Special Events & Community
Lang Pioneer Village Museum
I asked Laurie if she could share some “problem solving techniques” used during a special event! (For example … a bus load of visitors that were not planned for, weather conditions, volunteers/staff being absent due to unforeseen emergencies, running out of “treats” during an event, etc.) … She tells me … “One thing that you can count on when running big events is that something is going to go off the rails. To help ensure a great event, I do what you can to plan in advance for “unforeseen” events. I make sure that I consider a rain plan. A back-up plan for every aspect of the event that could be affected by rain needs to be detailed in advance and communicated to the people involved. You hope you don’t have to use it, but you’re sure glad you’ve got it if you need it. It is also important to prepare in advance for medical and/or fire emergencies. Senior staff at Lang Pioneer Village are trained in First Aid response and Defibrillation (in the event someone on site has a heart attack) and seasonal staff are trained in how to contact First Aid Responders. Having a well-thought out Fire Plan and extinguishers throughout the Village and staff and volunteers who are trained in how to use them are also important. Finally making health and safety a priority in the Village helps cut down on smaller accidents. Statistics show that organizations that are able to reduce the number of small accidents also show a corresponding lower rate of serious incidents. In terms of how we handle volunteers and staff not making it into work, the critical thing about the Special Event Task List is that, should someone not make it into work for an event, all we have to do is look on the list for what that staff/volunteer was responsible for and divvy up the tasks to ensure that everything that person was responsible for gets done. In any emergency or challenging situation, I think the most important thing is to keep a level head and get as much information as you can given your situation. Listening and having clear lines of communication can go a long way to diffusing an emergency or challenging situation”. With all of these great suggestions, tips, words of wisdom and experience, my final question to Laurie was how far in advance did she “plan”. I know the answer in part because as a volunteer at Lang, I have been busy cutting out material for a craft project these past few winter/spring months for their Spooky Halloween Event in the Fall. But, Laurie does say that …“As I’ve been in the Special Event and Community Liaison position for almost five years now, I’ve increasingly been able to plan further and further ahead. My first year in the position, I was just one step of the event in planning. That was a stressful situation. Now, four and a half years later, it’s January and I’m doing all the bookings for musicians and community guild and demonstrator groups for all the events for the season. Why today I was even planning the Halloween event kid’s craft activity!” And, that my friends, is this edition of THE INSIDE SCOOP!