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A Lakeside Retreat - FGS Wiki

A Lakeside Retreat


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[[Category:Strategies for Presidents]]
  
 +
 +
== INTRODUCTION ==
 +
 +
On a sunny day in late fall, twenty two board
 +
members of the Arkansas Genealogical
 +
Society met at a rustic, lakeside cabin. They
 +
came from all over the state to relax, think,
 +
and plan society goals. There were no
 +
telephones, no television, and no other
 +
distractions. This was a retreat—a working
 +
retreat.
 +
 +
Planning had begun when the Arkansas
 +
Genealogical Society Board of Directors voted
 +
to hire a professional facilitator. The society
 +
was at risk: there seemed to be no vested
 +
interest, there were communication concerns,
 +
and it was feared the society might become
 +
divided on some issues. The retreat was an
 +
attempt to become better acquainted with each
 +
other, clearly define the organization’s
 +
objectives for the coming year, and develop
 +
strategies to obtain the goals that were set.
 +
 +
 +
== THE DAY BEGINS ==
 +
 +
The participants gathered at a large table with
 +
pencils and paper in hand. They were ready to
 +
make a difference for the society. It was a day
 +
that would be spent getting to know one
 +
another, through various activities and during
 +
the relaxation periods.
 +
 +
But it wouldn’t be all work. At lunchtime we
 +
sat on the old cabin porch, smelling the fresh
 +
fall air, observing the calmness of the lake,
 +
and savoring a pot luck lunch with all the
 +
trimmings. It was a memorable experience.
 +
 +
The retreat started when the facilitator asked
 +
us to play a game. Each board member had to
 +
write down on a small piece of paper one
 +
thing they had done that no one else on the
 +
board knew about. Throughout the day the
 +
facilitator would choose and read from the
 +
slips turned in and we had to determine who
 +
would have done such a thing. This was a way
 +
to make us relax, get to know each other
 +
better, and share some laughter.
 +
 +
 +
== THE WORK BEGINS ==
 +
 +
The work began when the facilitator asked us
 +
what we hoped to gain from this meeting.
 +
After we responded, she wrote statements on
 +
14 large sheets of white paper. She posted
 +
these sheets throughout the cabin and
 +
instructed us to complete the statements. Each
 +
of us went from sheet to sheet, writing down
 +
what each statement meant to us. Some of the
 +
statements were:
 +
<ol>
 +
<li>The first thing I remember about AGS
 +
<li>What has changed about our organization
 +
<li>What opportunities do we need to take advantage of this coming year
 +
<li>Program/activities we should continue or discontinue
 +
<li>The most positive things about AGS include.
 +
</ol>
 +
 +
 +
== FORMING COMMITTEES ==
 +
 +
The retreat was an opportunity to form
 +
committees for people with vested interest. To
 +
name a few: awards, education, membership,
 +
publications, and seminar/programs. Each
 +
board member chose the committee(s) they
 +
wanted to serve on and each committee then
 +
chose a chair.
 +
 +
Once the chair was named, the committee had
 +
to decide what was to be accomplished. For
 +
instance,
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>The publication committee decided that
 +
the Arkansas Genealogical Society
 +
quarterly, The Family Historian, was an
 +
important part of the society. However, a
 +
newsletter was added to keep members
 +
updated on what was happening between
 +
the quarterlies. The society now publishes
 +
four issues of the magazine and four of the
 +
newsletter.
 +
<li>The education committee decided to hold
 +
teacher training sessions and design a
 +
lesson plan on family history research.
 +
These would be aimed at teachers who
 +
were assigning projects within the school
 +
systems.
 +
<li>A seminar/program committee would coordinate the annual seminar and look into
 +
sponsoring a NGS Regional Conference in
 +
our area.
 +
<li>The membership committee would
 +
develop a membership packet that would
 +
welcome and inform each new member.
 +
These are just a few of the responses but
 +
hopefully there’s enough to give your society
 +
ideas for planning your own retreat.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== OBJECTIVES & STRATEGIES ==
 +
 +
The facilitator provided each committee with
 +
a sheet of paper that contained the following
 +
headings under the title, Objectives and
 +
Strategies:
 +
<ol>
 +
<li>Objective: What is your intention; what do
 +
you plan to achieve? What end result do
 +
you want?
 +
<li>Strategies: What action steps will be
 +
necessary to reach the objective? When
 +
will this step be completed?
 +
<li>Who will be responsible?
 +
<li>What resources are needed to accomplished
 +
the goals set?
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
These were discussed in detail, with an eye
 +
towards what we as a society hoped to
 +
accomplish in the coming year(s).
 +
The Arkansas Genealogical Society looked
 +
ahead by designing goals through 2003. The
 +
goals were set on a time line so that we would begin work the moment we left the retreat.
 +
Some of the goals defined included:
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>promote general advancement in
 +
genealogical education for our members
 +
<li>provide teacher training in family history
 +
research
 +
<li>reach a goal of 2,000 members
 +
<li>sponsor a family history writing contest
 +
<li>publish a quarterly newsletter
 +
<li>hold two quality seminars per year
 +
<li>interact more with local societies
 +
<li>utilize the Web to mount indexes and
 +
searchable data bases
 +
<li>sponsor a regional seminar
 +
</ul>
 +
And most of all it was decided that we should
 +
have fun!
 +
 +
 +
== RESULTS ==
 +
 +
I am proud to say that many of the goals that
 +
were put in motion during this retreat are in
 +
progress or have already been reached. The
 +
consensus of board members was that the
 +
retreat was productive and beneficial.
 +
 +
 +
== DESIGN A RETREAT ==
 +
 +
Can a retreat help your society define goals
 +
and actions? Yes, if you follow a few simple
 +
guidelines.
 +
 +
'''THE DAY'''
 +
It is best to choose a time other than your
 +
regular meeting to plan a retreat. The regular
 +
meetings are too busy and don’t allow for indepth discussion of long range plans. By
 +
setting aside a day specifically designed for
 +
becoming better acquainted, setting goals, and
 +
developing strategies to achieve these goals,
 +
much can be accomplished.
 +
 +
'''THE FACILITATOR'''
 +
We felt the use of a professional facilitator
 +
contributed to the success of the day’s
 +
activities and outcome. A professional brings
 +
an objective view, knows how to work with a
 +
variety of personalities, and can introduce
 +
subjects and tactics in an evenhanded and
 +
practical manner. Engaging a professional
 +
allows everyone on the board to participate.
 +
No society officer or director needs to be a
 +
leader but can instead freely contribute ideas
 +
and interact with the rest of the board.
 +
 +
'''THE TOPICS'''
 +
Some topics for exploration at your society’s
 +
retreat might include:
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Does your society want to upgrade its Web page and, if
 +
so, does your society want to design and
 +
manage the site?
 +
<li>Does your society want to produce publications?
 +
<li>Does your society want to hold ancestor
 +
fairs?
 +
<li>Does your society want to become more
 +
involved in the community by promoting
 +
genealogy?
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== WE RECOMMEND ==
 +
 +
There were many ideas that flowed throughout
 +
the day concerning the hopes and dreams of
 +
the Arkansas Genealogical Society. The
 +
retreat was definitely a success. AGS highly
 +
recommends the commitment of time and
 +
expense of a retreat to get your society on
 +
track and running strong for the future.

Latest revision as of 07:35, 14 August 2013

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