I don’t get to spend a lot of time outside of work with the AmeriCorps members in my region because they all live pretty far away. The closest thing is the regional meetings that I try to plan every month. They’re work time, so there are some restrictions on what we can do, but no on has complained so far.
The idea behind a regional meeting is for the members to get to know each other better and share resources. At the beginning of the year, I tried to force the getting to know each other and resource sharing. It did not go well. It has taken me a while to find out what works best for the meetings – what the members really need. It turns out that what the members really need is some time out of their office and some time in the sun.
Last week we had a meeting at a phở restaurant in Silver Spring. It was the first time I’d gone in without any kind of agenda. It was a really great experience, even though all of the members in my region weren’t there. It was nice sitting and talking to members I work closest with, and just listening to them talk about the things that are important to them – their plans at their sites, their plans for vacations, and what they plan to do after their service year.
After we ate lunch, we sat out in a public space to chat some more and just watch the world go by. It was one of the first really warm days of the season, not just sunny, and I think some time sitting in the sun was just what everyone needed.