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Volunteer to work during Festival?

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Hi,

Is anyone else baffled by this new requirement that each company provide a volunteer to work every day of festival from 8am to 10pm?? I understand RDA is reimbursing the cost of one kit for this but I'm not sure why our company has to pay airfare for someone to go and work...

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SCB,

I am assuming your company is in the Pacific region?

 

The Pacific region is doing a region-run festival; there is not a "host" company taking on the work and responsibilities of making sure everything happens. When an individual "host" company puts on a festival, they have to organize a huge crew of volunteers to make sure the Festival runs smoothly. As a region-run festival in a location where there is no local company, the Pacific region has to provide the volunteer crew. Hence each member company is required to provide one volunteer each day.

 

This way each company takes an "equal" share of the tremendous amount of work that goes into the running of a Festival.

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Ah, thank you Ms. Sinclair, that makes a little more sense. (Yes, I am in the Pacific region). I guess I am concerned how I am going to come up with a parent volunteer when the chaperones who are attending are most interested in watching their dancer and and have to pay for their own plane fare, hotel, and kit on top of it. I don't know how I am going to ask them to still pay and also work all day. Do you happen to know how other companies are generally handling this? (I am president of the board of directors so will be the one talking to the parents most likely).

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I would suggest the Company pay for the volunteer's travel expenses. That is how I would do it, make it part of the budget for the year. You say the region will reimburse one kit for this so at a minimum that credit should be applied to the volunteer's financial commitment. That seems fair to me.

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This has socked us too, because we are a very small company and its hard to find enough parents who are going that can both chaperone AND volunteer for what is a very long stretch of time. How can a parent watch the performances if they are working until 10pm? One of the most frustrating things about RDA is that there is no consistency from year to year. There is something new every year and I never know what to expect, except to expect something. This year we are in a location where we have family and I was excited about them being able to see my daughter perform, only to find out that, for the first time, tickets are not being made available to non-attendees. The day observer kit is just too much to ask my family to pay in order to be able to come to the performance.

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I would suggest the Company pay for the volunteer's travel expenses.

 

You're assuming that the Company has the money to pay. It's my understanding that in many companies, everyone pays their own expenses, and how do you budget for something you don't know about?

Plus, why would anyone want to go to the Festival just to work all day every day? We are hoping that we may be able to divide our obligation into shifts so that no one person is shouldered with the entire burden, but it's not easy, because (as I said), we are a small company and we do still have to provide chaperones, plus there are new dancers/parents going this year who would like to be able to observe their dancer's classes, so don't want to have to work. The parents are NOT happy.

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Cakers, I understand the unexpected nature of the expense. It is a tough one. If it were me though, I would have an easier time asking a parent to represent the company by volunteering their time if they didn't have the travel expense. Perhaps split that expense among the other attendees.

In regards to, "why would anyone want to go to the Festival just to work all day every day"...I think there are many individuals who would enjoy that knowing they are helping the organisation as a whole. Without the volunteers there is no performance to watch unless the individual companies split the expense of additional staff.

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We most definitely do not have the budget to reimburse the volunteer for this unexpected expense. We are barely making ends meet as it is with hugely reduced grants, etc..

However, I agree with gcwhitewater, that the decent thing to do is to pay for the travel expenses of the volunteer. I wish that RDA had thought of this and incorporated a certain amount in the kit price (more than just the kit amount) to give back to companies to pay for their volunteer's entire travel expenses. Some companies are going to be much more hurt than others from this.

I'm trying to stay positive and keep thinking about what a enriching experience it is for the dancers and I understand the substantial effort needed to make Festival happen but I feel a little side-swiped.

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In regards to, "why would anyone want to go to the Festival just to work all day every day"...I think there are many individuals who would enjoy that knowing they are helping the organisation as a whole.

 

Please send them our way! :helpsmilie:

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Frankly, I believe this is a really good idea for RDA to try. The companies who take on hosting RDA do so assuming that they will be able to cover all their expenses and workforce. The vast majority of years that is the case. There have however been a few cases where companies did not get as much support as they thought they would get for whatever reason in their area and it put financial strain on the company itself close to the event when pledges didn't come in. So making it a more spread out thing makes each company, even one who could not host, take on some responsibility for the event! In our region, that would mean that all the companies in our metro area would share the reponsibility if they hosted and I believe that would make for a much nicer festival.

 

Because each region of RDA can set some of it's own policys about how things are done and also each company can make some policies about how they handle RDA within their company, I would like for us to not blanketedly call all the things we disagree with RDA's problems. Many times they are not, many times they are that specific region and how they voted and implemented things for themselves that year. While RDA is the National Governing board. This sounds more like a specific region's issues and not RDA itself. Where this is sticky is that I do not want to suggest that everyone prefaces their complaints with what region they are in since that then shares a bit more about a member's location than I care to make you share. However, some of the issues being brought up are region specific and company specific, therefore, not sure it's RDA's fault that Pacific Region chose to do something it's members are now questioning. The ability to allow each region to have some control is a good thing that RDA does allow.

 

Unfortunately, this sounds again like one regions lack of informing it's member companies what it plans to do before it does it. Or the AD's within those companies not telling their boards until later. In our region, meetings for the next year's RDA festival begin before the current one is held and again not far after. Which would mean that our AD would have known in May that this was a new way of dealing with things for next May's festival.

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As an AD of a Pacific region company, I can assure you we were all a part of the decision for the region to "host" festival this year and in 2014; well knowing that every company would have a bigger stake in the process. It was also made very clear that each company would provide a volunteer to work each day; no company AD or representative at the meetings had any concerns and all agreed that it was necessary since there was no local "host" company to provide volunteers.

