For the last few years, the History Project Committee has tried hard to hold training sessions at the two service weekends at Camp. While that has been somewhat successful, I’ve come to the realization that the nature of what we’re doing—at least in terms of the oral history training—requires a different kind of approach. That’s why I am setting up a new system, designed to offer maximum flexibility to those who want to participate. By keeping these sessions limited to only two trainees at a time and scheduling them to suit the trainees’ time demands, I hope to begin developing a cadre of folks who can work in pairs or solo to begin interviewing our interesting alumni, friends, and associates. I’m going to try to make this as flexible as possible—perhaps even shifting training locations when needed.
Of course, the History Project will still be carrying out some of our work at service weekends. Soon, there will be plenty of clerical work and scanning and other things that can be done by folks who have the inclination to show up at Nature Camp and help. I’ve designed a new, more flexible plan for the oral history training—one that allows me to train people at other times during the year. If you choose to be trained, your service will count toward membership in the NCF just as if you attended a service weekend. We’ll keep track of your hours and submit them to the Service Weekend Chair, so that Camp can keep track of all in-kind work done on its behalf. Tracking this information is very important, as we may someday want to apply for grants—not to mention showing just how dedicated Camp alumni are!
If you’re interested, don’t let anything stop you from at least inquiring. Last year, the NCF approved funding for the equipment we need to send some volunteers out to collect oral histories. These will be “checked out” to the trained volunteers who are venturing out in the field to interview. We now have two new Zoom digital recorders and an HD video camera with a tripod , so now we need trainees who are ready to get out there and put them to good use. I’m looking for volunteers who will commit to spending two weekends learning to do proper, archivable interviews. These will be fairly intensive training sessions, but they will be really fun and rewarding for you individually, and they’ll also serve Camp in a very important way that we’ve not yet been able to manage. I hope to hold the first training sessions in fairly close proximity to Richmond, but that part of the equation is TBA: I may move the session elsewhere if I find that I need to do so. For more details on these training sessions please contact Katie Hoff man. More information will also be posted on the NCF website.