Reflections and Relaxed Revelry at Oakdale Park

training.strategy.pmWe were not many but we were a perfect mix of the three Headwaters classes to date.  Sandy Greene, Gail Napora and Betty Forrest from the first Basic Training class in fall of 2011 met with Carl Droms, Judy Tammi and Ann Murray from the 2012-13 class joined by Bob Forrest, Malcolm Cameron and Janet James of the 2013-14 class to reflect upon their Basic Training experiences.

Fortune smiled upon the endeavor when Rob Alexander from our 2012-13 class offered to facilitate the evaluation event.  We gathered at the Oakdale Park shelter #3 at 3pm on Friday, July 18th along with a crowd of Little League enthusiasts who were in Bridgewater for a weekend Play-off Tournament.  Parking was a problem but we managed.

Joining in on the process were Anderson “Andy” and Frances Sales who have recently transferred to Headwaters from the Central Virginia Chapter in Lynchburg.  They generously agreed to be record keepers for each break-out group, so that each participant’s focus could remain on the tasks at hand and we could move quickly from break-out group to break-out group. RoxAnna Theiss was a record keeper as well.

We had three participants in three break-out groups for three separate rounds.  The first round mixed the participants so that each Basic Training class was represented in each of the three groups.  Note taking/record keeping was facilitated by color coded paper upon which each HMN recorded first the one-word associations of his or her experience in Basic Training and then gave oral reports of their most memorable experience which the keepers recorded for them.  For the second break-out session the groups were reformed so that the HMNs were in groups representing their Basic Training class entirely.  This time they were asked to write down their expectations of the training experience and then discuss what expectations were met or not met.

These expectations were then reported out to Rob and he recorded the responses on large flip chart sheets along with the notations regarding the realizations (or not) of each.  With these exercises accomplished the three groups were then reformed as mixed Basic Training classes to first brainstorm and then discuss which elements of their training they would Add, Remove, Intensify or Modify.  Time constraints prevented us from reporting out to the big sheets but the keepers did a fine job of recording the discussions and Rob assured the participants their efforts would be reviewed by the Training Committee over the next year to develop and deliver a consistent, common training experience for HMN trainees.

Carol Heiser, DGIF who generously gave her time to speak to our chapter prior to the July Board meeting the previous day, reinforces this aim of a common and consistent training experience.  Carol is on the State Steering Committee for the VMN Program and updated those present on the state goal to offer a standardized template for Chapter Basic Training within the next year or so.  This is something the Training Committee must also consider in the development of future Basic Training.

With the formal part of our evaluation job complete by 5pm we sat down together to enjoy the company, learn more about each other and partake in some wonderful food brought by all.  Talk and relaxed revelry continued until about 7pm when we all bid each other adieu until next time.

– RoxAnna Theiss, August 2014