Today we have a special guest blogger, Diana Gailband with SeaWorld! Her post highlights the Volunteer Coordinator Training that recently took place in San Pedro, CA on February 25.
If you attended Oilapalooza 2009 in San Diego then you probably met me. My name is Diana Gailband and I’m the Volunteer Coordinator (VC) for the OWCN at SeaWorld. My regular job is Staff Assistant for the park’s Day Camp program.
This is the third VC training I’ve attended. I went to this one to keep my skills current and to introduce a coworker, Senior Animal Care Specialist Alaina Jasso, to the VC role. She said of the training, “I really enjoyed the day. It was interesting to hear more about the network above and beyond what I’ve learned in the webinars.”
Kaiti also shared with us a concept she learned recently at a training in Washington: Compassion Fatigue is when you care so much for the animals, devoting all your time to their care, that you don’t allow time to take care of yourself and your needs. We learned how important it is to recognize the symptoms of Compassion Fatigue in staff, volunteers, and yourself, and to take steps before problems arise.
While far from glamorous, the role of the VC is vital during a spill event. We ensure the facility is properly staffed for wildlife response and act as the support system for volunteers and staff members. During non-spill times we coordinate trainings and keep paperwork up-to-date.
I really enjoy getting to meet members from other facilities at OWCN trainings because during a spill event everyone works together as one big team and it helps to see familiar faces. It’s a little strange to train for something that you hope won’t happen–but preparedness is the key to successfully navigating a spill event.