Archive for July, 2017

VANtage: July 2017

Written by nlyons29 on . Posted in Home Page, Uncategorized


VAN Members,

I love everything about travel – everything. I start planning my precious vacation time out months (or in at least one instance, years) in advance. I get every travel guide from the library, I read the newspapers from my destination, I meticulously plan the route, and I schedule my days in minute detail. Two years ago, my wife and I took a trip from the mountains of Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay, where we experienced 12 National Park Service sites in 6 days. Needless to say, my wife is a saint.

My process hit a bit of a wall on our vacation this year, though. As a celebration of my parent’s 35th wedding anniversary, my sister and I decided to take a trip with them and our significant others to Cape Cod. We haven’t been on a family vacation since we were in high school, so this was destined to be an adventure. My family doesn’t vacation the same way that I do; they look forward to the rest and relaxation, and a trip to the ocean sounded like an opportunity to do just that. To me, it sounded like a place where I could learn about whaling, experience seals and sharks in their habitat, take a fast boat ride, stand on the spot where the Mayflower first landed in the New World, you get the picture.

I’m happy to say we survived, but only by compromise and restraint. While I intended to learn about Thoreau, I learned more about the power of a good compromise. I think that’s true when working with volunteers as well. There are things that are required and expected of the volunteers we work with, but in many instances, they are the boots on the ground, reporting back to us about their experiences, needs, and wants. If we always consider ourselves to be the subject matter experts, how will we learn and grow? By listening and incorporating their ideas into our programs, we can expand our reach and help our programs shine a little brighter. Plus, as I learned this summer, sometimes sitting on a beach and just listening to the waves hit the breakwater can be a pretty great experience by itself.

Nick Linkenhoker
VAN Central Ohio President


July Monthly Meeting:

VAN Gives Back!
Thursday, July 20
8:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Nelson Park – 430 N. Nelson Rd.
Columbus, OH 43219

As Volunteer Administrators, we are always recruiting volunteers to help our organizations, but on July 20th, it’s our turn to GIVE BACK! Join the VAN board and other VAN members in a fun, outdoor project helping the Columbus Rec & Parks with a playground mulching/clean up. Please wear closed toed shoes and bring your own sunscreen, water bottle, etc. We will volunteer rain or shine (unless there is lightning)!

August Monthly Meeting:

Conference on Volunteering & Service Recap
Hear from VAN members as they share new best practices, innovative ideas, and more from the 2017 National Conference on Volunteering and Service.


Job Postings

Did you know VAN lists job postings in the ‘Members Only’ section of the website? Check out the two new listings below in further detail by clicking here.



All memberships expired on June 30th. Please renew your membership for 2017-2018 by clicking here to visit the VAN website. We have some unique opportunities for networking and professional development lined up for the second half of this year and want to be sure you have continued access to these events and resources.

VAN Member Spotlight

To highlight VAN members and VAN Member organizations we are introducing the new VAN Member Spotlight. This will be a great way for us to learn about who is a part of the organization and how we might be able to support each other in the work that we do.

July’s Member Spotlight is Shining On:

Name, Job Title, Organization
Sheri McLane, Asst. Volunteer Coordinator, Columbus Association. for the Performing Arts (CAPA)

How long have you been in the field of Volunteer Administration?
Professionally, almost 7 yrs. I have several more as a Volunteer in many organizations from PTA’s, music and sports booster organizations, and Military Family Support groups. I have had many roles in those organizations which included coordinating other volunteers. Which is a good background, since it puts me in the position of knowing how I expect to be worked with and treated as a Volunteer, and trying to implement that within my profession.

Describe the work you do . . .
My primary function is to keep Volunteers informed on events, scheduling Volunteers for events, and providing support for both the Volunteers and the staff they work with. That is the simplified version! It is also called “juggling”.

What do you like best about the work you do?
I really enjoy getting to know the Volunteers in our organization, we have about 650. They are so passionate about what they do. The idea of working for an organization that preserves and promotes the Arts and History in our community, and knowing that I have a role in that is amazing to me!

What would you like to learn more about in the field of Volunteer Administration?
How to bridge the gap between Volunteer and paid staff with better results. Showing others the value of our Volunteers, so they see, respect, and appreciate them the way I do.

What are your areas of strength that you are willing to share?
I think one of my biggest strengths in working with Volunteers is, I can communicate with them on a whole level, as well as individually. I can read the Volunteer, in order to know what type of communication and interaction works better for them, what will motivate them, and what they may need to spur them on. You need good communication skills, humor, and the personal touch. I know when the Volunteers come up to me at a show to chat or to thank me for remembering their name, or that they just took some time off for a medical condition, or they just had a new grandchild, I know I must be doing something right.