December 14, 2016 OCVN at the Wilderness Center Webinar Discussion Notes

OCVN at the Wilderness Center

Webinar Goals:

  1. Build our collective understanding of what elements go into an effective OCVN program; and
  2. Gain new ideas from other programs.


10:00 AM Welcome and ice –breaker (please share a memorable experience as an OCVN)

10:05 –10:40 Carrie and OCVN’s discuss cornerstones of their program (we can also take questions after each person presents)  

  1. Steve Upperman  - the OCVN perspective
    1. training organizations to work with OCVNers
    2. Finding opportunities
    3. Challenges
  2. Carrie Elvey – the volunteer organization perspective
  3. How to approach an organization
  4. Having your ducks in a row
  1. Staying connected
  2. Larry Everhard – organizing the chapter
    1. How our chapter operates
    2. Meeting agendas
    3. Challenges of organization
  3. Pam Gum – Social Events
  4. Challenges
  5. Opportunities

10:40 –11:00 Discussion/sharing

  1. Please share what has been the most memorable/meaningful aspect of your OCVN experience?
  1. What structures/elements of the program in your area do you think may have really led to that experience?

Q1: Please share a memorable/meaningful experience as an OCVN?

Q2: What structures/elements of your OCVN chapter/course may have led to that experience?

Discussion Notes on Memorable/Meaningful Experiences

Being connected with others with similar interest/passions;

Access to new opportunities

Volunteering with local library doing regular youth programming

Challenging hikes or experiences that have brought a group


Tips for Effective Programs from TWC

Steve Upperman

Connect with District folks at DNR; you have to prove yourself.  Takes time to have a pitch ready;

Metro park/city parks looking for people; contacting them helps get OCVNs to resources that are needed; if there is an OCVN who can act as the ambassador that is helpful.

Recognize the membership and have a good contact list; understand strengths of members especially those who are active and who can help get their knowledge to groups that need it.

Contact list and email list helpful.  Follow up with phone especially to those who agree to do something.

Larry Everhard, Structure:

TWC moved from formal by laws to a steering committee.  7 members to a steering committee. They try to assign position based on interests.  Determine meeting time/place combine with meals.  Steering committee meets every other month.

Newsletter keeps folks informed.  Create and mail agenda. Verify contacts. Communications key to keeping informed. Could have a calling committee to reach members.  Mentors reached out from one class to the next. Each OCVN is assigned one or two people. Contact info is given out before the last class.  OSU list serv has helped. Key position on the steering committee include: volunteer ambassador who reaches out to organizations where volunteers could obtain service; social chair; and communications/group leader. 

Challenges: Fear/Misunderstanding (e.g., OCVNs are interested in taking jobs away from naturalists, etc. ). Steve works to explain the program and skills/knowledge of the OCVN participants. 

Challenge with organizing social events--diversity of OCVNs and their interests in programs/formats.  They hold a few different types of social events (e.g., kayaking at Deerasic park, chapter mixer/field trip at Caesar's Creek. 

Challenge with communications/leader position--Getting new people to participate and/or getting folks involved.  What's worked well for TWC is an accurate phone list handed out at the end of class and direct calls.  Having specific projects has also been helpful. 

Keep communications alive and flowing.  Share work so no one burns out.  People want to join a positive really active forward moving group.  Know your members.