About Vol-a-Palooza:

Old Main 2022

What: Vol-a-palooza is a 3 day professional development event for Extension volunteers and Extension volunteer support personnel. During this event, we will provide opportunities for our volunteers and staff to learn, network, and engage with their peers all while living the University experience. 

Where: University of Arizona Campus, ENR2 Building

When: Arrive June 11th, Depart June 13th

Lodging: Cooperative Extension will be paying for single occupancy UA Dormitory rooms for all attendees. If you wish to pay for your own lodging options, there are a number of local hotels that are close to campus including: aLoftthe Graduate, and University Marriott

More Info: Vol-a-Palooza will be held on the University of Arizona main campus, in Tucson, Arizona. Attendees will have many sessions to choose from, ranging from role specific (such as 4H, Master Gardener, Staff and more) to group sessions intended to bring everyone together. There will also be many campus-based Field Trips to choose from, so all of our folks have an opportunity to see and engage with the many facets of the University.  Meals and lodging (UA dorms - single occupancy) will be provided, attendees will need to provide their own transportation to and from the event. For questions regarding Vol-a-Palooza, please reach out to Jessica Montgomery.


**Agenda subject to change**

Wednesday, June 11th

      Arrival Activities:

  • 2pm- 5pm
    • Registration & Check In; Slot Canyon Cafe, ENR2
  • Field Trip Options Available: (sign up required)
    • 2pm-3pm: TBD; 
    • 2:30pm-4pm: TBD;
    • 2:30pm-3pm: TBD;
    • 3pm-4pm: TBD;
  • 5:30pm-7:30pm
    • Welcome Dinner; ENR2
Wednesday, June 12th

      Morning Activities:

  • 7am-8am
    • Breakfast; Slot Canyon Cafe ENR2
  • 8am-8:50am 
    • Group Session: TBD
  • 9am-10:30am
    • Breakout 1: Communicating with Confidence; Kathy Broneck, Ph.D.   |   Staff and volunteers are at the heart of every organizational team and being able to skillfully communicate is crucial for not only recruiting and retention, but the overall atmosphere within the organization.  As communication is an ever-changing landscape, we need to continually learn the skills necessary to communicate in a more creative and effective manner that promotes inclusivity.  The best part about communication is that everyone can learn the skills necessary to develop their communication.
    • Breakout 2: TBD
  • 10:30am-11:20am 
    • Group Session: TBD
  • 11:30am-1pm
    • Lunch; Slot Canyon Cafe ENR2

      Afternoon Activities:

  • 1:00pm-1:45pm: Group Session: Making Connections Through Storytelling; Eileen Lawless  |  As we communicate more and more in virtual ways, learn how to connect in a deeper way through storytelling. Understand the benefits of telling stories and take away creative ways to record and share your storytelling moments. 
  • 2:00pm-2:50pm
    • Breakout 1: Growing Greener; Chris Jones & Alex Kosmider    |    Drawing on insights from psychology, human-centered design and climate communication strategies, Growing Greener helps individuals develop clear next steps for your own climate action plans and a clear understanding of what will motivate you to succeed.
    • Breakout 2: TBD;
    • Breakout 3: TBD;
    • Breakout 4: TBD;
    • Breakout 5: TBD;
  • 3pm-4:30pm
    • Breakout 1: Plant Propagation; Michael Chamberland & Beth Reidhead - Learn the basics of plant propagation (emphasis on vegetative propagation), how to make more plants from one!  This information is useful for Master Gardeners growing plants for plant sales.  Attendees will be able to pot up and take home their own plant.
    • Breakout 2: TBD;
    • Breakout 3: TBD;
  • 5:30pm-7:30pm
    • Appreciation Dinner; ENR2 Courtyard
Thursday, June 13th

      Morning Activities:

  • 7am-8am
    • Breakfast; Slot Canyon Cafe ENR2
    • Optional Field Trips: TBD;
  • 8am-8:50am
    • Opening Session - Peace Corps Prep;  Chris Elsner   |   Established in 1961, Peace Corps is an international service program with the U.S. Government which sends skilled U.S. citizens to countries around the world to support local communities’ work related to Education, Agriculture, the Environment, Public Health, Economic Development, and Youth Development. Volunteers also participate in cultural exchange – sharing with the communities they serve about American society and culture while learning more about their host countries. When they return to the U.S., Peace Corps Volunteers help other Americans better understand about different people and places around the world. 
  • 9am-9:50am 
    • Breakout 1: Working with 4-H Volunteers on Tribal Nations; Kristy Kinlicheenie   |   This presentation will include effective methods of volunteer engagement utilized within the 4-H programs on the Navajo Nation. Specific initiatives utilized by the county and Federally Recognized Tribal Extension programs to alleviate barriers for volunteers will be highlighted. We will show how volunteer recruitment efforts focus on methods that inspire members of the community to become volunteers.
    • Breakout 2: Firewise Landscaping in the Sonoran Desert;  Chris Jones   |   Wildfires in the Sonoran desert have become increasing large and more frequent in the past two decades. In this presentation, you will learn how wildfire embers are a major source of home ignitions during wildfires, where homes are exposed to embers, and how to limit those exposures. 
  • 10am-10:50am​​​
    • Breakout 1 - Engaging Through Tactile Learning; Haley Chappell   |   Age does not matter; everyone has the ability to learn new things. Tactile learning is a process where the learner uses their sense of touch to learn new concepts.  Through this presentation, volunteers will receive information about why tactile learning is important and engage in a tactile learning activity.
    • Breakout 2: Terrariums and Indoor Growing; Michael Chamberland   |   Terraria are enclosed environments for growing certain plants indoors with little water.  They can be useful for school classes, for experiments, for growing high-moisture loving plants, and as decorative indoor features.  Terraria are usually grown indoors under artificial lighting.  A variety of lighting options will be demonstrated.
    • Breakout 3: TBD;
  • 11am-12pm
    • Lunch & Sendoffs; ENR2
  • 12pm
    • Dorm Check Outs must be completed


The conference will have multiple sessions available, ranging in topics of interest from 4H, to Master Gardener to Staff. Additionally, in tandem with presentations and panels, there will be a number of on-campus field trips available to sign up for (due to the small spaces in some of these locations, the sizes of the groups and opportunities are limited).

Vol-a-Palooza is free to attend for invited guests, including lodging and meals during the conference. 

Vol-a-Palooza is an invitation only event. County Extension Directors and Program staff will nominate volunteers to invite to the conference.

Yes!  Please indicate the days you will be in attendance on the registration form.

Cooperative Extension will pay for staff and volunteers to stay in the UA dorms. We have single occupancy rooms, along with a few double occupancy rooms for volunteers who wish to share their room with their significant other (must be a UA volunteer).

If staying in the dorms is not your preference, and you are willing to pay for your own lodging, we can recommend the Marriott University Hotel, Aloft Hotel, and The Graduate Hotel as options that are right next to campus.

See the Marriott University Hotel

See the Aloft Hotel

See the Graduate Hotel

Due to the nature of this event, only active & authorized Extension volunteers and Extension Program staff will be allowed to attend Vol-a-Palooza, eat at event meals, and stay in the dorms. If you are paying out of pocket to stay at a local hotel, you may certainly bring your family, but they will not be permitted to attend the conference meals or sessions.

No, the UA will provide clean linens for your lodging.

As this event is on campus, make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes and business casual to casual attire. A light rain jacket may be appropriate a well in the event of rain.

The weather averages around 100-103 degrees during this time of the year, with occasional monsoon storms rolling through.