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Brian Cole
Member
Username: Brian_cole

Post Number: 15
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - 05:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In 2004 St.John created RCSCs and regional support people to focus operational and leadership support more locally.

How's it working? The good? The bad? Suggestions?
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Kevin Morgan
Senior Member
Username: Kmorgan

Post Number: 66
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 03:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Brian:

I would love to answer this question, but we have not been allowed to have one. We have paid staff that is supposed to fill some of that role, but I still strongly believe we need an RCSC.

Our division/region has lost out significantly since the dissolution of district, and I don't believe attempting to call paid staff an RCSC is a viable solution (and yes, we have been told before that the paid staff member is our RCSC).

I realize that there is a position description for a volunteer coordinator, but this person is supposed to work in conjunction with the RCSC. We've been given the excuse that the volunteer coordinator fills the role of the RCSC, but we never even had an RCSC position posted. Further we are using trillium money for the volunteer coordinator, and I believe that the money could have been much better spent on other required items (had the application been for other things instead).

This is not in any way a personal attack at the individual who is our volunteer coordinator, but I feel we could benefit from a volunteer who has actually spent time the organization and knows what it is like to attend community services events (MFR duty, youth program, or therapy dog) rather than an outsider who cannot possibly fully understand these aspects of the organization.

I personally think reinstating district in some form would be the best solution, but as it does not seem feasible with the present structure of the organization I would love to hear from some areas that do have a functional RCSC.
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Jeff Segal, A-EMCA
Intermediate Member
Username: Jeff_segal

Post Number: 19
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 11:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I on the other hand, think it�s an improvement Our RCSC has fewer divisions to deal with and can fix the problems at hand. I think Tait Mitchell from York Region has just done an excellent job
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John Nayduk
Junior Member
Username: John_nayduk

Post Number: 10
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - 08:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would like to say that our RCSC, Mel Hazelwood, was a great source of support and guidance for the Windsor-Essex Brigade while we were rebuilding our unit. He was a wealth of information. Having a RCSC was a great help as we could call upon him when ever we needed it and he was only too eager to help us.
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Hal Rowan
Senior Member
Username: Hrowan

Post Number: 131
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 - 03:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

AJ Grass, Lisa-Marie Cooper and Andie Dobie have been of great help to me when they started on in their new positions on the RCS Staff. Each had an area of expertise assigned to them and I benefited from their input in my Unit.

. The smaller geographical area that our next tier of leadership has to cover is much more manageable then before.

. When our RCS Staff started out my Unit saw an immediate positive change. Because of the smaller area they were able to react and focus in on more issues than previously. That being said, they still have to cover 3 Youth Units, 2 Therapy Dog Units and 5 MFR Units. You can imagine what they had on their plate BEFORE they condensed their coverage!

. I think the overall concept is great. But when their term is up, who takes their place? Like most of the Officer positions, succession planning appears to be an issue. I have suggestions on how to fix this locally, but I'm not so sure they would work elsewhere from what I am hearing.

. I have heard of the issue before of having our Superintendents reporting to a paid staff member. Personally, that's not what I signed on for, and have seen how that doesn't work. In the case of SJA, if you pay your RCSC then that solves the problem of the Branch or Ontario Council having to search for a volunteer. Okay, so now a local Unit can't find a Superintendent, why not just find a paid staff member? Now we can't get enough MFR volunteers to cover events . . . Where do you draw the line? Certainly not with the RCSC who is suppose to be the leadership example of the Superintendents! If they can't find their own replacement, then that doesn't exactly motivate or show responsibility to the Superintendents they serve. The Superintendent would then follow suit and simply find a paid replacement. I say no to a paid RCSC.

. Pushing some of the workload onto a Branch Staff member (Volunteer Coordinator) I can understand. The mundane paper pushing side of the job could be downloaded onto a paid member. The supervision/ mentoring/ accountability side of the position should stay with a volunteer though.

. Having a few key RCS support Officers would be beneficial as well. A Member Services and a Training Regional Staff member would be ideal. This breaks down the overwhelming workload and allows each member to focus on key areas of improvement and accountability.
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Hal Rowan
Senior Member
Username: Hrowan

Post Number: 132
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 - 03:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would like to see more active mentoring by the RCSC to the Superintendents.

A formal review should be conducted annually (which technically should already be happening).

