After your participants complete the training and pass the exam, they should be working on their volunteer hours as Intern MGVs. (Until they have completed their volunteer service requirement they should be referred to as Master Gardener Interns.) It is important that they are aware of the expectations of the program. Intern MGVs must complete the minimum number of hours of volunteer service within a year of the completion of their training class, and submit their record of these hours to their local recordkeeper to be certified.
Although it is not your responsibility to find volunteer projects for your MG Interns, since you are training them in order to develop a volunteer staff, it is in your best interest to try to provide them with appropriate volunteer activities to both support your county consumer horticulture programming and develop their skills. One of the potential benefits of the program is the ability of the Extension agent to spend less time answering routine horticulture-related questions from the general public and spend more time on other programming. A MG Volunteer staff can be trained and utilized to expand access to traditionally underserved audiences and generally enhance program delivery. Leadership development of volunteers is an important component of the program.
You can require that Interns participate in a specific project or activity; have Interns choose from a selection of projects; allow them to develop their own projects; or have other specific requirements. No matter which way you decide to go, it is important to have a stated policy and communicate this clearly with the Interns (preferably a printed or electronic document).
Guidelines and suggestions for activities that qualify for volunteer hours are outlined on the back of the standard timesheet. However, the local facilitator is the final authority on determining what is acceptable. A general rule of thumb is that the activity benefits the community (not just an individual). Contact the MG Program Coordinator if you want to discuss specific situations.