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VANtage: June 2019

Published on 6/5/2019


Well it's official, vacation season is upon us. Each year my extended family takes an adventure into parts unknown. It's always a wild and crazy time with twenty to thirty different personalities at play, often under one roof! This year since we've all had side-adventures of our own, we've decided to do a staycation.

And so in a few weeks we will all converge upon my home town of Newton falls, Ohio and squeeze far too many people into far too small a space. My mother, the matriarch and tireless list-maker will tell us all what we’re responsible for bringing. She will pair up families and designate cooking nights. She will come up with exciting projects and events for us to do, and then she will appoint one of us to lead each of them.

Maybe it's just the residual sentiment of Mother's Day talking, but I think she would have made a pretty darn good volunteer engagement professional. Perhaps my path into this profession wasn't as "by-chance" as I have always thought.

Just like a volunteer engagement professional, she will have her trials and tribulations throughout our staycation. If our ETA begins to slip past the time she believes we should have arrived, she will be phoning to confirm our participation. If we don't bring what’s on our list we can choose to turn around and get it or she will pick up her keys and offer to do it for us. As the mother of five, she is no amateur at handling difficult situations. When her adult children inevitably find an insignificant point to argue while playing a board game she will calmly intervene and ban us from playing it at family functions. #RipScattergories

It may sound as though she is all business, and I shouldn’t give you that idea. After all, she is The Mastermind behind: family Nerf wars; the "turn-a-Styrofoam-cooler-into-a-costume-for-your-head" contest; countless group photos where we all wear something ridiculous; the “bizarre rubber finger puppet head” variety show; and so much more.

Though these accomplishments are remarkable in their own rite, her legacy will be in having shown us all how worthwhile the investment of our time and energy truly is. When the world is taking most of what we've got we tend not to want to bother with what we might see as frivolous things or extra burdens. Thanks to her tireless efforts I personally know twenty to thirty people who will never take these things for granted and who will go on to raise their families to cherish them.

I’m better at what I do because she demonstrated how to blend business and whimsy with a generous helping of heart.

Now I must leave you, as I have a murder mystery/escape room program to plan out and script...and a box oven to make…and I think I have tie-dying duty...

Elizabeth Garrabrant

VAN Central Ohio President



June Monthly Meeting
Engaging Young Professionals in Volunteering
Thursday, June 20, 2019
8:30am- 10:30am
677 E. 11th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43211

*If you are not a member, the cost to attend a monthly meeting is $20.


July Meeting:Give Back Day! -Thursday, July 18, 2019 9-12 p.m.

August Meeting:Get them to come back-Thursday, August 15, 2019


VAN is now offering a time for our members to get together and reflect on the most recent Professional Development meeting. This month's networking will focus on our May StrengthFinder session, where we can share what we learned, give the handouts to those who were unable to attend, and spend an hour talking with each other before our busy days begin. We look forward to seeing you there! This is also a great time to come and talk with other VAN members if you are new to the group or considering joining! Please share this event with anyone you know that may have an interest in becoming a member.

When: Wednesday, June 12, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Where: Panera, 875 Bethel Rd.
Register HERE


Coming this month. VAN Central Ohio’s website will change to a new look. Keep on the lookout as the change will happen this month. June is also the month to start thinking about renewing your membership, so please wait to renew from the new website. You’ll also receive an email to go to the site and update your member profile.

With the new website coming please make sure to update your profile!

1.) login to
2.) go to members login
3.) login to your account
4.) select "edit profile"
5.) update all information
6.) select Save at the bottom of the page


It's that time of year again--we are accepting nominations for the 2019 VAN Awards now through August 31. Nominate your favorite Volunteer Administrator for the Mary Merrill Award of Excellence. Got a great for-profit partner? Nominate them for the Corporate Champion Award. Know a non-profit executive who fully embraces and lifts up the role of volunteers within an organization? Sounds like a great nominee for the Executive Leader Award.

Complete details and nomination forms are online. Click HERE to submit your nominations



Thursday, July 11, 2019
Source Point – South Office located at 1070 Polaris Parkway Columbus, OH
Suite 200 conference room
1 – 3 pm

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Dublin Community Recreation Center- located at 5600 Post Road Dublin, OH
Meeting Room 1 located on second floor
1 – 3 pm