September 2010 River Meeting

ICO River Meeting
1 September 2010

Google Conference Room, SF

Present: 
Jared, Jr, Bill W, Harold, Jon W (on webcam), Margery, Vinny, Natasha, Mel, 

Starhouse - Jon W
1 day, boated Saturday only
kids swam 2nd threat multiple times - high quality event
great comments in closing circle
great staff - Matt, Sully, this year's guide class
4 boat trip, Chilibar run

AYPAL - Margery, TL
Group of youth leadership interns from Chinatown Oakland
Group leader organized but group a bit chaotic
Many non-swimmers & first time rafters
ICO staff worked w/ weak paddlers to build much stronger boating teams

Girl Scouts, Dos Pueblos - Ryan, TL
Incredible shrinking trip
didn't run as an expedition - not enough staff
Great trip, both stretches, lots of fun @ Jumping Rock
Not really a good fit for ICO, not really our target group
lots of private school kids at pretrip meeting
One swimmer at Bouncing Rock
Alyssa ill all weekend, rode in oarboat Saturday, stayed onshore Sun

Fundraiser trip
25 - 26 September
not completely set up yet
Mai will handle payments
Need help with guests at camp
Saturday trip on SoFA, camp at Nugget
ICO provides dinner & early breakfast Sunday morning
Sunday a Middle Fork American trip, head to Forest Hill early Sunday
Prices: $119 SoFA, $139 MF
20% off for groups of 4 or more
$20 for camping
AO will handle shuttle, 2 lunches
Margery says ICO guides on Saturday's KYP trip can help out
Jon: he has mailing lists to send publicity
Mai will handle publicity
Vinny can print fliers
AO has really great videos on their website
    videographer who does Deadliest Catch
Mel: we can get video footage from SC taping of Kevin J's trip

Finances: Jim says we aren't broke yet

Chair: talk to Jared & Vinny if interested so you can be brought up to speed
    Please - volunteer!

Guide Applications:
Review done by Steering Committee on Monday.  Results communicated in person before general announcement

Harold: Follow up from last meeting
Can't fit additional meetings into schedule
Heard support - and confusion - about the process
Want to take step back & review impetus for this process, to give broader view

Not everyone has opportunity to witness what's been going on this past year
But chairs + ombudsman get to see everything
discord & lack of unity
So now, we're trying to bring opinions & factions into cohesive unit
Have less conflict
Harold has seen conflict, people staking positions, argument, factions
We do a good job taking kids out, don't want to trash ICO
But part of my job is to see where we improve
The lack of unity gets in the way of serving
some people won't come to meetings, talk to some people, boat with some people
impacts putting together coherent program
I look around & see a lot of pain
There's been on-river conflict that we shouldn't have to see
That was the red flag to address this issue
Jared & Vinny have seen the larger picture, can share their experience

Jared:
A lot of change pushed through ICO in lat 3 years
Sierra Club, eg Mel, breathing down our necks
- Mandates
- Financial pressures
- Annual report
- Noah, managing agencies
- FOR & nonprofit discussions
- El Dorado meetings

We need folks to trust that we're working for the interests of ICO
This year, new volunteer participation very good
High meeting attendance
But also, many folks assume where people are coming from, not based in reality
- this year, many people assume the worst
We can't stop issues happening - we're humans
But we can stop [reacting badly]
We need to hear why each other is here
We'll learn something from it
Anthony & Jared tried to distribute leadership via Steering Committee
It's going to start w/ Steering Committee
Many fundamental disagreements:
    should we have an oar frame on class 3 trip?
    should we take girl scouts?
We need to keep our eye on participants
Jon said, part of him felt at times we're becoming a rafting club
We should have this conversation
Change is difficult, sometimes makes [?]

