January 18th Steering Committee Meeting

Attendance: Chris, Chicken, Ryan, Mel, Bill, Margery, Natasha, Vinny, Jon (on the phone)

Co - Chair search
Mel researching why no one is stepping up to take on this role. Trying to find out what the reasons are and how they can be addressed so that the position can be clearly defined and how the steering committee can help make the position more attractive to ICO volunteers. Clarifying what exactly the chairs are accountable for and what they are supposed to do because they are not empowered to do much.

Seems that the steering committee may have taken away a lot of the chair responsibilities
Chair job description does not necessarily include listening to people gripe and resolve conflict
There could be a need for a fundamental change to the organization -- overall we need to just be nicer to each other
SOP's could need revisions based on the job description of a chair -- including running steering meetings, establishing goals and objectives for the year

Margery: If SOP reorganization happens, then we should re-eximine goal setting for the group. Wants to look in to why most of the ICO volunteers are not involved with many off-river roles. Agrees with Mel about clarifying what all the jobs are and ensure that they have the support to do those jobs which will ultimately feed in to the major positions such as Chair. Think about potentially recruiting new volunteers that could be involved off-river to help the steering commitee. Ultimately, we need to figure out who will be responsible for "where the buck stops".

Ryan: Emphasize that the SOP's are a big part of defining chair responsibility and we really need to sort out the a better definition of the job.

Vinny: Majority of the job has entailed conflict resolution, dealing with email exchanges and basically glorified babysitting

Bill: Chairs have been involved to uninvolved over the years.  Looking forward to the DRACI meetings so that we can define the chair responsibilities - In bill's opinion, chair is the glue that holds ICO together, checking in with TL's, committee chairs to ensure that their roles are being fulfilled.

Chicken: In terms of changing the culture of ICO, that seems to be the biggest challenge that we need to work on, Beyond Basics will look at some of the soft skills needed with working with each other, and is one of the things we need to fix.

What do we want to accomplish for the retreat:
Chris: Still looking for volunteers to help with the retreat

Bill: Conflict resolution training, Project LifeRaft,  DRACI, SOP's -- update , (Bill is offering to run rescue rodeo), add off-river jobs should be added to a post training evaluation.

Mel: Appropriate and inappropriate behavior and touch (Harold); group discussion of goals @ the retreat.

Ryan: All of Bill's suggestions with an underscore on DRACI, Will lead Trivia game/ Jeopardy, Compliance -- include CARP (Ryan will lead it if Jon is not around). Recruiting for jobs should be a business item to focus on.

Margery: recruiting for jobs, try and keep the business meeting short. Do more events to have fun. Current committee members should start mentoring other volunteers so that they can be part of the organization. Could Teresa lead the discussion on 2012 goals conversation, it could help everyone in attendance feel part of the decision making process. Start with mission and norms for the meeting to start. Margery will work with Chris to set the agenda.

Natasha: When we are mentoring folks, we need to make sure that they are supported, people feel like they are not just tossed in to the deep end and let them swim or sink.

2012 Goals:

Ryan: More weekday trips, giving apprentices opportunities

Mel: Connect our participants more with what we do, could include Project LifeRaft education, providing leadership opportunities, make a cultural shift

Natasha: Broader off-river involvement from new volunteers



How many trainees/Training?
Bill: Margery and I are talking about putting the river etiquette in the manual,  and having everyone in ICO sign it.

Getting a lot of responses from the trainers that they cannot help this year. Needs to decide if we need more than 2 trainees in a raft because we may not have too many trainers.

Ryan: Training committee should be enabled to decide based on resources how many trainees would be accepted.

Vinny: Strongly suggest we stick to 2 trainees per boat, with 3 trainees it is very difficult to get the necessary training and we may end up with losing more trainees than needed.

Expedition training to add advance trip curriculum.


Jon: SC Water Committee wants to continue PLR activities. There may be a modified PLR training in the spring.


Requesting clarification on what emphasis needs to be placed with selecting new volunteers.

