Cameron County Heart & Soul Project (CCP) Oct. 29th Volunteer Meeting Minutes
Location: Cameron County Recreational Center Time: 6:00p-7:30p
Attendees: 6 (plus 3 visitors) Leadership Committee Present: 3
Hey, Cam Co Neighbors! You know what’s better than eating delicious pizza and yummy cookies? Why spending time with friends and fellow residents, that’s what! After an enlightening workshop, Phase 2.1: Training, Gather, Listen To And Share Stories, held on Oct. 24th, volunteers of the CCP gathered together to discuss the training and develop a work plan for gathering stories from residents of Cameron County. The main discussions of the CCP meeting are listed below so as to grant Cameron County citizens an understanding of what the project is about and how our objectives will hopefully be beneficial to the county for years to come.
Leadership Committee Work Updates and Phase 2.1 Training for Volunteers:
Jess Herzing, CCP Project Coordinator, opened the meeting by stating that funds part of the project's budget to provide food for CCP volunteers to show gratitude for their work. Tina Solak, Executive Director of the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce, suggested that maybe future meetings could be held in local restaurants. Volunteers get fed and businesses get supported! In response, Jess said that she’ll make arrangements after creating meeting agendas for volunteers in Emporium and the Southern Tier of Cameron County.
Jess discussed that she has made plans to reach out to the people of the Southern Tier of Cameron County in order to gather for volunteers and story gatherers. Emphasis was placed on the fact that the citizens of that area need to have their voices heard and valued.
Meeting attendees worked on a work plan, with assistance from the CCP Community Network Analysis (CNA), to decide on what key demographics need people connectors to gather stories. More of a focus was placed on story gathering and understanding bias in stories. During the meeting, participants were encouraged to practice with fellow volunteers by collecting each other’s stories. Jess explained that tonight’s meeting was to help us get started on collecting stories and to prepare for our next training in 4-6 weeks or early in December to work on data
New Business and Important Updates:
Jess announced that CCP story gathering procedures will require a Lead Story-Gatherer. She defined this role as someone who would have to be the first point of contact for all story gatherers. In addition, this person will be responsible for organizing stories, keeping direct contact with story collectors via email or texts, and offering ideas on what demographics still need to be heard from in correlation with the CNA. Tina Solak volunteered for the position.
Jess stated that the CNA is now on google drive for volunteers to view in hopes of finding connectors and people who want to share their stories. She also said that she is making preparations for establishing an interviewing tab at local establishments. Plans for inspiring story gathering will be published on the CCP Facebook and Instagram pages.
Meeting attendees learned that the CCP is interested in purchasing electronic devices for the project’s work plan. Plus, arrangements are currently being made to get three podcast reorders.
Volunteers learned that Mrs. Copp’s students in her Senior Communications Course will be participating in story gathering within the school. Students have already developed a School CNA. They identified voices to be represented with two people for each voice. This week, the students in Copp’s class will be talking to students voices to recruit interested students to be interviewed. Interviews will be turned into a movie of their results. Initial voices include the following:
Phase 2.1 Volunteer Training & Hands-on:
Copies of the Phase 2.1 story gathering, guideline packets were handed out. Jess illustrated that the packets are to be the Go-To source for volunteers to gather stories, set up interviews, prepare questions, and discover tips on locating bias and initiating conversations. Discussion was held on why stories are more important than surveys. It was concluded by all that not only are stories more personal, but that also people are more likely to share their stories because of emotional connections. Whereas surveys are more restricting.
CCP members practiced compiling stories by interviewing each other as a way to gain a better understanding of how story gathering works and to become more comfortable with the process. Pat Kempher clarified that the best way to be more comfortable in interviewing is to emphasize the goals of the CCP and how they will add to the betterment of Cameron County as we talk to county residents. Communication=Key! An agreement was made that the best way to gain interviewing tips is to observe. Therefore, Jess took part in a “mock interview” with Linda Slyder, CCP Volunteer, and Matt Nolder, CCP Communication Coordinator.
Upcoming Events and Engagement Activities:
The next CCP volunteer meeting will be November 26th from 6:00p-7:00p. Location is yet to be determined
On Friday, Novemer 2nd, the Family Center and Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities will be hosting the Andrews Farm Family Picnic from 5:00p7:00p! Kids will engage in an exciting scavenger hunt! Dinner will be roasting hot dogs, making mountain pies, and whipping up some delicious s’mores! Brian Budjanec from Sizerville State Park will be making a presentation. Jess will be there to talk about the CCP. If anybody is interested in helping Jess, please let her know as soon as possible.
Jessica Herzing-- CCP Project Coordinator
Matthew Nolder-- CCP Communication Coordinator