From time to time situations require changes in policies, protocols, and procedures. Change can be challenging for both practitioners and volunteers. Like many land-grant universities and Extension programs, the University of Georgia (UGA) Extension implemented a mandatory online training of all volunteers that was met with mixed success across program areas. To gain insight into what works best for our volunteers, the UGA Extension and Georgia 4-H surveyed volunteers across program areas. We spoke to a mixed group of volunteers who had and had not completed a mandated training to gain a full picture of baseline technology abilities and training preferences.
It was great to learn that the training was effective at increasing volunteer knowledge of youth protocols. However, it was even better to confirm volunteer receptiveness to other required trainings and that technology access was better than we thought! The volunteer-preference insight gained has been invaluable for future iterations of training, programming modifications, and other developments. Wow! This study even proved beneficial during times of social distancing and increased virtual connections.