BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The City of Lacombe is sponsoring a workshop to help those who manage volunteers learn techniques to train and orientate their volunteers so that both parties can get the most out of the experience.
The workshop, Orientation Training and Supervision of Volunteers, is a one-day session, Nov. 18th at the County of Lacombe Lifelong Learning Association.
The fee is $60 and the event has limited space, so those wishing to take part are encouraged to register at the partner page of Volunteer Central’s web site or by calling 403-346-3710.
“The City of Lacombe always loves our volunteers and we love what they do for our community,” said Sonya Beauclair, of the Recreation and Culture Department with the City.
“This workshop is to help people working with volunteers to understand the importance of volunteer orientation, training and supervision and how those things can be done effectively. We want people to learn the best practices for their organizations.”
The workshop handles a wide variety of topics that include risk management, learning styles of volunteers, roles of supervisors and clarifying roles of volunteers and more.
“It also talks about the benefits of providing direction and consistency, especially with new volunteers who may not know what they’re doing. Of course, it is volunteering, but it should be treated somewhat like a job with specific guidelines,” Beauclair said.
Recreation and Culture Manager Sandi Stewart is excited about the opportunity to build the community through volunteering.
She said volunteering is a crucial part of any city or town and that she is thankful Lacombe has so many volunteers and volunteer-based organizations.
Stewart said providing these kinds of workshops is necessary to build connections within the community and give people the tools to do the best work they can.
“Training not only volunteers, but also their supervisors is huge because people are more engaged and active in their roles – they get to feel important about what they’re doing,” she said.
“This helps the volunteers to know what they’re getting into and understand what their role is. The volunteer should know the time commitment and what’s expected of them when they are working.”
Stewart said she’s excited about the City’s partnerships and interest in building up the volunteering community.
She said the Volunteer Handbook, available on the City of Lacombe web site, is an extremely useful tool for managers, supervisors and volunteers.
“On the Volunteer Handbook, we have a ton of information and resources for volunteers. It’s got information on volunteer opportunities, common questions and guidelines for various roles,” she said.
“For example, if someone has just become the secretary of a board, they need to know what that title means and what their role is in the organization.”
The Handbook also features information on volunteer organizations such as where to get grants and funding, how to develop their programs and how to train, retain and show appreciation for their volunteers.
“It’s really got everything – where to book events, where to hang posters, who to talk to – it is the go-to place to learn everything you need to get things rolling.”
The workshop is sponsored through the City, but is a partnership between Volunteer Central, the Lifelong Learning Council of Red Deer, the Red Deer & District Community Foundation and the County of Lacombe Lifelong Learning Association.