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Old 10-25-2006, 07:13 AM   #1
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Rally volunteerism

I'm curious how other units handle rally volunteerism. Specifically, how does your unit recruit volunteers to help out during rallies and other events? How does your unit spread the "load" of hosting rallies? How do you train the "newbies" in how to run a rally.

Here are some initial ideas from the NEU:
  1. How about a buddy system to act as "bigs" to ring helpers in? Someone to show the "newbies" the ropes. I think being able to contribute to the group also builds comraderie which makes you feel included.
  2. Start a sign up list here online as part of the rally advertisment in the forum. It shouldn't always have to be the same people, sometimes you may just want to kick back, relax and enjoy like the rest of the group.
  3. Maybe the sign-up sheets for rallies could include an area where you could check the specific box and leave an e-mail saying you would like to volunteer and help out.
  4. Have an experienced rally host co-host a rally with a newbie.
  5. Prepare a new member packet which includes guidelines for attending and hosting events.
  6. Document guidelines for attending and hosting events on the unit website.
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:41 AM   #2
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Tends to a core group

I would say in our unit(WDCU) there tends to be a core group of people who host and help with the rallies. The peope have changed over the years. I think if you can get a couple/few new people each year thats pretty good. People will cycle through. Being one of the people, I showed up at a few rallies and showed interest in helping. But more important, I was asked. I remember our Prez at the time asking about a balloon festival near where I live. The next line, "That would make a great rally, would you like to do it?" I've found their are those that will jump in head first(like myself) and those that want to help, their just not sure how to go about it. You can always ask people to "co-host" a rally. Co-hosting a rally is a great way to help understand what it takes to host a rally. I do think the clearer you can make it for someone, the better off you are. I remember asking the question, "So, whats a trustee do?", "How do I go about hosting a rally?". The key is, "Don't be afraid to ask". The only way people will know you need help is if you ask. Also, let them know they can ask for help if they have a problem.


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Old 10-25-2006, 08:32 AM   #3
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Our unit posts a list at the October and November rallies for the new season (starting with the Xmas rally in December). In the past, we had 4 persons (2 host couples) per rally, but our rallies have grown a bit and we now have 6 host persons per rally. Non-married folks are included.

My wife, as 2nd VP is also the mentoring chairperson. All new members are assigned mentors and the mentors are encouraged to enlist the new members as co-hosts at their rally. This "breaks in" the new members in the easiest way.

With 6 hosts, the load on any one person is minimal
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:34 AM   #4
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How do you train the "newbies" in how to run a rally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yukionna
I'm curious how other units handle rally volunteerism. Specifically, how does your unit recruit volunteers to help out during rallies and other events? How does your unit spread the "load" of hosting rallies? How do you train the "newbies" in how to run a rally.

Here are some initial ideas from the NEU:
  1. How about a buddy system to act as "bigs" to ring helpers in? Someone to show the "newbies" the ropes. I think being able to contribute to the group also builds comraderie which makes you feel included.
  2. Start a sign up list here online as part of the rally advertisment in the forum. It shouldn't always have to be the same people, sometimes you may just want to kick back, relax and enjoy like the rest of the group.
  3. Maybe the sign-up sheets for rallies could include an area where you could check the specific box and leave an e-mail saying you would like to volunteer and help out.
  4. Have an experienced rally host co-host a rally with a newbie.
  5. Prepare a new member packet which includes guidelines for attending and hosting events.
  6. Document guidelines for attending and hosting events on the unit website.
I have a slightly different opinion about these questions.

I agree with spread the "load" of hosting. Sign up sheets and co-hosts are good ideas.

I disagree with "train the newbies in how to run a rally", and "Document guidelines".

I don't think there should be just one way to have a rally. The benefit of new members are new ideas for different kinds of rallies.

Don't force them into the old mold. Let them do their thing. Who knows, you might like it. If you don't like it, there is nothing that says everone needs to attend every rally.

This by the way, is one of the major reasons for the new proposed Four Corners Unit. Lots of us don't like being forced to conform to the "established" way of doing things.
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream25
I don't think there should be just one way to have a rally. The benefit of new members are new ideas for different kinds of rallies.

Don't force them into the old mold. Let them do their thing...
I agree which is why we have guidelines and not "rules" for planning a rally. "Guidelines" are much different from "rules" in that a guideline is an optional approach for a task whereas a rule is more of a mandated task.