Vinny: I got a good briefing from Anthony & Jared
I want to continue in a leadership role since everyone here is passionate about ICO
A reason why we have conflict -- people are so passionate
Conflict's going to happen - eg mad at Obama
How to work with people's different passions, bridge that gap
Make people aware of how things are done in ICO
There are ICO groups, larger, that don't even have SOPs
My experience's been frustrating, I've let Jared lead it
More I watch how he deals with problems
It's not at a boiling point, but things shouldn't be so frustrating
Things don't bother me a whole lot, but sometimes I want to throw my hands up and say this is ridiculous
We have to be the mom & dad
that takes us away from what we really have to do, eg fundraising, future vision

Harold: conflicts came to door of chairs, drained them of energy to do other things
Bill: what about "bringing it to the source" for direct conflict resolution?
Jared: majority of conflicts - getting individuals to directly talk to each other has been difficult
Harold - now I recommend that anyone with a conflict comes and talks to Harold
I have also encountered people who don't want to talk to each other

Now, how do we become a team?
Bill: can we have a mandatory team building exercise, like a ropes course?

Mel: not everything has been personal conflict
Jared: A lot of frustration came over the policies.  We said things would be polished.  Assume that things would be corrected.  Have patience.

Harold: what we're trying to do is build a process of communication
Have a way that we can talk to each other about these things
Or finding people who agree with you and forming your own little team
Part of what we did last month is start that process
I'm in consultation with skilled people who are advising how
to build unity, improve communication

Bill: When I was chair, and people said, "ICO should do X" I said, okay, do it. Chair doesn't stand in the way.
I shared authority
Chair doesn't run the organization.  

Jared: we wanted to formalize the policies into SOPs

Harold: the culture has changed, and chairs developed more authority
Jared: well, we're de-authorizing the chairs now

Vinny: people may feel that organization is shifting, and ask, where is it going?
And this could be a point of conflict
I'm going where it's going, I don't have a long sense of where it used to be

Harold: Yes, I hear some people who think that.  And it's just another area of conflict.
They have ideas about other people, direction we're going, etc.
How do we work with those?
Jared: first step is to think of us, start from a position of unity
So then people might be able to discuss policy, listen to each other
"Each of us came into this group from a sense of mission - there's value to what we do, and it improves people's lives in some way.  Why are we here?  

Bill: Concern - only folks who come to meeting

Harold: everyone needs to be on the team, we need to be a team
We need to bring in the lone operators and say, we need you.
You're lost to us, we need you.
We need a minimum level of participation - we'll find out what that means.

In next few weeks, we'll have online survey for good meeting times.  We'll have 3-4 meetings.  Hopefully by retreat time we'll be ready to talk policy.

Show up
listen
speak your truth
detach from outcome

Jared: there's a lot of wonderful things going on in ICO, on ICO trips.  Not everyone comes to meetings.  Don't want everyone to think the organization's bad.  Folks in conflict often have leadership roles.  We're not painting ourselves as doom & gloom.

Margery: Thanks to the chairs -- you've been amazing!!

Harold: we could use more skills dealing with difficult conversations
I've talked w/ Chris Knolton, who led listening workshops last 2 years
She's willing to train us in difficult conversations
- prereq: participated in listening skills exercise at least once
- probably early February
- minimum of 6, maximum of 15 participants
Want to have coaches for listening skills
An ombuds steering committee!
Interested? Contact Harold
Margery, Mel, Sr, Bill, Jr are interested

Jr. Back channel conversations a real problem

Ryan - SOP upgrade discussions
Section 9.8 Staffing, scheduling & documentation
After discussion, everyone at meeting supports these changes
9 Steering Committee votes yes: Jared, Ryan, Mel, Natasha, Vinny, Margery, Jon, Chicken, Bill

Section 3.4 Procedures & … for opt-in Members
Shelved to work on wording for meeting attendance (River Meeting, Steering Committee meeting)

Section 4.3 On-River Job Descriptions
Recommend to delete this section
9 Steering Committee votes yes: Jared, Ryan, Mel, Natasha, Vinny, Margery, Jon, Chicken, Bill

Section 6.1.1.c On-River First Aid Coordinator
recommendation to remove "on-river" from description
9 Steering Committee votes yes: Jared, Ryan, Mel, Natasha, Vinny, Margery, Jon, Chicken, Bill
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