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Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

Hooray for new volunteers, especially ones who come with their own respirators. Boat painting is nasty dirty work, and we are not doing it in the best of all possible conditions. I don’t have time to write much just now, so here are just a few photos to show how we spent our weekend.

Works in Progress

Works in Progress

Joe Purtell (Interlux)

Joe Purtell (Interlux)

Dinghie Crew

Dinghie Crew

bandana

They said I used too much guide coat . . .  ???

They said I used too much guide coat . . . ???

More Powerwash

More Powerwash

Future pink dinghy interior

Future pink dinghy interior

Blue hull reflection

Blue hull reflection

Yellow hull reflection

Yellow hull reflection

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Our new SST members gave me a lot of wonderful surprises all during our workshop on Friday morning.

Maybe I should cover the “no surprises” first: No surprise that the hangar was all set up just as i had requested. No surprise that people wandered in on SoFLA time, about 15 minutes late. No surprise that it was already hot at 9:00 a.m. No surprise that the traffic from Delray Beach to Coconut Grove was horrendous. (Keep in mind, that I normally work from home, and my daily commute is measured in steps, not miles.)

Here are the surprises: The noise level was annoying, but in 10 minutes our A-V guy Steve had rigged up a sound system and the whole program moved up a notch. Many more people than I expected arrived, including several staff members as well as SALM Board Member Kerry Gruson. The boat-oriented teams I had imagined rapidly gave way to skills-oriented teams, and I believe that will continue.

More surprises: The volunteers responded to my requested “volunteer to volunteer” action almost immediately. What will they do? Create training materials to help folk remember which Star brite product to use for which application.  Write up recommendations for safety and environments procedures as we start developing our team manual. Help keep the team organized and running smoothly. Offer ways for the next workshops to be even better.

The biggest surprise? Easy. That came when people started to ask me, “What are we doing to do after we learn how to paint boats?”  And then they started to suggest more topics. How about bringing someone in to show us how to make boat covers? Why not? Sunbrella is one of our sponsors, and we also have a volunteer Jack King who can make the patterns.

How about some specific safety training? How do we keep our boats clean and also respect the environment? What do we need to know about rigging the boats? How do we keep the brightwork and metal fittings shiny? Can someone teach us about woodworking?

Wow. Welcome to the world of lifelong learning and skills-based volunteering. i have joked that we are using the Tom Sawyer School of Training method here: “Oh, gosh, I’d really love to let you help me whitewash this fence . . .  .” but, but it’s even better than that.

The SST, newly hatched, is going to take on a life of its own, and I am looking forward to seeing these fledglings learn to fly. You may recall, my original idea was not to have Captains and crew, but Mothers and a clutch, and so it seems that is happening. Four people have signed on as Team Mothers, myself included, and I can already see that members are interested in seeking their own levels of excellence.

I call this a very good start, and a choice course setting. Our skills-based volunteer training will grow. Next, we’ll add more DIY training, and by winter, we should be ready for SALM to host The Landing School and Professional BoatBuilder magazine in presenting top-level boatbuilding and repair courses, onsite and online.

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I’m starting to think we are going the wrong-way-round to recruit volunteers by telling them what we need, rather than than telling them what they will receive. If I were to re-cast this whole promotion as a late-night infomercial, I wonder what I’d come up with for my viewing audience?

Maybe something like this: “You, too, can learn to prep and paint any size dinghy or sailboat or motor yacht with just a few easy lessons from Shake-A-Leg Miami’s Project Ship Shape. Yes, we will show you the right products to use and the latest low-tech paint application techniques. Kids, don’t try this at home. Come to Shake-A-Leg Miami and put your skills right to work where they can help the maximum number of people.

“And that’s not all. These lessons are ABSOLUTELY FREE and they will LAST FOR A LIFETIME! Operators are standing by.”

What do you think? Our next press releases may well follow that line of hucksterism as we learn to break away from volunteer-recruiting stereotypes.

Meanwhile, I am proud to announce that we already have 20  volunteers for our Ship Shape Teams (SST), including one brave soul who has agreed to be our very first Team Mother. I’m excited, and I feel a little sad for the teams who are still motherless, but that will change soon.

We’ve got a good variety of folks in our core group with a nice mix of skills and a high level of enthusiasm. Hooray!

Last night, at our first “Friday Night Potluck,” some of us talked a little about what we can do to move teams into competition with each other: Best team name, team colors, logos, songs, dances. I keep telling people: This Will Be Fun.

Meanwhile, please keep spreading the word, and the word is “free”.

Our first training session will be Friday morning, Sept. 28, at 9:30 a.m. in the Shake-A-Leg Miami Hangar. Hope to see you there! Wear comfy clothes. We’ll be learning all about boat-maintenance products from Bill Lindsey at Star brite.

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