Preparing VISTAs for their official orientation

While PSO does a thorough job of introducing new members to national service and their roles, some programs like to pave the way.

If you plan to organize a "Pre-PSO," be aware of CNCS policies (DOC) that may affect reimbursement.

Volunteers of America, Dakotas (Sioux Falls, SD) hosts a one-day training before recruits leave for orientation in Chicago. Local recruits meet in person, while national recruits get a condensed version by phone and mailed materials.

"We discuss everything from a more detailed version of 'What is a VISTA?' to individual work plans, to different things that may happen throughout the year," says Morgan VonHaden. The session helps answer questions, alleviate worries, and set the context for material learned at PSO.

The Ohio Benefit Bank AmeriCorps*VISTA program (Columbus, OH) gives new members a program handbook BEFORE they go to PSO. It outlines core CNCS policies as well as those specific to the Benefit Bank. Find tips for creating program handbooks and view sample handbook content on the Handbooks 101 page in the Supervise section.

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