seasonal rather than continuous. Volunteers may also choose to work out in the community or perform "virtual" services from the comfort of their homes, either independently or in groups. You can decide which arrangement best fits your schedule and other responsibilities.
Do I need special knowledge or expertise?
While much of the work Extension volunteers perform arises from their personal interests and life experience, they may also receive specialized training from educators associated with each program. This is how volunteers can build on their own skills while helping others.
How do I sign up?
To learn more about the volunteer opportunities available in your community, contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension office in your county. We look forward to hearing from you and exploring your ideas for helping Penn State Extension grow and prosper.
What is an Advisory Leadership Volunteer?
Advisory leaders provide educators with guidance, counsel, and assistance in overseeing resources at the local, multi-county, regional, or state level. Members represent the community in determining program needs and direction, providing legislative advocacy, gathering information, and communicating the work of Penn State Extension within the community. Each county has a County Extension Advisory Committee with representatives from each of the extension program areas. County advisory committee members may also participate on regional and state committees of the Pennsylvania Council of Cooperative Extension Association (PCCEA). State program leaders and county extension directors can detail the need for advisory leaders at the local and state level.
How are volunteers recognized?
Each extension program tailors its volunteer recognition to the individuals they wish to honor. In some cases. National Volunteer Week or Extension Annual Banquets are events during which volunteers are formally recognized with tokens of appreciation such as certificates or pins for years of service. However, informal recognition in the form of simple “Thank Yous,” giving respect, and involving volunteers in day-to-day activities or training is more intangible and ongoing throughout the year.
What is a Master Volunteer?
A "Master Volunteer" is a person who completes a specified number of hours of training to meet the standards determined by a particular program area. Such volunteers demonstrate special expertise and make long-term volunteer commitments to the Extension program.
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