VWS is accepting new board member applications until August 31, 2021.
The Vermont Wilderness School (VWS) Board of Directors strives to be inclusive, collaborative, and effective. And to have fun together! We are seeking two new members as we enter a new stage of our development. We welcome your application. The application link is at the bottom of this page.
Our Vision and Mission
The Vermont Wilderness School is dedicated to restoring our relationships with nature, ourselves, and each other.
We envision a world where every person is able to cultivate a deep personal connection with the natural world. In fact, we believe it is essential to the long-term thriving of human cultures on this planet.
We believe this will only be possible by enabling the replacement of globally dominant systems of colonization, oppression, and extraction with equity, justice, and liberation. We ground our work in support of larger global movements that are bringing forth this shift.
Our programs are based in Abenaki homelands, the Connecticut River Valley bioregion of what is now known as southern Vermont.
Since 1999 we have offered nature-based mentoring programs for people of all ages, in southern Vermont and beyond.
Vermont Wilderness School youth programs provide immersive experiences in the natural world and build confidence, self-sufficiency, and aliveness in each child. Our adult programs train students experientially in nature awareness, wilderness skills, mentoring, and program design.
Responsibilities of the Board
1. Uphold and affirm the VWS vision and mission.
- Represent the interests and perspectives of the full breadth of VWS’s community.
- Together with the staff, set the strategic direction and goals for the organization.
- Interpret VWS’s work and values to the community, represent the organization, and act as ambassadors.
2. Establish fundraising goals and participate in fundraising activities.
VWS will provide fundraising skills training, and we will match each board member to the types of fundraising tasks they think fits them best. We practice a grassroots fundraising model, which in part means that board members do not need to be wealthy or know wealthy people. However, because we strive for 100% board giving, each board member is expected to give an annual gift at a level that is meaningful to them.
3. Provide legal & fiscal oversight.
- Ensure that the organization is properly managed, including:
- Set policy.
- Supervise and evaluate (and when necessary hire and fire) the Executive Director.
- Oversee the organization’s finances, including:
- Review periodic financial reports. (VWS will offer board members training on managing nonprofit finances.)
- Approve and monitor the annual budget.
- Participate in at least 75% of our bi-monthly board meetings (12 per year). Meetings are the second Tuesday of the month from 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at the VWS office Brattleboro, VT or via Zoom (your choice).
- When an urgent item comes up that requires an additional board meeting, that is usually a 1-hour telephone conference call.
- Participate in the annual board/staff retreat on a Saturday & Sunday in the winter, dates TBD.
- Participate in the annual fundraising letter writing party. This is typically in early November, from 4:30 – 7:30 pm.
- Participate in the annual fundraising phone calling party. This is typically in the last week of December, from 4:30 – 7:30 pm.
- Serve on at least one board committee: Fundraising (approx 2-3 hrs/month). Organizational Development (approx 1-2 hrs/month). Right Relationship / Decolonization (approx 1-3 hrs/month).
- Prep, reading, or research time for monthly board meetings. (0-1 hours per month)
- Advise the VWS staff in your area of expertise (on an as-needed basis).
- Board members are strongly encouraged to attend VWS programs and events whenever they can.
- Board members serve a two-year term, and can renew for up to four terms.
- The board is currently made up of 9 members, and we have 2 open slots.
- The board should reflect the diversity of our whole community, including gender, race, age, class, geography, and more.
- Board membership is a volunteer, unpaid position. Board members are asked to pay the costs of travel to board meetings and any program fees for VWS events they attend. In cases where someone would be prevented from meeting their board responsibilities because of lack of funds, VWS will make an effort to reimburse or waive those costs.
- Board members do not need to be local to the Brattleboro area, as there is a Zoom option for monthly calls and committee meetings. However, the ability to meet in person in southern Vermont at least once per year (ideally for the annual board/staff retreat) is preferred.
Our Current Focus
- The VWS board continues to delve more deeply into questions of equity, decolonization, and anti-racism. We are also redeveloping our program development and business strategy for post-Covid conditions. VWS has increased our budget, and in 2021 we will be relying on the board to take greater leadership in fundraising than in previous years.
- Leadership or organizing experience
- Non-profit experience, especially prior board membership
- Fundraising experience, with individual donors, events, and/or foundations
- Financial literacy
- Marketing/media experience
- Vision, passion, and strong strategic thinking for the ongoing development of a small community-based nature education organization
- Strong ability to connect across social/cultural differences and work with staff, program participants, and community members of diverse backgrounds
- Skilled in clear and respectful communication
- Sense of humor, curiosity, and creativity!
The VWS Board provides you the opportunity to:
- Work with great people with a shared vision.
- Be part of a team that strives to incorporate each person’s unique gifts and offerings
- Be in meetings that hold a culture of community– through personal check-ins and gratitude, as well as including embodied learning and fun (like games, skills, sit spots, etc.)
- Professional development and training possibilities, depending on the board’s needs. Possibilities include training on: fundraising; non-profit finance; diversity and inclusion; being an effective board member
Current VWS board members
- Ingrid Burrows
- Rafe Halsey
- John Lee
- Kalia Lydgate
- Jason Morris
- Gia Neswald
- Alan Roberts
- Mishka Viscardi
- Rhy Wplk
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN APPLYING FOR THE BOARD?
- Aug 31 – Complete your application form by the end of August 31.
- Early Sept – The current board will review your application and may extend an invitation to join.
- Sept – Possible invitation to visit and observe the Oct 12 board meeting.
- Late Oct – New board member orientation session.
- Nov 9 – First meeting for new members.
Questions? Contact Alan Roberts (Board Treasurer) at firstname.lastname@example.org.