Relationship between Volunteer Stewardship Action-Taking Experiences and their Leadership Competencies during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The purpose of this quantitative study was to assess the relationship between volunteer leadership competencies and stewardship action-taking experiences among Master Gardener (MG) and Master Watershed (MW) volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We collected data from 1196 Penn State Extension MG and MW respondents. The mean summative score for the volunteer stewardship action-taking experience was 2.32 (SD = .79), and volunteer leadership competencies was 3.45 (SD = .60). The results of this study showed a significant moderate association between volunteer stewardship action-taking experiences and volunteer leader competencies (r = .34, p ≤ .001). Volunteer leadership competencies can explain approximately 11 % of the variation in volunteer stewardship action-taking experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new knowledge that our research brings can significantly contribute to the practice in leadership teaching and learning of Extension organizations’ volunteers. Future leadership trainings on the enhancement of the MG and MW volunteer leaders’ stewardship action-taking capacity can help contribute to the greater good in their communities in a more confident and efficient manner. Further research should focus on identifying other factors that can affect MG and MW stewardship action-taking experiences, including the impact of the demographics and motivation.

Keywords: Extension leadership education, volunteer leadership, volunteer leader’s competencies, volunteer educators, volunteer stewardship action-taking, COVID-19.