Orientation, Day 2

Day 2: 9/23/09

Big day! First day of training. Up at 730 for breakfast, “class” started at 830. We broke into groups by region - I have a great leader named Bob who is the perfect mix of funny/serious/knowledgeable. He’s been a social worker for 25 years, so I’m excited to talk with him about grad school. We have about 25 people in our class – all from the West coast (There’s about 400 VISTAs here in total, 8,000 in total for the country!). Today was a great big overview of VISTA – starting with the mission (VISTA’s, our organization’s mission, and our own personal mission), then many different sessions on different perspectives on Poverty. And of course … icebreakers and networking ☺

Some interesting facts from today: As VISTAs, we are “capacity-builders.” We are not there to do direct service, or administrative duties. We are there to create/implement programs that can be sustainable for the organization. We serve behind the scenes. We also talked about whether we believe poverty can be eradicated – one VISTA noted, “Poverty is not a natural system, therefore, it can be eliminated.” I’m still doubtful.

So, we’re not officially VISTAs yet. They keep calling us “potentials,” because on Friday we have to go ahead and decide whether this is the right program for us. If it is, we get “sworn into office” after saying a (crazy patriotic) oath. At first, the option of “I can still get out of this?!” appealed to me … but that feeling has since gone away, I am glad to report.

We finished at 430, and I did some photo editing from the wedding until dinner, ate quickly then did 3 more hours of editing in the lobby! I then ransacked the hotel gift shop for quirky souvenirs. Get ready, friends and roommates.

It is now 1100, I have showered and watched some Food Network, and I will soon turn the lights off in hopes of my roommate not having to acknowledge me when she comes in. (I still don’t know her name, although from this point on, I will refer to her as Beatrice.)

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