W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

WW&F Railway Museum Discussion => Volunteers => Topic started by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 15, 2019, 02:09:07 AM

Title: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 15, 2019, 02:09:07 AM
The WW&F is seeking volunteers to serve as car hosts on our trains this season. The Museum will be offering a series of workshops to train car hosts at the Museum’s 97 Cross Road campus in Alna on March 23, March 30 and April 6. Classes will begin each day at 9AM and will generally end by 2PM.

   The car host’s job is to engage and interact with visitors, sharing interesting information about the railway and surrounding region and answer visitor’s questions. The workshops will provide you with all the materials and resources you need to be a successful car host. No previous experience is necessary, but a desire to interact with our visitors and help offer them a meaningful, personal experience will be helpful. Becoming a car host is also a great introduction to other volunteer positions available on the railway. Volunteer who are already active with the Museum are also welcome to attend the sessions as they will go over WW&F history and public interaction techniques.

   To participate in workshops either call the Museum at 207-882-4193 with your name and contact information or send an email with the same to visitor interaction coordinator Steve Piwowarski at stephen.piwowarski@wwfry.org.
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: ALAIN DELASSUS on March 15, 2019, 07:52:10 AM
Great idea ! I was a conductor for decades and I know how much riders are interesting in the railroad and in the scenery the train runs through. It was always  a treat for me to reply them and give them some information. But I think it's not really part of the conductor duties who must first and foremost focus on safety.    A few French tourist RR give riders information about the RR history and surroundings. Unfortunately the host is  actually the conductor  that gives the riders information through an on board intercom that is not at all an historical appliance and does not make the dialogue possible. Of course it's an other kettle of fish  if it's a 10 car train....
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Bill Baskerville on March 15, 2019, 03:30:53 PM
Stephen,

Thanks for this great expansion of opportunities for our volunteers and for providing an improved visitor experience for our guest.

Is a written or electronic summary of information and presentation tips available for those of us who are already qualified in other positions so we can fine tune our spiels and have a consistent presentation?  This would be especially helpful for those of us who are not fortunate enough to live in or close to Maine.

Again, I commend you for your talent and energy.

Bill
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 16, 2019, 01:41:50 PM
Bill,

Thanks for the compliments though I am motivated by the energy I get from all of the good people I am surrounded by here- the ideas, excitement and energy all fuel my passion to bring the WW&F and its story to new audiences and individuals while continuing the great work of rebuilding the railway.

As I will be working on the plans for each of the meeting days, the documents I develop will form the basis for an electronic summary I can later send to you and others who are interested. Maybe they could event get posted to the forum!

I will tell you that the two resources that form the basis for the training are the Museum Guide authored by Bill Reidy along with the 28 page pamphlet "Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway: the Sheepscot Valley Narrow Gauge" published last year by the Museum. For starters, these are a good jumping off point.

Wayne L. pointed out an important detail- the Car Host program is great for someone who would like to take on an active role in the public, operational side of the railway without the responsibilities of a brakeman, conductor, etc. It is also low-impact physically, as hosts are encouraged to sit with passengers and have one on one or small-group, personal conversations, rather than standing and addressing an entire car of people.

Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Bob Holmes on March 16, 2019, 11:13:10 PM
Steve, I agree with Bill that the curriculum and materials should be packaged to that those of us who are not always in Alna could still qualify.  I know this is an added burden, but will broaden your reach for certified Hosts.  "Certified" might mean and interview with you or taking a test after studying the materials.

Just an idea...

Bob
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Jeff Schumaker on March 17, 2019, 02:32:43 PM
I will second what Bill and Bob have posted.

Jeff S.
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: John Kokas on March 17, 2019, 02:47:58 PM
Ditto Bill, Bob, and Jeff!
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Bill Baskerville on March 17, 2019, 04:42:55 PM
... I will tell you that the two resources that form the basis for the training are the Museum Guide authored by Bill Reidy along with the 28 page pamphlet "Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway: the Sheepscot Valley Narrow Gauge" published last year by the Museum. For starters, these are a good jumping off point. ...

FWIIW (For What It Is Worth not to be confused with HWSNBN) I have asked Linda to mail me the two documents referenced by Steve (above).  I will give her my CC # when she knows what the postage and packing cost are to be added to the two documents from the museum store.  This will allow me to bone up on the "official" story before my next trip north for the SWW. 

In the trivia department, in the past most of my information came from listening to more knowledgeable folks around the museum like Jason, Start, Bob and a few others that I can't recall right now.  Paying attention to the conductors while acting as brakeman has helped.  This plan will give us all the real scoop for a consistent message for our visitors.

Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Joe Fox on March 18, 2019, 10:34:24 AM
When I first started volunteering with the museum, I wrote up a bunch of info to tell visitors during the ride. Though it hasnt been updated in 12-13 years. I found things visitors enjoy, especially young families is hearing of the kids riding to school on the train, the Albees farm that is seen from the train, commodities shipped by the railroad, etc. Then folks that used to live near Wiscasset often remember the schooners. Those from Portland are often interested to learn about our vast display or replicas of Portland Company products. As Steve P mentioned, once you can tie the railway into a visitors personal perspective it gives a simple museum visit more meaning.
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Bob Holmes on March 21, 2019, 02:40:46 AM
Steve, per our discussion yesterday, consider a one full day training, with it being a pre-requisite that one read the two reference books that you have identified as the class texts.  A trainee could buy them (tell us how much they cost), or we could have 2-3 loaner sets at the museum that one could borrow.
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: John McNamara on March 21, 2019, 04:01:22 AM
Steve, per our discussion yesterday, consider a one full day training, with it being a pre-requisite that one read the two reference books that you have identified as the class texts.  A trainee could buy them (tell us how much they cost), or we could have 2-3 loaner sets at the museum that one could borrow.
Your post reminds me of a Far Side cartoon in which a student says, "Professor, may I leave now? My brain is full."
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Gary Kraske on March 21, 2019, 06:21:52 AM

I will tell you that the two resources that form the basis for the training are the Museum Guide authored by Bill Reidy along with the 28 page pamphlet "Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway: the Sheepscot Valley Narrow Gauge" published last year by the Museum. For starters, these are a good jumping off point.

Looked at the Gift tab on our website, but could not find the referenced resources.  We have all the other books (and thoroughly read) listed on the Gift site.  Help!
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 22, 2019, 08:46:50 PM
Hi Gary (and others),

The Museum Guide is the guide is published by the museum and handed out to every visitor with their tickets. It goes over the various things around campus and things seen during the trip.

"Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway: the Sheepscot Valley Narrow Gauge" was published last year by the Railway. It is a more in depth version of the article that was published in the NRHS bulletin, but without photographs.

Steve
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Bob Holmes on March 22, 2019, 11:37:09 PM
So can we have packaged versions of those available for pre-car host training?
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 23, 2019, 03:33:15 AM
Anyone who participates in the training will receive the materials free of charge. The museum guide is typically free, but the WW&F pamphlet regularly has a small cost attached to defray printing costs.

I would typically hand them out at the trainings, but if someone wants to look them over ahead, I could make some up for that. Alternatively, I suppose we could post both here on the forum, but that might be technologically difficult... so I'm not sure about that.

Steve
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 23, 2019, 03:35:47 AM
Just to give everyone a heads up, so far we have 3 folks signed up for tomorrow's class but anyone is welcome to join in. Instead of the original format of a three day course for training, we are consolidating to a one day course which I'll offer each of the next 3 Saturdays.

Steve
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Graham Buxton on March 23, 2019, 01:16:56 PM
Alternatively, I suppose we could post both here on the forum, but that might be technologically difficult... so I'm not sure about that.
Assuming the documents are in an electronic file form, say PDF or Word etc, I think they likely can be made available here at the forum.
Exactly how that would be done best will likely depend on the file size. In any case, I'm willing to see what I can do if you'd like to email the file to me at buxton.graham@gmail.com
(as a initial test, I attached trivial PDF file to this post, but I can't see the results til after I post this message.) :P

Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 23, 2019, 10:58:54 PM
Graham,

That worked.

Thanks for the test. It is good to know that can be an option.

Steve
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 23, 2019, 11:29:35 PM
Today we had the pleasure of working with 5 trainees during the 1st car host training workshop. We learned a lot from each other and every element of the training proved that many hands working together can truly produce a superior product! Thanks to everyone who participated and assisting with the training. I'll be posting the documents from the training here shortly.

I'd like to heartily welcome Lisa and Andy Gross, Dick Picard, Raija Suomela, Sonja Wyllie (who has been with the Ry many years, but not in this context) to the WW&F fold. You all brought plenty of excitement and great questions with you! Your presence has us all excited and looking

We'll be holding additional trainings the next two Saturdays March 30th and April 6th. You only need to attend one session to become qualified and we'd love to have you join the crew! Classes start at 8:00 with coffee and introductions and get underway in earnest at 8:30 we go until 11 when we break for lunch, then continue with a trip up the line after lunch.

Whether you are available every weekend, or only occasionally, consider joining us!

More classes will be offered towards the summer months for those not regularly available.

Thanks so much everyone!

See you on the narrow gauge,
Steve

Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Bob Holmes on March 23, 2019, 11:51:37 PM
Steve, this is wonderful news.  Your ability to plan for this, and then be flexible in making it happen is magical.

Keep up the good work on the Car Host program moving forward.

Bob
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Bill Reidy on March 24, 2019, 02:17:48 AM
See the photo under the March 2019 Work Reports (http://forum.wwfry.org/index.php/topic,3408.msg41142.html#msg41142) post today.
Title: Re: WW&F Offering Workshops for 2019 Season Car Hosts
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on March 26, 2019, 01:27:48 AM
There is a new (non-public) Forum section for Car Hosts (and related Docents, Tour Guides, etc.) Training materials will be posted there, along with tips and tricks for interacting with our guests. If you are a Car Host, or would like to be one, let me know and I will add you to the member list.