On Thursday, October 5th we were finally able to reunite the 17-18 Cohort of PACC*VISTAs at our yearly Fall Workshop, the one time of the year when all Supervisors, VISTAs and PACC Staff get the opportunity to all be in the same room together all day long. The workshop was held from 8:30-3:30 at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, PA, a pretty central location to our project sites throughout Pennsylvania.
We were able to start our day with a Program Overview, where everyone was able to hear from PACC’s program manager, Breanna Datesman about what our year together will look like. We were able to see visuals of the project map, site map, and focus areas within our organization this year, as well as, the impact we hope to make.
Our primary session was a “True Colors: Exploring Personal& Leadership Styles” with the large group. Everyone was given the opportunity to take the True Colors Personality Quiz, where they were able to indicate which “color” they are and were prompted the the area of the room to converse with all other same colors as them. They were able to relate on similarities and discover their strengths and weaknesses in the workplace and provide the rest of the room with insight into how to work well with their personality style. VISTAs and Supervisors were able to analyze the leadership style of each other and gain understanding how to work even better together. This was a really positive activity that made us all realize importance aspects of working together and even brought out some personal reflections. We concluded this activity with a meaningful discussion on the realization that diversity in the workplace actually balances us and makes us better employees.
One of the most important sessions of the day came next when VISTAs and Supervisors were able to work directly together and with other VISTA, Supervisor pairs to really dig deep into their VISTA Assignment Descriptions or VADs and assess what is working, not working within their VADs, things they can add, remove or change and how they can make the VAD more effective for the VISTA, site and project as a whole. This session even ran into our networking lunch for some VISTA, Supervisor pairs.
After lunch, our cohort was able to participate in breakout groups, both Supervisors and VISTAs. Supervisors were able to hear from PACC’s Executive Director, Char Gray, where they were able to interact in strong discussions about best supervisory practices by looking to scenarios and brainstorming possible ways to problem-solve different things that may come up in supervising VISTAs. Concurrent to this session, VISTAs were able to come together with the VISTA Leader to connect on project related successes and challenges and better collaborate together through open space with various VISTA-related themes.
The day concluded with round table discussions of VISTA, Supervisor and some Community Partners within three different categories: Focus Area, Location and Year of Project, so everyone was able to find connections and possible collaborations to build up their projects at the current stages they are in.
Overall, the day was successful, re-energizing and inspiring by providing a space for so many passionate, service- driven individuals were able to come together and share, collaborate and brainstorm how we can come together and truly make a collective impact to overall, fight poverty throughout Pennsylvania.
Welcome to the CCNYPA*VISTA Blog, written for VISTAs, by VISTAs!