Ryan: previous participants, people who are going to stay with the program  -- we tend to give a lot of weight to people with trucks, people with outdoor experience, fundraising experience (these are all things that we can train for, but rather they can be trained) we should be looking for people who are going to stay long term. We underweight people with passion for whitewater rafting – this may not be a popular concept but that is what Ryan feels are important to factor in. It will never be perfect, but we should consider a new direction based on historical data.

Natasha: Wants to reweigh the rubick sheet, wants to figure out how to make an accountable and actionable

Mel: Strongly agrees with what Ryan is saying about the participant demographic. Also agrees that finding people that stays is an important  factor, add passion for whitewater and passion for working with teachers and trying to find a balance.

Looking for potential off-river (non-guide) volunteers as well.

Margery: Currently everyone (excluding mary) are required to be guides. The question is about the process around the point system and we used that as a guideline but ultimately people went with their gut about who would be best for the organization. As volunteer coordinator, really afraid of a lack of good volunteers and concerned about the health of the organization because of the lack of volunteers and volunteers leaving including TL’s.

Bill: We are accepting people from far distances – look at people who in close distance to SF.

Chicken: We’ve been looking for most people that had stable lives to accept in to ICO and the kids that we accept will most likely leave in 2-3 years but as part of the mission we need to evaluate that part.

Everyone is encouraged to attend the selection committee meeting that will help evaluate the candidates and prepare for the interviews.



River Meeting vs Steering Meeting:
Margery would like to remove business discussions from the river meeting, and make it more about the culture and fun of ICO. All volunteers can be invited to the steering meeting but we have to be careful that they will not derail a steering meeting because of the lack of background information.


SOP discussion:
Ryan: May be time to take a step back and look at the SOPs and see what works and what isn’t working. Figure out which parts need better definition and which parts we need to pay more attention to. Major goals are to make it shorter and accessible and easy to decipher. Looking to get a group of people together to talk about broad strokes about the SOP’s. Also discuss what type of liability the SOP’s bring upon the group.

Mel: Would like to propose that at the Retreat we encourage everyone who are interested to come participate in helping look at the SOP’s.  We have learnt a lot along the way and is prudent for us to reexamine what we have as a guiding process. There are things about points of reference and procedure that could be in the SOP’s.

Bill: Would like to see some background information go out prior to those meetings.

Margery: Are we purposing that we are going to toss the SOP’s out and start over again?  Vague notion of the SOP’s being completely rewritten is very concerning and scary. Fully embracing looking at them, but want to be less vague about it.

Chicken: There are specific problems that need to be addressed including the ATA/ATG policy – having more general language in that policy would make it easier for trips

Mel: (Speaking for the Sierra club) – Was at the Risk management conference and brought up a point about the danger of having things written down that we don’t pay attention to, we need to take a hard look at SOP’s and decide what will get us in trouble.


DRACI meeting:
Mel: Does not think that it can be used or rolled out as a whole, but it’s more of a task based process and we would have to be very specific about what we are trying to accomplish – the steering committee should be the first group to be involved with figuring out a  DRACI  meeting.

Bill: We should work on the structure of the organization before working on the SOP’s.

Margery: Disagrees, we should be able come to a consensus about the SOP’s with out the organizational structure.

Ryan: SOP’s should notate the ideal ICO, but first we need to formulate what the ideal ICO is … Happy to take ownership about leading the reevaluation of the SOP’s where ever that may take us. The OTHER meeting should all take place, but there is still no one that can lead it, we do a lot of work to get to a point where we are ready to start the “real work” and everything stops there – which is the issue.  The problem that we need to attack is to clarify what ICO is and means to everyone and how we go about our mission means a different thing to everyone which needs to be clarified.

Chris: will try and set up a DRACI meeting along with Harold – perhaps it’s a meeting about organizational structure.

Ryan will take ownership for a TL meeting. Specifically for current leaders.


Next steering meeting: Feb 8th @7PM. Chicken will send a car.