For many stewards, our first experience as SW Stewards begins in the classroom as a student. SWS training covers a breadth of topics, locations, refreshments, snacks, presenter coordination, room setups, teardowns, weekly emails, and technological difficulties. All of which hinges on the due diligence of your classroom facilitator(s) and the Volunteer Education Training Committee (VETC). In the last two and a half years, Camano Island facilitators and committee members have come from one neighborhood, Eagle Crest.
Beach Watchers of old and Sound Water Stewards today have historically had classroom facilitators. As John Mathis said to me over the phone the other day “ask any steward about their volunteer training and they will remember their facilitators”. The tradition of integrating volunteers facilitators adds a rememberable flavor to our training. The unique thing about Camano Islands VETC is the high amount of participation in its previous facilitators. As seen in the picture below, many of our previous facilitators continue to participate in VET by becoming instructional guides to the incoming facilitators. Camano’s VET Committee has come together successfully over the years to assist in the passing of the baton from year to year (which has not historically happened).
VET Committee From left to right; Mikaela Montanari, Greg Larkin, Laurie Larkin, Patty Dunphy, Mary Allison, Dave Brubaker, John Mathis & missing photographer: Trent Lowe
As their scheduler (in partnership with Trent Lowe) and coordinator, I learned the deep value of having several generations of facilitators on the committee. For example, Patty Dunphy (facilitator of 2018) passed on invaluable lessons she’d learned to Mary, Laurie, and Greg (facilitator of 2019). Mary, Laurie, and Greg, in turn, took Patty’s advice and incorporated all of it into the 2019 class. All three of 2019 facilitators conducted the spring training with an astute elegance, you would have thought they had facilitated along beside Patty, Peter, and Karol Gorman the previous year (2018). Patty, Peter, and Karol Gorman ran a tight ship to boot!
Speaking of elegance, our committee lead, John Mathis (facilitator from 2015-2017) has expertly directed and guided the committee based on his three years of lessons learned as a facilitator. Without his leadership, and Deannie Dunbar’s year-long VET timeline of tasks, the committee wouldn’t have operated very smoothly. His 30-year career as an educator has been much utilized in training our new stewards. John is also an astute mentor, at present, he is mentoring Trent Lowe (presenter scheduler) in becoming the committee’s new lead.
Another rock star committee member is Dr. Dave Brubaker (facilitator of 2011), who is an emeritus professor from Seattle University. Together he and his wife Linda Brubaker (also an emeritus professor) built our SWS VET curriculum (in partnership with other SWS volunteers) from their joint experiences as a professor. Likewise, Dave and Linda Brubaker, are annual presenters at our volunteer training. Dave trains stewards on intertidal biology and Linda teachers us about forest ecology. They share a deep passion for communicating science to the public and have excelled at providing SWS with expertise knowledge on their respected specialties. Did I mention they are apart of the Eagle Crest Mafia?
Not only are many of our VET Committee members from the Eagle Crest neighborhood, but a large quantity of the neighborhood itself are Sound Water Stewards, or are currently in training, like Bruce Allison, Kristina Trowbridge, and Tom Trowbridge. I wonder which neighborhood the committee will recruit their 2020 facilitators from? Will it be another Eagle Crest resident or will their two-year streak end? Watch our Bruce, Kristina, and Tom, you might be on the short list to be groomed as a SWS facilitator.
Past 4 years of Sound Water Stewards Facilitators:
- 2016- Carol Gillespie, John Mathis & Deannie Dunbar
- 2017- John Mathis & Deannie Dunbar
- 2018- Peter Dunphy, Patty Dunphy, & Karol Gorman
- 2019- Mary Allison, Laurie Larkin, & Greg Larkin
- 2020- Will it be another Eagle Crest resident?