Where’s the young-uns?

Each time our Master Gardener group goes on an outing I wonder why there’s never anyone present under the age of 50. It makes me think these kinds of excursions are something only the cotton top generation enjoy.

We’er on our way to Erie, PA to visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. It’s 8:30 am, there’s about an inch of snow, but the highway is clean and safe for driving. It’s a chilly 21 degrees, and with snowy conditions, this makes the deer hunters extremely happy. Perhaps this offers a partial explanation of why there’s no young-uns along for the trip. Perhaps not.

I think it has more to do with the status quo. I’m sure y’all know about the hazards of complacency when things have been done the same way for so long that new ideas are viewed as something to be avoided. There are those MGers who’re stuck in the mire of their own personal agenda. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for change.

Sounds a lot like the Political Machine doesn’t it?


By TC Conner

Pro hobbyist photographer, drone enthusiast, musician, husband and father.

11 replies on “Where’s the young-uns?”

You have some valid points. You and I have talked about this kind of “stuck in a rut” atmosphere that we sometimes find around us. But, if you have noticed, the younger generation just isn’t into joining for the sake of being in a group. It’s not that they don’t do “good works” but they are more apt to volunteer for something that is a one time project that they can do – be done – and move on.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

I miss our bantering of the past but we are so tight right now that there isn’t even time to just visit. We didn’t even get the Christmas decorations out of the basement this year. The office really looks drab.

Good point, Sherry. We gardened enthusiastically in our twenties, less so as we had the kids young and worked full time, and returned to it with pleasure in our forties as time allowed.

I’m thinking that if MGs come on a trip they are surely interested in learning and seeing different ideas – not complacent and stuck in their ways? And if they are in their 50s and above, doesn’t that indicate new blood coming in? (Not, perhaps, if all are in their 70s and 80s).

Speaking as a “cotton top” of nearly 51…

Hi Scattered Gardener, thanks for stoppin in and sayin a word or two. I’m not sure how the cotton toppers are indicative of “new blood coming in.” There’s a difference between “learning and seeing different ideas” and implementing into the MG program those same things you saw and learnt. The former is something you take in for your own use, the latter is something you expel for the good of the many.

Well you just might be on to something here. There are a lot of older folks in my group too. I haven’t attended the meeting in a several months and am debating going to the Christmas party. I wouldn’t say they get complacent but more like the group is very cliquey and I am not into that. Maybe because it is too large. They sure do do things the same ole way but seem open minded to new suggestions. That is good. You have a Merry Christmas TC!

I’ve always thought complacency is way more hazardous than the alternative. You can get stuck in a rut, bored stiff (no cottontop ought to like that connotation!), or left in the dust. But then again, blindly charging ahead just to keep moving ain’t so smart either. Especially if you’re not paying attention to the lay of the land.

You’re lucky to have an MG group that likes to go places. The one I’m in right now consists of two people, another gal and me. At least she’s the only one I’ve met. So, I’ve joined a gardening group that consists of MGs and other folks just interested in gardening, and we devote our time to helping out at the research center in Quincy, Florida. At least I get to count those hours toward the annual requirement. The MGs from other counties aren’t allowed to. The whole structure doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m guessing there’s some turf war involved with the hours only counting for the county you do the volunteering in. All of the extension offices have their “command center” at UF, so why the territorial attitude? Is it that way in Pennsylvania, too?

Ya know Ms. I, sometimes “blindly charging ahead just to keep moving” ain’t so bad. As long as you don’t run over anyone.

The Master Gardener Program at Penn State is under the scrutiny and direction of Penn State’s Department of Horticulture. Each of PA’s 67 counties have a county MG coordinator and I suppose it’s their job to know a little about county to county differences such as “hours only counting for the county you do the volunteering in.” I’ve often wondered about that myself. The major gripe I have is the personal agenda I see taking place. And I have to be very careful with what I say about such things since I’m kind of in “the public eye” as a garden writer/lecturer. I think there are advantages to being a Master Gardener, but I’ve discovered that they are advantages that for the most part you have to seek out on your own. And this is an unfortunate aspect of our program. Another disadvantage is our online volunteer reporting system; it was designed by a PhD and is not at all user friendly.

Your comments are always insightful and appreciated!

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