With 51 classes and 240 participants that attended 1200 classroom sessions, the Washington Institute was a great success. Over the four days of training the Disaster Workforce grew stronger, united in our common mission, and increased our ability to serve in the Pacific Division, while growing our capacity to help others. One of the amazing things about the training was that over 40% of the participants who attended, were new volunteers with less than two years experience with the Red Cross. This training formatted allowed participants to be able to complete their activity training and now has them ready to deploy both Regionally and Nationally.
While a majority of the participants were from the Northwest Region in Washington, individuals also came from Oregon, California, Texas, Missouri, and Washington, DC. A highlight of the training was time spent together not only in training, but in the camaraderie of eating and bunking together. It's amazing what you can learn about other people over a good cup of cocoa or by sharing popcorn. The Washington Institute made us #RedCrossStrong and will propel us forward as we serve our communities.
We are excited about the upcoming Services to the Pacific Disaster Institutes that will be taking place across multiple locations in the Pacific Division over the next six months. We have had the opportunity to plan the Cascades Region's Disaster Academy the past two years and have found the time together to be very helpful in building the capacity of our region and helping us get to know the other members of our Disaster Workforce. Here are a few tips that may help you make the most of your Disaster Institute opportunity.
Talk to others about your schedule before you register. Talking to your Disaster Program Manager, DAT Captain, Red Cross Mentor, Training Coordinator, or someone with more experience may be helpful as you make your course selection. While you do need to register very soon, it is important that you take some time to read through the course materials and make sure that you are taking the courses that are best for you. Checkout the training qualifications guide (button below) and make sure that you have complete all of your training in your chosen track.
Conversations with others are valuable. Some of the most interesting, informative, and educational moments are not spent in the classes themselves; it’s in informal interactions with other attendees. You will have unique, personal, and insightful conversations with other Red Cross participants from around the Division and Region that can only happen at the Institute. This means that you need to invest time in connecting with new people at the Institute.
Social times offer opportunities. We’ve designed social times (in addition to meals) to help you meet other people from across the region and make the most of the weekend. We have plans for movies, games, hot cocoa, cookies, and more. This is a good opportunity to share information and learn from others.
Arrive for class early. While we will have room for all of the participants registered for classes, we invite you to arrive early for class and be ready to participate. Find a place where you will be comfortable to sit during your class and make an effort to meet new people.
Be respectful: Mute your digital devices. Everyone wants to stay connected with what is going on at home, but your training is important. We ask that you engage in the classes that you have chosen and refrain from texting, IM email, etc. during the class. We will have breaks that will give you time to check messages and find out what is going on outside of the Service to the Pacific Institutes.
Get some exercise every day. Your mind functions better if your body has been active, too. Use some of your free time to get a breath of fresh air and enjoy the outdoors.
K. Barnes & D. Mekkers