Author Topic: Volunteer Coordination  (Read 2145 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Volunteer Coordination
« on: December 13, 2008, 05:22:33 PM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
Volunteer Coordination has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
Some formatting may have been removed or modified from the original postings that appear quoted in this topic.
Information contained within this post may be superseded by more recent postings and conversations.

James Patten wrote:
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Based on what I've been reading about lack of scheduled work, or inability to find a crew to work with, it sounds like we need a way to communicate projects that are in the works or need to be done.  This could mean that we appoint somebody to be a volunteer coordinator, or we create a master list of projects, with an in-charge person to go find.

Based on our rather loose organization/oversight/what have you, the master list might be the best way to go.  Break it out into several categories, such as track, buildings, cars, and so forth.  We might also want to have a list of the things that always need to be done, such as lawn mowing.

Certainly noting that a given weekend has been set aside for #9 project, or track maintenance, or mowing, or whatever can be a part of it.

Ideas, anyone, on what we can do regarding this?

Dave Buczkowski replied:
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James;
You will recall that the idea of a Volunteer Coordinator was discussed and noted in the Long Range Plan. Of course, we're still waiting for someone to volunteer to be the VC. I suppose that now that we have this forum that ad hoc work crews can be generated on this site for those with access. For instance, if Dana wants to do some track work he can post his scheduled date along with the details. Those available and interested can let everyone know by posting a reply.
Dave

James Patten replied:
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I did recall a VC was discussed in the LRP.  I still believe we need a VC or something like it, hence my post.  However not everybody has access to the internet, including Zack.  Certainly his projects need representation, which is what a master list (or a VC) at Sheepscot would give him.

It would probably be best if a Volunteer Coordinator had internet access so that he could be in touch via this forum or email; however the final details of anything should live at the Museum so that anybody that shows up off the street ready to work will be able to find something to do (hopefully).

I think we are certainly moving in that direction, as it appears we'll be having train crew assignments this summer.

Mike Fox replied:
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James, A VC is a good Idea. As long as there are priorities on the master list, that will work to. There are some things that can be done(mowing, painting,etc.) that can be done while trains are running. Track maintenance can't. I think it would be great if someone took a track crew to work at 7 and cleared up for the first train. Then something else could be tackled by the same crew, or they could go onto the train crew and someone else can do the next chore.
Mike

Bill Sample replied:
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A volunteer coordinator's position is a good idea, and the position should have an assistant that could serve as a back up.
At the RMNE I borrowed the "Working Member's Newsletter" concept from the Severn Valley Railway in England - we put out a publication that we call "The Order Board", primarily e-mail for timeliness and to keep costs down, at least monthly, that reviews current and future projects.  We send it to all the members on our e-mail list, and do a limited print version for active and premium grade members.
In addition to this, a few of the project leaders have compiled lists of e-mail addresses  for members who have worked on specific projects such as track.  Guess this would be along the lines of what I have read that Dana has already done.
Having a good volunteer coordinator would take some of the load off of the shoulders of various project leaders regarding the notification of volunteers.  One thing the v. c. should be ready to do is to stay in communication with all the project heads and actively seek information regarding the projects - don't wait for the project leader to come to you.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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In addition, how about a white board in the station or in the shop with a list of tasks that day, along with the project leader's name? If it's updated every day and each project leader writes his task on it religiously, even casual walk-in volunteers should be able to find something they can do. It only takes a minute to write the job description and the leader's name, but everyone must agree to do it or it won't work. It would be up to museum's leadership to impress upon the project managers the importance of doing this, if they believe it will be effective. If not, back to the e-mail.

James Patten replied:
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To keep it old fashioned, the white board should be black

But I do like the idea.

Josh Botting replied:
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James,

We have "white boards" at work..... They are awful...... I have to go to a white board meeting every week, today was this week......

Anyway, I may be able to give up a good sized blackboard, if I can get permission.

If not we should find a piece of Moson slate for that Blackboard.....

Joe Fox replied:
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James,

Since there is over 90 people registered on this forum, is it possible to have a schedule on a designated page here on the forum?

