It’s that time of year again, Site Visit time! We here at Volunteer Maryland pride ourselves on the amount of support we give to our AmeriCorps members and partner organizations and Site Visits are just one component of that support. Unless you’re a VM alum or former Site Supervisor, chances are you have no idea what a Site Visit is. Good thing you have me to tell you! At the beginning of the service year, every Volunteer Maryland Coordinator is required to write a work plan that becomes their road map for the year. The work plan draws from the site application, research and conversations the VMC has with staff, volunteers, and clients, and each VMC’s individual goals for the year. The Site Visit gives the VM staff the chance to talk about the work plan, see the VMC’s work space, and get a better idea of just what the VMC has been doing and plans on doing for the remainder of the service year. The Site Visit is also part of an ongoing conversation about the VM partnership and allows VM staff to learn how we can better support our members and our partner organizations.
For the past four weeks (or so) I’ve been on the road with our program manager, Laura, visiting the sites in my region. While I feel like I haven’t been in the office in the past month, Laura has been traveling even more since she has the pleasure of visiting all 33 of our partner organizations for this year. I’ve hit the Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center, Baltimore CASH Campaign, V-LINC, Park Heights Community Health Alliance, Partners in Care, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, and (just yesterday) Lower Shore Land Trust! Whew! I’m tired just typing all of that! While it seems like a lot of traveling, Site Visits are actually one of the best parts of the year. Beyond getting me out of the office for a few days, Site Visits give me the chance to better understand what the VMCs I support are doing on a daily basis, the culture of the organizations they serve in, and the challenges they face in developing and managing sustainable volunteer programs. One of the reasons I joined AmeriCorps was because I wanted to be able to see the impact of the work I was doing. Site Visits give me the chance to see how my work is impacting the VMCs I support and how they in turn are impacting their communities. I am looking forward to my last seven Site Visits, to hearing the success stories and the challenges of the VMCs, and learning how I can better support them in their service.
Throughout the year, I will post stories of the VMCs’ service experiences, so keep checking back to hear about how VM’s AmeriCorps members are impacting Maryland!