Sharing "guidelines" (whether orally, in writing or on a website) is like sharing "best practices" or like giving advice. "Guidelines" are useful for some newbies who have no idea of where to start the rally planning process. Newbies are free to "take it or leave it" when it comes to following a "guideline."
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:53 AM   #6
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We do not advocate including the "newbies" to "train them to run a rally". We include them along with their mentors, in order to break the ice. It is a lot less traumatic for the mentor to approach his/her mentee and ask him/her/them to help in hosting along with familiar faces rather than put their name on a list along with someone they barely know with no idea what to expect.

The hosts confer in advance, either in person or by email, to plan the rally. In most cases, the hosts will visit the location, either with Airstream or by car, to survey the facilities and local area. There is usually a welcome package upon arrival with things to do and prices. Everyone is welcome to skip any part of the rally and go off on their own.

We do not have a "standard" rally. What occurs depends on the season, the whims of the hosts, the RV park facilities, and the location of the rally. A rural location may have more host-prepared meals and pot lucks while at an urban rally we will eat out more and/or have catered meals.

We are flexible. At our last rally, the hosts visited in advance and decided not to use the kitchen which was filthy. When the rally time rolled around, the hosts arrived a day early, found a new manager and a clean kitchen, and changed meal plans on the spot.

Frankly, I have found that our unit rallies are far more varied than the forum rallies I have attended.
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska

We do not have a "standard" rally.
The New England Unit doesn't either. The only thing that is alway done at every rally is a happy hour. Not always at 4:00pm, depends on what the dinner plans are.
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:55 PM   #8
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The New England Unit doesn't either. The only thing that is alway done at every rally is a happy hour. Not always at 4:00pm, depends on what the dinner plans are.
Happy hour is sometimes indicated on our rally schedule and sometimes simply assumed. However, 4pm is understood to be happy hour unless that time is preempted by something else such as a caravan to dinner. Any non-obvious change is either indicated on the schedule or by word of mouth.
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
...We include them along with their mentors, in order to break the ice. It is a lot less traumatic for the mentor to approach his/her mentee and ask him/her/them to help in hosting along with familiar faces rather than put their name on a list along with someone they barely know with no idea what to expect.
I've heard about the "mentoring" that some units do. I can see how that could work. Could you explain more how that works in your unit? How long does a newbie mentor for? One month? Six months? A year?
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:55 PM   #10
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Maybe I look at this a little different. I look at hosting a rally like throwing a party for three to four days. How much or little work do you want to do? Just like a party. When I hosted the hot air balloon rally, I wanted to have a "BIG" party, with that, a bunch of work went into it. Over the past years, we in the WDCU have had some great rallies. Most of the rallies were done by people that had never done one before, with little to no help from others. I think our formula is very simple. Give people a place to show up (campground, farm, etc..) give them a list of things they "may" want to do in the area and let them go have a good time. Remember, "it's camping".

One must remember that we have rallies from UP-State NY to Outer Banks, NC. So we tend to be a more traveling/rally group than most. We tend not to have rallies in the same area over and over. Only our "CBR" Cherry Blossom Rally is held each year. Next year alone, we will have rallies in VA, PA, NY and MD. Of our caravans one will cover VA, NC, SC, GA, another 12 days around VA and one from NY to PA. We have found that people have so much fun at the rallies, they then want to host a rally too or should I say "have a party".

Keep the rallies simple and all will have a great time. If people want to do more, like becoming a "Trustee or Officer" of the unit, that's another subject.

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Old 10-25-2006, 09:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukionna
I've heard about the "mentoring" that some units do. I can see how that could work. Could you explain more how that works in your unit? How long does a newbie mentor for? One month? Six months? A year?
There is no fixed length of time, but we expect a mentor (or someone assigned in their place if not present) to set up communication with the new member and guide them through their first rally. The mentor makes sure they are introduced as much as possible, makes sure they have rides (preferably with the mentor) to activities, and are generally reminded of what to expect such as happy hours that may not be on any printed schedule.

If there is a caravan to the rally, as we often have, the mentor also makes sure that the newbie knows where to meet and the general guidelines for caravanning. The mentor may meet the mentee near their home and escort them to the meeting place as a 2-vehicle caravan.

Mentors are usually assigned that live as close to new members as possible, but other factors may override that such as previous acquaintance or vintage.

The mentor is also encouraged to look over the new members rig and point out any problems suc as an out-of-level trailer or poorly adjusted equalizers.

Our 2nd VP is our mentoring chairperson, currently, my wife. As of next month, the mentoring chairperson will be Janie Haddaway, former International First Lady.

On the Region 9 website, at http://www.wbregion9.org/mentor.html , there is an excellent set of guidelines for mentors written by our former region President.
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