Joe

Dave Olszewski replied:
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To keep it old fashioned, the white board should be black

But I do like the idea.

I like to have blackboard, too. It is old fashion. 

They should make list of volunteers who want to work on track, engine, etc. 

How come no body want to work on Track on Sunday? I like to work there on Sunday but no body work there. They told me there are not much work on Sunday. But they need more work on track. They don't run train on Sunday. Or they should run train between noon and 5PM in Fall and Winter so we can work on track in morning from 7AM until noon. 

Dave

Dave Olszewski replied:
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James,

Since there is over 90 people registered on this forum, is it possible to have a schedule on a designated page here on the forum?

Joe

Hi Joe,

Why don't you make sign on Route 1,   send thousand flyers to railroad fans, schools, Maine governor and President of US, Bush  and tell them to come and work on track. So million volunteers will come and work with you on track. 

Dave

James Patten replied:
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The Museum has a blackboard upstairs over the shop, so we're good in that respect.

With respect to the forum, anybody can start a thread for purposes of keeping schedules of work crews.  Doing it on the Museum web page would be a little different, because I would have to update frequently. 

Usually this time of year we are unable to work on track because of frost.  Usually we can't really work on it until the frost is out of the ground in mid-April or so.  However this year and the last few have not been "usual" years so anything is possible.  Getting people together to work on track on Sundays (or holidays or school vacations) is just a matter of coordination.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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So who volunteers to install the blackboard currently upstairs? Will I see it when I arrive in April?

Mike Fox replied:
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We will have to find an appropriate spot for the blackboard. Inside Bay 2 maybe. No room in the station. It has to be someplace easily seen and someplace permanent.
Mike

James Patten replied:
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Finding a blackboard spot is a good project for this weekend, either before we head north to cut or after we've returned.  I think we can find it pretty easily upstairs and bring it down.

I suppose we could hang it on the south end of the boxcar but we might get hung in effigy if we do that.  It's the most easily seen place and a fairly permanent spot.

It would be nice to stick it in the station so that all the information anybody needs is in one spot (slow orders, rules addendums, etc), but we'd need to build an extension on it then.

It does need to be accessible, but not so that the visiting snotty-nosed brat kid can grab chalk and draw all over it (or worse erase it).

Josh Botting replied:
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What about just inside of the kitchen on the OB wall, near where the trash and bottles are piled now, it could be mounted on the wall, high enough to be out of reach of small children?

Wayne Laepple replied:
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How about on the big door on the Cross Road end of Bay 3? That way, it can be viewed by arriving volunteers from outside when the door is open during the summer and from the inside when the weather is bad or during the winter.

Another possible location would be on the wall right outside the walk door into Bay 1. Yet another good spot would be on the north wall of the passenger shelter. Once people learn where it is and get used to checking it, it won't matter much where it is.

A sign should be made designating its purpose. Of course, someone will have to be responsible for keeping a supply of chalk at hand. Needs to be up high enough that little hands can't reach it.

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Regarding installation of the chalk board, I would suggest hanging it up in Bay One...right where the present bulletin board is. The bulletin board doesn't get much use, but this is a spot that volunteers all pass by and maybe the chalk board would be better utilized here...?

Besides, you could grab a hotdog to eat while you a reading the board

fjknight replied:
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The Museum has a blackboard upstairs over the shop, so we're good in that respect.

With respect to the forum, anybody can start a thread for purposes of keeping schedules of work crews.  Doing it on the Museum web page would be a little different, because I would have to update frequently. 

Usually this time of year we are unable to work on track because of frost.  Usually we can't really work on it until the frost is out of the ground in mid-April or so.  However this year and the last few have not been "usual" years so anything is possible.  Getting people together to work on track on Sundays (or holidays or school vacations) is just a matter of coordination.

James,

What about using something like Google Calendar and list all of the volunteer related events on there. While we could put the info into separate threads in the forum it would be easier to see by having them all on a real calendar.  Perhaps it could be as simple as having entries that would say we need 6 volunteers to work on track maintenance with start and stop times. I would volunteer to maintain the online calendar. Then perhaps one of the regulars could email me when changes were made to the blackboard and I would update the calendar. If someone was planning farther ahead the process could work in the other direction with future entries going into the online calendar and then only update the blackboard with current entries.

