Organizing Orientation events throughout the program year cycle is critical to our mission and can be a wonderful source of team building for volunteers, students and host families.
Here are some things to remember when planning your orientation events:
- Engage a group of volunteers in the planning and execution, divide the work up into tasks both at the planing stage and at the orientation. Use this template to ask volunteers to sign up for orientation roles/tasks
- Ask a wide variety of volunteers to participate in orientations, young returnees, support volunteers, volunteers from diverse backgrounds all help to add different perspectives and bring a variety of skills to the discussions and activities.
- Start planning well in advance, if you have a location and set of activities you use every year make sure they are booked in plenty of time.
- Share a calendar of orientations with host families, students and volunteers at the very beginning of the NH cycle (July/Aug) so dates can be blocked off on calendars well in advance
- Does the venue you are using require a certificate of insurance? If so review this page and submit the request to AFS.
- Will you be providing food/meals at your event? Make sure you have a volunteer or two assigned to shopping for food or procuring donations from host families and volunteers and also volunteers at the event to help sere and clean up.
- Do you need office supplies for your activities, pens, paper, flip charts etc? This is a great activity for a volunteer who cannot attend on the day but wants to help during the planning stage and enjoys shopping.
- Make sure you have social time and fun activities planned into the day(s). Providing breaks for socializing, physical team activities, evening activities and fun ways of learning such as role play will make a more memorable and positive experience for students.
- If a student needs to join virtually due to geographic distance, make sure you have a plan for them to join via Google Meet or Zoom, and that there is a laptop with a working camera that can be used on both ends.
- If students will stay overnight, make sure you have volunteers available to chaperone and separate onsite accommodation for them.
Key Considerations for Content delivery
- Make sure you have reviewed the key learning objectives for each orientation and have a plan for learning activities that will address those topics.
- Make sure you review the presentation for the orientation well in advance, add any team specific information or activities and meet with participating volunteers for a run through of the materials
- Review extra, supplemental orientation guides to enrich your events as needed.
- Review the resources and references available on each orientation page in Help & Learning for additional information.