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Thread: If you had a volunteer, what would you want them to do?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    If you had a volunteer, what would you want them to do?

    If you happened to have free labor (not an intern for any college credit, just a volunteer who happened to have a B.S. in Planning and another in GIS) what would you ask them to help you with?

    I have a meeting today with the director of county Planning & Inspections about volunteering with them to help me get some more experience. He said he had never really thought of it before, and was wondering if I had ideas. I have a few, but none that really stick I think. What would you guys ask of me?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Your best option is to go in with an idea of something you might like to accomplish, either for yourself or for the community. Is there a topic of interest to the community that you might turn into a project? Is there a particular skill or interest of your own that you want to use in the volunteer work?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Well, I don't have time to train you because of budget and staff cuts and so everyone is supposed to do the work of two. So you'll have to figure out what isn't getting done and come up with a plan to get it done. Well in advance of the meeting, not at the last minute.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Well, I don't have time to train you because of budget and staff cuts and so everyone is supposed to do the work of two. So you'll have to figure out what isn't getting done and come up with a plan to get it done. Well in advance of the meeting, not at the last minute.
    Well see, that was what my plan. Basically to see what people needed done that they couldn't do, and get it done for them. I'm sure every one of you has a list of things you would like to get done in any given week, month, etc. There are probably one or two items that always get pushed back. Id be the guy to take care of those items.

    I had some ideas, but I realized that those ideas came from things I did during my internship. There, it was just one planner and myself. He was in charge of everything, code enforcement, inspections, etc. Here, they have a bigger staff that handles stuff like that, so many of my ideas are handled elsewhere.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    We need help with (more than) a couple of things:

    1) updating our division's website
    2) cleaning up the database for historic properties (we have over 115 so far), include GIS and other areas
    3) help researching architectural standards for proposed Conservation Districts and Neighborhood Stabilization overlays. Must have a good driving record for this one!
    4) if time permits, helping with tax exemptions for rehab work on historic properties
    5) helping with research on historic properties and established neighborhoods

    That's off the top of my head. I'm sure I could come up with more if needed.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    I'm sure every one of you has a list of things you would like to get done in any given week, month, etc. There are probably one or two items that always get pushed back. Id be the guy to take care of those items. .
    Something to keep in mind is often times planners are so busy putting out fires that come in that they rarely get a chance to work on their long term projects. I've learned this first hand but as an intern, you're often not in a position to put out those fires or deal with their long term projects. This can get frustrating when you see everyone so swamped but they're not letting you help. Of course this does depend on the office so you're experience may vary.

    Your best bet is probably cleaning up and updating their GIS data. There's almost always GIS work that needs to be done.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Before i bring in an intern i always have a long term project that they can work on (usually 80 hours or more). Our bucket list includes:

    1) GIS mapping for PD/CUP properties
    2) Code Clean ups
    3) Filing
    4) Scanning of PC resolutions
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    I would emphasize the following:
    Ability to do research independently.
    Any GIS skills you have.
    Any database or website or other technical skills you have.
    Ability and eagerness to aid in public outreach. There is always public outreach that needs to be done.

    Our current intern is doing those little projects my various committees have always wanted to do, but which I couldn't prioritize:
    He's organized and is doing the outreach for a biggest tree contest for the Natural Resources Committee.
    He's working on stormwater education and outreach.
    He's integrated our website and tax maps with google maps.
    He's done some database reorganization and clean up for us. For example, Smith Rd was also showing up as Smith Road and you had to query both to find them.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    In case anyone was interested, a followup to this thread....

    I am currently working on creation of a site plan for an old high school site that needs to be finished in order to begin selling the property, and I am also working on the mapping work that goes along with a CDBG. Very glad I did this, I applied to a job yesterday, and got a call for an interview within 5 hours, and I have a feeling it may have something to do with being able to use the County planner here as a reference now (he did tell me this was okay to do).

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