At the end of January, VCE Arlington had the pleasure of hosting a delegation from Russia and showing them the valuable work that Extension does in our community. The visit was sponsored by the U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Program and funded through a grant that Extension was jointly awarded from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The two-day visit focused on sharing information with the Russian professionals on Extension’s successful Master Volunteer model.
The visit began with a volunteer showcase where Extension volunteers talked about their programs and volunteer experiences. Presentations were given by volunteers and leaders from Master Gardeners, Master Food Volunteers, Master Financial Education Volunteers, Energy Masters, Master Naturalists and 4-H.
After a lunch prepared by our own Master Food Volunteers, our guests visited officials from an important Extension partner, Arlington County, and continued to see Extension in action with a visit to the Save the Earth 4-H Club at Barrett Elementary School.
Saturday’s activities included a visit to see the work done at thee Arlington Food Assistance Center where Master Food Volunteers give regular healthy food demonstrations. The agenda continued to be food as they attended a training led by 4-H agents for Master Food Volunteers on the 4-H Food Challenge program. They rounded out the day with a visit to Wakefield High School for the Energy Journey Game at which several of our Energy Masters volunteered.
The six Russian professionals work for nonprofit resource centers in three different regions of Russia where they provide support and training to other nonprofit organizations. They are interested in developing volunteer programs and Virginia Cooperative Extension was selected as one of three organizations for them to visit in the U.S. in order to learn about successful volunteer models. They also visited groups in Ohio and southern Utah.