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Working with Youth. Guidelines for Master Gardener Volunteers. Virginia Cooperative Extension is organized around four main program areas:. Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) 4-H Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Community Viability (CV). EXTENSION. 4-H Youth. FCS Families. ANR

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Working with Youth

Guidelines for Master Gardener Volunteers


Virginia Cooperative Extension is organized around four main program areas:

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR)
  • 4-H
  • Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS)
  • Community Viability (CV)








Youth Gardening


Mattey’s Garden

Therapeutic Gardening

Food to Table Community Garden

Plant , garden, harvest, canning



What is 4-H?

  • Youth development program of VCE
  • An experiential education program for boys and girls ages 5-18, which stresses learning by doing
  • Diversity in curriculum, delivery modes, and participants
  • 6 or more hours of learning within a year

The 4-H Mission

“The mission of 4-H is to assist youth, and adults working with those youth, to gain additional knowledge, life skills, and attitudes that will further their development as self-directing, contributing, and productive members of society.”


Youth Gardening

Objective: to increase awareness and understanding of the value of horticulture and landscaping to young people; to gain the knowledge and skills needed to conduct horticultural based activities in such a fashion as to meet the goals of the individuals and professionals ( i.e. SOL for teachers); and, to use horticulture as a tool to increase leadership and responsibility for youth. NOTE: This objective should be addressed while working in COOPERATION with the VCE 4-H


4-H Enrollment Policy

  • Youth completing 6 or more hours of VCE educational programming (including programs conducted by MGs such as E2, Mattey’s Garden and Therapeutic Gardening) are always enrolled in 4-H.
  • For shorter term programs (such as Seeds of Learning), 4-H enrollment for the youth, is not required.
  • Individual, Group, or Group Summary (numbers only) may be most appropriate, depending on situation.

Reporting to 4-H

  • Extension “counts” youth programming by Master Gardeners twice:
    • In local Master Gardener program
    • In local 4-H program
  • 4-H reporting is easy:
    • enrollment forms to 4-H agent
    • 4-H agent aware of project
    • number of hours is not required by 4-H

“Above Suspicion” Policy

  • When working with a group of children, at least two adults should be present at all times.
  • Never allow yourself to be alone (one-on-one) with someone else’s child.
  • Anticipate scenarios to avoid problems.

Other Youth Policies

  • 4-H does not work with youth below the age of 5. Volunteers working with youth under age 5 should ask their supervisor to verify that they have liability coverage for this work.
  • All Extension youth programs should use approved, age-appropriate curriculum.
  • Volunteers should set a good example for youth at all times – in language and actions.
  • Use of alcohol or drugs during Extension activities is prohibited (for volunteers and participants).
  • No physical or emotional disciplinary measures may be used with youth in Extension programs.

Suspicion of Abuse or Neglect

  • By law, anyone who works with children and suspects abuse or neglect has a legal responsibility to report it:

1-800-552-7096, or call Social Services in the county/city where the child lives or where the abuse/neglect occurred

  • Do not confront or accuse anyone.
  • Keep things confidential.