Volunteers Connect's mission is to enhance communication and cooperation
among volunteers and staff associated with arts and cultural organizations
Volunteers Connect: a brief history
Volunteers Connect (VC) came about through discussions arising from a National Docent Symposium in 2009 which was co-chaired by Phyllis Couzin. Phyllis, now former President of volunteers at the Art Gallery of Ontario, initiated and promoted a vision whereby a body of agencies representing volunteers from the arts and cultural organizations in the Toronto area (GTA) would come together in a cooperative spirit.
VC’s first meeting was co-chaired by Fran Hogg and Michelle Abrams, both volunteers at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), on April 14, 2011. Michelle continued to chair VC for the next three years. At this very first meeting, twenty-three volunteers and staff representing twelve arts and cultural organizations in the GTA came together at the AGO to determine if there was a desire and need to share resources and information; discuss and, hopefully, solve common problems; and create stronger ties between the volunteers working in these organizations. Reflecting their different structures, some institutions were represented by staff and volunteers, others by volunteers alone. The participants were unanimously enthusiastic about the idea of meeting on a semi-annual basis.
In recent years, under Phyllis’s leadership, VC has grown to include more than 20 member institutions with frequently 40 or more participants in attendance. Meetings are structured as follows: three hours in length; have two presentations on subjects previously chosen by participants; and an informal roundtable discussion on a third topic. It was during a roundtable discussion that the initiative addressing Syrian Refugees was first raised (please click here for more information on Syrian Refugees).
While meetings were originally hosted by the AGO, it is intended that they rotate around various member organizations. Recent topics have included Creating a More Diverse Volunteer Community, Retention and Recruitment, Social Media, The Aging Volunteer, and The Gen X Volunteer.
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