UW-Extension Marathon County Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Written by Kaitlyn Bernarde

Did you happen to see our bright-red, thank-you banner by Wausau’s River Edge Trail?

A public banner was one of the many ways Extension Marathon County thanked its 431 volunteers during National Volunteer Week. (Photo courtesy of Brianna Wright.)

April 7–13, 2019, was National Volunteer Week, and Extension Marathon County wanted to spread the word that they appreciate their volunteers!

Extension Marathon County has 431 active volunteers who contributed over 10,000 hours of service in 2018.

Three types of volunteers help carry out the Extension’s mission in its communities by donating their time, talents, and knowledge.

Master Gardener Volunteer Sandy Lewis speaks with a youth at the Wausau Enrich Excel Achieve Learning Academy. (Photo courtesy of Brianna Wright.)
  1. Master Gardener Volunteers utilize plants to help educate and enhance the community. Annually, they hold events for the community, such as:
  • Garden Clinic: Constituents bring in their plant questions to be answered.
  • Garden Visions: An annual conference is held aimed at providing education in horticulture.
  • Plant Sale: Thousands of plants are sold at low prices, and a free planting area is available for youth.
  • Garden Walk: An event for the public is held to showcase excellence in gardening.
Setting up Fair Boards
4-H Volunteer Leaders of Badger 4-H Club set up fair boards at the 150th Wisconsin Valley Fair. (Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Bernarde.)
  1. 4-H Adult Volunteer Leaders guide positive youth development programming to over 800 youth in Marathon County. 4-H programming includes camps, club meetings, afterschool, summer school, educational trips, and fair contests. Volunteers can assist programming in different roles:
  • Club Organizational Leader: Works with the youth officer team to plan, hold, and record meetings, as well as participate in community service projects and recreation activities for the 4-H families
  • Project Leader: Utilizes their expertise to teach youth (and other adults) in a specific 4-H project area, such as computers, dairy cattle, cake decorating, drama, and/or woodworking
  • County Resource Leader: Assists club leaders and 4-H staff to carry out countywide programming or events
4-H Volunteer Leader Amy McKibben teaches a youth how to sew in preparation for the Rib View Ramblers Community Fair last November. (Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Bernarde.)
  1. Home and Community Education Volunteers utilize knowledge from Extension educators and teach their members and the community. Recently, they held a successful Learning Day with several workshops that taught skills in wood burning, wax burning, and other crafting skills.
HCE Volunteers Hedwig Jaeger and Karen Martinson counting mittens collected by Marathon County clubs to be donated to families in need. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Anderson.)

A Volunteer Appreciation Celebration was held at the Extension office, with trivia games and planting stations. Attendees could also create an easy and delicious microgreen recipe that was used in a recent Extension program.

An Extension Coffee Hour at Biggby Coffee in Rib Mountain capped off the week, with volunteers able to grab a cup of coffee and chat with Marathon County Extension educators.

Master Gardener Volunteer Jane Olsen enjoys coffee and conversation with Extension Educator Brianna Wright during the Extension Coffee Hour at Biggby Coffee in Rib Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Bernarde.)

*  *  *

Volunteers are essential for strengthening our communities . . . So if you’re interested in learning more about volunteering with Extension Marathon County, please visit https://marathon.extension.wisc.edu, call 715-261-1230, or read this article showcasing some of our amazing 4-H volunteers.

National Volunteer Week may be over for 2019, but it’s never too late to take a minute to say or send a thank you (even a quick video like this) to someone who strengthened Marathon County because they cared.

Kaitlyn_BernardeKaitlyn Bernarde

4-H Program Coordinator  |  University of Wisconsin Extension–Cooperative Extension

Kaitlyn Bernarde is the Marathon County 4-H Program Coordinator for UW-Extension, where she has worked since April 2018. She is a graduate of Marathon High School, has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, divides her time between volunteer management and expanding access to 4-H programs. Her passion is strengthening Marathon County youth and adults via education, opportunities, and experiences. In her free time, you can find her exploring Wisconsin with her husband, consuming the news of the day, and trying a new cup of coffee with her family.  Email Kaitlyn Bernarde.

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