Carol Spiker was introduced to the group by Debbie Snapp. Carol then gave a short background on herself and a discussion of what she can bring to the training. Everyone else then introduced themselves, and spoke to why they were a part of the task force and what they hoped to achieve.
- Carol discussed the impact of gambling in the area by giving the stats from the VEP for the first year. There are 16 people currently on the self-exclusion list with 2 of them already wanting to get off the list after less that one year. The age range of the majority in the group is 35-54. There are an equal number of men and women, and most are Caucasians with Asians in a close second. The individuals are from communities surrounding Dodge City down to Oklahoma along Highway 156.
- Carol spoke to how well the group has done in the short time we have been formed by reading off a list of what all we have accomplished. She then stated that we should pat ourselves on the back and celebrate our achievements often in order to not get burned out or discouraged.
- There are several different types of community organizations. Some are bound by one goal, some are educational or mentoring groups, some are service programs or neighborhood associations and some are concerned with single issues. Carol feels that we are the type that is concerned with a single issue - the harmful effects of problem gambling.
- Community organizations can mobilize neighborhood and community efforts, educate the community on an issue, identify gaps in current services, implement effective solutions, influence change and strengthen individuals/communities.
- A well created organization affects the entire social environment, develops a broad base of support and teamwork, and brings about long-lasting results by involving a mix of the following members:
- Key Leaders
- Concerned Parents
- Law Enforcement
- Public Health
- Social Service Agencies
- Faith Communities
- Community Members
- A discussion then began in which we were deciding what kind of members wer were missing in our current group and where we needed to focus our recruiting efforts in the very near future. We felt we needed a more diverse faith representation, someone representing the Asian and Somalian communities, someone from the DCCC student government and more supporting community members.
- It was determined that we needed a leader/champion for our group. The champion should be a leader in our community and needs to have a clearly defined role. The champion shouldn't be someone that does all the work but rather someone that can facilitate the work instead. Debbie Snapp was unanimously selected by the group as our leader/champion and she accepted the role.
III. Defining the Group's Structure
- We then went on to discuss our current operating structure. Are we a task force or a coalition? We then went off subject to talk about our name. It was felt that we needed to make it more indicative of what we really are trying to represent - there are more communities and counties involved other than Dodge City and Ford County. It was suggested that we consider renaming the group to Southwest Kansas Problem Gambling Task Force. This was then tabled until the task force reconvenes to discuss it further.
- We discussed whether or not we need officers or leads - determined that we didn't.
- We discussed whether or not we needed to have subcommittees - Carol suggested that we think of having a youth advisory committee, maybe another one tasked with communication, and one for recruitment. Carol stated that we should always be focusing on recruitment and continue to accept new members.
- The question was raised as to whether or not we would have an age limit and if we would even allow kids on the task force. Discussion followed of how they are in school during our meetings and that maybe we should have a youth committee form focus groups to talk to the kids about needed resources in the community.
- Carol raised the topic of how we should self-evaluate our effectiveness and needs often. Do we need funds? How do we think we are doing? Any unresolved conflicts? Without self-evaluation, we could lose site of the goals and get bogged down with unproductive endeavors.
IV. Framework for Community Change
1. Assess the community needs - when assessing the community, one should look for actual data (proof that the need exists):
- Analyze census data
- Assess a risk factor survey for substance/gambling abuse from the KS Communities That Care website (shows youth data by county)
- Assess data from community surveys
- Consult with other state experts/resources
3. Plan - what strategies or actions are needed to reach goal and intended outcomes?
4. Implement the plan - carry out the plan of actions/strategies.
5. Evaluate the outcome - were the results what we wanted?
At the center of the framework is cultural competence and stustainability. Are we sensitive to the diversity in our community when as we develop our plan? Is our plan sustainable? Can we sustain what we have started or implemented?
V. Strategic Planning Process
1. Who Are We?
- Carol discussed that strategic planning is really like building a road map. However for this project on should start at the end and work backwards. We then did a group exercise that asked us to envision ourselves in our most desirable community, if we were able to marvelously create it 5 years from now. We then wrote down words that described what it would be like and what we would see. Those words were then pulled into a short vision statement that was acceptable by the entire group.
- Carol then had us move on to forming a mission statement by asking us to write down the "job description" of the group. The job description should tell people how we want to be perceived - our purpose, what we do, and our moral compass. It should be one sentence, clear and concise and focus on a common purpose that is specific to our group. We then did a group exercise to form words that described what we wanted to accomplish, what we are, and why do we need to exist. After further discussion, we created the following mission statement: "Southwest Kansas Problem Gambling Task Force are (is) stakeholders raising awareness and providing education to (at-risk) individuals, families, and communities to reduce the harmful effects of problem gambling." This too was tabled until the next meeting to allow for further group discussion.
2. What do we want to accomplish?
- Carol then introduced an Action Plan Template that can be used by the subcommittee members to plan how they will accomplish a goal. As an example, Carol walked us through how to accomplish an increase in membership for the task force. In the example, it talked about creating an informational brochure, which the group felt was something that would be beneficial for us to follow through on.
- Debbie Snapp then asked for Carol's help in getting the task force started on creating an operating structure. Working together, we completed the following action plan templates:
- Public Relations /Marketing
- Political Advocacy
- Special Events
- For the Champion
- Subcommittee Leaders
- Operating Structure by Establishing Subcommittees
- Establishing Roles/Jobs
- Finalizing our mission and vision statement.
We tabled any further discussion until the next meeting in order to get group input and to select committee leaders prior to discussing benchmarks and timelines for tasks. Carol Spiker spoke about a curriculum that is available for purchase for 9th-12th graders, the "Wanna Bet" program for the younger students and a book called "Taking Back Your Life. She feels these are good resources and teaching tools that we should be aware of or may want to purchase.
Meeting adjourned.Next Meeting: 2nd Thursday of December at 1:30 p.m.