RCMG values input from members toward improving our services. In October, interns and mentor team leads were invited to participate in focus groups about their on-boarding experiences in 2022. All ten of the team leads participated along with 29% of the 59 interns. The incoming New Member Committee co-chair Karen Randall conducted the sessions.
Themes from the conversations included how much the participants value connecting with others and providing service related to gardening. They also noted how understanding and prioritizing the time commitment leads to more positive experiences.
Several of the focus group recommendations are already being implemented and others are being referred to committees for consideration.
Thank you to all focus group participants for your time and support of this process!
Participants identified several intern program strengths, including:
RCMG provides wrap-around intern support through mentors, teams, activities and resources
Mentors and other MG are welcoming and attentive to intern needs
Teams helped interns make connections and many formed a community within the larger organization
There was a range of options for meeting volunteer requirements, allowing for diverse schedules and work/family commitments
There were many suggestions for ways to support incoming volunteers. Some examples:
Continue to stress the time commitment for RCMG volunteering in all new member recruitment and interviews, as well as mentor training
Improve messaging about the individual/team/two-year mentoring options
Continue to organize intern/mentor pairs in teams, with participation recommended rather than required
Form teams by a common trait, such as geographic location
Provide mentors with a list of topics to cover with interns and teams with a list of optional activities
Review the intern/mentor and Quick Links pages on the website and ensure all interns know how to find them
The groups also had some program suggestions that would affect the overall membership.
Review the process for finding subs and responding to missing shifts
Consider ways to include more engagement in RCMG monthly meetings and booths at farmer’s markets, other events
Keep working purposefully on diversity, equity, and inclusion
New Member Committee co-chair