May 18 2016 Area Team Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
May 18, 2016
Castroville Public Library

Present: Mary T (Treasurer), Marie T,  Marian C, Anne H, Steve Y, Madison Y, Joanne C (outgoing chair), Jim C, Danielle A, Steve A, Caroline C, Greg R (Incoming chair and scribe), excused: Jayanti A
With Kudos to Joanne for brining yummy goodies!!

1 - Presentation of “Rethinking Volunteer Role “
Anne H presented a video and facilitated a discussion about how - in a quickly changing environment - AFSUSA is encouraging local teams to see how they can implement new ways of organizing international exchange that suits their local needs: she gave examples of for instance LA has had to shift to F1 Visa students (i.e. paying students) as the local school board has stopped accepting J-! students (free tuition), more College Students?, more students willing to go abroad rather than families willing to host? partnering with a local non profit to create a new program?
We brainstormed as a group discussing how engaged we perceive ourselves as (Many people felt we are not terribly engaged) then looking at what new opportunities wee might imagine. Some mentioned simply shifting to new forms of communication like Skype and conference calls - many liked this idea. Some discussed opening more community college slots in other parts of the Area Team. Several people explained that historically everyone has seen Santa Cruz (and environs) as a hotbed for potential AFS activity but as a team have never really been able to make that happen and don't know why.

2 - Election -
Greg is candidate for the new chair position which Jim Collins is stepping down from.
He introduced himself: psychotherapist living in Santa Cruz, Chair for the SF Bay Area for 8 or 9 years. AFS volunteer since 1976, former ED of a non profit. Has been a member of the regional council. Participated in a few National Volunteer Assemblies. Returnee from France. Worked and volunteered for AFS France.  Greg insisted his big lack of information was about the local terrain and that he counted on local volunteers to teach him.
He was elected new Area Team Chair by a show of hands. He ran unopposed.

3 - Calendar 2016-2017
Volunteers worked collaboratively to put all of the upcoming orientations and key events on the calendar as well as names of volunteer leaders willing to champion those events when possible (still some openings).
See Calendar of Events for details.
Team agreed to have an online AND paper version of the calendar.

Take away:
We need to reach out to other volunteers and members of our community to see about finding leaders willing to commit to some of the events in the calendar.

4 - Hosting/Sending Progress Presentation
Greg asked Jim to present to the volunteers our present hosting and sending numbers.
Our goal is 18 in total - this includes 2 students at Cabrillo  College in SC County.
Our goal is two have 3 Special Program students - one of whom is already placed.
At this point we need 11 new host families ideally by mid-July.
Greg pointed out we have no Hosting or Sending Coordinator with Jim’s resignation.

Generating New Host Families: Greg asked team if this feels like a normal pace for this team or should we be concerned. Everyone agreed we need to make this a big focus. Greg asked how the team increased their hosting numbers in the past.
No consensus was arrived at as far as the best strategy to increase the number of host families. 
Word of mouth is best some said, Caroline insisted on how working with others orgs helps in her non profit work, volunteers discussed the power of being at fairs. Some talked about last year’s sudden online increase in the last few weeks before arrivls believed to have been driven by AFS marketing as well as Caren's hard work,  fairs were seen as good publicity but not with a high net. Two people mentioned they’d heard the AFS ads on NPR which the team had voted for in a previous meeting.

Take aways.
We still need volunteers to be willing to represent AFS at the fairs on attached page.
Greg agreed to ask AFS USA to increase online geotargeting now rather than wait for the last minute.

Special Programs:
Special Programs are programs AFS runs in conjunction with the State Dept (CB or Congress/Bundestag and YES - a 12 year old program for students in Muslim regions).
We have one Special Program student placed. Our goal is three students together. That student has a special volunteer charged with organized 3 to 6 extra cultural activities on top of the other four orientations. Greg pointed out that we need to build this cluster with some potential obstacles 1) in Gilroy where we have little volunteer structure 2) on a program that takes MORE volunteer hours and 3) at a time when several key volunteers have resigned.  Caren has been working with the local high school in Gilroy to build community.

Take aways:
We don’t have to have three special program students. Last year the coordinator worked with the SF Bay Area in order to co-conduct some activities - we can do that again. We are committed to doing our best to offer these activities but if we don’t them we aren’t penalized. 
No decision was officially made.

Mary T our treasurer was able to hand over a state of the accounts to Greg as new chair. He was not able to change his signature on the account yet - she agreed to find out how to do that and connect with Greg.

Joanne suggested the AT consider obtaining a centrally located storage unit as a place to store the various coolers, the paper plates, decorations, marketing and marquee.
Several people said they had various bits of things in their homes many of which Caren uses when she visits the area.

No decision was made.


No support cases to discuss this month


Greg explained he had planned to present some online documents for members to see his proposal for increasing communication and volunteer development.
But due to:
- the lack of time
- the overhead projector was not Mac adaptable
- the importance of his proposal
he offered to table it to the next meeting.


Greg said to the volunteers: we have a mandate to meet our AFSUSA obligations AND a mandate to do our own self care which includes replacing tired volunteers, getting new volunteers, training volunteers, not getting burned out.
He proposed those two things may seem to be in competition and asked if that was shared by the team. People agreed.
Greg proposed that we can find creative ways to do both in our future meetings and thanked the volunteers for their trust in him.

9 - Next Meeting 

Monday June 13, 2016 - 6:30-7:30
Conference call
Call in information will be sent out.


Unfinished business for next meeting:

1 - Motion to rent a storage space
2 - Greg’s proposal  for new ways to communicate with ourselves and the outside world 
3 - Asking volunteers to agree to take some of the events presently on the calendar.
4  - Approval of minutes