Monday, August 20, 2012

VISTAs & Supervisors Unite at Annual Orientation

At Elon University on August 15, thirty-five (35) VISTAs and supervisors convened to build relationships and share ideas at NC Campus Compact's annual VISTA orientation event. The day-long session was packed with team-building exercises, breakouts for VISTAs and supervisors, and directed conversations about regional and project area issues. Participants traveled from the farthest points of the program's reach: from Cullowhee in the west, Elizabeth City in the east, Stauton, VA in the north, and Charlotte in the south. Despite the long drives, everyone contributed energy and ideas throughout the day.

Our 2012-13 VISTAs and Supervisors. No one fell in the fountain.

Sessions were led by NC Campus Compact and Elon University staff and by returning VISTAs. Pam Brumbaugh, Elon's Director of Experiential Education, began the day with a session exploring workstyles and communication preferences that drew on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) scores of VISTAs and their supervisors. Program officer Chad Fogleman led sessions for supervisors on supporting and sustaining a VISTA's work, and Associate Director Leslie Garvin delivered a training that prepared VISTAs to conduct a SWOT analysis of their projects with community partners. Special guest Mary Morrison, director of Elon's Kernodle Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, shared information about some of her office's strategies to sustain community engagement, including the LINCS program which places students as volunteer coordinators with key community partners.

Returning VISTAs Derald "Banjo" Dryman (WCU), Pamela Pate (UNCC), Saarah Abdul-Rauf (UNC Chapel Hill), and Sally Parlier (DTCC) all led mini-trainings for new and current VISTAs. Topics included including living cheap on a VISTA budget, the VISTA health plan, clarifying the VISTA role for your campus and community, and using social media for community engagement.