by Jennifer Cauhorn

Beginning in 2008, area leaders have gathered each November for training and meetings with the staff of the national office. I developed this meeting format in response to requests for assistance and concerns expressed by those serving in area leadership roles at the time.

Jennifer Cauhorn
Executive Director

In my first year as executive director, I learned through my communications with area board members that there was no consistent resource available to support and train newly-elected leaders on the area level. Additionally, leaders expressed the desire for more opportunities to connect and communicate with their counterparts across the Guild. The November meetings fulfill both needs.

The meeting format includes updates from national staff, training in two or three specific topics, and time for attendees to share challenges, concerns, and successes. During these sharing times, area representatives work together to suggest possible solutions and share best practices. A representative from the national board also attends to provide a report and participate in the discussions.

Topics for training are selected each year based on the questions and concerns raised by area board members through the previous year. In the ten years we’ve offered training, topics have included:

  • Budget and Finance
  • Event Planning
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Volunteer Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Membership Growth and Retention
  • Team Building
  • Leading Effective Meetings
  • Basic Governance and Bylaws Compliance

This November, we tried something a little different—instructor accreditation for the Handbell Musician Certification program.

After its introduction in 2011, the Handbell Musician Certification program has grown and evolved to a point where the original one instructor per course topic is not enough to meet the needs of the program. Those interested in completing certification want classes offered in more locations and more often. To respond, we need more instructors trained in the program’s approved curriculum. Prior to November, we’ve offered a few accreditation courses and had a handful of instructors accredited in each topic, but the format we were using did not allow for more than a couple of candidates to be accredited at one time.

So, I decided to focus our November area leadership training on instructor accreditation. Our master teachers, Michèle Sharik, Michael Glasgow, and Lee Afdahl (with support from Al Reese), were challenged to rethink their process for training instructors so that they could accommodate up to 12 candidates at one time. Areas were challenged to send a candidate for each course topic—handbell techniques, music theory, and conducting. Sharon Schmidt, program coordinator, worked to streamline the application and approval process for candidates. Everyone rose to the challenge, and in November we accredited 18 instructors to teach level 1 classes of the Handbell Musician Certification program. See a complete list of accredited instructors in each course at
certification.handbellmusicians.org.

In addition, we still offered general training for area leaders not participating in accreditation courses. While candidates were in classes, the staff and I spent time talking through challenges and questions with other area leaders. During meals, we presented national updates and other more general information on a variety of topics.

Next year, we will return to our standard training format. However, it is gratifying to know that we have the ability to change it up for special situations. Thank you to all who worked to make November’s event a success!

Jenny Cauhorn
jcauhorn@handbellmusicians.org

In my first year as executive director, I learned through my communications with area board members that there was no consistent resource available to support and train newly-elected leaders on the area level. Additionally, leaders expressed the desire for more opportunities to connect and communicate with their counterparts across the Guild. The November meetings fulfill both needs.

The meeting format includes updates from national staff, training in two or three specific topics, and time for attendees to share challenges, concerns, and successes. During these sharing times, area representatives work together to suggest possible solutions and share best practices. A representative from the national board also attends to provide a report and participate in the discussions.

Topics for training are selected each year based on the questions and concerns raised by area board members through the previous year. In the ten years we’ve offered training, topics have included:

  • Budget and Finance
  • Event Planning
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Volunteer Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Membership Growth and Retention
  • Team Building
  • Leading Effective Meetings
  • Basic Governance and Bylaws Compliance

This November, we tried something a little different—instructor accreditation for the Handbell Musician Certification program.

After its introduction in 2011, the Handbell Musician Certification program has grown and evolved to a point where the original one instructor per course topic is not enough to meet the needs of the program. Those interested in completing certification want classes offered in more locations and more often. To respond, we need more instructors trained in the program’s approved curriculum. Prior to November, we’ve offered a few accreditation courses and had a handful of instructors accredited in each topic, but the format we were using did not allow for more than a couple of candidates to be accredited at one time.

So, I decided to focus our November area leadership training on instructor accreditation. Our master teachers, Michèle Sharik, Michael Glasgow, and Lee Afdahl (with support from Al Reese), were challenged to rethink their process for training instructors so that they could accommodate up to 12 candidates at one time. Areas were challenged to send a candidate for each course topic—handbell techniques, music theory, and conducting. Sharon Schmidt, program coordinator, worked to streamline the application and approval process for candidates. Everyone rose to the challenge, and in November we accredited 18 instructors to teach level 1 classes of the Handbell Musician Certification program. See a complete list of accredited instructors in each course at 
certification.handbellmusicians.org.

In addition, we still offered general training for area leaders not participating in accreditation courses. While candidates were in classes, the staff and I spent time talking through challenges and questions with other area leaders. During meals, we presented national updates and other more general information on a variety of topics.

Next year, we will return to our standard training format. However, it is gratifying to know that we have the ability to change it up for special situations. Thank you to all who worked to make November’s event a success!

Jenny Cauhorn
jcauhorn@handbellmusicians.org

Jennifer Cauhorn
Executive Director


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