This would consist of setting goals to achieve within the next 12 months. Each goal should have mile stones spread out over periods of four month intervals. At the end of each four months (quarterly) the Superintendent would send off a quick report on whether the mile stone was reached. If not then why was it not reached, and what is the Superintendent going to do to get back on track. The RCSC would offer any additional suggestions to assist in achieving the goal. If a second mile stone was missed, then the RCSC would sit down for another face-to-face meeting to discuss whether or not the goal could still be salvaged, or maybe whether or not it was even still relevant to servicing the community.

I would assume that the Provincial Staff is already doing this with their RCSCs. . . .
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Jake and Krystle
Member
Username: Jakekrystle

Post Number: 15
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 - 01:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

IN some of these posts there is mention that Superintentants report to paid staff,In all organizaions where paid staff are the person volunteers report to. the paid staff seems to forget the person they are asking to lead,plan,organize the meeting and do the leg work to get supplies and answer emails and fill in reems of paperwork is an unpaid voluteer,Some volunteer leaders of Girl guides now say they spend more time on paper work for Guiding then they do for there supervisory paid job.
Jake and Krystles mom
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Lana H
Senior Member
Username: Ldh

Post Number: 146
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 - 03:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree with Hal - in the "real world", supervisors are also required to have "performance reviews" which always includes the way the interact and respond to the needs of the people that report to them as well as how much they keep their superiors happy - I think the feedback from superintendents, on behalf of their membership is an excellent way to determine if this liason position is actually working for everyone or just a limited few. And because it is such a demanding job the idea of breaking it down so there are "assistants" is an excellent way of lightening the load.

(Message edited by ldh on March 08, 2007)
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Jeff Segal, A-EMCA
Advanced Member
Username: Jeff_segal

Post Number: 31
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 - 11:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lana, just to let you know Tait is going to be making more Regional positions to help the region out so it doesn't just fall on 4 people. I am unsure when the postings will be coming out however they are coming! Looking back before Tait came to York Region, Tait has done a lot of good and moved us in the right direction, sure there are some flaws in some places but what place doesn't, and it just takes time.
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Lana H
Senior Member
Username: Ldh

Post Number: 150
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 - 11:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My observation were strictly based on a general opinion - not directed to any region in particular - in response to postings put forth by other members. I don't think anyone doubts the complexity of the RCS job but we all know that many hands can make for light work as long as everyone is working together and not at cross purposes. Obviously, like any other organizing structure, you have to walk that fine line as to what makes something efficient vs what makes something top heavy and unwieldy. And, to quote Shakespeare "There in lies the rub" - that is not the easiest thing to do and do right.
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Lana H
Senior Member
Username: Ldh

Post Number: 151
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 - 11:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Brian to play devil's advocate here, perhaps a more confidential response might be offered in addition to posting in the open forum format, some members might be uncomfortable with sharing their issues with the general membership or fear reprisals if they voiced negative comments, it also prevents the accusation of being a "suck up" if you want to bring high praise. This might provide a more "honest" tool with which to judge the effectiveness (or lack of) of this program as it would offer the alternative of an anonymous response should the member feel uncomfortable. Again, just a thought.
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Adam Prieur
Senior Member
Username: Beanmedic

Post Number: 67
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 12:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This discussion really makes me wish we had an RCSC in Hamilton. It seems like there are many divisions benefiting already. I really hope that there is an RCSC posting in the near future, which, as of today, still hasn't happened.
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Hal Rowan
Senior Member
Username: Hrowan

Post Number: 137
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 02:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another suggestion I would like to add in is "succession planning". This could be added in as one of the topics of discussion with the annual appraisal for the Unit Superintendents, and one of the milestones checked in on quarterly.

You start with identifying members who are interested in becoming a Training Officer/Member Services Coordinator/Superintendent/etc. Then add to the list, members who may not have stepped forward, but would certainly do a great job. If the list is a bit short, then you now have some homework to do before the next mile stone is reviewed (recruitment would be a whole other thread!).

When your list of candidates is made, you should then decide on what kind of training opportunities there are for those volunteers. What practical experience can we give them in order to get their feet wet? What progress should we have seen by the mile stone in 4/8/12 months?

