Step 1: Determine Site Requirements
As you begin considering sites, you should know something about the orientation itself:
- When will it be held?
- How long will it be?
- Approximately how many people will attend?
- How much /what kind of training space (indoor/outdoor, break-out rooms) will you need?
- Will you need common areas for eating and socializing?
- Does the site allow you to bring your own food?
- What facilities do you need to prepare food?
- How accessible is the site to the orientation participants?
- Is adequate and affordable parking available?
- Does the site have the audio-visual equipment that you need or will they allow you to bring your own?
- If the site provides such equipment, how much does it cost? Equipment fees can be a major expense in, for example, hotels.
- How much money do you have to spend on the event?
- Any other specific training needs?
Step 2: Choose the Site
Potential sites include:
- Youth hostel
- Places of worship
- Camp facilities
- State park
- Nature Center
- Community Center
- Retreat Center
- College or university
- Private home
- School - gym, classroom, auditorium
Step 3: Reserve the Site
Remember that orientation sites should be reserved months in advance, which could be a more formal or simple process. Always consult with the volunteer leaders at your Area Team and with the National Service Center if you are asked to sign a contract, make a down payment, and provide proof of liability insurance because you are committing not only yourself but the organization when you take these steps.
After reserving the site, you will want several pieces of information for yourself and your participants:
- instructions for parking
- important phone numbers
You will also want to familiarize yourself with the layout of the site so that you are comfortable with the environment and can help familiarize the participants in your workshop. Know about restrooms, public phones, smoking policies, other events taking place at the same time, and local community services such as gas stations and photocopying centers. Finally, you will want to know how you gain access to the facility on the day of the orientation, since you will most likely be training outside of regular business hours.
Depending on the site, you may be able to bring in your own audio-visual equipment, you may be able to use the facility’s equipment free of charge, or you may have to pay for the use of the facility’s equipment. It is best to ask ahead of time about their equipment use policy because it can be a major expense if you are required to use and pay for their equipment, something which is common for hotels as an example.
It is also important to make a list of the handouts that you will use, if your team chooses to use handouts. Plan to make photocopies well in advance to avoid mishaps with faulty copying machines. Also, make more copies than you think you will need so that all participants receive their own materials. As a contingency, know where you can conveniently make more copies if you do run out.