 

My Board and company parents have known for over a year that this festival would be "different" and require extra time and effort for all attending. It seems that some company AD did not inform or communicate with their boards/parents of the parameters for Festival 2013; don't blame RDA for this.

 

In my company the volunteer job will be split between several people; one for each day. Some are parents, some are staff. I usually find there are people who enjoy working and being part of the bigger picture. There are 3 days of classes and really....I know some parents need to watch every move their dancer makes but there are many others that would be relieved to have one day of doing something else at Festival.

 

Monetarily, our company is giving each volunteer one-fifth off ($75) their kit price for their day of service...they are thrilled. Sometimes it is how the AD presents the "opportunity" to their board and parents.

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Cakers:

 

We are working on having a "performance" kit that would be just admittance to the performances each evening or individual shows. As soon as we have the information on this we will send it your director's way.

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Frankly, I believe this is a really good idea for RDA to try.

 

I don't disagree. I think it's an interesting experiment and we will have to see how it works out. When our AD was first trying to sell the company parents on the idea of RDA she mentioned that each year a different company was expected to host the festival, and even then I wondered how on earth our small company, in a small town could ever hope to accomplish such an endeavor, so this method may be a way to spread the obligation. There is still a lot that we don't know however. "Fair" is a relative term. If the goal is to spread the work and responsibilites evenly among the region companies without regard to size, then obviously that burden is going to fall much more heavily on the small companies than on the large ones.

 

"I would like for us to not blanketedly call all the things we disagree with RDA's problems. Many times they are not, many times they are that specific region and how they voted and implemented things for themselves that year"

 

That leads me to ask then, what or who exactly is RDA, if not the region members? What is the national organization's responsibilities?

Maybe we should be saying *RDA-related* problems.

 

"Unfortunately, this sounds again like one regions lack of informing it's member companies what it plans to do before it does it. Or the AD's within those companies not telling their boards"

 

You're absolutely right. It's a regular topic of discussion in our company about our AD's terrible communication skills.

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Monetarily, our company is giving each volunteer one-fifth off ($75) their kit price for their day of service...they are thrilled. Sometimes it is how the AD presents the "opportunity" to their board and parents.

 

This is a good idea and along the lines of what we have been discussing. We have a meeting with the board tomorrow to present ideas on this issue, and allocating the benefit of the free volunteer kit among the people who are willing to work is a leading contender.

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The problem in stating that they are RDA's problems, cakers is that RDA allows each region a bit of leeway in how some things are done. So this year your region opted to try the "region-run" festival. Another region may not have chosen that model. I don't see how it's RDA's problem that some company parents within a region feel slighted by decisions their company director's made in vote.

 

Another example:

each year a different company was expected to host the festival, and even then I wondered how on earth our small company, in a small town could ever hope to accomplish such an endeavor

 

In our region, SERBA, this means that each year a different company is expected to host the festival. It never stated that every company must rotate in holding the festival. We have a few companies in areas where hosting makes perfect sense and they are the ones who seem to rotate back and forth. Probably a case of once you've hosted successfully, it's easier the next time around. So our small company never attempted to try and host yet our metro area companies have discussed it several times as a joint effort. In my timeline as a dance parent it hasn't come to fruition that they have taken it on.

 

Regional Dance America is a National organization with many regional associations. When I mention not always calling it RDA problems is because what the Pacific region members see as a problem the Southwest members may not. In other words, if my region is not doing a region run festival this year then calling it RDA problems isn't valid. The problems you're speaking of are regional in nature. But yes, it appears they are not even regional but most AD specific.

 

Every small company has to balance their participation in such an event. But my experience is with a very small company and RDA and I would not describe it that way. However, before I comment on whether the burden will be larger for smaller companies it will depend on if your region has asked for the same number of voluteers from each company or if they prorated and used percentages to determine how many volunteers each company should provide. If your region blanketedly stated, as example, that each company must provide 15 workers then yes that is poor planning. But I can see my former Assistant AD in my dreams at the regional meeting if that had been brought up. She would have fought tooth and nail that her Senior company of 50 or less could not begin to provide the same number of volunteers as another local company of 50+ members.

 

Given the 4 years I attended SERBA, I will say that I was always able to balance my duties as a chaperone, my desire to see the shows, my desires for a mid-day nap, my desires to see my company in class, my hanging out with friends and volunteering to help at different venues like the tutu.com table, etc. I will also say that our company,parents worked with each other so that when one could not go another took up the slack. We viewed this as not only a fun time for us, but also a working time to help represent our small company. Alot of that though came from how it all was presented to us, as parents to begin with from our AD.

 

RDA has some problems and if those are brought up, I'll give my 2 armchair critic cents. I just don't feel that in this case the problems outlined are a National problem and from what Temps has stated even a problem from the region. Possibly what needs to happen is your parent board needs to involve itself in asking other boards in the region how they plan to accomplish things. So yes, "RDA region related" might be a better way to phrase it but even better yet might be the recognition that each region truly can be quite different:

 

One of the most frustrating things about RDA is that there is no consistency from year to year. There is something new every year and I never know what to expect, except to expect something.

 

to this: "One of the things most frustrating things about RDA in our region is that there is no consistency year to year." This allows someone to come on and say, "our region is pretty consistent, what in consistencies do you see in your area" without sharing who their region is. Possibly part of the problem is that in your region it's referred more often to RDA festival and in other regions it is more often called by the region acroynyms with RDA being simply knowledge. As in, the only time in our region it's talked about as RDA is Nationals. Otherwise, it's member companies always refer to the rules and guidelines as coming from SERBA.

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