Working as a Team

Tips to creating member teams:

  • Be sure members have had diversity training and training in fostering teamwork before they hold their first meeting
  • Give members choice in selecting or designing a team that meets their personal interests or enhances their personal development goals
  • Give members clear guidelines and expectations
  • Allow for member ownership over projects. They should not be expected to do the project the same way as last year's members.
  • Allot time (and space) for members to regularly meet
  • Check in with member teams on a regular basis to insure members are meeting project goals and working well as a group

Fostering teamwork isn't the only reason to assign members to joint projects. Teams of members can accomplish future training goals, National service day requirements, newsletter writing, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and personal development goals. Especially for members who are alone at their host sites, being a part of a team strengthens the esprit de corps and gives members a chance to set goals for the program outside of the scope of daily activities.

Some programs develop team projects using ongoing committees. These committees streamline what could be done by an individual since they accomplish goals that benefit all members.

These resources can help you create great teams to help your members get the job done:

  • Member Committees, from the Madison Metropolitan School District, includes suggested committee types, instructions for creating committee goals (PDF), and a downloadable spreadsheet for committee members to track their success (PDF).
  • Minnesota's State-wide VISTA newsletter connects current members and alums as well as highlight accomplishments to host sites, clients, and funders, while empowering members to personalize and showcase their service year. Program Newsletters includes a sample newsletter to get you started on your own newsletter project.
  • Building Cohesive Teams (PDF) is a day-long introduction to team-building concepts.
  • Building VISTA and Site Supervisor Teams (PPT) (PDF) is a presentation used by North Carolina Campus Compact to foster teamwork between VISTAs and their site supervisors. It can be used with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or a similar communication-style tool.

For additional team tools, visit Teampedia, a collaborative encyclopedia of team building activities, icebreakers, teamwork resources, and tools for teams that anyone can edit.

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