2015 AmeriCorps Conference

Each year California Volunteers hosts the Annual AmeriCorps Conference for current California grantees. The Conference is an opportunity for programs to network with one another and California Volunteers staff, learn, and share service experiences. CV staff and guest speakers lead session topics that focus on ways to build and maintain a strong AmeriCorps program such as fiscal policies, program oversight, reporting and member development.

Click in the list below to view the presentations for each day or scroll down the page to see all of the presentation from the 2015 AmeriCorps Training Sessions:

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Pre-Conference Event

New Grantee/Staff Institute: Lessons Learned Peer Panel

This workshop provided a brief overview of California Volunteers and an introduction to online resources available for AmeriCorps programs. The workshop also included a panel of experienced grantees that led a discussion on important information helpful for first time AmeriCorps grantees and program staff.

Workshops Session 1

Program Officer Session

Program Officers reviewed changes in reporting requirements and facilitate discussions to encourage grantee sharing of promising practices in areas such as: member recruitment/selection/placement, enrollment/retention, maximizing slot utilization, member development/evaluation/feedback etc.

Workshops Session 2

How to Develop a Program Logic Model

Logic models are multi-purpose planning tools that convey a program’s theory of change in a visual format. This workshop focused on how to develop a program logic model and how to use it in ways that are valuable to your program, including evaluation planning.

Leadership Development

Knowing your strengths and how you show up as a leader is critical to the success of your program and organization. During this session, attendees learned more about their own leadership as well as successful tools and skills to enhance their ability as a leader.

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Planning for Program Continuity

Staff turnover is one of the most common challenges for California AmeriCorps programs. It affects operations at all levels, from site supervision to program leadership. Ensuring that programs are well prepared to deal with planned and unplanned transitions is essential to the success of AmeriCorps. This session highlighted important considerations in planning for program continuity, such as timelines, record-keeping, member support and a written functioning staff transition plan for key positions.

Fiscal 101

This workshop provided a budgeting overview, California Volunteers’ approach and general philosophy for managing the fiscal side of grants, information on new & changes in fiscal processes, information on common fiscal issues, and tools needed to manage an AmeriCorps grant.

Workshops Session 3

Importance of Social Media

A brief overview of the importance of social media and how it can both help and hurt you and your organization.

The Service Year Exchange: The Service Community for the Next Generation

This workshop explored the Service Year Exchange and how the community can utilize 21st Century technology to interact, recruit, grow, support, and learn. This includes opportunities for the community to share and access more resources, as well as position the valuable learning and skills developed through a year of service on pathways to higher education and employment.

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Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Morning Plenary

Evaluation: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going

In this plenary, key stakeholders shared perspectives on evaluation. Highlights included an update on CNCS’s long-term evaluation agenda and available CNCS evaluation TTA resources, insight on past and current California Volunteers evaluation policies and practices, an evaluation TTA provider perspective on best approaches to implementing high quality program evaluations, and a grantee perspective on implementing AmeriCorps program evaluations.

Workshops Session 1

Building Meaningful Member Experiences

This workshop offered techniques for cultivating a spirit of service throughout the AmeriCorps member service cycle. A panel of practitioners discussed their own challenges and promising practices in the areas of member recruitment/retention, training and supervision, team-building and member support.

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Developing the Right Research Questions

This workshop explored the importance of research questions when designing an evaluation. Participants learned four basic steps for developing research questions and practiced identifying and writing good research questions for different types of evaluation designs.

Fiscal 101

This workshop provided a budgeting overview, California Volunteers’ approach and general philosophy for managing the fiscal side of grants, information on new & changes in fiscal processes, information on common fiscal issues, and tools needed to manage your AmeriCorps grant.

Workshops Session 2

Performance Measures 201

Performance measures are required for every AmeriCorps program and are intended to help grantees measure progress, recognize success, and strengthen program activities. What makes a performance measure effective, and what are some common pitfalls that California Volunteers and AmeriCorps grantees encounter when designing and reviewing performance measures? This workshop explored best practices for developing and implementing strong measures.

Overview of Evaluation Designs

This workshop provided an overview of the different evaluation designs that can be used to conduct a program evaluation. Participants learned the differences between types of evaluation designs and understand key considerations in selecting an evaluation design for their AmeriCorps program.

AmeriCorps in Times of Disaster

This workshop looked into the role of AmeriCorps members as it relates to disaster response. Highlights included a plan on continuity of operations (COOP), a look at what an AmeriCorps program looks like in disaster response and California Volunteers’ vision for AmeriCorps in disaster.