On June 26, 2010, thousands of Americans across the country will participate in the AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy National Town Meeting, an unprecedented national discussion on finding solutions for the budget and deficit. The National Town Meeting will take place in locations all across the country, connected live via satellite video, webcast and interactive technologies.
The purpose of this national discussion is to find common ground on tough choices about our budget. Throughout the day, Americans across the country will come together to weigh-in on strategies to ensure a sustainable fiscal future and a strong economic recovery.
The National Town Meeting will take place in up to twenty AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meeting locations, many Community Conversations, and online — all on the same day, June 26. There will be two kinds of AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meeting locations, large scale and small scale. The large scale locations will include hundreds of participants each. The small scale locations will include up to 70 participants each. All of the town meeting locations will be linked together by live satellite, webcast, and interactive technology.
Volunteer Facilitators Needed
Skilled volunteer table facilitators are crucial to the success of the meeting and the work is varied, challenging, and fun. Facilitators are responsible for drawing out equal participation from their table of ten participants, focusing the group’s conversation, and holding respectful space for differences of opinion and communication styles.
Some meeting sites are already fully staffed. Locations where we are still accepting applications for facilitators are:
|Grand Forks ND|
Table Facilitator Skills and Qualities
AmericaSpeaks’ volunteer facilitators take every measure possible to ensure that the discussion is not biased and to provide a neutral space for the meeting participants to understand the information and make judgments about this difficult set of issues. This includes adhering to AmericaSpeaks’ commitment to neutrality and modeling the following skills:
- Experience facilitating small group face-to-face deliberation, building toward consensus, while holding respectful space for difference
- Able to adhere to a tightly-timed program, but also able to respond to real-time changes in design and directions from the lead facilitator
- Deep listening skills, ability to hear both unique individual voices and also collective themes
- Comfortable with diversity on many dimensions
- Comfortable with the expression of strong emotions and able to support this expression, integrating the substantive content back into the conversation
- Able to stay in a neutral facilitation role despite any personal opinions regarding the content of the conversation
Statement of Neutrality
AmericaSpeaks takes pride in its reputation as an honest and neutral advocate for public participation. We play a unique role in the policymaking process by serving as a non-partisan convener of forums that provide the public with an opportunity to make decisions about important issues without fear of manipulation or bias. Our ability to help citizens and elected officials come together around tough public issues is dependent on our commitment to maintaining this neutral role.
If the above skills and commitment to neutrality is consistent with your facilitation style, and if you are willing and able to participate in this historic event as a volunteer table facilitator, please click here to apply to serve as a facilitator for the event in your area.
Bilingual Facilitators Needed
AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy will include a demographically representative sample of participants. Where possible, translation services will be provided for non-English speaking participants. In cities with diverse populations, bilingual table facilitators may be needed. On the application page, please indicate whether or not you are able to facilitate a table discussion in a language other than English.
What’s involved: The volunteer commitment includes all day on Saturday, June 26, as well as a total of 4 to 6 hours of training and orientation prior to the event. To learn more about the volunteer experience, watch a video about of AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Hall Meetings.
Stipend for volunteer facilitators: Due to the generosity of the project funders, we are able to provide a $100 stipend for facilitators as a thank you and recognition for their contribution.