I just co-ran a medium-sized national service Orientation today. Objectively, I think it went well. It did what it needed to do and ended, all in one pleasant day.
Our goals were to convey a whole lot of information, get some paperwork done, set the tone for the year, and foster community. And we definitely accomplished those things. Subjectively, however, I’m not totally satisfied with it. I just think we could have done them all more effectively with more time, and that an orientation to this kind of job should be more than a day long.
I feel like national service isn’t just a job; it’s a really special, intentional way to spend a year. It frustrates me to not give people more time to ask questions, engage in meaningful dialog with each other, and get to know the program in a more leisurely way. My ideal Orientation would not be just an introduction to their year; it would be the beginning of it.
Michele Martin summed it up for me when she wrote just yesterday:
Training shouldn’t be an event, but a process.
Yes. Process. Exactly. It’s the difference between planting seeds and nurturing them.
In Emily’s ideal world, a training would be a greenhouse.