VISTA Supervision - Roles & Responsibilities
A VISTA supervisor's roles and responsibilities are a mix of what a supervisor would undertake with any staff or volunteers, along with those that are particular to VISTAs. You will get what you give, so plan to spend an initial time investment up front as your VISTA begins. It will be a predictor of what you'll get out of the year!
Direct Supervision Roles
- Talk to your VISTA often and share your needs, expectations, and how to best utilize them. Recognize that supervision involves communication and training.
- Hold regular (weekly) meetings with the VISTA. This should be quality time (no interruptions) in order to problem solve as a team.
- Supervisors are responsible for the overall direction and support of VISTAs. VISTAs are eager to learn new skills. What are your expectations for the VISTA? How will the community benefit from their service? Do not take for granted that the VISTA understands the big picture.
- Have a full and working knowledge of the VISTA proposal, its goals and objectives, and the PRC project work plan, along with the Memorandum of Understanding between the PRC and your agency.
- Regarding problems - Look at the situation and ask if the VISTA has been receiving the proper instructions, supervision, training, etc. to get their job done. Talk to your VISTA. Ask the VISTA if there are any things that you can do to assist them in doing their work.
VISTA Specific Roles
- Provide each VISTA with a copy of the work plan, job description, expectations, and objectives.
- Provide quality on-the-job orientation, including an agency profile, review of the PRC project work plan, and job description. The on-site orientation includes clarifying the VISTA's role within the agency and the community. This should occur immediately following the VISTA's PSO.
- Provide overall direction and support for the member(s).
- Provide career development assistance to the VISTA member.
- Introduce AmeriCorps VISTA members to the community through the use of media, letters, or personal introductions to local officials.
- Identify potential resources in the community that members may need to mobilize.
- Immediately (within 24 hours) report to the PRC office any change in the status of members, such as early termination, arrest, absence without leave, hospitalization, and other long-term absences. If you have a problem or concern about a VISTA member's performance, contact the PRC immediately. We can help you to resolve problems, however, we cannot do so unless we are aware of the problem.
- If the VISTA's project focus changes, acquire approval from the PRC.
- Be aware of upcoming PRC VISTA training and release members to participate in the required training events.
- Release members for special duty and follow appropriate procedures during federally declared disasters.
- VISTA's require a continuous supervisor. Contingency plans are advised in the event of a supervisor role interruption. Contact the PRC if the VISTA's direct supervisor plans to leave or is otherwise replaced.
- At the start of each VISTA year, participate in the AmeriCorps VISTA Community Building Institute Webinar Series (CBI) with your new VISTA.
- Promote interaction, reflection, and closure at the end of the VISTA's year of service. Formally acknowledge this event with a graduation ceremony or special event.
- Read and become familiar with the AmeriCorps VISTA member handbook and the AmeriCorps VISTA supervisor's manual.
- Provide members with reimbursement for on-site travel not related the PRC VISTA training or provide other means of transportation.
- Provide office space, and consistent access to the phone, computer, and other supplies needed by members to perform their assignments.
- With assistance from the VISTA, submit the quarterly report on the PRC project work plan.