Frank Knight

James Patten replied:
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Come to think of it this board has a calendar in it already, so we could use that.  I'll have to investigate to see if I have to grant people permissions to manage it or see if anybody can post to it.

James Patten replied:
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I have opened a new thread on the forum calendar in the "General Discussion" area, and any discussion of the use of the calendar should happen there.  We should keep this thread for continuing to discuss how we want to work on Volunteer Coordination.

Dave Olszewski replied:
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Hi James,

Did you find blackboard yesterday? I thought you are going to bring it down from upstair and put it someplace like kitchen or etc. It will be nice to have it in case some volunteers dont' have internet or computer.

It is great to have calender forum online. 

Dave

James Patten replied:
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The blackboard was sitting on the floor in Bay 2 when I got there.  So maybe it was 3 months ago when I saw it upstairs, and it found its way down in the meantime.

Jason's been reading this thread but hasn't had time to respond.  We talked about it for few minutes on Saturday, and we decided for the time being to kind of split the job of coordination between the two of us.  One of us will try to remember to take the time on a Saturday to track down people in charge and find out what they're up to and write the details on the board.

However if somebody really wants the job of Volunteer Coordinator, I think we'd be glad to give it to them!

As for where the board goes - we did some test fittings.  It will fit on the south Bay 1 door in the kitchen area, but anyone writing on it will have to stand on something to reach it (OTOH it keeps little fingers from causing mischief).  Maybe we rig up a hook system so that it can be removed to write  on, then hooked back up for all to see.

Mike Fox replied:
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Rig it up on a pulley system. Hang it high. Lower it to update it. Just kidding
Mike

Jason M Lamontagne replied:
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Thank you James for mentioning our conversation.

My idea for volunteer coordination is to sort of formalize what James and I do already, which at a minimum always involves setting up train crew anyway.

At the start of each day James or I (one or the other of us us usually always there on a Saturday) will talk to the various crew leaders, and write a list on a form, chalk board, or what have you.  This board, in my mind, should be by the general order board as crew should be checking there anyway.  the list would include projects for the day - usually between 2 and 4- their crew leaders, and no of people needed.

Of course individual crew leaders such as Dana would be more than welcome to put their own project on the board- they just wouldn't be obliged to.

If James or I see people floating around, we'll make a point to direct them to the list or suggest a job.

The forum calender should be a good compliment to this.  My idea is to make sure that information- i.e. what's going on- is known to people who don't otherwise know.

Rather than looking to shed this job, I don't mind taking a shot at it.  I've thought about it for a good many years, and think it wouldn't be too terribly hard to keep up with once the system is established.  Of course that doesn't mean that James and I will be the only ones who make it happen.

I was originally thinking a pre-printed form on 8 1/2 By 11, but I like the chalk board idea much better.  That also makes it clear that its a daily list.

see ya
Jason

James Patten replied:
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As is usually the case, the station is currently too crowded with stuff to put a blackboard on the wall.  We might need to juggle some things around so that the blackboard ends up in a good place, if we want to put it inside the station.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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I like the idea of a chalk board listing projects and jobs.  I think the board should go in bay 1 next to the phone.  There is an old (mostly unused) notice board there that could come down.  Just about everyone goes in the kitchen area, especially new people who don't go in the station.

Divide the board into two sections - one is the projects for the day with the job boss' name.  The other could be a list of materials needed for the  projects.  The regular volunteers can see what materials are needed for various jobs.  This helps people prepare.  The project side tells the various projects that are underway.  Last Fall's track weekend was a good example of multiple projects.  Everyone knew of the track work above Alna Center.  Many did not know of the other jobs.  John M. could have listed the telephone crew's work,  I could have listed the repair/painting project on car 103, etc.

By doing this, the less obvious work would get attention and the new volunteers have a choice of jobs.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum