Hi, All! Our NCFF, Happy Trails, is over one year old now, and still 100% of the work is done by me alone. I would like to change this in 2010, and have more input from our members. It feels like I'm offering programming, instead of the community-based effort that I envisioned in the beginning. I think our families are so busy that they appreciate that they can come for an outing for which someone else has done all of the work. I'm thinking I may have to specifically ask certain "regulars" if they would be interested in helping (scouting out areas, planning, etc.). How much do each of you do to maintain your NCFF, and how much is shared by others in your group? Any input would be appreciated!

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Hi Jodie

This is a very good posting. In my experience most people need to be asked! Perhaps it's about feeling appreciated and valued. Also some people mistakenly don't think they have the skills or time to take a leadership role. What may be worth doing is a quick skills, knowledge and experience audit to see who has different strengths. Then you can approach people with the suggestion that each family plays to their strengths. For example a family with an iPhone may organise a digital day outdoors. The family who likes football might organise an alternative footie session in the woods, etc.

Here in the NE of Scotland we have an interesting development. A grassroots outdoor learning group (ONE PLAN - Outdoors North East - Play, Learn And Network) has been formed which meets once every two months. We had our second meeting 2 weeks ago. In order to share the workload, the group decision has been to meet in different venues. The organisation that hosts the meeting will organise the activities and programme. Given the number of organisations and individuals who can do this, means that the workload is shared quite considerably ie no one person should have to do this more than once per year or even 18 months! Part of the reasoning behind this is to help people understand that everyone can share and it's about give and take.

Best wishes
Juliet
Juliet,

Thank you! These are all very helpful thoughts/suggestions. I think I need to just reach out to specific members and tell them they'd be great in a more involved role, and ask what they think their strengths are, and go from there. Minnesotans rank highest in our country for volunteerism, so I have every reason to hold great visions. Thanks for the gentle nudge, and I wish you the best with ONE PLAN!

Juliet Robertson said:
Hi Jodie

This is a very good posting. In my experience most people need to be asked! Perhaps it's about feeling appreciated and valued. Also some people mistakenly don't think they have the skills or time to take a leadership role. What may be worth doing is a quick skills, knowledge and experience audit to see who has different strengths. Then you can approach people with the suggestion that each family plays to their strengths. For example a family with an iPhone may organise a digital day outdoors. The family who likes football might organise an alternative footie session in the woods, etc.

Here in the NE of Scotland we have an interesting development. A grassroots outdoor learning group (ONE PLAN - Outdoors North East - Play, Learn And Network) has been formed which meets once every two months. We had our second meeting 2 weeks ago. In order to share the workload, the group decision has been to meet in different venues. The organisation that hosts the meeting will organise the activities and programme. Given the number of organisations and individuals who can do this, means that the workload is shared quite considerably ie no one person should have to do this more than once per year or even 18 months! Part of the reasoning behind this is to help people understand that everyone can share and it's about give and take.

Best wishes
Juliet
My daughter got me started in having a nature club with her. We still only have three members. BUT!...we have a lot of fun.

We named it, made a goal statement, membership cards, and simple "rules" ...she is 6 so our rules are to be nice to each other and to be nice to nature. She then told me all the things we need to bring with us on our nature trips etc. I went into Powerpoint and made the rules look nice, membership certificates, journal pages, and checklists so we remember what to bring. Backpacks, whistles, nature books, water, first aid, sticks, etc. She starts talking and I start writing. This is her club so I try to help and nudge, but also try to keep it true to her ideas. She suggested park clean up day - and we need a sign for that and so on. Bags, gloves...

I offer to the members then - let your kids make the club name, rules, activities, checklists, mission statement, and ways to act, things to do. Write them up in a nice way with "official" club like language and print them out. When they ask for new members, make them certificates.

As for outings, we go to streams and creeks in the areas and look for things - in the spring we found tadpoles and snakeskins. We caught lightning bugs and dragonflies and caterpillars and minnows. We look at them in magnifying jars and then let them go.

For snowy activites we will go sledding but - we have tons of wild animals near us - bunnies, squirrels, birds, deer - we look for tracks and then tyake pictures -- use the mobile phone, a smal digital camera. Then we go home and catalog them on our computer. We get picture books from the library and tey to draw and color the animals and trees.

In the fall we collected acorns and leaves and other seeds and saved them - soon. we will plant an acorn or two.

I'll get more ideas out there when they pop into mind.

Again - our "club" is small and my daughter is the founder. She talks about it everyday and it is fun to make lists of what she thinks in a notebook.

Sorry for the brain dump format - I just started and went on and on.

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