At your next talk with your RCSC in 4 months when you are telling them about all the great progress you are making, and how happy all your volunteers are ( :-) ) you can go over your mile stones. Did the candidates meet their goals so far? If not why? What can we do to help the volunteer to achieve a particular goal for their next mile stone in 4 months?

I know this can sound like a lot of work, and so most people just don't bother. This is when the Superintendent needs the RCSC to be there to encourage them to keep at it! And while you are tracking the performance (which is being monitored directly by the person they will at some point be taking over from), remember this is a senior volunteer with at minimum a year or two of seniority. The candidate should be taking on a small portion of your own responsibilities which should free up some of your own time. As the year goes on, the candidate should be empowered to take on a little more after each mile stone. Never give them the whole thing right at the beginning! You'll burn them out before they start!

Too often I see Officers leaving their positions burnt out, and often there is no one left behind to properly replace them. All the great things they've done for St. John Ambulance and the last impression the new volunteers are left with are negative since the outgoing member is leaving frustrated with the organization. Some active mentoring from the next tier of leadership would be useful in avoiding this.
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Brian Cole
Intermediate Member
Username: Brian_cole

Post Number: 22
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 08:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What do readers believe the qualifications to become an RCSC should be?

What are the primary roles and responsibilities of the IDEAL RCSC?
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Lana H
Senior Member
Username: Ldh

Post Number: 153
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 09:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What Hal says is very true. Many people don't believe they have what it takes to take on a leadership role and prefer to sit back which ultimately causes the ones that do the feeling that they have to keep going despite personal issues or that they have no where to go because if the ladder rungs come to a sudden screeching halt you can't move up because perhaps your superior can't or perhaps they feel that they shouldn't. The end result people end up frustrated, burnt out or both. Change can be good, offering a fresh approach, fresh ideas or just a fresh take on it because it's new to them so they get enthusiastic again
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Jeff Segal, A-EMCA
Advanced Member
Username: Jeff_segal

Post Number: 32
Registered: 03-2004
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 09:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I also agree with Hal,

Just to let everyone know, I am a regional officer and in no way did I mean to make Lana's post degrading in anyway, I was just letting her and everyone else know that help is coming.

In regards to making things private, I disagree. These postings should be open so everyone can see the positive and the negative of all regions so if someone feels something and another feels the same way we can help Brian fine tune the RCSC role.
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John Nayduk
Member
Username: John_nayduk

Post Number: 11
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 06:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

To address Brian's questions, I think the RCSC should have sufficient experience in the organization to "know the players" both up and down the food chain. They should have demonstrated some business sense because we have to watch our bottom line. They should have some leadership desire and ability. They should be resourceful, easy going, willing to listen to the concerns of both the C/S units and the provincial leadership. They need to be able to act as a liason between both groups. They need to be able to think outside the box. I know that that is an over used buzzword but they should have experience outside of St John and be able to bring those experiences into the organization. They need to be able to be firm with C/S units that may start to drift in directions that will ultimately hurt everyone. Above all, they (and all of us) need to remember why the organization exsists, for the sorry guy or girl who gets hurt and needs our help. It's bigger than any one person and their desire to climb the latter, it's about helping our communities.
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Adam Prieur
Senior Member
Username: Beanmedic

Post Number: 68
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 06:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think it is very important that an RCSC has previous experience as an commissioned officer in a division. To me, it's not important that it be as a DS.
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Hal Rowan
Senior Member
Username: Hrowan

Post Number: 139
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2007 - 03:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree with the qualifications outlined in the position description, and with what has been discussed here.

Roles and Responsibilities:

- facilitating new programs being introduced from Ontario and National Council (the MFR program was done really well here locally).
- before the RCSC is chosen, the Superintendents who will be serving with the incoming RCSC should be able to identify major issues that need to be resolved. A sort of checklist of skills can then be developed and a method of gauging the success of the RCSCs performance will be formed. So for example, if you need the MFR program tweaked you will want someone with previous Training Officer experience (or training experience of any kind), or if you were having issues with volunteer retention you might want someone with a human resources background.
- any events that are run between Units, even the ones that come up annually, would benefit from having a Regional Staff member assist with (I won't get into all the reasons here). Not to take over the event, just to assist with making it run smoothly.

Everything else that was already mentioned here sounded good too. These are some really good points that I hope get added into our own selection of the next RCSC.

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