by Tami Taylor

This year will be the first time I have had the opportunity to attend CVOP and I’m grateful I was chosen to go.  Being in a place where many states were represented was a real eye opener, we are indeed very lucky to belong to the CT Chapter.

The various breakout sessions were my favorite part; it was there I felt that I benefited the most.  Hearing ideas (good and bad) from other volunteers across the country was interesting, each chapter is truly unique.  I realized just how much CT does as a Chapter

My favorite breakout session was a leadership exercise that we did which involved each table having 6-7 people with a pile of plastic tinker toys of all different sizes and shapes.  We were challenged by our facilitators to build a structure as high and as stable as possible with the plastic pieces, that was the only rule besides the time limit.  Our table decided to ask the table next to ours to bring what they had and join us in the process, more plastic pieces=bigger stronger structure.  We were just a few minutes in when the decision was made to ask the remaining table to join as well giving us all of the available resources in the room to build our tall but stable structure.  Our facilitators were amused by what they were witnessing, they had never seen any group do this before.  In the end our structure was awesome and we all felt proud of our masterpiece.  The lesson ended up surprising me a bit.  We were asked questions like how many of us actually made decisions about how to build and while we were in the middle of deciding and building were we even aware of some of the suggestions that were coming from the outskirts of the circle.  Not everyone could sit at the table so it was about three people deep all the way around.

The lesson was that just because someone is standing off to the side quietly does not mean they have nothing to offer.  Our quieter more shy members and current volunteers may have skills that could go unrecognized if we don’t keep our eyes and ears open.

I think this is a great learning experience and networking opportunity.  I’m happy that I was able to meet so many like minded people.

Thanks for sending me!